Part 14 out of 51
are) tho' still the same at the Bottom. This was a childish Amusement
when I was carried away with outward Appearance, but you make a deeper
Impression, and affect the secret Springs of the Mind; you charm the
Fancy, sooth the Passions, and insensibly lead the Reader to that
Sweetness of Temper that you so well describe; you rouse Generosity
with that Spirit, and inculcate Humanity with that Ease, that he must
be miserably Stupid that is not affected by you. I can't say indeed
that you have put Impertinence to Silence, or Vanity out of
Countenance; but methinks you have bid as fair for it, as any Man that
ever appeared upon a publick Stage; and offer an infallible Cure of
Vice and Folly, for the Price of One Penny. And since it is usual for
those who receive Benefit by such famous Operators, to publish an
Advertisement, that others may reap the same Advantage, I think my
self obliged to declare to all the World, that having for a long time
been splenatick, ill natured, froward, suspicious, and unsociable, by
the Application of your Medicines, taken only with half an Ounce of
right _Virginia_ Tobacco, for six successive Mornings, I am become
open, obliging, officious, frank, and hospitable.
_I am, Your Humble Servant, and great Admirer_,
July 5, 1711.
This careful Father and humble Petitioner hereafter mentioned, who are
under Difficulties about the just Management of Fans, will soon receive
proper Advertisements relating to the Professors in that behalf, with
their Places of Abode and Methods of Teaching.
July the 5th, 1711.
'In your Spectator of _June_ the 7th you Transcribe a Letter sent to
you from a new sort of Muster-master, who teaches Ladies the whole
Exercise of the Fan; I have a Daughter just come to Town, who tho' she
has always held a Fan in her Hand at proper Times, yet she knows no
more how to use it according to true Discipline, than an awkward
School-boy does to make use of his new Sword: I have sent for her on
purpose to learn the Exercise, she being already very well
accomplished in all other Arts which are necessary for a young Lady to
understand; my Request is, that you will speak to your Correspondent
on my behalf, and in your next Paper let me know what he expects,
either by the Month, or the Quarter, for teaching; and where he keeps
his Place of Rendezvous. I have a Son too, whom I would fain have
taught to gallant Fans, and should be glad to know what the Gentleman
will have for teaching them both, I finding Fans for Practice at my
own Expence. This Information will in the highest manner oblige,
_SIR, Your most humble Servant_,
As soon as my Son is perfect in this Art (which I hope will be in a
Year's time, for the Boy is pretty apt,) I design he shall learn to
ride the great Horse, (altho' he is not yet above twenty Years old) if
his Mother, whose Darling he is, will venture him.
_To the_ SPECTATOR.
_The humble Petition of_ Benjamin Easie, _Gent_.
'That it was your Petitioner's Misfortune to walk to _Hackney_ Church
last Sunday, where to his great Amazement he met with a Soldier of
your own training: she furls a Fan, recovers a Fan, and goes through
the whole Exercise of it to Admiration. This well-managed Officer of
yours has, to my Knowledge, been the Ruin of above five young
Gentlemen besides my self, and still goes on laying waste wheresoever
she comes, whereby the whole Village is in great danger. Our humble
Request is therefore that this bold Amazon be ordered immediately to
lay down her Arms, or that you would issue forth an Order, that we who
have been thus injured may meet at the Place of General Rendezvous,
and there be taught to manage our Snuff-Boxes in such manner as we may
be an equal Match for her:
_And your Petitioner shall ever Pray_, &c.
* * * * *
No. 135. Saturday, August 4, 1711. Addison.
'Est brevitate opus, ut currat Sententia ...'
I have somewhere read of an eminent Person, who used in his private
Offices of Devotion to give Thanks to Heaven that he was born a
_Frenchman:_ For my own part, I look upon it as a peculiar Blessing that
I was Born an _Englishman_. Among many other Reasons, I think my self
very happy in my Country, as the _Language_ of it is wonderfully adapted
to a Man [who ] is sparing of his Words, and an Enemy to Loquacity.
As I have frequently reflected on my good Fortune in this Particular, I
shall communicate to the Publick my Speculations upon the, _English_
Tongue, not doubting but they will be acceptable to all my curious
The _English_ delight in Silence more than any other _European_ Nation,
if the Remarks which are made on us by Foreigners are true. Our
Discourse is not kept up in Conversation, but falls into more Pauses and
Intervals than in our Neighbouring Countries; as it is observed, that
the Matter of our Writings is thrown much closer together, and lies in a
narrower Compass than is usual in the Works of Foreign Authors: For, to
favour our Natural Taciturnity, when we are obliged to utter our
Thoughts, we do it in the shortest way we are able, and give as quick a
Birth to our Conception as possible.
This Humour shows itself in several Remarks that we may make upon the
_English_ Language. As first of all by its abounding in Monosyllables,
which gives us an Opportunity of delivering our Thoughts in few Sounds.
This indeed takes off from the Elegance of our Tongue, but at the same
time expresses our Ideas in the readiest manner, and consequently
answers the first Design of Speech better than the Multitude of
Syllables, which make the Words of other Languages more Tunable and
Sonorous. The Sounds of our _English_ Words are commonly like those of
String Musick, short and transient, [which ] rise and perish upon a
single Touch; those of other Languages are like the Notes of Wind
Instruments, sweet and swelling, and lengthen'd out into variety of
In the next place we may observe, that where the Words are not
Monosyllables, we often make them so, as much as lies in our Power, by
our Rapidity of Pronounciation; as it generally happens in most of our
long Words which are derived from the _Latin_, where we contract the
length of the Syllables that give them a grave and solemn Air in their
own Language, to make them more proper for Dispatch, and more
conformable to the Genius of our Tongue. This we may find in a multitude
of Words, as _Liberty, Conspiracy, Theatre, Orator_, &c.
The same natural Aversion to Loquacity has of late Years made a very
considerable Alteration in our Language, by closing in one Syllable the
Termination of our Praeterperfect Tense, as in the Words, _drown'd, walk'
d, arriv'd_, for _drowned, walked, arrived_, which has very much
disfigured the Tongue, and turned a tenth part of our smoothest Words
into so many Clusters of Consonants. This is the more remarkable,
because the want of Vowels in our Language has been the general
Complaint of our politest Authors, who nevertheless are the Men that
have made these Retrenchments, and consequently very much increased our
This Reflection on the Words that end in _ed_, I have heard in
Conversation from one of the greatest Genius's this Age has produced.
 I think we may add to the foregoing Observation, the Change which
has happened in our Language, by the Abbreviation of several Words that
are terminated in _eth_, by substituting an _s_ in the room of the last
Syllable, as in _drowns, walks, arrives_, and innumerable other Words,
which in the Pronunciation of our Forefathers were _drowneth, walketh,
arriveth_. This has wonderfully multiplied a Letter which was before too
frequent in the _English_ Tongue, and added to that _hissing_ in our
Language, which is taken so much notice of by Foreigners; but at the
same time humours our Taciturnity, and eases us of many superfluous
I might here observe, that the same single Letter on many Occasions does
the Office of a whole Word, and represents the _His_ and _Her_ of our
Forefathers. There is no doubt but the Ear of a Foreigner, which is the
best Judge in this Case, would very much disapprove of such Innovations,
which indeed we do our selves in some measure, by retaining the old
Termination in Writing, and in all the solemn Offices of our Religion.
As in the Instances I have given we have epitomized many of our
particular Words to the Detriment of our Tongue, so on other Occasions
we have drawn two Words into one, which has likewise very much untuned
our Language, and clogged it with Consonants, as _mayn't, can't,
shd'n't, wo'n't_, and the like, for _may not, can not, shall not, will
It is perhaps this Humour of speaking no more than we needs must, which
has so miserably curtailed some of our Words, that in familiar Writings
and Conversations they often lose all but their first Syllables, as in
_mob._ _rep._ _pos._ _incog._ and the like; and as all ridiculous Words
make their first Entry into a Language by familiar Phrases, I dare not
answer for these that they will not in time be looked upon as a part of
our Tongue. We see some of our Poets have been so indiscreet as to
imitate _Hudibras's_ Doggrel Expressions in their serious Compositions,
by throwing out the Signs of our Substantives, which are essential to
the English Language. Nay, this Humour of shortning our Language had
once run so far, that some of our celebrated Authors, among whom we may
reckon Sir _Roger E Estrange_ in particular, began to prune their Words
of all superfluous Letters, as they termed them, in order to adjust the
Spelling to the Pronunciation; which would have confounded all our
Etymologies, and have quite destroyed our Tongue.
We may here likewise observe that our proper Names, when familiarized in
English, generally dwindle to Monosyllables, whereas in other modern
Languages they receive a softer Turn on this Occasion, by the Addition
of a new Syllable. _Nick_ in _Italian_ is _Nicolini_, _Jack in French
_Janot_; and so of the rest.
There is another Particular in our Language which is a great Instance of
our Frugality of Words, and that is the suppressing of several Particles
which must be produced in other Tongues to make a Sentence intelligible.
This often perplexes the best Writers, when they find the Relatives
whom, which, or they at their Mercy whether they may have Admission or
not; and will never be decided till we have something like an Academy,
that by the best Authorities and Rules drawn from the Analogy of
Languages shall settle all Controversies between Grammar and Idiom.
I have only considered our Language as it shows the Genius and natural
Temper of the _English_, which is modest, thoughtful and sincere, and
which perhaps may recommend the People, though it has spoiled the
Tongue. We might perhaps carry the same Thought into other Languages,
and deduce a greater Part of what is peculiar to them from the Genius of
the People who speak them. It is certain, the light talkative Humour of
the _French_ has not a little infected their Tongue, which might be
shown by many Instances; as the Genius of the _Italians_, which is so
much addicted to Musick and Ceremony, has moulded all their Words and
Phrases to those particular Uses. The Stateliness and Gravity of the
_Spaniards_ shews itself to Perfection in the Solemnity of their
Language, and the blunt honest Humour of the _Germans_ sounds better in
the Roughness of the High Dutch, than it would in a politer Tongue.
[Footnote 1: that]
[Footnote 2: that]
[Footnote 3: Swift.]
* * * * *
No. 136. Monday, August 6, 1711. Steele.
