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The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

Part 24 out of 51

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actuated by it: whether it be that [a Man's Sense of his own [2]]
Incapacities makes [him [3]] despair of coming at Fame, or that [he has
[4]] not enough range of Thought to look out for any Good which does not
more immediately relate to [his [5]] Interest or Convenience, or that
Providence, in the very Frame of [his Soul [6]], would not subject [him
[7]] to such a Passion as would be useless to the World, and a Torment
to [himself. [8]]

Were not this Desire of Fame very strong, the Difficulty of obtaining
it, and the Danger of losing it when obtained, would be sufficient to
deter a Man from so vain a Pursuit.

How few are there who are furnished with Abilities sufficient to
recommend their Actions to the Admiration of the World, and to
distinguish themselves from the rest of Mankind? Providence for the most
part sets us upon a Level, and observes a kind of Proportion in its
Dispensation towards us. If it renders us perfect in one Accomplishment,
it generally leaves us defective in another, and seems careful rather of
preserving every Person from being mean and deficient in his
Qualifications, than of making any single one eminent or extraordinary.

And among those who are the most richly endowed by Nature, and
accomplished by their own Industry, how few are there whose Virtues are
not obscured by the Ignorance, Prejudice or Envy of their Beholders?
Some Men cannot discern between a noble and a mean Action. Others are
apt to attribute them to some false End or Intention; and others
purposely misrepresent or put a wrong Interpretation on them. But the
more to enforce this Consideration, we may observe that those are
generally most unsuccessful in their Pursuit after Fame, who are most
desirous of obtaining it. It is _Sallust's_ Remark upon _Cato_, that the
less he coveted Glory, the more he acquired it. [9]

Men take an ill-natur'd Pleasure in crossing our Inclinations, and
disappointing us in what our Hearts are most set upon. When therefore
they have discovered the passionate Desire of Fame in the Ambitious Man
(as no Temper of Mind is more apt to show it self) they become sparing
and reserved in their Commendations, they envy him the Satisfaction of
an Applause, and look on their Praises rather as a Kindness done to his
Person, than as a Tribute paid to his Merit. Others who are free from
this natural Perverseness of Temper grow wary in their Praises of one,
who sets too great a Value on them, lest they should raise him too high
in his own Imagination, and by Consequence remove him to a greater
Distance from themselves.

But further, this Desire of Fame naturally betrays the ambitious Man
into such Indecencies as are a lessening to his Reputation. He is still
afraid lest any of his Actions should be thrown away in private, lest
his Deserts should be concealed from the Notice of the World, or receive
any Disadvantage from the Reports which others make of them. This often
sets him on empty Boasts and Ostentations of himself, and betrays him
into vain fantastick Recitals of his own Performances: His Discourse
generally leans one Way, and, whatever is the Subject of it, tends
obliquely either to the detracting from others, or to the extolling of
himself. Vanity is the natural Weakness of an ambitious Man, which
exposes him to the secret Scorn and Derision of those he converses with,
and ruins the Character he is so industrious to advance by it. For tho
his Actions are never so glorious, they lose their Lustre when they are
drawn at large, and set to show by his own Hand; and as the World is
more apt to find fault than to commend, the Boast will probably be
censured when the great Action that occasioned it is forgotten.

Besides this very Desire of Fame is looked on as a Meanness [and [10]]
Imperfection in the greatest Character. A solid and substantial
Greatness of Soul looks down with a generous Neglect on the Censures and
Applauses of the Multitude, and places a Man beyond the little Noise and
Strife of Tongues. Accordingly we find in our selves a secret Awe and
Veneration for the Character of one who moves above us in a regular and
illustrious Course of Virtue, without any regard to our good or ill
Opinions of him, to our Reproaches or Commendations. As on the contrary
it is usual for us, when we would take off from the Fame and Reputation
of an Action, to ascribe it to Vain-Glory, and a Desire of Fame in the
Actor. Nor is this common Judgment and Opinion of Mankind ill-founded:
for certainly it denotes no great Bravery of Mind to be worked up to any
noble Action by so selfish a Motive, and to do that out of a Desire of
Fame, which we could not be prompted to by a disinterested Love to
Mankind, or by a generous Passion for the Glory of him that made us.

Thus is Fame a thing difficult to be obtained by all, but particularly
by those who thirst after it, since most Men have so much either of
Ill-nature, or of Wariness, as not to gratify [or [11]] sooth the Vanity
of the Ambitious Man, and since this very Thirst after Fame naturally
betrays him into such Indecencies as are a lessening to his Reputation,
and is it self looked upon as a Weakness in the greatest Characters.

In the next Place, Fame is easily lost, and as difficult to be preserved
as it was at first to be acquired. But this I shall make the Subject of
a following Paper


[Footnote 1: [all great]]

[Footnote 2: [the Sense of their own]]

[Footnote 3: [them]]

[Footnote 4: [they have]]

[Footnote 5: [their]]

[Footnote 6: [their Souls]]

[Footnote 7: [them]]

[Footnote 8: [themselves]]

[Footnote 9: Sallust. Bell. Catil. c. 49.]

[Footnote 10: [and an]]

[Footnote 11: [and]]

* * * * *

No. 256. Monday, December 24, 1711. Addison.

[Greek: Phaelae gar te kakae peletai kouphae men aeirai Reia mal,
argalen de pherein.]


There are many Passions and Tempers of Mind which naturally dispose us
to depress and vilify the Merit of one rising in the Esteem of Mankind.
All those who made their Entrance into the World with the same
Advantages, and were once looked on as his Equals, are apt to think the
Fame of his Merits a Reflection on their own Indeserts; and will
therefore take care to reproach him with the Scandal of some past
Action, or derogate from the Worth of the present, that they may still
keep him on the same Level with themselves. The like Kind of
Consideration often stirs up the Envy of such as were once his
Superiors, who think it a Detraction from their Merit to see another get
ground upon them and overtake them in the Pursuits of Glory; and will
therefore endeavour to sink his Reputation, that they may the better
preserve their own. Those who were once his Equals envy and defame him,
because they now see him their Superior; and those who were once his
Superiors, because they look upon him as their Equal.

