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

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Limbs, and that she had sent it over to her Correspondent in _Paris_ to
be taught the various Leanings and Bendings of the Head, the Risings of
the Bosom, the Curtesy and Recovery, the genteel Trip, and the agreeable
Jet, as they are now practised in the Court of _France_.

She added that she hoped she might depend upon having my Encouragement
as soon as it arrived; but as this was a Petition of too great
Importance to be answered _extempore_, I left her without a Reply, and
made the best of my way to WILL. HONEYCOMBS Lodgings, without whose
Advice I never communicate any thing to the Publick of this Nature.


* * * * *

No. 278. Friday, January 18, 1712. Steele.

Sermones ego mallem
Repentes per humum.



Your having done considerable Service in this great City, by
rectifying the Disorders of Families, and several Wives having
preferred your Advice and Directions to those of their Husbands,
emboldens me to apply to you at this Time. I am a Shop-keeper, and tho
but a young Man, I find by Experience that nothing but the utmost
Diligence both of Husband and Wife (among trading People) can keep
Affairs in any tolerable Order. My Wife at the Beginning of our
Establishment shewed her self very assisting to me in my Business as
much as could lie in her Way, and I have Reason to believe twas with
her Inclination; but of late she has got acquainted with a Schoolman,
who values himself for his great Knowledge in the _Greek_ Tongue. He
entertains her frequently in the Shop with Discourses of the Beauties
and Excellencies of that Language; and repeats to her several Passages
out of the _Greek_ Poets, wherein he tells her there is unspeakable
Harmony and agreeable Sounds that all other Languages are wholly
unacquainted with. He has so infatuated her with his Jargon, that
instead of using her former Diligence in the Shop, she now neglects
the Affairs of the House, and is wholly taken up with her Tutor in
learning by Heart Scraps of _Greek_, which she vents upon all
Occasions. She told me some Days ago, that whereas I use some _Latin_
Inscriptions in my Shop, she advised me with a great deal of Concern
to have them changed into _Greek;_ it being a Language less
understood, would be more conformable to the Mystery of my Profession;
that our good Friend would be assisting to us in this Work; and that a
certain Faculty of Gentlemen would find themselves so much obliged to
me, that they would infallibly make my Fortune: In short her frequent
Importunities upon this and other Impertinences of the like Nature
make me very uneasy; and if your Remonstrances have no more Effect
upon her than mine, I am afraid I shall be obliged to ruin my self to
procure her a Settlement at _Oxford_ with her Tutor, for she's already
too mad for _Bedlam_. Now, Sir, you see the Danger my Family is
exposed to, and the Likelihood of my Wife's becoming both troublesome
and useless, unless her reading her self in your Paper may make her
reflect. She is so very learned that I cannot pretend by Word of Mouth
to argue with her. She laughed out at your ending a Paper in _Greek_,
and said twas a Hint to Women of Literature, and very civil not to
translate it to expose them to the Vulgar. You see how it is with,

_Your humble Servant_.

If you have that Humanity and Compassion in your Nature that you take
such Pains to make one think you have, you will not deny your Advice
to a distressed Damsel, who intends to be determined by your Judgment
in a Matter of great Importance to her. You must know then, There is
an agreeable young Fellow, to whose Person, Wit, and Humour no body
makes any Objection, that pretends to have been long in Love with me.
To this I must add, (whether it proceeds from the Vanity of my Nature,
or the seeming Sincerity of my Lover, I wont pretend to say) that I
verily believe he has a real Value for me; which if true, you'll allow
may justly augment his Merit for his Mistress. In short, I am so
sensible of his good Qualities, and what I owe to his Passion, that I
think I could sooner resolve to give up my Liberty to him than any
body else, were there not an Objection to be made to his Fortunes, in
regard they don't answer the utmost mine may expect, and are not
sufficient to secure me from undergoing the reproachful Phrase so
commonly used, That she has played the Fool. Now, tho I am one of
those few who heartily despise Equipage, Diamonds, and a Coxcomb, yet
since such opposite Notions from mine prevail in the World, even
amongst the best, and such as are esteemed the most prudent People, I
cant find in my Heart to resolve upon incurring the Censure of those
wise Folks, which I am conscious I shall do, if when I enter into a
married State, I discover a Thought beyond that of equalling, if not
advancing my Fortunes. Under this Difficulty I now labour, not being
in the least determined whether I shall be governed by the vain World,
and the frequent Examples I meet with, or hearken to the Voice of my
Lover, and the Motions I find in my Heart in favour of him. Sir, Your
Opinion and Advice in this Affair, is the only thing I know can turn
the Ballance; and which I earnestly intreat I may receive soon; for
till I have your Thoughts upon it, I am engaged not to give my Swain a
final Discharge.