'... Parthis mendacior ...'
According to the Request of this strange Fellow, I shall Print the
I shall without any manner of Preface or Apology acquaint you, that I
am, and ever have been from my Youth upward, one of the greatest Liars
this Island has produced. I have read all the Moralists upon the
Subject, but could never find any Effect their Discourses had upon me,
but to add to my Misfortune by new Thoughts and Ideas, and making me
more ready in my Language, and capable of sometimes mixing seeming
Truths with my Improbabilities. With this strong Passion towards
Falshood in this kind, there does not live an honester Man or a
sincerer Friend; but my Imagination runs away with me, and whatever is
started I have such a Scene of Adventures appears in an Instant before
me, that I cannot help uttering them, tho', to my immediate Confusion,
I cannot but know I am liable to be detected by the first Man I meet.
Upon occasion of the mention of the Battel of _Pultowa_, I could not
forbear giving an Account of a Kinsman of mine, a young Merchant who
was bred at _Mosco_, that had too much Metal to attend Books of
Entries and Accounts, when there was so active a Scene in the Country
where he resided, and followed the Czar as a Volunteer: This warm
Youth, born at the Instant the thing was spoke of, was the Man who
unhorsed the _Swedish_ General, he was the Occasion that the
_Muscovites_ kept their Fire in so soldier-like a manner, and brought
up those Troops which were covered from the Enemy at the beginning of
the Day; besides this, he had at last the good Fortune to be the Man
who took Count _Piper_  With all this Fire I knew my Cousin to be
the Civilest Creature in the World. He never made any impertinent Show
of his Valour, and then he had an excellent Genius for the World in
every other kind. I had Letters from him (here I felt in my Pockets)
that exactly spoke the Czar's Character, which I knew [perfectly ]
well; and I could not forbear concluding, that I lay with his Imperial
Majesty twice or thrice a Week all the while he lodged at _Deptford_.
 What is worse than all this, it is impossible to speak to me, but
you give me some occasion of coming out with one Lie or other, that
has neither Wit, Humour, Prospect of Interest, or any other Motive
that I can think of in Nature. The other Day, when one was commending
an Eminent and Learned Divine, what occasion in the World had I to
say, Methinks he would look more Venerable if he were not so fair a
man? I remember the Company smiled. I have seen the Gentleman since,
and he is Coal-Black. I have Intimations every Day in my Life that no
Body believes me, yet I am never the better. I was saying something
the other Day to an old Friend at _Will's_ Coffee-house, and he made
me no manner of Answer; but told me, that an Acquaintance of _Tully_
the Orator having two or three times together said to him, without
receiving any Answer, That upon his Honour he was but that very Month
forty Years of Age; Tully answer'd, Surely you think me the most
incredulous Man in the World, if I don't believe what you have told me
every Day this ten Years. The Mischief of it is, I find myself
wonderfully inclin'd to have been present at every Occurrence that is
spoken of before me; this has led me into many Inconveniencies, but
indeed they have been the fewer, because I am no ill-natur'd Man, and
never speak Things to any Man's Disadvantage. I never directly defame,
but I do what is as bad in the Consequence, for I have often made a
Man say such and such a lively Expression, who was born a mere Elder
Brother. When one has said in my Hearing, Such a one is no wiser than
he should be, I immediately have reply'd, Now 'faith, I can't see
that, he said a very good Thing to my Lord such a one, upon such an
Occasion, and the like. Such an honest Dolt as this has been watch'd
in every Expression he uttered, upon my Recommendation of him, and
consequently been subject to the more Ridicule. I once endeavoured to
cure my self of this impertinent Quality, and resolved to hold my
Tongue for seven Days together; I did so, but then I had so many Winks
and unnecessary Distortions of my Face upon what any body else said,
that I found I only forbore the Expression, and that I still lied in
my Heart to every Man I met with. You are to know one Thing (which I
believe you'll say is a pity, considering the Use I should have made
of it) I never Travelled in my Life; but I do not know whether I could
have spoken of any Foreign Country with more Familiarity than I do at
present, in Company who are Strangers to me. I have cursed the Inns in
_Germany_; commended the Brothels at _Venice_; the Freedom of
Conversation in _France_; and tho' I never was out of this dear Town,
and fifty Miles about it, have been three Nights together dogged by
Bravoes for an Intreague with a Cardinal's Mistress at _Rome_.
It were endless to give you Particulars of this kind, but I can assure
you, Mr. SPECTATOR, there are about Twenty or Thirty of us in this
Town, I mean by this Town the Cities of _London_ and _Westminster;_ I
say there are in Town a sufficient Number of us to make a Society
among our selves; and since we cannot be believed any longer, I beg of
you to print this my Letter, that we may meet together, and be under
such Regulation as there may be no Occasion for Belief or Confidence
among us. If you think fit, we might be called _The Historians_, for
_Liar_ is become a very harsh Word. And that a Member of the Society
may not hereafter be ill received by the rest of the World, I desire
you would explain a little this sort of Men, and not let us
_Historians_ be ranked, as we are in the Imaginations of ordinary
People, among common Liars, Makebates, Impostors, and Incendiaries.
For your Instruction herein, you are to know that an Historian in
Conversation is only a Person of so pregnant a Fancy, that he cannot
be contented with ordinary Occurrences. I know a Man of Quality of our
Order, who is of the wrong Side of Forty-three, and has been of that
Age, according to _Tully's_ Jest, for some Years since, whose Vein is
upon the Romantick. Give him the least Occasion, and he will tell you
something so very particular that happen'd in such a Year, and in such
Company, where by the by was present such a one, who was afterwards
made such a thing. Out of all these Circumstances, in the best
Language in the World, he will join together with such probable
Incidents an Account that shews a Person of the deepest Penetration,
the honestest Mind, and withal something so Humble when he speaks of
himself, that you would Admire. Dear Sir, why should this be Lying!
There is nothing so instructive. He has withal the gravest Aspect;
something so very venerable and great! Another of these Historians is
a Young Man whom we would take in, tho' he extreamly wants Parts, as
People send Children (before they can learn any thing) to School, to
keep them out of Harm's way. He tells things which have nothing at all
in them, and can neither please [nor ] displease, but merely take
up your Time to no manner of Purpose, no manner of Delight; but he is
Good-natured, and does it because he loves to be saying something to
you, and entertain you.
I could name you a Soldier that [hath ] done very great things
without Slaughter; he is prodigiously dull and slow of Head, but what
he can say is for ever false, so that we must have him.
Give me leave to tell you of one more who is a Lover; he is the most
afflicted Creature in the World, lest what happened between him and a
Great Beauty should ever be known. Yet again, he comforts himself.
_Hang the Jade her Woman. If Mony can keep [the] Slut trusty I will do
it, though I mortgage every Acre;_ Anthony _and_ Cleopatra _for that;
All for Love and the World well lost ...
Then, Sir, there is my little Merchant, honest _Indigo_ of the
_Change_, there's my Man for Loss and Gain, there's Tare and Tret,
there's lying all round the Globe; he has such a prodigious
Intelligence he knows all the _French_ are doing, or what we intend or
ought to intend, and has it from such Hands. But, alas, whither am I
running! While I complain, while I remonstrate to you, even all this
is a Lie, and there is not one such Person of Quality, Lover, Soldier,
or Merchant as I have now described in the whole World, that I know
of. But I will catch my self once in my Life, and in spite of Nature
speak one Truth, to wit that I am
_Your Humble Servant_, &c.
[Footnote 1: Prime Minister of Charles XII.]
[Footnote 2: exactly]
[Footnote 3: In the Spring of 1698.]
[Footnote 4: or]
[Footnote 5: has]
* * * * *
No. 137. Tuesday, August 7, 1711. Steele.
At haec etiam Servis semper libera fuerunt, timerent, gauderent,
dolerent, suo potius quam alterius arbitrio.
It is no small Concern to me, that I find so many Complaints from that
Part of Mankind whose Portion it is to live in Servitude, that those
whom they depend upon will not allow them to be even as happy as their
Condition will admit of. There are, as these unhappy Correspondents
inform me, Masters who are offended at a chearful Countenance, and think
a Servant is broke loose from them, if he does not preserve the utmost
Awe in their Presence. There is one who says, if he looks satisfied, his
Master asks him what makes him so pert this Morning; if a little sour,
Hark ye, Sirrah, are not you paid your Wages? The poor Creatures live in
the most extreme Misery together: The Master knows not how to preserve
Respect, nor the Servant how to give it. It seems this Person is of so
sullen a Nature, that he knows but little Satisfaction in the midst of a
plentiful Fortune, and secretly frets to see any Appearance of Content,
in one that lives upon the hundredth Part of his Income, who is unhappy
in the Possession of the Whole. Uneasy Persons, who cannot possess their
own Minds, vent their Spleen upon all who depend upon them: which, I
think, is expressed in a lively manner in the following Letters.
_August_ 2, 1711.
I have read your Spectator of the third of the last Month, and wish I
had the Happiness of being preferred to serve so good a Master as Sir
ROGER. The Character of my Master is the very Reverse of that good and
gentle Knight's. All his Directions are given, and his Mind revealed,
by way of Contraries: As when any thing is to be remembered, with a
peculiar Cast of Face he cries, _Be sure to forget now_. If I am to
make haste back, _Don't come these two Hours; be sure to call by the
Way upon some of your Companions_. Then another excellent Way of his
is, if he sets me any thing to do, which he knows must necessarily
take up half a Day, he calls ten times in a Quarter of an Hour to know
whether I have done yet. This is his Manner; and the same Perverseness
runs through all his Actions, according as the Circumstances vary.
Besides all this, he is so suspicious, that he submits himself to the
Drudgery of a Spy. He is as unhappy himself as he makes his Servants:
He is constantly watching us, and we differ no more in Pleasure and
Liberty than as a Gaoler and a Prisoner. He lays Traps for Faults, and
no sooner makes a Discovery, but falls into such Language, as I am
more ashamed of for coming from him, than for being directed to me.