But further, a Man whose extraordinary Reputation thus lifts him up to
the Notice and Observation of Mankind draws a Multitude of Eyes upon him
that will narrowly inspect every Part of him, consider him nicely in all
Views, and not be a little pleased when they have taken him in the worst
and most disadvantageous Light. There are many who find a Pleasure in
contradicting the common Reports of Fame, and in spreading abroad the
Weaknesses of an exalted Character. They publish their ill-natur'd
Discoveries with a secret Pride, and applaud themselves for the
Singularity of their Judgment which has searched deeper than others,
detected what the rest of the World have overlooked, and found a Flaw in
what the Generality of Mankind admires. Others there are who proclaim
the Errors and Infirmities of a great Man with an inward Satisfaction
and Complacency, if they discover none of the like Errors and
Infirmities in themselves; for while they are exposing anothers
Weaknesses, they are tacitly aiming at their own Commendations, who are
not subject to the like Infirmities, and are apt to be transported with
a secret kind of Vanity to see themselves superior in some respects to
one of a sublime and celebrated Reputation. Nay, it very often happens,
that none are more industrious in publishing the Blemishes of an
extraordinary Reputation, than such as lie open to the same Censures in
their own Characters, as either hoping to excuse their own Defects by
the Authority of so high an Example, or raising an imaginary Applause to
themselves for resembling a Person of an exalted Reputation, though in
the blameable Parts of his Character. If all these secret Springs of
Detraction fail, yet very often a vain Ostentation of Wit sets a Man on
attacking an established Name, and sacrificing it to the Mirth and
Laughter of those about him. A Satyr or a Libel on one of the common
Stamp, never meets with that Reception and Approbation among its
Readers, as what is aimed at a Person whose Merit places him upon an
Eminence, and gives him a more conspicuous Figure among Men. Whether it
be that we think it shews greater Art to expose and turn to ridicule a
Man whose Character seems so improper a Subject for it, or that we are
pleased by some implicit kind of Revenge to see him taken down and
humbled in his Reputation, and in some measure reduced to our own Rank,
who had so far raised himself above us in the Reports and Opinions of

Thus we see how many dark and intricate Motives there are to Detraction
and Defamation, and how many malicious Spies are searching into the
Actions of a great Man, who is not always the best prepared for so
narrow an Inspection. For we may generally observe, that our Admiration
of a famous Man lessens upon our nearer Acquaintance with him; and that
we seldom hear the Description of a celebrated Person, without a
Catalogue of some notorious Weaknesses and Infirmities. The Reason may
be, because any little Slip is more conspicuous and observable in his
Conduct than in anothers, as it is not of a piece with the rest of his
Character, or because it is impossible for a Man at the same time to be
attentive to the more important [Part [1]] of his Life, and to keep a
watchful Eye over all the inconsiderable Circumstances of his Behaviour
and Conversation; or because, as we have before observed, the same
Temper of Mind which inclines us to a Desire of Fame, naturally betrays
us into such Slips and Unwarinesses as are not incident to Men of a
contrary Disposition.

After all it must be confess'd, that a noble and triumphant Merit often
breaks through and dissipates these little Spots and Sullies in its
Reputation; but if by a mistaken Pursuit after Fame, or through human
Infirmity, any false Step be made in the more momentous Concerns of
Life, the whole Scheme of ambitious Designs is broken and disappointed.
The smaller Stains and Blemishes may die away and disappear amidst the
Brightness that surrounds them; but a Blot of a deeper Nature casts a
Shade on all the other Beauties, and darkens the whole Character. How
difficult therefore is it to preserve a great Name, when he that has
acquired it is so obnoxious to such little Weaknesses and Infirmities as
are no small Diminution to it when discovered, especially when they are
so industriously proclaimed, and aggravated by such as were once his
Superiors or Equals; by such as would set to show their Judgment or
their Wit, and by such as are guilty or innocent of the same Slips or
Misconducts in their own Behaviour?

But were there none of these Dispositions in others to censure a famous
Man, nor any such Miscarriages in himself, yet would he meet with no
small Trouble in keeping up his Reputation in all its Height and
Splendour. There must be always a noble Train of Actions to preserve his
Fame in Life and Motion. For when it is once at a Stand, it naturally
flags and languishes. Admiration is a very short-liv'd Passion, that
immediately decays upon growing familiar with its Object, unless it be
still fed with fresh Discoveries, and kept alive by a new perpetual
Succession of Miracles rising up to its View. And even the greatest
Actions of a celebrated [Person [2]] labour under this Disadvantage,
that however surprising and extraordinary they may be, they are no more
than what are expected from him; but on the contrary, if they fall any
thing below the Opinion that is conceived of him, tho they might raise
the Reputation of another, they are a Diminution to _his_.

One would think there should be something wonderfully pleasing in the
Possession of Fame, that, notwithstanding all these mortifying
Considerations, can engage a Man in so desperate a Pursuit; and yet if
we consider the little Happiness that attends a great Character, and the
Multitude of Disquietudes to which the Desire of it subjects an
ambitious Mind, one would be still the more surprised to see so many
restless Candidates for Glory.

Ambition raises a secret Tumult in the Soul, it inflames the Mind, and
puts it into a violent Hurry of Thought: It is still reaching after an
empty imaginary Good, that has not in it the Power to abate or satisfy
it. Most other Things we long for can allay the Cravings of their proper
Sense, and for a while set the Appetite at Rest: But Fame is a Good so
wholly foreign to our Natures, that we have no Faculty in the Soul
adapted to it, nor any Organ in the Body to relish it; an Object of
Desire placed out of the Possibility of Fruition. It may indeed fill the
Mind for a while with a giddy kind of Pleasure, but it is such a
Pleasure as makes a Man restless and uneasy under it; and which does not
so much satisfy the present Thirst, as it excites fresh Desires, and
sets the Soul on new Enterprises. For how few ambitious Men are there,
who have got as much Fame as they desired, and whose Thirst after it has
not been as eager in the very Height of their Reputation, as it was
before they became known and eminent among Men? There is not any
Circumstance in _Caesars_ Character which gives me a greater Idea of
him, than a Saying which _Cicero_ tells us [3] he frequently made use
of in private Conversation, _That he was satisfied with his Share of
Life and Fame, Se satis vel ad Naturam, vel ad Gloriam vixisse_. Many
indeed have given over their Pursuits after Fame, but that has proceeded
either from the Disappointments they have met in it, or from their
Experience of the little Pleasure which attends it, or from the better
Informations or natural Coldness of old Age; but seldom from a full
Satisfaction and Acquiescence in their present Enjoyments of it.