Besides the particular Obligation you will lay on me, by giving this
Subject Room in one of your Papers, tis possible it may be of use to
some others of my Sex, who will be as grateful for the Favour as,
Your Humble Servant,_

P. S. _To tell you the Truth I am Married to Him already, but pray say
something to justify me._

You will forgive Us Professors of Musick if We make a second
Application to You, in order to promote our Design of exhibiting
Entertainments of Musick in _York-Buildings._ It is industriously
insinuated that Our Intention is to destroy Operas in General, but we
beg of you to insert this plain Explanation of our selves in your
Paper. Our Purpose is only to improve our Circumstances, by improving
the Art which we profess. We see it utterly destroyed at present; and
as we were the Persons who introduced Operas, we think it a groundless
Imputation that we should set up against the Opera in it self. What we
pretend to assert is, That the Songs of different Authors
injudiciously put together, and a Foreign Tone and Manner which are
expected in every thing now performed among us, has put Musick it self
to a stand; insomuch that the Ears of the People cannot now be
entertained with any thing but what has an impertinent Gayety, without
any just Spirit, or a Languishment of Notes, without any Passion or
common Sense. We hope those Persons of Sense and Quality who have done
us the Honour to subscribe, will not be ashamed of their Patronage
towards us, and not receive Impressions that patronising us is being
for or against the Opera, but truly promoting their own Diversions in
a more just and elegant Manner than has been hitherto performed. _We
are, SIR,
Your most humble Servants,_
Thomas Clayton.
Nicolino Haym.
Charles Dieupart. [1]

_There will be no Performances in_ York-buildings _till after that
of the Subscription._


[Footnote 1: See No. 258.]

* * * * *

No. 279. Saturday, January 19, 1712. Addison.

Reddere personae scit convenientia cuique.


We have already taken a general Survey of the Fable and Characters in
_Milton's Paradise Lost_. The Parts which remain to be considered,
according to _Aristotle's_ Method, are the _Sentiments_ and the
_Language_. [1]

Before I enter upon the first of these, I must advertise my Reader, that
it is my Design as soon as I have finished my general Reflections on
these four several Heads, to give particular Instances out of the Poem
which is now before us of Beauties and Imperfections which may be
observed under each of them, as also of such other Particulars as may
not properly fall under any of them. This I thought fit to premise, that
the Reader may not judge too hastily of this Piece of Criticism, or look
upon it as Imperfect, before he has seen the whole Extent of it.

The Sentiments in an Epic Poem are the Thoughts and Behaviour which the
Author ascribes to the Persons whom he introduces, and are _just_ when
they are conformable to the Characters of the several Persons. The
Sentiments have likewise a relation to _Things_ as well as _Persons_,
and are then perfect when they are such as are adapted to the Subject.
If in either of these Cases the Poet [endeavours to argue or explain, to
magnify or diminish, to raise] [2] Love or Hatred, Pity or Terror, or
any other Passion, we ought to consider whether the Sentiments he makes
use of are proper for [those [3]] Ends. _Homer_ is censured by the
Criticks for his Defect as to this Particular in several parts of the
_Iliad_ and _Odyssey_, tho at the same time those, who have treated
this great Poet with Candour, have attributed this Defect to the Times
in which he lived. [4] It was the Fault of the Age, and not of _Homer_,
if there wants that Delicacy in some of his Sentiments which now appears
in the Works of Men of a much inferior Genius. Besides, if there are
Blemishes in any particular Thoughts, there is an infinite Beauty in the
greatest Part of them. In short, if there are many Poets who would not
have fallen into the Meanness of some of his Sentiments, there are none
who could have risen up to the Greatness of others. _Virgil_ has
excelled all others in the Propriety of his Sentiments. _Milton_ shines
likewise very much in this Particular: Nor must we omit one
Consideration which adds to his Honour and Reputation. _Homer_ and
_Virgil_ introduced Persons whose Characters are commonly known among
Men, and such as are to be met with either in History, or in ordinary
Conversation. _Milton's_ Characters, most of them, lie out of Nature,
and were to be formed purely by his own Invention. It shews a greater
Genius in _Shakespear_ to have drawn his _Calyban,_ than his _Hotspur_
or _Julius Caesar:_ The one was to be supplied out of his own
Imagination, whereas the other might have been formed upon Tradition,
History and Observation. It was much easier therefore for _Homer_ to
find proper Sentiments for an Assembly of _Grecian_ Generals, than for
_Milton_ to diversify his infernal Council with proper Characters, and
inspire them with a Variety of Sentiments. The Lovers of _Dido_ and
_AEneas_ are only Copies of what has passed between other Persons.
_Adam_ and _Eve_, before the Fall, are a different Species from that of
Mankind, who are descended from them; and none but a Poet of the most
unbounded Invention, and the most exquisite Judgment, could have filled
their Conversation and Behaviour with [so many apt [5]] Circumstances
during their State of Innocence.