This, Sir, is a short Sketch of a Master I have served upwards of nine
Years; and tho' I have never wronged him, I confess my Despair of
pleasing him has very much abated my Endeavour to do it. If you will
give me leave to steal a Sentence out of my Master's _Clarendon_, I
shall tell you my Case in a Word, _Being used worse than I deserved, I
cared less to deserve well than I had done_.
_I am, SIR_,
_Your Humble Servant_,
Dear Mr. SPECTER, I am the next thing to a Lady's Woman, and am under
both my Lady and her Woman. I am so used by them both, that I should
be very glad to see them in the SPECTER. My Lady her self is of no
Mind in the World, and for that Reason her Woman is of twenty Minds in
a Moment. My Lady is one that never knows what to do with her self;
she pulls on and puts off every thing she wears twenty times before
she resolves upon it for that Day. I stand at one end of the Room, and
reach things to her Woman. When my Lady asks for a thing, I hear and
have half brought it, when the Woman meets me in the middle of the
Room to receive it, and at that Instant she says No she will not have
it. Then I go back, and her Woman comes up to her, and by this time
she will have that and two or three things more in an Instant: The
Woman and I run to each other; I am loaded and delivering the things
to her, when my Lady says she wants none of all these things, and we
are the dullest Creatures in the World, and she the unhappiest Woman
living, for she shan't be dress'd in any time. Thus we stand not
knowing what to do, when our good Lady with all the Patience in the
World tells us as plain as she can speak, that she will have Temper
because we have no manner of Understanding; and begins again to dress,
and see if we can find out of our selves what we are to do. When she
is Dressed she goes to Dinner, and after she has disliked every thing
there, she calls for the Coach, then commands it in again, and then
she will not go out at all, and then will go too, and orders the
Chariot. Now, good Mr. SPECTER, I desire you would in the Behalf of
all who serve froward Ladies, give out in your Paper, that nothing can
be done without allowing Time for it, and that one cannot be back
again with what one was sent for, if one is called back before one can
go a Step for that they want. And if you please let them know that all
Mistresses are as like as all Servants.
Your Loving Friend_,
These are great Calamities; but I met the other Day in the five Fields
towards _Chelsea_, a pleasanter Tyrant than either of the above
represented. A fat Fellow was puffing on in his open Waistcoat; a Boy of
fourteen in a Livery, carrying after him his Cloak, upper Coat, Hat,
Wig, and Sword. The poor Lad was ready to sink with the Weight, and
could not keep up with his Master, who turned back every half Furlong,
and wondered what made the lazy Young Dog lag behind.
There is something very unaccountable, that People cannot put themselves
in the Condition of the Persons below them, when they consider the
Commands they give. But there is nothing more common, than to see a
Fellow (who if he were reduced to it, would not be hired by any Man
living) lament that he is troubled with the most worthless Dogs in
It would, perhaps, be running too far out of common Life to urge, that
he who is not Master of himself and his own Passions, cannot be a proper
Master of another. AEquanimity in a Man's own Words and Actions, will
easily diffuse it self through his whole Family. _Pamphilio_ has the
happiest Household of any Man I know, and that proceeds from the humane
regard he has to them in their private Persons, as well as in respect
that they are his Servants. If there be any Occasion, wherein they may
in themselves be supposed to be unfit to attend their Master's Concerns,
by reason of an Attention to their own, he is so good as to place
himself in their Condition. I thought it very becoming in him, when at
Dinner the other Day he made an Apology for want of more Attendants. He
said, _One of my Footmen is gone to the Wedding of his Sister, and the
other I don't expect to Wait, because his Father died but two Days ago_.
* * * * *
No. 138. Wednesday, August 8, 1711. Steele.
'Utitur in re non Dubia testibus non necessariis.'
One meets now and then with Persons who are extreamly learned and knotty
in Expounding clear Cases. _Tully_  tells us of an Author that spent
some Pages to prove that Generals could not perform the great
Enterprizes which have made them so illustrious, if they had not had
Men. He asserted also, it seems, that a Minister at home, no more than a
Commander abroad, could do any thing without other Men were his
Instruments and Assistants. On this Occasion he produces the Example of
_Themistodes, Pericles, Cyrus_, and _Alexander_ himself, whom he denies
to have been capable of effecting what they did, except they had been
followed by others. It is pleasant enough to see such Persons contend
without Opponents, and triumph without Victory.
The Author above-mentioned by the Orator, is placed for ever in a very
ridiculous Light, and we meet every Day in Conversation such as deserve
the same kind of Renown, for troubling those with whom they converse
with the like Certainties. The Persons that I have always thought to
deserve the highest Admiration in this kind are your ordinary
Story-tellers, who are most religiously careful of keeping to the Truth
in every particular Circumstance of a Narration, whether it concern the
main End or not. A Gentleman whom I had the Honour to be in Company with
the other Day, upon some Occasion that he was pleased to take, said, He
remembered a very pretty Repartee made by a very witty Man in King
_Charles's_ time upon the like Occasion. I remember (said he, upon
entring into the Tale) much about the time of _Oates's_ Plot, that a
Cousin-German of mine and I were at the _Bear_ in _Holborn:_ No, I am
out, it was at the _Cross_ Keys, but _Jack Thompson_ was there, for he
was very great with the Gentleman who made the Answer. But I am sure it
was spoken some where thereabouts, for we drank a Bottle in that
Neighbourhood every Evening: But no matter for all that, the thing is
the same; but ...
He was going on to settle the Geography of the Jest when I left the
Room, wondering at this odd turn of Head which can play away its Words,
with uttering nothing to the Purpose, still observing its own
Impertinencies, and yet proceeding in them. I do not question but he
informed the rest of his Audience, who had more Patience than I, of the
Birth and Parentage, as well as the Collateral Alliances of his Family
who made the Repartee, and of him who provoked him to it.
It is no small Misfortune to any who have a just Value for their Time,
when this Quality of being so very Circumstantial, and careful to be
exact, happens to shew it self in a Man whose Quality obliges them to
attend his Proofs, that it is now Day, and the like. But this is
augmented when the same Genius gets into Authority, as it often does.
Nay I have known it more than once ascend the very Pulpit. One of this
sort taking it in his Head to be a great Admirer of Dr. _Tillotson_ and
Dr. _Beveridge_, never failed of proving out of these great Authors
Things which no Man living would have denied him upon his [own] single
Authority. One Day resolving to come to the Point in hand, he said,
According to that excellent Divine, I will enter upon the Matter, or in
his Words, in the fifteenth Sermon of the Folio Edition, Page 160.
_I shall briefly explain the Words, and then consider the Matter
contained in them_.
This honest Gentleman needed not, one would think, strain his Modesty so
far as to alter his Design of _Entring into the Matter_, to that of
_Briefly explaining_. But so it was, that he would not even be contented
with that Authority, but added also the other Divine to strengthen his
Method, and told us, With the Pious and Learned Dr. _Beveridge_, Page
4th of his 9th Volume, I _shall endeavour to make it as plain as I can
from the Words which I have now read, wherein for that Purpose we shall
consider_ ... This Wiseacre was reckoned by the Parish, who did not
understand him, a most excellent Preacher; but that he read too much,
and was so Humble that he did not trust enough to his own Parts.
Next to these ingenious Gentlemen, who argue for what no body can deny
them, are to be ranked a sort of People who do not indeed attempt to
prove insignificant things, but are ever labouring to raise Arguments
with you about Matters you will give up to them without the least
Controversy. One of these People told a Gentleman who said he saw Mr.
such a one go this Morning at nine a Clock towards the _Gravel-Pits_,
Sir, I must beg your pardon for that, for tho' I am very loath to have
any Dispute with you, yet I must take the liberty to tell you it was
nine when I saw him at _St. James's_. When Men of this Genius are pretty
far gone in Learning they will put you to prove that Snow is white, and
when you are upon that Topick can say that there is really no such thing
as Colour in Nature; in a Word, they can turn what little Knowledge they
have into a ready Capacity of raising Doubts; into a Capacity of being
always frivolous and always unanswerable. It was of two Disputants of
this impertinent and laborious kind that the Cynick said, _One of these
Fellows is Milking a Ram, and the other holds the Pail_.
[Footnote 1: On Rhetorical Invention.]
* * * * *
_The Exercise of the Snuff-Box,
according to the most fashionable Airs and Motions,
in opposition to the Exercise of the Fan,
will be Taught with the best plain or perfumed Snuff,
at_ Charles Lillie's _Perfumer
at the Corner of Beaufort-Buildings in the_ Strand,
_and Attendance given
for the Benefit of the young Merchants about the Exchange
for two Hours every Day at Noon, except_ Saturdays,
_at a Toy-shop near_ Garraway's _Coffee-House.
There will be likewise Taught
The Ceremony of the Snuff-box,
or Rules for offering Snuff to a Stranger, a Friend, or a Mistress,
according to the Degrees of Familiarity or Distance;
with an Explanation of
the Careless, the Scornful, the Politick, and the Surly Pinch,
and the Gestures proper to each of them_.
N. B._The Undertaker does not question
but in a short time to have formed
a Body of Regular Snuff-Boxes
ready to meet and make head against
[all] the Regiment of Fans which have been
lately Disciplined, and are now in Motion_.
* * * * *
No. 139. Thursday, August 9, 1711. Steele.
Vera Gloria radices agit, atque etiam propagatur: Ficta omnia
celeriter, tanquam flosculi, decidunt, nec simulatum potest
quidquam esse diuturnum.
Of all the Affections which attend Human Life, the Love of Glory is the
most Ardent. According as this is Cultivated in Princes, it produces the
greatest Good or the greatest Evil. Where Sovereigns have it by
Impressions received from Education only, it creates an Ambitious rather
than a Noble Mind; where it is the natural Bent of the Prince's
Inclination, it prompts him to the Pursuit of Things truly Glorious. The
two greatest Men now in _Europe_ (according to the common Acceptation of
the Word _Great_) are _Lewis_ King of _France_, and _Peter_ Emperor of
_Russia_. As it is certain that all Fame does not arise from the
Practice of Virtue, it is, methinks, no unpleasing Amusement to examine
the Glory of these Potentates, and distinguish that which is empty,
perishing, and frivolous, from what is solid, lasting, and important.