Nor is Fame only unsatisfying in it self, but the Desire of it lays us
open to many accidental Troubles which those are free from who have no
such a tender Regard for it. How often is the ambitious Man cast down
and disappointed, if he receives no Praise where he expected it? Nay how
often is he mortified with the very Praises he receives, if they do not
rise so high as he thinks they ought, which they seldom do unless
increased by Flattery, since few Men have so good an Opinion of us as we
have of our selves? But if the ambitious Man can be so much grieved even
with Praise it self, how will he be able to bear up under Scandal and
Defamation? For the same Temper of Mind which makes him desire Fame,
makes him hate Reproach. If he can be transported with the extraordinary
Praises of Men, he will be as much dejected by their Censures. How
little therefore is the Happiness of an ambitious Man, who gives every
one a Dominion over it, who thus subjects himself to the good or ill
Speeches of others, and puts it in the Power of every malicious Tongue
to throw him into a Fit of Melancholy, and destroy his natural Rest and
Repose of Mind? Especially when we consider that the World is more apt
to censure than applaud, and himself fuller of Imperfections than

We may further observe, that such a Man will be more grieved for the
Loss of Fame, than he could have been pleased with the Enjoyment of it.
For tho the Presence of this imaginary Good cannot make us happy, the
Absence of it may make us miserable: Because in the Enjoyment of an
Object we only find that Share of Pleasure which it is capable of giving
us, but in the Loss of it we do not proportion our Grief to the real
Value it bears, but to the Value our Fancies and Imaginations set upon

So inconsiderable is the Satisfaction that Fame brings along with it,
and so great the Disquietudes, to which it makes us liable. The Desire
of it stirs up very uneasy Motions in the Mind, and is rather inflamed
than satisfied by the Presence of the Thing desired. The Enjoyment of it
brings but very little Pleasure, tho the Loss or Want of it be very
sensible and afflicting; and even this little Happiness is so very
precarious, that it wholly depends on the Will of others. We are not
only tortured by the Reproaches which are offered us, but are
disappointed by the Silence of Men when it is unexpected; and humbled
even by their Praises. [4]


[Footnote 1: Parts]

[Footnote 2: [Name]]

[Footnote 3: Oratio pro M. Marcello.]

[Footnote 4: _I shall conclude this Subject in my next Paper_.]

* * * * *

No. 257. Tuesday, December 25, [1] 1711. Addison.

[Greek: Ouch ehudei Dios
Ophthalmos eggus d esti kai paron pono.--Incert. ex Stob.]

That I might not lose myself upon a Subject of so great Extent as that
of Fame, I have treated it in a particular Order and Method. I have
first of all considered the Reasons why Providence may have implanted in
our Mind such a Principle of Action. I have in the next Place shewn from
many Considerations, first, that Fame is a thing difficult to be
obtained, and easily lost; Secondly, that it brings the ambitious Man
very little Happiness, but subjects him to much Uneasiness and
Dissatisfaction. I shall in the last Place shew, that it hinders us from
obtaining an End which we have Abilities to acquire, and which is
accompanied with Fulness of Satisfaction. I need not tell my Reader,
that I mean by this End that Happiness which is reserved for us in
another World, which every one has Abilities to procure, and which will
bring along with it Fulness of Joy and Pleasures for evermore.

How the Pursuit after Fame may hinder us in the Attainment of this great
End, I shall leave the Reader to collect from the three following

_First_, Because the strong Desire of Fame breeds several vicious Habits
in the Mind.

_Secondly_, Because many of those Actions, which are apt to procure
Fame, are not in their Nature conducive to this our ultimate Happiness.

_Thirdly_, Because if we should allow the same Actions to be the proper
Instruments, both of acquiring Fame, and of procuring this Happiness,
they would nevertheless fail in the Attainment of this last End, if they
proceeded from a Desire of the first.

These three Propositions are self-evident to those who are versed in
Speculations of Morality. For which Reason I shall not enlarge upon
them, but proceed to a Point of the same Nature, which may open to us a
more uncommon Field of Speculation.

From what has been already observed, I think we may make a natural
Conclusion, that it is the greatest Folly to seek the Praise or
Approbation of any Being, besides the Supreme, and that for these two
Reasons, Because no other Being can make a right Judgment of us, and
esteem us according to our Merits; and because we can procure no
considerable Benefit or Advantage from the Esteem and Approbation of any
other Being.

In the first Place, No other Being can make a right Judgment of us, and
esteem us according to our Merits. Created Beings see nothing but our
Outside, and can [therefore] only frame a Judgment of us from our
exterior Actions and Behaviour; but how unfit these are to give us a
right Notion of each others Perfections, may appear from several
Considerations. There are many Virtues, which in their own Nature are
incapable of any outward Representation: Many silent Perfections in the
Soul of a good Man, which are great Ornaments to human Nature, but not
able to discover themselves to the Knowledge of others; they are
transacted in private, without Noise or Show, and are only visible to
the great Searcher of Hearts. What Actions can express the entire Purity
of Thought which refines and sanctifies a virtuous Man? That secret Rest
and Contentedness of Mind, which gives him a Perfect Enjoyment of his
present Condition? That inward Pleasure and Complacency, which he feels
in doing Good? That Delight and Satisfaction which he takes in the
Prosperity and Happiness of another? These and the like Virtues are the
hidden Beauties of a Soul, the secret Graces which cannot be discovered
by a mortal Eye, but make the Soul lovely and precious in His Sight,
from whom no Secrets are concealed. Again, there are many Virtues which
want an Opportunity of exerting and shewing themselves in Actions. Every
Virtue requires Time and Place, a proper Object and a fit Conjuncture of
Circumstances, for the due Exercise of it. A State of Poverty obscures
all the Virtues of Liberality and Munificence. The Patience and
Fortitude of a Martyr or Confessor lie concealed in the flourishing
Times of Christianity. Some Virtues are only seen in Affliction, and
some in Prosperity; some in a private, and others in a publick Capacity.
But the great Sovereign of the World beholds every Perfection in its
Obscurity, and not only sees what we do, but what we would do. He views
our Behaviour in every Concurrence of Affairs, and sees us engaged in
all the Possibilities of Action. He discovers the Martyr and Confessor
without the Tryal of Flames and Tortures, and will hereafter entitle
many to the Reward of Actions, which they had never the Opportunity of
Performing. Another Reason why Men cannot form a right Judgment of us
is, because the same Actions may be aimed at different Ends, and arise
from quite contrary Principles. Actions are of so mixt a Nature, and so
full of Circumstances, that as Men pry into them more or less, or
observe some Parts more than others, they take different Hints, and put
contrary Interpretations on them; so that the same Actions may represent
a Man as hypocritical and designing to one, which make him appear a
Saint or Hero to another. He therefore who looks upon the Soul through
its outward Actions, often sees it through a deceitful Medium, which is
apt to discolour and pervert the Object: So that on this Account also,
_he_ is the only proper Judge of our Perfections, who does not guess at
the Sincerity of our Intentions from the Goodness of our Actions, but
weighs the Goodness of our Actions by the Sincerity of our Intentions.