Nor is it sufficient for an Epic Poem to be filled with such Thoughts as
are _Natural_, unless it abound also with such as are _Sublime_. Virgil
in this Particular falls short of _Homer_. He has not indeed so many
Thoughts that are Low and Vulgar; but at the same time has not so many
Thoughts that are Sublime and Noble. The Truth of it is, _Virgil_ seldom
rises into very astonishing Sentiments, where he is not fired by the
_Iliad_. He every where charms and pleases us by the Force of his own
Genius; but seldom elevates and transports us where he does not fetch
his Hints from _Homer_.

_Milton's_ chief Talent, and indeed his distinguishing Excellence, lies
in the Sublimity of his Thoughts. There are others of the Moderns who
rival him in every other part of Poetry; but in the Greatness of his
Sentiments he triumphs over all the Poets both Modern and Ancient,
_Homer_ only excepted. It is impossible for the Imagination of Man to
distend itself with greater Ideas, than those which he has laid together
in his first, [second,] and sixth Book[s]. The seventh, which describes
the Creation of the World, is likewise wonderfully Sublime, tho not so
apt to stir up Emotion in the Mind of the Reader, nor consequently so
perfect in the Epic Way of Writing, because it is filled with less
Action. Let the judicious Reader compare what _Longinus_ has observed
[6] on several Passages in _Homer_, and he will find Parallels for most
of them in the _Paradise Lost_.

From what has been said we may infer, that as there are two kinds of
Sentiments, the Natural and the Sublime, which are always to be pursued
in an Heroic Poem, there are also two kinds of Thoughts which are
carefully to be avoided. The first are such as are affected and
unnatural; the second such as are mean and vulgar. As for the first kind
of Thoughts, we meet with little or nothing that is like them in
_Virgil:_ He has none of those [trifling [7]] Points and Puerilities
that are so often to be met with in _Ovid_, none of the Epigrammatick
Turns of _Lucan_, none of those swelling Sentiments which are so
frequent in _Statins_ and _Claudian_, none of those mixed Embellishments
of _Tasso_. Every thing is just and natural. His Sentiments shew that he
had a perfect Insight into human Nature, and that he knew every thing
which was the most proper to [affect it [8]].

Mr. _Dryden_ has in some Places, which I may hereafter take notice of,
misrepresented _Virgil's_ way of thinking as to this Particular, in the
Translation he has given us of the _AEneid_. I do not remember that
_Homer_ any where falls into the Faults above-mentioned, which were
indeed the false Refinements of later Ages. _Milton_, it must be
confest, has sometimes erred in this Respect, as I shall shew more at
large in another Paper; tho considering how all the Poets of the Age in
which he writ were infected with this wrong way of thinking, he is
rather to be admired that he did not give more into it, than that he did
sometimes comply with the vicious Taste which still prevails so much
among Modern Writers.

But since several Thoughts may be natural which are low and groveling,
an Epic Poet should not only avoid such Sentiments as are unnatural or
affected, but also such as are [mean [9]] and vulgar. _Homer_ has opened
a great Field of Raillery to Men of more Delicacy than Greatness of
Genius, by the Homeliness of some of his Sentiments. But, as I have
before said, these are rather to be imputed to the Simplicity of the Age
in which he lived, to which I may also add, of that which he described,
than to any Imperfection in that Divine Poet. _Zoilus_ [10] among the
Ancients, and Monsieur _Perrault_, [11] among the Moderns, pushed their
Ridicule very far upon him, on account of some such Sentiments. There is
no Blemish to be observed in _Virgil_ under this Head, and but [a] very
few in Milton.

I shall give but one Instance of this Impropriety of [Thought [12]] in
_Homer_, and at the same time compare it with an Instance of the same
Nature, both in _Virgil_ and _Milton_. Sentiments which raise Laughter,
can very seldom be admitted with any Decency into an Heroic Poem, whose
Business it is to excite Passions of a much nobler Nature. _Homer_,
however, in his Characters of _Vulcan_ [13] and _Thersites_ [14], in his
Story of _Mars_ and _Venus_, [15] in his Behaviour of _Irus_ [16] and in
other Passages, has been observed to have lapsed into the Burlesque
Character, and to have departed from that serious Air which seems
essential to the Magnificence of an Epic Poem. I remember but one Laugh
in the whole AEneid, which rises in the fifth Book, upon _Monaetes_, where
he is represented as thrown overboard, and drying himself upon a Rock.
But this Piece. of Mirth is so well timed, that the severest Critick can
have nothing to say against it; for it is in the Book of Games and
Diversions, where the Readers Mind may be supposed to be sufficiently
relaxed for such an Entertainment. The only Piece of Pleasantry in
_Paradise Lost_, is where the Evil Spirits are described as rallying the
Angels upon the Success of their new invented Artillery. This Passage I
look upon to be the most exceptionable in the whole Poem, as being
nothing else but a String of Punns, and those too very indifferent ones.