_Lewis_ of _France_ had his Infancy attended by Crafty and Worldly Men,
who made Extent of Territory the most glorious [Instance ] of Power,
and mistook the spreading of Fame for the Acquisition of Honour. The
young Monarch's Heart was by such Conversation easily deluded into a
Fondness for Vain-glory, and upon these unjust Principles to form or
fall in with suitable Projects of Invasion, Rapine, Murder, and all the
Guilts that attend War when it is unjust. At the same time this Tyranny
was laid, Sciences and Arts were encouraged in the most generous Manner,
as if Men of higher Faculties were to be bribed to permit the Massacre
of the rest of the World. Every Superstructure which the Court of
_France_ built upon their first Designs, which were in themselves
vicious, was suitable to its false Foundation. The Ostentation of
Riches, the Vanity of Equipage, Shame of Poverty, and Ignorance of
Modesty, were the common Arts of Life: The generous Love of one Woman
was changed into Gallantry for all the Sex, and Friendships among Men
turned into Commerces of Interest, or mere Professions. _While these
were the Rules of Life, Perjuries in the Prince, and a general
Corruption of Manners in the Subject, were the Snares in which_ France
_has Entangled all her Neighbours._ With such false Colours have the
Eyes of _Lewis_ been enchanted, from the Debauchery of his early Youth,
to the Superstition of his present old Age. Hence it is, that he has the
Patience to have Statues erected to his Prowess, his Valour, his
Fortitude; and in the Softnesses and Luxury of a Court, to be applauded
for Magnanimity and Enterprize in Military Atchievements.
_Peter Alexiwitz_ of _Russia_, when he came to Years of Manhood, though
he found himself Emperor of a vast and numerous People, Master of an
endless Territory, absolute Commander of the Lives and Fortunes of his
Subjects, in the midst of this unbounded Power and Greatness turned his
Thoughts upon Himself and People with Sorrow. Sordid Ignorance and a
Brute Manner of Life this Generous Prince beheld and contemned from the
Light of his own _Genius_. His Judgment suggested this to him, and his
Courage prompted him to amend it. In order to this he did not send to
the Nation from whence the rest of the World has borrowed its
Politeness, but himself left his Diadem to learn the true Way to Glory
and Honour, and Application to useful Arts, wherein to employ the
Laborious, the Simple, the Honest part of his People. Mechanick
Employments and Operations were very justly the first Objects of his
Favour and Observation. With this glorious Intention he travelled into
Foreign Nations in an obscure Manner, above receiving little Honours
where he sojourned, but prying into what was of more Consequence, their
Arts of Peace and of War. By this means has this great Prince laid the
Foundation of a great and lasting Fame, by personal Labour, personal
Knowledge, personal Valour. It would be Injury to any of Antiquity to
name them with him. Who, but himself, ever left a Throne to learn to sit
in it with more Grace? Who ever thought himself mean in Absolute
Power, 'till he had learned to use it?
If we consider this wonderful Person, it is Perplexity to know where to
begin his Encomium. Others may in a Metaphorical or Philosophick Sense
be said to command themselves, but this Emperor is also literally under
his own Command. How generous and how good was his entring his own Name
as a private Man in the Army he raised, that none in it might expect to
out-run the Steps with which he himself advanced! By such Measures this
god-like Prince learned to Conquer, learned to use his Conquests. How
terrible has he appeared in Battel, how gentle in Victory? Shall then
the base Arts of the _Frenchman_ be held Polite, and the honest Labours
of the _Russian_ Barbarous? No: Barbarity is the Ignorance of true
Honour, or placing any thing instead of it. The unjust Prince is Ignoble
and Barbarous, the good Prince only Renowned and Glorious.
Tho' Men may impose upon themselves what they please by their corrupt
Imaginations, Truth will ever keep its Station; and as Glory is nothing
else but the Shadow of Virtue, it will certainly disappear at the
Departure of Virtue. But how carefully ought the true Notions of it to
be preserved, and how industrious should we be to encourage any Impulses
towards it? The _Westminster_ School-boy that said the other Day he
could not sleep or play for the Colours in the Hall,  ought to be
free from receiving a Blow for ever.
But let us consider what is truly Glorious according to the Author I
have to day quoted in the Front of my Paper.
The Perfection of Glory, says _Tully_,  consists in these three
Particulars: _That the People love us; that they have Confidence in us;
that being affected with a certain Admiration towards us, they think we
This was spoken of Greatness in a Commonwealth: But if one were to form
a Notion of Consummate Glory under our Constitution, one must add to the
above-mentioned Felicities a certain necessary Inexistence, and
Disrelish of all the rest, without the Prince's Favour.
He should, methinks, have Riches, Power, Honour, Command, Glory; but
Riches, Power, Honour, Command and Glory should have no Charms, but as
accompanied with the Affection of his Prince. He should, methinks, be
Popular because a Favourite, and a Favourite because Popular.
Were it not to make the Character too imaginary, I would give him
Sovereignty over some Foreign Territory, and make him esteem that an
empty Addition without the kind Regards of his own Prince.
One may merely have an _Idea_ of a Man thus composed and
circumstantiated, and if he were so made for Power without an Incapacity
of giving Jealousy, he would be also Glorious, without Possibility of
receiving Disgrace. This Humility and this Importance must make his
These Thoughts are apt to draw me beyond the usual Length of this Paper,
but if I could suppose such Rhapsodies cou'd outlive the common Fate of
ordinary things, I would say these Sketches and Faint Images of Glory
were drawn in _August, 1711,_ when _John__ Duke of _Marlborough_ made
that memorable March wherein he took the French Lines without Bloodshed.
[Footnote 1: Instances]
[Footnote 2: The Colours taken at Blenheim hung in Westminster Hall.]
[Footnote 3: Towards the close of the first Philippic.]
* * * * *
No. 140. Friday, August 10, 1711. Steele.
'Animum curis nunc huc nunc dividit illuc.'
When I acquaint my Reader, that I have many other Letters not yet
acknowledged, I believe he will own, what I have a mind he should
believe, that I have no small Charge upon me, but am a Person of some
Consequence in this World. I shall therefore employ the present Hour
only in reading Petitions, in the Order as follows.
'I have lost so much Time already, that I desire, upon the Receipt
hereof, you would sit down immediately and give me your Answer. And I
would know of you whether a Pretender of mine really loves me.
As well as I can I will describe his Manners. When he sees me he is
always talking of Constancy, but vouchsafes to visit me but once a
Fortnight, and then is always in haste to be gone.
When I am sick, I hear, he says he is mightily concerned, but neither
comes nor sends, because, as he tells his Acquaintance with a Sigh, he
does not care to let me know all the Power I have over him, and how
impossible it is for him to live without me.
When he leaves the Town he writes once in six Weeks, desires to hear
from me, complains of the Torment of Absence, speaks of Flames,
Tortures, Languishings and Ecstasies. He has the Cant of an impatient
Lover, but keeps the Pace of a Lukewarm one.
You know I must not go faster than he does, and to move at this rate
is as tedious as counting a great Clock. But you are to know he is
rich, and my Mother says, As he is slow he is sure; He will love me
long, if he loves me little: But I appeal to you whether he loves at
_Your Neglected, Humble Servant,_
_All these Fellows who have Mony are extreamly sawcy and cold; Pray,
Sir, tell them of it_.
'I have been delighted with nothing more through the whole Course of
your Writings than the Substantial Account you lately gave of Wit, and
I could wish you would take some other Opportunity to express further
the Corrupt Taste the Age is run into; which I am chiefly apt to
attribute to the Prevalency of a few popular Authors, whose Merit in
some respects has given a Sanction to their Faults in others.
Thus the Imitators of _Milton_ seem to place all the Excellency of
that sort of Writing either in the uncouth or antique Words, or
something else which was highly vicious, tho' pardonable, in that
The Admirers of what we call Point, or Turn, look upon it as the
particular Happiness to which _Cowley, Ovid_ and others owe their
Reputation, and therefore imitate them only in such Instances; what is
Just, Proper and Natural does not seem to be the Question with them,
but by what means a quaint Antithesis may be brought about, how one
Word may be made to look two Ways, and what will be the Consequence of
a forced Allusion.
Now tho' such Authors appear to me to resemble those who make
themselves fine, instead of being well dressed or graceful; yet the
Mischief is, that these Beauties in them, which I call Blemishes, are
thought to proceed from Luxuriance of Fancy and Overflowing of good
Sense: In one word, they have the Character of being too Witty; but if
you would acquaint the World they are not Witty at all, you would,
among many others, oblige,
_Your Most Benevolent Reader_,
'I am a young Woman, and reckoned Pretty, therefore you'll pardon me
that I trouble you to decide a Wager between me and a Cousin of mine,
who is always contradicting one because he understands _Latin_. Pray,
Sir. is _Dimpple_ spelt with a single or a double _P_?'
_I am, Sir_,
_Your very Humble Servant_,
_Pray_, Sir, _direct thus_, To the kind Querist, _and leave it at_
Mr. Lillie's, _for I don't care to be known in the thing at all_. I
am, Sir, again Your Humble Servant.'
'I must needs tell you there are several of your Papers I do not much
like. You are often so Nice there is no enduring you, and so Learned
there is no understanding you. What have you to do with our
_Your Humble Servant_,
'Last Night as I was walking in the Park, I met a couple of Friends;
Prithee _Jack_, says one of them, let us go drink a Glass of Wine, for
I am fit for nothing else. This put me upon reflecting on the many
Miscarriages which happen in Conversations over Wine, when Men go to
the Bottle to remove such Humours as it only stirs up and awakens.
This I could not attribute more to any thing than to the Humour of
putting Company upon others which Men do not like themselves. Pray,
Sir, declare in your Papers, that he who is a troublesome Companion to
himself, will not be an agreeable one to others. Let People reason
themselves into good-Humour, before they impose themselves upon their
Friends. Pray, Sir, be as Eloquent as you can upon this Subject, and
do Human Life so much Good, as to argue powerfully, that it is not
every one that can swallow who is fit to drink a Glass of Wine.'
_Your most Humble Servant_.
'I this Morning cast my Eye upon your Paper concerning the Expence of
Time. You are very obliging to the Women, especially those who are not
Young and past Gallantry, by touching so gently upon Gaming: Therefore
I hope you do not think it wrong to employ a little leisure Time in
that Diversion; but I should be glad to hear you say something upon
the Behaviour of some of the Female Gamesters.