But further; it is impossible for outward Actions to represent the
Perfections of the Soul, because they can never shew the Strength of
those Principles from whence they proceed. They are not adequate
Expressions of our Virtues, and can only shew us what Habits are in the
Soul, without discovering the Degree and Perfection of such Habits. They
are at best but weak Resemblances of our Intentions, faint and imperfect
Copies that may acquaint us with the general Design, but can never
express the Beauty and Life of the Original. But the great Judge of all
the Earth knows every different State and Degree of human Improvement,
from those weak Stirrings and Tendencies of the Will which have not yet
formed themselves into regular Purposes and Designs, to the last entire
Finishing and Consummation of a good Habit. He beholds the first
imperfect Rudiments of a Virtue in the Soul, and keeps a watchful Eye
over it in all its Progress, till it has received every Grace it is
capable of, and appears in its full Beauty and Perfection. Thus we see
that none but the Supreme Being can esteem us according to our proper
Merits, since all others must judge of us from our outward Actions,
which can never give them a just Estimate of us, since there are many
Perfections of a Man which are not capable of appearing in Actions; many
which, allowing no natural Incapacity of shewing themselves, want an
Opportunity of doing it; or should they all meet with an Opportunity of
appearing by Actions, yet those Actions maybe misinterpreted, and
applied to wrong Principles; or though they plainly discovered the
Principles from whence they proceeded, they could never shew the Degree,
Strength and Perfection of those Principles.

And as the Supreme Being is the only proper Judge of our Perfections, so
is He the only fit Rewarder of them. This is a Consideration that comes
home to our Interest, as the other adapts it self to our Ambition. And
what could the most aspiring, or the most selfish Man desire more, were
he to form the Notion of a Being to whom he would recommend himself,
than such a Knowledge as can discover the least Appearance of Perfection
in him, and such a Goodness as will proportion a Reward to it.

Let the ambitious Man therefore turn all his Desire of Fame this Way;
and, that he may propose to himself a Fame worthy of his Ambition, let
him consider that if he employs his Abilities to the best Advantage, the
Time will come when the supreme Governor of the World, the great Judge
of Mankind, who sees every Degree of Perfection in others, and possesses
all possible Perfection in himself, shall proclaim his Worth before Men
and Angels, and pronounce to him in the Presence of the whole Creation
that best and most significant of Applauses, _Well done, thou good and
faithful Servant, enter thou into thy Masters Joy_.


[Footnote 1: This being Christmas Day, Addison has continued to it a
religious strain of thought.]

* * * * *

No. 258. Wednesday, December 26, 1711. Steele.

Divide et Impera.

Pleasure and Recreation of one Kind or other are absolutely necessary to
relieve our Minds and Bodies from too constant Attention and Labour:
Where therefore publick Diversions are tolerated, it behoves Persons of
Distinction, with their Power and Example, to preside over them in such
a Manner as to check any thing that tends to the Corruption of Manners,
or which is too mean or trivial for the Entertainment of reasonable
Creatures. As to the Diversions of this Kind in this Town, we owe them
to the Arts of Poetry and Musick: My own private Opinion, with Relation
to such Recreations, I have heretofore given with all the Frankness
imaginable; what concerns those Arts at present the Reader shall have
from my Correspondents. The first of the Letters with which I acquit
myself for this Day, is written by one who proposes to improve our
Entertainments of Dramatick Poetry, and the other comes from three
Persons, who, as soon as named, will be thought capable of advancing the
present State of Musick.


I am considerably obliged to you for your speedy Publication of my
last in yours of the 18th Instant, and am in no small Hopes of being
settled in the Post of _Comptroller of the Cries_. Of all the
Objections I have hearkened after in publick Coffee-houses there is
but one that seems to carry any Weight with it, _viz_. That such a
Post would come too near the Nature of a Monopoly. Now, Sir, because I
would have all Sorts of People made easy, and being willing to have
more Strings than one to my Bow; in case that of _Comptroller_ should
fail me, I have since formed another Project, which, being grounded on
the dividing a present Monopoly, I hope will give the Publick an
Equivalent to their full Content. You know, Sir, it is allowed that
the Business of the Stage is, as the _Latin_ has it, _Jucunda et
Idonea dicere Vitae_. Now there being but one Dramatick Theatre
licensed for the Delight and Profit of this extensive Metropolis, I do
humbly propose, for the Convenience of such of its Inhabitants as are
too distant from _Covent-Garden_, that another _Theatre of Ease_ may
be erected in some spacious Part of the City; and that the Direction
thereof may be made a Franchise in Fee to me, and my Heirs for ever.
And that the Town may have no Jealousy of my ever coming to an Union
with the Set of Actors now in being, I do further propose to
constitute for my Deputy my near Kinsman and Adventurer, _Kit
Crotchet_, [1] whose long Experience and Improvements in those Affairs
need no Recommendation. Twas obvious to every Spectator what a quite
different Foot the Stage was upon during his Government; and had he
not been bolted out of his Trap-Doors, his Garrison might have held
out for ever, he having by long Pains and Perseverance arriv'd at the
Art of making his Army fight without Pay or Provisions. I must confess
it, with a melancholy Amazement, I see so wonderful a Genius laid
aside, and the late Slaves of the Stage now become its Masters, Dunces
that will be sure to suppress all Theatrical Entertainments and
Activities that they are not able themselves to shine in!

Every Man that goes to a Play is not obliged to have either Wit or
Understanding; and I insist upon it, that all who go there should see
something which may improve them in a Way of which they are capable.
In short, Sir, I would have something _done_ as well as _said_ on the
Stage. A Man may have an active Body, though he has not a quick
Conception; for the Imitation therefore of such as are, as I may so
speak, corporeal Wits or nimble Fellows, I would fain ask any of the
present Mismanagers, Why should not Rope-dancers, Vaulters, Tumblers,
Ladder-walkers, and Posture-makers appear again on our Stage? After
such a Representation, a Five-bar Gate would be leaped with a better
Grace next Time any of the Audience went a Hunting. Sir, these Things
cry loud for Reformation and fall properly under the Province of
SPECTATOR General; but how indeed should it be otherwise, while
Fellows (that for Twenty Years together were never paid but as their
Master was in the Humour) now presume to pay others more than ever
they had in their Lives; and in Contempt of the Practice of Persons of
Condition, have the Insolence to owe no Tradesman a Farthing at the
End of the Week. Sir, all I propose is the publick Good; for no one
can imagine I shall ever get a private Shilling by it: Therefore I
hope you will recommend this Matter in one of your this Weeks Papers,
and desire when my House opens you will accept the Liberty of it for
the Trouble you have receiv'd from,
_Your Humble Servant_,
Ralph Crotchet.

P.S. I have Assurances that the Trunk-maker will declare for us.


We whose Names are subscribed, [2] think you the properest Person to
signify what we have to offer the Town in Behalf of our selves, and
the Art which we profess, _Musick_. We conceive Hopes of your Favour
from the Speculations on the Mistakes which the Town run into with
Regard to their Pleasure of this Kind; and believing your Method of
judging is, that you consider Musick only valuable, as it is agreeable
to, and heightens the Purpose of Poetry, we consent that That is not
only the true Way of relishing that Pleasure, but also, that without
it a Composure of Musick is the same thing as a Poem, where all the
Rules of Poetical Numbers are observed, tho the Words have no Sense
or Meaning; to say it shorter, meer musical Sounds are in our Art no
other than nonsense Verses are in Poetry. Musick therefore is to
aggravate what is intended by Poetry; it must always have some Passion
or Sentiment to express, or else Violins, Voices, or any other Organs
of Sound, afford an Entertainment very little above the Rattles of
Children. It was from this Opinion of the Matter, that when Mr.
_Clayton_ had finished his Studies in _Italy_, and brought over the
Opera of _Arsinoe_, that Mr. _Haym_ and Mr. _Dieupart_, who had the
Honour to be well known and received among the Nobility and Gentry,
were zealously inclined to assist, by their Solicitations, in
introducing so elegant an Entertainment as the _Italian_ Musick
grafted upon _English_ Poetry. For this End Mr. _Dieupart_ and Mr.
_Haym_, according to their several Opportunities, promoted the
Introduction of _Arsinoe_, and did it to the best Advantage so great a
Novelty would allow. It is not proper to trouble you with Particulars
of the just Complaints we all of us have to make; but so it is, that
without Regard to our obliging Pains, we are all equally set aside in
the present Opera. Our Application therefore to you is only to insert
this Letter, in your Papers, that the Town may know we have all Three
joined together to make Entertainments of Musick for the future at Mr.
_Claytons_ House in _York-buildings_. What we promise ourselves, is,
to make a Subscription of two Guineas, for eight Times; and that the
Entertainment, with the Names of the Authors of the Poetry, may be
printed, to be sold in the House, with an Account of the several
Authors of the Vocal as well as the Instrumental Musick for each
Night; the Money to be paid at the Receipt of the Tickets, at Mr.
_Charles Lillie's_. It will, we hope, Sir, be easily allowed, that we
are capable of undertaking to exhibit by our joint Force and different
Qualifications all that can be done in Musick; but lest you should
think so dry a thing as an Account of our Proposal should be a Matter
unworthy your Paper, which generally contains something of publick
Use; give us leave to say, that favouring our Design is no less than
reviving an Art, which runs to ruin by the utmost Barbarism under an
Affectation of Knowledge. We aim at establishing some settled Notion
of what is Musick, as recovering from Neglect and Want very many
Families who depend upon it, at making all Foreigners who pretend to
succeed in _England_ to learn the Language of it as we our selves have
done, and not be so insolent as to expect a whole Nation, a refined
and learned Nation, should submit to learn them. In a word, Mr.
SPECTATOR, with all Deference and Humility, we hope to behave
ourselves in this Undertaking in such a Manner, that all _English_ Men
who have any Skill in Musick may be furthered in it for their Profit
or Diversion by what new Things we shall produce; never pretending to
surpass others, or asserting that any Thing which is a Science is not
attainable by all Men of all Nations who have proper Genius for it: We
say, Sir, what we hope for is not expected will arrive to us by
contemning others, but through the utmost Diligence recommending
_We are, SIR,
Your most humble Servants_,
Thomas Clayton,
Nicolino Haym,
Charles Dieupart.

[Footnote 1: Christopher Rich, of whom Steele wrote in No. 12 of the
_Tatler_ as Divito, who

has a perfect art in being unintelligible in discourse and
uncomeatable in business. But he, having no understanding in his
polite way, brought in upon us, to get in his money, ladder-dancers,
rope-dancers, jugglers, and mountebanks, to strut in the place of
Shakespeare's heroes and Jonson's humorists.]

[Footnote 2: Thomas Clayton (see note on p. 72) had set Dryden's
_Alexanders Feast_ to music at the request of Steele and John Hughes;
but its performance at his house in York Buildings was a failure.
Clayton had adapted English words to Italian airs in the drama written
for him by Motteux, of _Arsinoe, Queen of Cyprus_, and called it his own
opera. Steele and Addison were taken by his desire to nationalize the
opera, and put native music to words that were English and had
literature in them. After _Camilla_ at Drury Lane, produced under the
superintendence of Nicolino Haym, Addison's _Rosamond_ was produced,
with music by Clayton and Mrs. Tofts in the part of Queen Eleanor. The
music killed the piece on the third night of performance. The coming of
Handel and his opera of _Rinaldo_ set Mr. Clayton aside, but the
friendship of Steele and Addison abided with him, and Steele seems to
have had a share in his enterprises at York Buildings. Of his colleagues
who join in the signing of this letter, Nicola Francesco Haym was by
birth a Roman, and resident in London as a professor of music. He
published two good operas of sonatas for two violins and a bass, and
joined Clayton and Dieupart in the service of the opera, until Handel's
success superseded them. Haym was also a man of letters, who published
two quartos upon Medals, a notice of rare Italian Books, an edition of
Tasso's Gerusalemme, and two tragedies of his own. He wrote a _History
of Music_ in Italian, and issued proposals for its publication in
English, but had no success. Finally he turned picture collector, and
was employed in that quality by Dr. Mead and Sir Robert Walpole.

Charles Dieupart, a Frenchman, was a fine performer on the violin and
harpsichord. At the representation of _Arsinoe_ and the other earliest
operas, he played the harpsichord and Haym the violoncello. Dieupart,
after the small success of the design set forth in this letter, taught
the harpsichord in families of distinction, but wanted self-respect
enough to save him from declining into a player at obscure ale-houses,
where he executed for the pleasure of dull ears solos of Corelli with
the nicety of taste that never left him. He died old and poor in 1740.]

* * * * *

No. 259. Thursday, December 27, 1711. Steele.

Quod decet honestum est, et quod honestum est decet.