I have observed Ladies, who in all other respects are Gentle,
Good-humoured, and the very Pinks of good Breeding; who as soon as the
Ombre Table is called for, and set down to their Business, are
immediately Transmigrated into the veriest Wasps in Nature.
You must know I keep my Temper, and win their Mony; but am out of
Countenance to take it, it makes them so very uneasie. Be pleased,
dear Sir, to instruct them to lose with a better Grace, and you will
_Mr_. SPECTATOR, 
'Your Kindness to _Eleonora_, in one of your Papers, has given me
Encouragement to do my self the Honour of writing to you. The great
Regard you have so often expressed for the Instruction and Improvement
of our Sex, will, I hope, in your own Opinion, sufficiently excuse me
from making any Apology for the Impertinence of this Letter. The great
Desire I have to embellish my Mind with some of those Graces which you
say are so becoming, and which you assert Reading helps us to, has
made me uneasie 'till I am put in a Capacity of attaining them: This,
Sir, I shall never think my self in, 'till you shall be pleased to
recommend some Author or Authors to my Perusal.
I thought indeed, when I first cast my Eye on _Eleonora's_ Letter,
that I should have had no occasion for requesting it of you; but to my
very great Concern, I found, on the Perusal of that _Spectator_, I was
entirely disappointed, and am as much at a loss how to make use of my
Time for that end as ever. Pray, Sir, oblige me at least with one
Scene, as you were pleased to entertain _Eleonora_ with your Prologue.
I write to you not only my own Sentiments, but also those of several
others of my Acquaintance, who are as little pleased with the ordinary
manner of spending one's Time as my self: And if a fervent Desire
after Knowledge, and a great Sense of our present Ignorance, may be
thought a good Presage and Earnest of Improvement, you may look upon
your Time you shall bestow in answering this Request not thrown away
to no purpose. And I can't but add, that unless you have a particular
and more than ordinary Regard for _Eleonora_, I have a better Title to
your Favour than she; since I do not content myself with Tea-table
Reading of your Papers, but it is my Entertainment very often when
alone in my Closet. To shew you I am capable of Improvement, and hate
Flattery, I acknowledge I do not like some of your Papers; but even
there I am readier to call in question my own shallow Understanding
than Mr. SPECTOR'S profound Judgment.
_I am, Sir,
your already (and in hopes of being more) your obliged Servant,_
This last Letter is written with so urgent and serious an Air, that I
cannot but think it incumbent upon me to comply with her Commands, which
I shall do very suddenly.
[Footnote 1: This letter, signed Parthenia, was by Miss Shepheard,
sister of Mrs. Perry, who wrote the Letter in No, 92, signed 'Leonora.']
* * * * *
No. 141. Saturday, August 11, 1711. Steele.
'... Migravit ab Aure voluptas
In the present Emptiness of the Town, I have several Applications from
the lower Part of the Players, to admit Suffering to pass for Acting.
They in very obliging Terms desire me to let a Fall on the Ground, a
Stumble, or a good Slap on the Back, be reckoned a Jest. These Gambols I
shall tolerate for a Season, because I hope the Evil cannot continue
longer than till the People of Condition and Taste return to Town. The
Method, some time ago, was to entertain that Part of the Audience, who
have no Faculty above Eyesight, with Rope-dancers and Tumblers; which
was a way discreet enough, because it prevented Confusion, and
distinguished such as could show all the Postures which the Body is
capable of, from those who were to represent all the Passions to which
the Mind is subject. But tho' this was prudently settled, Corporeal and
Intellectual Actors ought to be kept at a still wider Distance than to
appear on the same Stage at all: For which Reason I must propose some
Methods for the Improvement of the Bear-Garden, by dismissing all Bodily
Actors to that Quarter.
In Cases of greater moment, where Men appear in Publick, the Consequence
and Importance of the thing can bear them out. And tho' a Pleader or
Preacher is Hoarse or Awkward, the Weight of the Matter commands Respect
and Attention; but in Theatrical Speaking, if the Performer is not
exactly proper and graceful, he is utterly ridiculous. In Cases where
there is little else expected, but the Pleasure of the Ears and Eyes,
the least Diminution of that Pleasure is the highest Offence. In Acting,
barely to perform the Part is not commendable, but to be the least out
is contemptible. To avoid these Difficulties and Delicacies, I am
informed, that while I was out of Town, the Actors have flown in the
Air, and played such Pranks, and run such Hazards, that none but the
Servants of the Fire-office, Tilers and Masons, could have been able to
perform the like. The Author of the following Letter, it seems, has been
of the Audience at one of these Entertainments, and has accordingly
complained to me upon it; but I think he has been to the utmost degree
Severe against what is exceptionable in the Play he mentions, without
dwelling so much as he might have done on the Author's most excellent
Talent of Humour. The pleasant Pictures he has drawn of Life, should
have been more kindly mentioned, at the same time that he banishes his
Witches, who are too dull Devils to be attacked with so much Warmth.
_Mr_. SPECTATOR, 
'Upon a Report that _Moll White_ had followed you to Town, and was to
act a Part in the _Lancashire-Witches_, I went last Week to see that
Play.  It was my Fortune to sit next to a Country Justice of the
Peace, a Neighbour (as he said) of Sir ROGER'S, who pretended to shew
her to us in one of the Dances. There was Witchcraft enough in the
Entertainment almost to incline me to believe him; _Ben Johnson_ was
almost lamed; young _Bullock_ narrowly saved his Neck; the Audience
was astonished, and an old Acquaintance of mine, a Person of Worth,
whom I would have bowed to in the Pit, at two Yards distance did not
If you were what the Country People reported you, a white Witch, I
could have wished you had been there to have exorcised that Rabble of
Broomsticks, with which we were haunted for above three Hours. I could
have allowed them to set _Clod_ in the Tree, to have scared the
Sportsmen, plagued the Justice, and employed honest _Teague_ with his
holy Water. This was the proper Use of them in Comedy, if the Author
had stopped here; but I cannot conceive what Relation the Sacrifice of
the Black Lamb, and the Ceremonies of their Worship to the Devil, have
to the Business of Mirth and Humour.
The Gentleman who writ this Play, and has drawn some Characters in it
very justly, appears to have been misled in his Witchcraft by an
unwary following the inimitable _Shakespear_. The Incantations in
_Mackbeth_ have a Solemnity admirably adapted to the Occasion of that
Tragedy, and fill the Mind with a suitable Horror; besides, that the
Witches are a Part of the Story it self, as we find it very
particularly related in _Hector Boetius_, from whom he seems to have
taken it. This therefore is a proper Machine where the Business is
dark, horrid, and bloody; but is extremely foreign from the Affair of
Comedy. Subjects of this kind, which are in themselves disagreeable,
can at no time become entertaining, but by passing through an
Imagination like _Shakespear's_ to form them; for which Reason Mr.
_Dryden_ would not allow even _Beaumont_ and _Fletcher_ capable of
_But_ Shakespear's _Magick cou'd not copy'd be,
Within that Circle none durst walk but He_. 
I should not, however, have troubled you with these Remarks, if there
were not something else in this Comedy, which wants to be exorcised
more than the Witches. I mean the Freedom of some Passages, which I
should have overlook'd, if I had not observed that those Jests can
raise the loudest Mirth, though they are painful to right Sense, and
an Outrage upon Modesty.
We must attribute such Liberties to the Taste of that Age, but indeed
by such Representations a Poet sacrifices the best Part of his
Audience to the worst; and, as one would think, neglects the Boxes, to
write to the Orange-Wenches.
I must not conclude till I have taken notice of the Moral with which
this Comedy ends. The two young Ladies having given a notable Example
of outwitting those who had a Right in the Disposal of them, and
marrying without Consent of Parents, one of the injur'd Parties, who
is easily reconciled, winds up all with this Remark,
... _Design whate'er we will,
There is a Fate which over-rules us still_.
We are to suppose that the Gallants are Men of Merit, but if they had
been Rakes the Excuse might have serv'd as well. _Hans Carvel's_ Wife
 was of the same Principle, but has express'd it with a Delicacy
which shews she is not serious in her Excuse, but in a sort of
humorous Philosophy turns off the Thought of her Guilt, and says,
_That if weak Women go astray,
Their Stars are more in fault than they_.
This, no doubt, is a full Reparation, and dismisses the Audience with
very edifying Impressions.
These things fall under a Province you have partly pursued already,
and therefore demand your Animadversion, for the regulating so Noble
an Entertainment as that of the Stage. It were to be wished, that all
who write for it hereafter would raise their Genius, by the Ambition
of pleasing People of the best Understanding; and leave others who
shew nothing of the Human Species but Risibility, to seek their
Diversion at the Bear-Garden, or some other Privileg'd Place, where
Reason and Good-manners have no Right to disturb them.'
_August_ 8, 1711.
_I am_, &c.
[Footnote 1: This letter is by John Hughes.]
[Footnote 2: Shadwell's Play of the 'Lancashire Witches' was in the bill
of the Theatre advertised at the end of this number of the 'Spectator'.
'By her Majesty's Company of Comedians.
At the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, on Tuesday next, being the 14th
Day of August, will be presented, A comedy call'd the Lancashire
Witches, Written by the Ingenious Mr. Shadwell, late Poet Laureat.
Carefully Revis'd. With all the Original Decorations of Scenes,
Witche's Songs and Dances, proper to the Dramma. The Principal Parts
to be perform'd by Mr. Mills, Mr. Booth, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Bullock,
Sen., Mr. Norris, Mr. Pack, Mr. Bullock, Jun., Mrs. Elrington, Mrs.
Powel, Mrs. Bradshaw, Mrs. Cox. And the Witches by Mr. Burkhead, Mr.
Ryan, Mrs. Mills, and Mrs. Willis. It being the last time of Acting in
[Footnote 3: Prologue to Davenant and Dryden's version of the 'Tempest'.]
[Footnote 4: In Prior's Poem of 'Hans Carvel'.]
* * * * *
No. 142. Monday, August 13, 1711. Steele.