There are some Things which cannot come under certain Rules, but which
one would think could not need them. Of this kind are outward Civilities
and Salutations. These one would imagine might be regulated by every
Man's Common Sense without the Help of an Instructor; but that which we
call Common Sense suffers under that Word; for it sometimes implies no
more than that Faculty which is common to all Men, but sometimes
signifies right Reason, and what all Men should consent to. In this
latter Acceptation of the Phrase, it is no great Wonder People err so
much against it, since it is not every one who is possessed of it, and
there are fewer, who against common Rules and Fashions, dare obey its
Dictates. As to Salutations, which I was about to talk of, I observe as
I strole about Town, there are great Enormities committed with regard to
this Particular. You shall sometimes see a Man begin the Offer of a
Salutation, and observe a forbidding Air, or escaping Eye, in the Person
he is going to salute, and stop short in the Pole of his Neck. This in
the Person who believed he could do it with a good Grace, and was
refused the Opportunity, is justly resented with a Coldness the whole
ensuing Season. Your great Beauties, People in much Favour, or by any
Means or for any Purpose overflattered, are apt to practise this which
one may call the preventing Aspect, and throw their Attention another
Way, lest they should confer a Bow or a Curtsie upon a Person who might
not appear to deserve that Dignity. Others you shall find so obsequious,
and so very courteous, as there is no escaping their Favours of this
Kind. Of this Sort may be a Man who is in the fifth or sixth Degree of
Favour with a Minister; this good Creature is resolved to shew the
World, that great Honours cannot at all change his Manners; he is the
same civil Person he ever was; he will venture his Neck to bow out of a
Coach in full Speed, at once, to shew he is full of Business, and yet is
not so taken up as to forget his old Friend. With a Man, who is not so
well formed for Courtship and elegant Behaviour, such a Gentleman as
this seldom finds his Account in the Return of his Compliments, but he
will still go on, for he is in his own Way, and must not omit; let the
Neglect fall on your Side, or where it will, his Business is still to be
well-bred to the End. I think I have read, in one of our _English_
Comedies, a Description of a Fellow that affected knowing every Body,
and for Want of Judgment in Time and Place, would bow and smile in the
Face of a Judge sitting in the Court, would sit in an opposite Gallery
and smile in the Ministers Face as he came up into the Pulpit, and nod
as if he alluded to some Familiarities between them in another Place.
But now I happen to speak of Salutation at Church, I must take notice
that several of my Correspondents have importuned me to consider that
Subject, and settle the Point of Decorum in that Particular.

I do not pretend to be the best Courtier in the World, but I have often
on publick Occasions thought it a very great Absurdity in the Company
(during the Royal Presence) to exchange Salutations from all Parts of
the Room, when certainly Common Sense should suggest, that all Regards
at that Time should be engaged, and cannot be diverted to any other
Object, without Disrespect to the Sovereign. But as to the Complaint of
my Correspondents, it is not to be imagined what Offence some of them
take at the Custom of Saluting in Places of Worship. I have a very angry
Letter from a Lady, who tells me [of] one of her Acquaintance, [who,]
out of meer Pride and a Pretence to be rude, takes upon her to return no
Civilities done to her in Time of Divine Service, and is the most
religious Woman for no other Reason but to appear a Woman of the best
Quality in the Church. This absurd Custom had better be abolished than
retained, if it were but to prevent Evils of no higher a Nature than
this is; but I am informed of Objections much more considerable: A
Dissenter of Rank and Distinction was lately prevailed upon by a Friend
of his to come to one of the greatest Congregations of the Church of
_England_ about Town: After the Service was over, he declared he was
very well satisfied with the little Ceremony which was used towards God
Almighty; but at the same time he feared he should not be able to go
through those required towards one another: As to this Point he was in a
State of Despair, and feared he was not well-bred enough to be a
Convert. There have been many Scandals of this Kind given to our
Protestant Dissenters from the outward Pomp and Respect we take to our
selves in our Religious Assemblies. A Quaker who came one Day into a
Church, fixed his Eyes upon an old Lady with a Carpet larger than that
from the Pulpit before her, expecting when she would hold forth. An
Anabaptist who designs to come over himself, and all his Family, within
few Months, is sensible they want Breeding enough for our Congregations,
and has sent his two [eldest [1]] Daughters to learn to dance, that they
may not misbehave themselves at Church: It is worth considering whether,
in regard to awkward People with scrupulous Consciences, a good
Christian of the best Air in the World ought not rather to deny herself
the Opportunity of shewing so many Graces, than keep a bashful Proselyte
without the Pale of the Church.

[Footnote 1: [elder]]

* * * * *

No. 260. Friday, December 28, 1711. Steele.

Singula de nobis anni praedantur euntes.



I am now in the Sixty fifth Year of my Age, and having been the
greater Part of my Days a Man of Pleasure, the Decay of my Faculties
is a Stagnation of my Life. But how is it, Sir, that my Appetites are
increased upon me with the Loss of Power to gratify them? I write
this, like a Criminal, to warn People to enter upon what Reformation
they may please to make in themselves in their Youth, and not expect
they shall be capable of it from a fond Opinion some have often in
their Mouths, that if we do not leave our Desires they will leave us.
It is far otherwise; I am now as vain in my Dress, and as flippant if
I see a pretty Woman, as when in my Youth I stood upon a Bench in the
Pit to survey the whole Circle of Beauties. The Folly is so
extravagant with me, and I went on with so little Check of my Desires,
or Resignation of them, that I can assure you, I very often meerly to
entertain my own Thoughts, sit with my Spectacles on, writing
Love-Letters to the Beauties that have been long since in their
Graves. This is to warm my Heart with the faint Memory of Delights
which were once agreeable to me; but how much happier would my Life
have been now, if I could have looked back on any worthy Action done
for my Country? If I had laid out that which I profused in Luxury and
Wantonness, in Acts of Generosity or Charity? I have lived a Batchelor
to this Day; and instead of a numerous Offspring, with which, in the
regular Ways of Life, I might possibly have delighted my self, I have
only to amuse my self with the Repetition of Old Stories and Intrigues
which no one will believe I ever was concerned in. I do not know
whether you have ever treated of it or not; but you cannot fall on a
better Subject, than that of the Art of growing old. In such a Lecture
you must propose, that no one set his Heart upon what is transient;
the Beauty grows wrinkled while we are yet gazing at her. The witty
Man sinks into a Humourist imperceptibly, for want of reflecting that
all Things around him are in a Flux, and continually changing: Thus he
is in the Space of ten or fifteen Years surrounded by a new Set of
People whose Manners are as natural to them as his Delights, Method of
Thinking, and Mode of Living, were formerly to him and his Friends.
But the Mischief is, he looks upon the same kind of Errors which he
himself was guilty of with an Eye of Scorn, and with that sort of
Ill-will which Men entertain against each other for different
Opinions: Thus a crasie Constitution, and an uneasie Mind is fretted
with vexatious Passions for young Mens doing foolishly what it is
Folly to do at all. Dear Sir, this is my present State of Mind; I hate
those I should laugh at, and envy those I contemn. The Time of Youth
and vigorous Manhood passed the Way in which I have disposed of it, is
attended with these Consequences; but to those who live and pass away
Life as they ought, all Parts of it are equally pleasant; only the
Memory of good and worthy Actions is a Feast which must give a quicker
Relish to the Soul than ever it could possibly taste in the highest
Enjoyments or Jollities of Youth. As for me, if I sit down in my great
Chair and begin to ponder, the Vagaries of a Child are not more
ridiculous than the Circumstances which are heaped up in my Memory.
Fine Gowns, Country Dances, Ends of Tunes, interrupted Conversations,
and midnight Quarrels, are what must necessarily compose my Soliloquy.
I beg of you to print this, that some Ladies of my Acquaintance, and
my Years, may be perswaded to wear warm Night-caps this cold Season:
and that my old Friend _Jack Tawdery_ may buy him a Cane, and not
creep with the Air of a Strut. I must add to all this, that if it were
not for one Pleasure, which I thought a very mean one till of very
late Years, I should have no one great Satisfaction left; but if I
live to the 10th of _March_, 1714, and all my Securities are good, I
shall be worth Fifty thousand Pound.

_I am, SIR, Your most humble Servant,_ Jack Afterday.


You will infinitely oblige a distressed Lover, if you will insert in
your very next Paper, the following Letter to my Mistress. You must
know, I am not a Person apt to despair, but she has got an odd Humour
of stopping short unaccountably, and, as she her self told a Confident
of hers, she has cold Fits. These Fits shall last her a Month or six
Weeks together; and as she falls into them without Provocation, so it
is to be hoped she will return from them without the Merit of new
Services. But Life and Love will not admit of such Intervals,
therefore pray let her be admonished as follows.


I Love you, and I honour you: therefore pray do not tell me of
waiting till Decencies, till Forms, till Humours are consulted and
gratified. If you have that happy Constitution as to be indolent for
ten Weeks together, you should consider that all that while I burn
in Impatiences and Fevers; but still you say it will be Time enough,
tho I and you too grow older while we are yet talking. Which do you
think the more reasonable, that you should alter a State of
Indifference for Happiness, and that to oblige me, or I live in
Torment, and that to lay no Manner of Obligation upon you? While I
indulge your Insensibility I am doing nothing; if you favour my
Passion, you are bestowing bright Desires, gay Hopes, generous
Cares, noble Resolutions and transporting Raptures upon, _Madam,_

_Your most devoted humble Servant._


Here's a Gentlewoman lodges in the same House with me, that I never
did any Injury to in my whole Life; and she is always railing at me to
those that she knows will tell me of it. Don't you think she is in
Love with me? or would you have me break my Mind yet or not? _Your
Servant,_ T. B.


I am a Footman in a great Family, and am in Love with the House-maid.
We were all at Hot-cockles last Night in the Hall these Holidays; when
I lay down and was blinded, she pulled off her Shoe, and hit me with
the Heel such a Rap, as almost broke my Head to Pieces. Pray, Sir, was
this Love or Spite?


* * * * *

No. 261. Saturday. December 29, 1711. Addison.

[Greek: Gamos gar anphropoisin euktaion kakon].

Frag. Vet. Poet.

My Father, whom I mentioned in my first Speculation, and whom I must
always name with Honour and Gratitude, has very frequently talked to me
upon the Subject of Marriage. I was in my younger Years engaged, partly
by his Advice, and partly by my own Inclinations in the Courtship of a
Person who had a great deal of Beauty, and did not at my first
Approaches seem to have any Aversion to me; but as my natural
Taciturnity hindred me from showing my self to the best Advantage, she
by degrees began to look upon me as a very silly Fellow, and being
resolved to regard Merit more than any Thing else in the Persons who
made their Applications to her, she married a Captain of Dragoons who
happened to be beating up for Recruits in those Parts.

This unlucky Accident has given me an Aversion to pretty Fellows ever
since, and discouraged me from trying my Fortune with the Fair Sex. The
Observations which I made in this Conjuncture, and the repeated Advices
which I received at that Time from the good old Man above-mentioned,
have produced the following Essay upon Love and Marriage.

The pleasantest Part of a Man's Life is generally that which passes in
Courtship, provided his Passion be sincere, and the Party beloved kind
with Discretion. Love, Desire, Hope, all the pleasing Motions of the
Soul rise in the Pursuit.

It is easier for an artful Man who is not in Love, to persuade his
Mistress he has a Passion for her, and to succeed in his Pursuits, than
for one who loves with the greatest Violence. True Love has ten thousand
Griefs, Impatiences and Resentments, that render a Man unamiable in the
Eyes of the Person whose Affection he sollicits: besides, that it sinks
his Figure, gives him Fears, Apprehensions and Poorness of Spirit, and
often makes him appear ridiculous where he has a mind to recommend

Those Marriages generally abound most with Love and Constancy, that are
preceded by a long Courtship. The Passion should strike Root, and gather
Strength before Marriage be grafted on it. A long Course of Hopes and
Expectations fixes the Idea in our Minds, and habituates us to a
Fondness of the Person beloved.

There is Nothing of so great Importance to us, as the good Qualities of
one to whom we join ourselves for Life; they do not only make our
present State agreeable, but often determine our Happiness to all
Eternity. Where the Choice is left to Friends, the chief Point under
Consideration is an Estate: Where the Parties chuse for themselves,
their Thoughts turn most upon the Person. They have both their Reasons.
The first would procure many Conveniencies and Pleasures of Life to the
Party whose Interests they espouse; and at the same time may hope that
the Wealth of their Friend will turn to their own Credit and Advantage.
The others are preparing for themselves a perpetual Feast. A good Person
does not only raise, but continue Love, and breeds a secret Pleasure and
Complacency in the Beholder, when the first Heats of Desire are
extinguished. It puts the Wife or Husband in Countenance both among
Friends and Strangers, and generally fills the Family with a healthy and
beautiful Race of Children.

I should prefer a Woman that is agreeable in my own Eye, and not
deformed in that of the World, to a Celebrated Beauty. If you marry one
remarkably beautiful, you must have a violent Passion for her, or you
have not the proper Taste of her Charms; and if you have such a Passion
for her, it is odds but it [would [1]] be imbittered with Fears and

Good-Nature and Evenness of Temper will give you an easie Companion for
Life; Virtue and good Sense, an agreeable Friend; Love and Constancy, a
good Wife or Husband. Where we meet one Person with all these
Accomplishments, we find an hundred without any one of them. The World,
notwithstanding, is more intent on Trains and Equipages, and all the
showy Parts of Life; we love rather to dazzle the Multitude, than
consult our proper Interest[s]; and, as I have elsewhere observed, it is
one of the most unaccountable Passions of human Nature, that we are at
greater Pains to appear easie and happy to others, than really to make
our selves so. Of all Disparities, that in Humour makes the most unhappy
Marriages, yet scarce enters into our Thoughts at the contracting of
them. Several that are in this Respect unequally yoked, and uneasie for
Life, with a Person of a particular Character, might have been pleased
and happy with a Person of a contrary one, notwithstanding they are both
perhaps equally virtuous and laudable in their Kind.

Before Marriage we cannot be too inquisitive and discerning in the
Faults of the Person beloved, nor after it too dim-sighted and
superficial. However perfect and accomplished the Person appears to you
at a Distance, you will find many Blemishes and Imperfections in her
Humour, upon a more intimate Acquaintance, which you never discovered or
perhaps suspected. Here therefore Discretion and Good-nature are to shew
their Strength; the first will hinder your Thoughts from dwelling on
what is disagreeable, the other will raise in you all the Tenderness of
Compassion and Humanity, and by degrees soften those very Imperfections
into Beauties.