'... Irrupta tenet Copula ...'
The following Letters being Genuine,  and the Images of a Worthy
Passion, I am willing to give the old Lady's Admonition to my self, and
the Representation of her own Happiness, a Place in my Writings.
_August 9_, 1711.
'I am now in the sixty seventh Year of my Age, and read you with
Approbation; but methinks you do not strike at the Root of the
greatest Evil in Life, which is the false Notion of Gallantry in Love.
It is, and has long been, upon a very ill Foot; but I, who have been a
Wife Forty Years, and was bred in a way that has made me ever since
very happy, see through the Folly of it. In a Word, Sir, when I was a
young Woman, all who avoided the Vices of the Age were very carefully
educated, and all fantastical Objects were turned out of our Sight.
The Tapestry Hangings, with the great and venerable Simplicity of the
Scripture Stories, had better Effects than now the Loves of _Venus_
and _Adonis_ or _Bacchus_ and _Ariadne_ in your fine present Prints.
The Gentleman I am married to made Love to me in Rapture, but it was
the Rapture of a Christian and a Man of Honour, not a Romantick Hero
or a Whining Coxcomb: This put our Life upon a right Basis. To give
you an Idea of our Regard one to another, I inclose to you several of
his Letters, writ Forty Years ago, when my Lover; and one writ t'other
Day, after so many Years Cohabitation.'
_August_ 7, 1671.
'If my Vigilance and ten thousand Wishes for your Welfare and Repose
could have any force, you last Night slept in Security, and had
every good Angel in your Attendance. To have my Thoughts ever fixed
on you, to live in constant Fear of every Accident to which Human
Life is liable, and to send up my hourly Prayers to avert 'em from
you; I say, Madam, thus to think, and thus to suffer, is what I do
for Her who is in Pain at my Approach, and calls all my tender
Sorrow Impertinence. You are now before my Eyes, my Eyes that are
ready to flow with Tenderness, but cannot give relief to my gushing
Heart, that dictates what I am now Saying, and yearns to tell you
all its Achings. How art thou, oh my Soul, stoln from thy self! How
is all thy Attention broken! My Books are blank Paper, and my
Friends Intruders. I have no hope of Quiet but from your Pity; To
grant it, would make more for your Triumph. To give Pain is the
Tyranny, to make Happy the true Empire of Beauty. If you would
consider aright, you'd find an agreeable Change in dismissing the
Attendance of a Slave, to receive the Complaisance of a Companion. I
bear the former in hopes of the latter Condition: As I live in
Chains without murmuring at the Power which inflicts 'em, so I could
enjoy Freedom without forgetting the Mercy that gave it.'
_MADAM, I am
Your most devoted, most obedient Servant_.
_Tho' I made him no Declarations in his Favour, you see he had Hopes
of Me when he writ this in the Month following_.
_Madam, September 3, 1671_.
'Before the Light this Morning dawned upon the Earth I awaked, and
lay in Expectation of its return, not that it cou'd give any new
Sense of Joy to me, but as I hoped it would bless you with its
chearful Face, after a Quiet which I wish'd you last Night. If my
Prayers are heard, the Day appeared with all the Influence of a
Merciful Creator upon your Person and Actions. Let others, my lovely
Charmer, talk of a blind Being that disposes their Hearts, I contemn
their low Images of Love. I have not a Thought which relates to you,
that I cannot with Confidence beseech the All-seeing Power to bless
me in. May he direct you in all your Steps, and reward your
Innocence, your Sanctity of Manners, your Prudent Youth, and
becoming Piety, with the Continuance of his Grace and Protection.
This is an unusual Language to Ladies; but you have a Mind elevated
above the giddy Motions of a Sex insnared by Flattery, and misled by
a false and short Adoration into a solid and long Contempt. Beauty,
my fairest Creature, palls in the Possession, but I love also your
Mind; your Soul is as dear to me as my own; and if the Advantages of
a liberal Education, some Knowledge, and as much Contempt of the
World, join'd with the Endeavours towards a Life of strict Virtue
and Religion, can qualify me to raise new Ideas in a Breast so well
disposed as yours is, our Days will pass away with Joy; and old Age,
instead of introducing melancholy Prospects of Decay, give us hope
of Eternal Youth in a better Life. I have but few Minutes from the
Duty of my Employment to write in, and without time to read over
what I have writ, therefore beseech you to pardon the first Hints of
my Mind, which I have expressed in so little Order.
_I am, dearest Creature,
Your most Obedient,
most Devoted Servant_.'
_The two next were written after the Day of our Marriage was fixed_.
_September 25, 1671
'It is the hardest thing in the World to be in Love, and yet attend
Business. As for me, all that speak to me find me out, and I must
lock myself up, or other People will do it for me. A Gentleman asked
me this Morning what News from _Holland_, and I answered, She's
Exquisitely handsome. Another desir'd to know when I had been last
at _Windsor_, I reply'd, 'She designs to go with me. Prethee, allow
me at least to kiss your Hand before the appointed Day, that my Mind
may be in some Composure. Methinks I could write a Volume to you,
but all the Language on Earth would fail in saying how much, and
with what dis-interested Passion, _I am ever Yours_.
_September 30, 1671_.
_Seven in the Morning_.
Next to the Influence of Heav'n, I am to thank you that I see the
returning Day with Pleasure. To pass my Evenings in so sweet a
Conversation, and have the Esteem of a Woman of your Merit, has in
it a Particularity of Happiness no more to be express'd than
return'd. But I am, my Lovely Creature, contented to be on the
obliged Side, and to employ all my Days in new Endeavours to
convince you and all the World of the Sense I have of your
Condescension in Chusing,
_MADAM, Your Most Faithful,
Most Obedient Humble Servant._
_He was, when he writ the following Letter, as agreeable and pleasant
a Man as any in England_.
_October 20, 1671_.
I Beg Pardon that my Paper is not Finer, but I am forced to write
from a Coffee-house where I am attending about Business. There is a
dirty Crowd of Busie Faces all around me talking of Mony, while all
my Ambition, all my Wealth is Love: Love which animates my Heart,
sweetens my Humour, enlarges my Soul, and affects every Action of my
Life. 'Tis to my lovely Charmer I owe that many noble Ideas are
continually affix'd to my Words and Actions: 'Tis the natural Effect
of that generous Passion to create in the Admirer some Similitude of
the Object admired; thus, my Dear, am I every Day to improve from so
sweet a Companion. Look up, my Fair One, to that Heaven which made
thee such, and join with me to implore its Influence on our tender
innocent Hours, and beseech the Author of Love to bless the Rites he
has ordained, and mingle with our Happiness a just Sense of our
transient Condition, and a Resignation to his Will, which only can
regulate our Minds to a steady Endeavour to please him and each
_I am, for Ever,
your Faithful Servant_.
_I will not trouble you with more Letters at this time, but if you
saw the poor withered Hand which sends you these Minutes, I am sure
you will smile to think that there is one who is so gallant as to
speak of it still as so welcome a Present, after forty Years
Possession of the Woman whom he writes to_.
June 23, 1711.
I Heartily beg your Pardon for my Omission to write Yesterday. It
was of no Failure of my tender Regard for you; but having been very
much perplexed in my Thoughts on the Subject of my last, made me
determine to suspend speaking of it 'till I came to myself. But, my
Lovely Creature, know it is not in the Power of Age, or Misfortune,
or any other Accident which hangs over Human Life, to take from me
the pleasing Esteem I have for you, or the Memory of the bright
Figure you appeared in when you gave your Hand and Heart to,
_Your most Grateful Husband_,
_and Obedient Servant_.
[Footnote 1: They are, after the first, with a few changes of phrase and
the alteration of date proper to the design of this paper, copies of
Steele's own love-letters addressed to Mrs. Scurlock, in August and
September, 1707; except the last, a recent one, written since marriage.]
* * * * *
No. 143. Tuesday, August 14, 1711. Steele.
'Non est vivere sed valere Vita.'
It is an unreasonable thing some Men expect of their Acquaintance. They
are ever complaining that they are out of Order, or Displeased, or they
know not how, and are so far from letting that be a Reason for retiring
to their own Homes, that they make it their Argument for coming into
Company. What has any body to do with Accounts of a Man's being
Indispos'd but his Physician? If a Man laments in Company, where the
rest are in Humour enough to enjoy themselves, he should not take it ill
if a Servant is ordered to present him with a Porringer of Cawdle or
Posset-drink, by way of Admonition that he go Home to Bed. That Part of
Life which we ordinarily understand by the Word Conversation, is an
Indulgence to the Sociable Part of our Make; and should incline us to
bring our Proportion of good Will or good Humour among the Friends we
meet with, and not to trouble them with Relations which must of
necessity oblige them to a real or feigned Affliction. Cares,
Distresses, Diseases, Uneasinesses, and Dislikes of our own, are by no
means to be obtruded upon our Friends. If we would consider how little
of this Vicissitude of Motion and Rest, which we call Life, is spent
with Satisfaction, we should be more tender of our Friends, than to
bring them little Sorrows which do not belong to them. There is no real
Life, but chearful Life; therefore Valetudinarians should be sworn
before they enter into Company, not to say a Word of themselves till the
Meeting breaks up. It is not here pretended, that we should be always
[sitting ] with Chaplets of Flowers round our Heads, or be crowned
with Roses, in order to make our Entertainment agreeable to us; but if
(as it is usually observed) they who resolve to be Merry, seldom are so;
it will be much more unlikely for us to be well-pleased, if they are
admitted who are always complaining they are sad. Whatever we do we
should keep up the Chearfulness of our Spirits, and never let them sink
below an Inclination at least to be well-pleased: The Way to this, is to
keep our Bodies in Exercise, our Minds at Ease. That insipid State
wherein neither are in Vigour, is not to be accounted any part of our
Portion of Being. When we are in the Satisfaction of some Innocent
Pleasure, or Pursuit of some laudable Design, we are in the Possession
of Life, of Human Life. Fortune will give us Disappointments enough, and
Nature is attended with Infirmities enough, without our adding to the
unhappy Side of our Account by our Spleen or ill Humour. Poor
_Cottilus_, among so many real Evils, a Chronical Distemper and a narrow
Fortune, is never heard to complain: That equal Spirit of his, which any
Man may have, that, like him, will conquer Pride, Vanity and
Affectation, and follow Nature, is not to be broken, because it has no
Points to contend for. To be anxious for nothing but what Nature demands
as necessary, if it is not the Way to an Estate, is the Way to what Men
aim at by getting an Estate. This Temper will preserve Health in the
Body, as well as Tranquility in the Mind. _Cottilus_ sees the World in a
Hurry, with the same Scorn that a Sober Person sees a Man Drunk. Had he
been contented with what he ought to have been, how could, says he, such
a one have met with such a Disappointment? If another had valued his
Mistress for what he ought to have lov'd her, he had not been in her
Power. If her Virtue had had a Part of his Passion, her Levity had been
his Cure; she could not then have been false and amiable at the same
Since we cannot promise ourselves constant Health, let us endeavour at
such a Temper as may be our best Support in the Decay of it. _Uranius_
has arrived at that Composure of Soul, and wrought himself up to such a
Neglect of every thing with which the Generality of Mankind is
enchanted, that nothing but acute Pains can give him Disturbance, and
against those too he will tell his intimate Friends he has a Secret
which gives him present Ease: _Uranius_ is so thoroughly perswaded of
another Life, and endeavours so sincerely to secure an Interest in it,
that he looks upon Pain but as a quickening of his Pace to an Home,
where he shall be better provided for than in his present Apartment.