Marriage enlarges the Scene of our Happiness and Miseries. A Marriage of
Love is pleasant; a Marriage of Interest easie; and a Marriage, where
both meet, happy. A happy Marriage has in it all the Pleasures of
Friendship, all the Enjoyments of Sense and Reason, and indeed, all the
Sweets of Life. Nothing is a greater Mark of a degenerate and vicious
Age, than the common Ridicule [which [2]] passes on this State of Life.
It is, indeed, only happy in those who can look down with Scorn or
Neglect on the Impieties of the Times, and tread the Paths of Life
together in a constant uniform Course of Virtue.

[Footnote 1: [will]]

[Footnote 2: [that]]

* * * * *

No. 262. Monday, December 31, 1711. Steele.

Nulla venenato Littera mista Joco est.


I think myself highly obliged to the Publick for their kind Acceptance
of a Paper which visits them every Morning, and has in it none of those
_Seasonings_ that recommend so many of the Writings which are in Vogue
among us.

As, on the one Side, my Paper has not in it a single Word of News, a
Reflection in Politics, nor a Stroak of Party; so on the other, there
are no Fashionable Touches of Infidelity, no obscene Ideas, no Satyrs
upon Priesthood, Marriage, and the like popular Topics of Ridicule; no
private Scandal, nor any Thing that may tend to the Defamation of
particular Persons, Families, or Societies.

There is not one of these above-mentioned Subjects that would not sell a
very indifferent Paper, could I think of gratifying the Publick by such
mean and base Methods. But notwithstanding I have rejected every Thing
that savours of Party, every Thing that is loose and immoral, and every
Thing that might create Uneasiness in the Minds of particular Persons, I
find that the Demand of my Papers has encreased every Month since their
first Appearance in the World. This does not perhaps reflect so much
Honour upon my self, as on my Readers, who give a much greater Attention
to Discourses of Virtue and Morality, than ever I expected, or indeed
could hope.

When I broke loose from that great Body of Writers who have employed
their Wit and Parts in propagating Vice and Irreligion, I did not
question but I should be treated as an odd kind of Fellow that had a
mind to appear singular in my Way of Writing: But the general Reception
I have found, convinces me that the World is not so corrupt as we are
apt to imagine; and that if those Men of Parts who have been employed in
vitiating the Age had endeavour'd to rectify and amend it, they needed
[not [1]] have sacrificed their good Sense and Virtue to their Fame and
Reputation. No Man is so sunk in Vice and Ignorance, but there are still
some hidden Seeds of Goodness and Knowledge in him; which give him a
Relish of such Reflections and Speculations as have an [Aptness [2]] to
improve the Mind, and make the Heart better.

I have shewn in a former Paper, with how much Care I have avoided all
such Thoughts as are loose, obscene or immoral; and I believe my Reader
would still think the better of me, if he knew the Pains I am at in
qualifying what I write after such a manner, that nothing may be
interpreted as aimed at private Persons. For this Reason when I draw any
faulty Character, I consider all those Persons to whom the Malice of the
World may possibly apply it, and take care to dash it with such
particular Circumstances as may prevent all such ill-natured
Applications. If I write any Thing on a black Man, I run over in my Mind
all the eminent Persons in the Nation who are of that Complection: When
I place an imaginary Name at the Head of a Character, I examine every
Syllable and Letter of it, that it may not bear any Resemblance to one
that is real. I know very well the Value which every Man sets upon his
Reputation, and how painful it is to be exposed to the Mirth and
Derision of the Publick, and should therefore scorn to divert my Reader,
at the Expence of any private Man.

As I have been thus tender of every particular Persons Reputation, so I
have taken more than ordinary Care not to give Offence to those who
appear in the higher Figures of Life. I would not make myself merry even
with a Piece of Paste-board that is invested with a Publick Character;
for which Reason I have never glanced upon the late designed Procession
of his Holiness and his Attendants, [3] notwithstanding it might have
afforded Matter to many ludicrous Speculations. Among those Advantages,
which the Publick may reap from this Paper, it is not the least, that it
draws Mens Minds off from the Bitterness of Party, and furnishes them
with Subjects of Discourse that may be treated without Warmth or
Passion. This is said to have been the first Design of those Gentlemen
who set on Foot the Royal Society; [4] and had then a very good Effect,
as it turned many of the greatest Genius's of that Age to the
Disquisitions of natural Knowledge, who, if they had engaged in
Politicks with the same Parts and Application, might have set their
Country in a Flame. The Air-Pump, the Barometer, the Quadrant, and the
like Inventions were thrown out to those busie Spirits, as Tubs and
Barrels are to a Whale, that he may let the Ship sail on without
Disturbance, while he diverts himself with those innocent Amusements.

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

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

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

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

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


[Footnote 1: [not to]]

[Footnote 2: [Aptness in them]]

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

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

[Footnote 5: [Reasons]]

* * * * *

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

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

Trebonius apud Tull.


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

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

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

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

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

_Dear_ FRANK,

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

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

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


* * * * *

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

--Secretum iter et fallentis Semita vitae.


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

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


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

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

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

_Old Comical Ones_,

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

_Yours to serve you_,
Roger de Coverley.

We've lost old _John_ since you were here.


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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C. [4]

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

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

[Footnote 3:

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

Swifts Journal to Stella.]

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


[Footnote 1: [under in]]

[Footnote 2: fifty]

[Footnote 3: [. These]]

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

* * * * *

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

Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graii. [1]


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

I shall therefore examine it by the Rules of Epic Poetry, and see
whether it falls short of the _Iliad_ or _AEneid_, in the Beauties which
are essential to that kind of Writing. The first thing to be considered
in an Epic Poem, is the Fable, [4] which is perfect or imperfect,
according as the Action which it relates is more or less so. This Action
should have three Qualifications in it. First, It should be but One
Action. Secondly, It should be an entire Action; and, Thirdly, It should
be a great Action. [5] To consider the Action of the _Iliad_, _AEneid_,
and _Paradise Lost_, in these three several Lights. _Homer_ to preserve
the Unity of his Action hastens into the Midst of Things, as _Horace_
has observed: [6] Had he gone up to _Leda's Egg_, or begun much later,
even at the Rape of _Helen_, or the Investing of _Troy_, it is manifest
that the Story of the Poem would have been a Series of several Actions.
He therefore opens his Poem with the Discord of his Princes, and
[artfully [7]] interweaves, in the several succeeding Parts of it, an
Account of every Thing [material] which relates to [them [8]] and had
passed before that fatal Dissension. After the same manner, _AEneas_
makes his first Appearance in the _Tyrrhene_ Seas, and within Sight of
_Italy_, because the Action proposed to be celebrated was that of his
settling himself in _Latium_. But because it was necessary for the

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