Instead of the melancholy Views which others are apt to give themselves,
he will tell you that he has forgot he is Mortal, nor will he think of
himself as such. He thinks at the Time of his Birth he entered into an
Eternal Being; and the short Article of Death he will not allow an
Interruption of Life, since that Moment is not of half the Duration as
is his ordinary Sleep. Thus is his Being one uniform and consistent
Series of chearful Diversions and moderate Cares, without Fear or Hope
of Futurity. Health to him is more than Pleasure to another Man, and
Sickness less affecting to him than Indisposition is to others.
I must confess, if one does not regard Life after this manner, none but
Ideots can pass it away with any tolerable Patience. Take a Fine Lady
who is of a Delicate Frame, and you may observe from the Hour she rises
a certain Weariness of all that passes about her. I know more than one
who is much too nice to be quite alive. They are sick of such strange
frightful People that they meet; one is so awkward, and another so
disagreeable, that it looks like a Penance to breathe the same Air with
them. You see this is so very true, that a great Part of Ceremony and
Good-breeding among Ladies turns upon their Uneasiness; and I'll
undertake, if the How-d'ye Servants of our Women were to make a Weekly
Bill of Sickness, as the Parish Clerks do of Mortality, you would not
find in an Account of seven Days, one in Thirty that was not downright
Sick or indisposed, or but a very little better than she was, and so
It is certain that to enjoy Life and Health as a constant Feast, we
should not think Pleasure necessary, but, if possible, to arrive at an
Equality of Mind. It is as mean to be overjoyed upon Occasions of
Good-Fortune, as to be dejected in Circumstances of Distress. Laughter
in one Condition is as unmanly as Weeping in the other. We should not
form our Minds to expect Transport on every Occasion, but know how to
make it Enjoyment to be out of Pain. Ambition, Envy, vagrant Desire, or
impertinent Mirth will take up our Minds, without we can possess our
selves in that Sobriety of Heart which is above all Pleasures, and can
be felt much better than described. But the ready Way, I believe, to the
right Enjoyment of Life, is by a Prospect towards another to have but a
very mean Opinion of it. A great Author of our Time has set this in an
excellent Light, when with a Philosophick Pity of Human Life, he spoke
of it in his _Theory of the Earth_,  in the following manner.
_For what is this Life but a Circulation of little mean Actions? We
lie down and rise again, dress and undress, feed and wax hungry, work
or play, and are weary, and then we lie down again, and the Circle
returns. We spend the Day in Trifles, and when the Night comes we
throw our selves into the Bed of Folly, amongst Dreams and broken
Thoughts, and wild Imaginations. Our Reason lies asleep by us, and we
are for the Time as arrant Brutes as those that sleep in the Stalls or
in the Field. Are not the Capacities of Man higher than these? And
ought not his Ambition and Expectations to be greater? Let us be
Adventurers for another World: 'Tis at least a fair and noble Chance;
and there is nothing in this worth our Thoughts or our Passions. If we
should be disappointed, we are still no worse than the rest of our
Fellow-Mortals; and if we succeed in our Expectations, we are
[Footnote 1: sit]
[Footnote 2: Ed. Amsterdam, 1699, p. 241.]
* * * * *
No. 144. Wednesday, August 15, 1711. Steele.
'... Noris quam elegans formarum
Beauty has been the Delight and Torment of the World ever since it
began. The Philosophers have felt its Influence so sensibly, that almost
every one of them has left us some Saying or other, which has intimated
that he too well knew the Power of it. One  has told us, that a
graceful Person is a more powerful Recommendation than the best Letter
that can be writ in your Favour. Another  desires the Possessor of it
to consider it as a meer Gift of Nature, and not any Perfection of his
own. A Third  calls it a short liv'd Tyranny; a Fourth,  a silent
Fraud, because it imposes upon us without the Help of Language; but I
think _Carneades_ spoke as much like a Philosopher as any of them, tho'
more like a Lover, when he call'd it Royalty without Force. It is not
indeed to be denied, that there is something irresistible in a Beauteous
Form; the most Severe will not pretend, that they do not feel an
immediate Prepossession in Favour of the Handsome. No one denies them
the Privilege of being first heard, and being regarded before others in
Matters of ordinary Consideration. At the same time the Handsome should
consider that it is a Possession, as it were, foreign to them. No one
can give it himself, or preserve it when they have it. Yet so it is,
that People can bear any Quality in the World better than Beauty. It is
the Consolation of all who are naturally too much affected with the
Force of it, that a little Attention, if a Man can attend with Judgment,
will cure them. Handsome People usually are so fantastically pleas'd
with themselves, that if they do not kill at first Sight, as the Phrase
is, a second Interview disarms them of all their Power. But I shall make
this Paper rather a Warning-piece to give Notice where the Danger is,
than to propose Instructions how to avoid it when you have fallen in the
way of it. Handsome Men shall be the Subject of another Chapter, the
Women shall take up the present Discourse.
_Amaryllis_, who has been in Town but one Winter, is extreamly improved
with the Arts of Good-Breeding, without leaving Nature. She has not lost
the Native Simplicity of her Aspect, to substitute that Patience of
being stared at, which is the usual Triumph and Distinction of a Town
Lady. In Publick Assemblies you meet her careless Eye diverting itself
with the Objects around her, insensible that she her self is one of the
brightest in the Place.
_Dulcissa_ is quite [of] another Make, she is almost a Beauty by Nature,
but more than one by Art. If it were possible for her to let her Fan or
any Limb about her rest, she would do some Part of the Execution she
meditates; but tho' she designs her self a Prey she will not stay to be
taken. No Painter can give you Words for the different Aspects of
_Dulcissa_ in half a Moment, whereever she appears: So little does she
accomplish what she takes so much pains for, to be gay and careless.
_Merab_ is attended with all the Charms of Woman and Accomplishments of
Man. It is not to be doubted but she has a great deal of Wit, if she
were not such a Beauty; and she would have more Beauty had she not so
much Wit. Affectation prevents her Excellencies from walking together.
If she has a Mind to speak such a Thing, it must be done with such an
Air of her Body; and if she has an Inclination to look very careless,
there is such a smart Thing to be said at the same Time, that the Design
of being admired destroys it self. Thus the unhappy _Merab_, tho' a Wit
and Beauty, is allowed to be neither, because she will always be both.
_Albacinda_ has the Skill as well as Power of pleasing. Her Form is
majestick, but her Aspect humble. All good Men should beware of the
Destroyer. She will speak to you like your Sister, till she has you
sure; but is the most vexatious of Tyrants when you are so. Her
Familiarity of Behaviour, her indifferent Questions, and general
Conversation, make the silly Part of her Votaries full of Hopes, while
the wise fly from her Power. She well knows she is too Beautiful and too
Witty to be indifferent to any who converse with her, and therefore
knows she does not lessen herself by Familiarity, but gains Occasions of
Admiration, by seeming Ignorance of her Perfections.
_Eudosia_ adds to the Height of her Stature a Nobility of Spirit which
still distinguishes her above the rest of her Sex. Beauty in others is
lovely, in others agreeable, in others attractive; but in _Eudosia_ it
is commanding: Love towards _Eudosia_ is a Sentiment like the Love of
Glory. The Lovers of other Women are softened into Fondness, the
Admirers of _Eudosia_ exalted into Ambition.
_Eucratia_ presents her self to the Imagination with a more kindly
Pleasure, and as she is Woman, her Praise is wholly Feminine. If we were
to form an Image of Dignity in a Man, we should give him Wisdom and
Valour, as being essential to the Character of Manhood. In like manner,
if you describe a right Woman in a laudable Sense, she should have
gentle Softness, tender Fear, and all those Parts of Life, which
distinguish her from the other Sex; with some Subordination to it, but
such an Inferiority that makes her still more lovely. _Eucratia_ is that
Creature, she is all over Woman. Kindness is all her Art, and Beauty all
her Arms. Her Look, her Voice, her Gesture, and whole Behaviour is truly
Feminine. A Goodness mixed with Fear, gives a Tincture to all her
Behaviour. It would be Savage to offend her, and Cruelty to use Art to
gain her. Others are beautiful, but [_Eucratia_ ] thou art Beauty!
_Omnamante_ is made for Deceit, she has an Aspect as Innocent as the
famed _Lucrece_, but a Mind as Wild as the more famed _Cleopatra_. Her
Face speaks a Vestal, but her Heart a _Messalina_. Who that beheld
_Omnamante's_ negligent unobserving Air, would believe that she hid
under that regardless Manner the witty Prostitute, the rapacious Wench,
the prodigal Courtesan? She can, when she pleases, adorn those Eyes with
Tears like an Infant that is chid! She can cast down that pretty Face in
Confusion, while you rage with Jealousy, and storm at her
Perfidiousness; she can wipe her Eyes, tremble and look frighted, till
you think yourself a Brute for your Rage, own yourself an Offender, beg
Pardon, and make her new Presents.
But I go too far in reporting only the Dangers in beholding the
Beauteous, which I design for the Instruction of the Fair as well as
their Beholders; and shall end this Rhapsody with mentioning what I
thought was well enough said of an Antient Sage to a Beautiful Youth,
whom he saw admiring his own Figure in Brass. What, said the
Philosopher,  could that Image of yours say for it self if it could
speak? It might say, (answered the Youth) _That it is very Beautiful.
And are not you ashamed_, reply'd the Cynick, _to value your self upon
that only of which a Piece of Brass is capable?
[Footnote 1: Aristotle.]
[Footnote 2: Plato.]
[Footnote 3: Socrates.]
[Footnote 4: Theophrastus.]
[Footnote 5: Eudosia]
[Footnote 6: Antisthenes. Quoted from Diogenes Laertius, Lib. vi. cap.
* * * * *
No. 145. Thursday, August 16, 1711. Steele.
'Stultitiam patiuntur opes ...'
If the following Enormities are not amended upon the first Mention, I
desire further Notice from my Correspondents.
'I am obliged to you for your Discourse the other Day upon frivolous
Disputants, who with great Warmth, and Enumeration of many
Circumstances and Authorities, undertake to prove Matters which no
Body living denies. You cannot employ your self more usefully than in
adjusting the Laws of Disputation in Coffee-houses and accidental
Companies, as well as in more formal Debates. Among many other things
which your own Experience must suggest to you, it will be very
obliging if you please to take notice of Wagerers. I will not here
repeat what _Hudibras_ says of such Disputants, which is so true, that
it is almost Proverbial;  but shall only acquaint you with a Set of
young Fellows of the Inns of Court, whose Fathers have provided for
them so plentifully, that they need not be very anxious to get Law
into their Heads for the Service of their Country at the Bar; but are
of those who are sent (as the Phrase of Parents is) to the _Temple_ to
know how to keep their own. One of these Gentlemen is very loud and
captious at a Coffee-house which I frequent, and being in his Nature
troubled with an Humour of Contradiction, though withal excessive
Ignorant, he has found a way to indulge this Temper, go on in Idleness
and Ignorance, and yet still give himself the Air of a very learned
and knowing Man, by the Strength of his Pocket. The Misfortune of the
thing is, I have, as it happens sometimes, a greater Stock of Learning
than of Mony. The Gentleman I am speaking of, takes Advantage of the
Narrowness of my Circumstances in such a manner, that he has read all
that I can pretend to, and runs me down with such a positive Air, and
with such powerful Arguments, that from a very Learned Person I am
thought a mere Pretender. Not long ago I was relating that I had read
such a Passage in _Tacitus_, up starts my young Gentleman in a full
Company, and pulling out his Purse offered to lay me ten Guineas, to
be staked immediately in that Gentleman's Hands, (pointing to one
smoaking at another Table) that I was utterly mistaken. I was Dumb for
want of ten Guineas; he went on unmercifully to Triumph over my
Ignorance how to take him up, and told the whole Room he had read
_Tacitus_ twenty times over, and such a remarkable Instance as that
could not escape him. He has at this time three considerable Wagers
depending between him and some of his Companions, who are rich enough
to hold an Argument with him. He has five Guineas upon Questions in
Geography, two that the _Isle of Wight_ is a Peninsula, and three
Guineas to one that the World is round. We have a Gentleman comes to
our Coffee-house, who deals mightily in Antique Scandal; my Disputant
has laid him twenty Pieces upon a Point of History, to wit, that
_Caesar_ never lay with _Cato's_ Sister, as is scandalously reported by
There are several of this sort of Fellows in Town, who wager
themselves into Statesmen, Historians, Geographers, Mathematicians,
and every other Art, when the Persons with whom they talk have not
Wealth equal to their Learning. I beg of you to prevent, in these
Youngsters, this compendious Way to Wisdom, which costs other People
so much Time and Pains, and you will oblige
_Your humble Servant._
_Coffee-House near the_ Temple, Aug. 12, 1711.
'Here's a young Gentleman that sings Opera-Tunes or Whistles in a full
House. Pray let him know that he has no Right to act here as if he
were in an empty Room. Be pleased to divide the Spaces of a Publick
Room, and certify Whistlers, Singers, and Common Orators, that are
heard further than their Portion of the Room comes [to,] that the Law
is open, and that there is an Equity which will relieve us from such
as interrupt us in our Lawful Discourse, as much as against such as
stop us on the Road. I take these Persons, Mr. SPECTATOR, to be such
Trespassers as the Officer in your Stage-Coach, and of the same
Sentiment with Counsellor _Ephraim_. It is true the Young Man is rich,
and, as the Vulgar say, [needs ] not care for any Body; but sure
that is no Authority for him to go whistle where he pleases.
_I am, SIR_, _Your Most Humble Servant_,
_P.S._ I have Chambers in the _Temple_, and here are Students that
learn upon the Hautboy; pray desire the Benchers that all Lawyers who
are Proficients in Wind-Musick may lodge to the _Thames_.
We are a Company of young Women who pass our Time very much together,
and obliged by the mercenary Humour of the Men to be as Mercenarily
inclined as they are. There visits among us an old Batchelor whom each
of us has a Mind to. The Fellow is rich, and knows he may have any of
us, therefore is particular to none, but excessively ill-bred. His
Pleasantry consists in Romping, he snatches Kisses by Surprize, puts
his Hand in our Necks, tears our Fans, robs us of Ribbons, forces
Letters out of our Hands, looks into any of our Papers, and a thousand
other Rudenesses. Now what I'll desire of you is to acquaint him, by
Printing this, that if he does not marry one of us very suddenly, we
have all agreed, the next time he pretends to be merry, to affront
him, and use him like a Clown as he is. In the Name of the Sisterhood
I take my Leave of you, and am, as they all are,
_Your Constant Reader and Well-wisher_.
I and several others of your Female Readers, have conformed our selves
to your Rules, even to our very Dress. There is not one of us but has
reduced our outward Petticoat to its ancient Sizable Circumference,
tho' indeed we retain still a Quilted one underneath, which makes us
not altogether unconformable to the Fashion; but 'tis on Condition,
Mr. SPECTATOR extends not his Censure so far. But we find you Men
secretly approve our Practice, by imitating our Pyramidical Form. The
Skirt of your fashionable Coats forms as large a Circumference as our
Petticoats; as these are set out with Whalebone, so are those with
Wire, to encrease and sustain the Bunch of Fold that hangs down on
each Side; and the Hat, I perceive, is decreased in just proportion to
our Head-dresses. We make a regular Figure, but I defy your
Mathematicks to give Name to the Form you appear in. Your Architecture
is mere _Gothick_, and betrays a worse Genius than ours; therefore if
you are partial to your own Sex, I shall be less than I am now
_Your Humble Servant_.
_I have heard old cunning Stagers
Say Fools for Arguments lay Wagers._
Hudibras, Part II. c. i.]
[Footnote 2: need]
* * * * *
No. 146. Friday, August 17, 1711. Steele.
'Nemo Vir Magnus sine aliquo Afflatu divino unquam fuit.'
We know the highest Pleasure our Minds are capable of enjoying with
Composure, when we read Sublime Thoughts communicated to us by Men of
great Genius and Eloquence. Such is the Entertainment we meet with in
the Philosophick Parts of _Cicero_'s Writings. Truth and good Sense have
there so charming a Dress, that they could hardly be more agreeably
represented with the Addition of Poetical Fiction and the Power of
Numbers. This ancient Author, and a modern one, had fallen into my Hands
within these few Days; and the Impressions they have left upon me, have
at the present quite spoiled me for a merry Fellow. The Modern is that
admirable Writer the Author of _The Theory of the Earth_. The Subjects
with which I have lately been entertained in them both bear a near
Affinity; they are upon Enquiries into Hereafter, and the Thoughts of
the latter seem to me to be raised above those of the former in
proportion to his Advantages of Scripture and Revelation. If I had a
Mind to it, I could not at present talk of any thing else; therefore I
shall translate a Passage in the one, and transcribe a Paragraph out of
the other, for the Speculation of this Day. _Cicero_ tells us,  that
_Plato_ reports _Socrates_, upon receiving his Sentence, to have spoken
to his Judges in the following manner.
I have great Hopes, oh my Judges, that it is infinitely to my
Advantage that I am sent to Death: For it is of necessity that one of
these two things must be the Consequence. Death must take away all
these Senses, or convey me to another Life. If all Sense is to be
taken away, and Death is no more than that profound Sleep without
Dreams, in which we are sometimes buried, oh Heavens! how desirable is
it to die? how many Days do we know in Life preferable to such a
State? But if it be true that Death is but a Passage to Places which
they who lived before us do now inhabit, how much still happier is it
to go from those who call themselves Judges, to appear before those
that really are such; before _Minos, Rhadamanthus, AEacus_, and
_Triptolemus_, and to meet Men who have lived with Justice and Truth?
Is this, do you think, no happy Journey? Do you think it nothing to
speak with _Orpheus, Musceus, Homer_, and _Hesiod_? I would, indeed,
suffer many Deaths to enjoy these Things. With what particular Delight
should I talk to _Palamedes, Ajax_, and others, who like me have
suffered by the Iniquity of their Judges. I should examine the Wisdom
of that great Prince, who carried such mighty Forces against _Troy_;
and argue with _Ulysses_ and _Sisyphus_, upon difficult Points, as I
have in Conversation here, without being in Danger of being condemned.
But let not those among you who have pronounced me an innocent Man be
afraid of Death. No Harm can arrive at a good Man whether dead or
living; his Affairs are always under the direction of the Gods; nor
will I believe the Fate which is allotted to me myself this Day to
have arrived by Chance; nor have I ought to say either against my
Judges or Accusers, but that they thought they did me an Injury ...
But I detain you too long, it is Time that I retire to Death, and you
to your Affairs of Life; which of us has the Better is known to the
Gods, but to no Mortal Man.
The Divine _Socrates_ is here represented in a Figure worthy his great
Wisdom and Philosophy, worthy the greatest mere Man that ever breathed.