--Satan beheld their Plight,
And to his Mates thus in Derision call'd.
O Friends, why come not on those Victors proud?
Ere-while they fierce were coming, and when we,
To entertain them fair with open Front,
And Breast, (what could we more?) propounded terms
Of Composition, straight they chang'd their Minds,
Flew off, _and into strange Vagaries fell
As they would dance: yet for a Dance they seem'd
Somewhat extravagant, and wild; perhaps
For Joy of offer'd Peace; but I suppose
If our Proposals once again were_ heard,
_We should compel them to a quick_ Result.

_To whom thus_ Belial _in like gamesome Mood:
Leader, the Terms we sent were Terms of_ Weight,
_Of_ hard Contents, _and full of force urg'd home;
Such as we might perceive amus'd them all,
And_ stumbled _many: who receives them right,
Had need, from Head to Foot, will_ understand;
_Not_ understood, _this Gift they have besides,
They shew us when our Foes_ walk not upright.

_Thus they among themselves in pleasant vein
Stood scoffing_ [17]----


[Footnote 1: It is in Part II. of the _Poetics,_ when treating of
Tragedy, that Aristotle lays down his main principles. Here after
treating of the Fable and the Manners, he proceeds to the Diction and
the Sentiments. By Fable, he says (Sec. 2),

I mean the contexture of incidents, or the Plot. By Manners, I mean,
whatever marks the Character of the Persons. By Sentiments, whatever
they say, whether proving any thing, or delivering a general
sentiment, &c.

In dividing Sentiments from Diction, he says (Sec.22): The Sentiments
include whatever is the Object of speech, Diction (Sec. 23-25) the words
themselves. Concerning Sentiment, he refers his reader to the

[Footnote 2: [argues or explains, magnifies or diminishes, raises]]

[Footnote 3: [these]]

[Footnote 4: Rene le Bossu says in his treatise on the Epic, published
in 1675, Bk, vi. ch. 3:

What is base and ignoble at one time and in one country, is not
always so in others. We are apt to smile at Homers comparing Ajax to
an Ass in his Iliad. Such a comparison now-a-days would be indecent
and ridiculous; because it would be indecent and ridiculous for a
person of quality to ride upon such a steed. But heretofore this
Animal was in better repute: Kings and princes did not disdain the
best so much as mere tradesman do in our time. Tis just the same with
many other smiles which in Homers time were allowable. We should now
pity a Poet that should be so silly and ridiculous as to compare a
Hero to a piece of Fat. Yet Homer does it in a comparison he makes of
Ulysses... The reason is that in these Primitive Times, wherein the
Sacrifices ... were living creatures, the Blood and the Fat were the
most noble, the most august, and the most holy things.]

[Footnote 5: [such Beautiful]]

[Footnote 6: Longimus on the Sublime, I. Sec. 9. of Discord, Homer says
(Popes tr.):

While scarce the skies her horrid head can bound,
She stalks on earth.

(Iliad iv.)

Of horses of the gods:

Far as a shepherd from some spot on high
O'er the wide main extends his boundless eye,
Through such a space of air, with thundring sound,
At one long leap th' immortal coursers bound.

(Iliad v.)

Longinus quotes also from the Iliad xix., the combat of the Gods, the
description of Neptune, Iliad xi., and the Prayer of Ajax, Iliad xvii.]

[Footnote 7: [little]]

[Footnote 8: [affect it. I remember but one line in him which has been
objected against, by the Criticks, as a point of Wit. It is in his ninth
Book, where _Juno_, speaking of the _Trojans_, how they survived the
Ruins of their City, expresses her self in the following words;

_Num copti potuere copi, num incense cremorunt Pergama?_

_Were the Trojans taken even after they were Captives, or did_ Troy
_burn even when it was in Flames?_]

[Footnote 9: [low]]

[Footnote 10: Zoilus, who lived about 270 B. C., in the time of Ptolemy
Philadelphus, made himself famous for attacks upon Homer and on Plato
and Isocrates, taking pride in the title of Homeromastix. Circes men
turned into swine Zoilus ridiculed as weeping porkers. When he asked
sustenance of Ptolemy he was told that Homer sustained many thousands,
and as he claimed to be a better man than Homer, he ought to be able to
sustain himself. The tradition is that he was at last crucified, stoned,
or burnt for his heresy.]

[Footnote 11: Charles Perrault, brother of Claude Perrault the architect
and ex-physician, was himself Controller of Public Buildings under
Colbert, and after his retirement from that office, published in 1690
his Parallel between the Ancients and Moderns, taking the side of the
moderns in the controversy, and dealing sometimes disrespectfully with
Homer. Boileau replied to him in Critical Reflections on Longinus.]

[Footnote 12: [Sentiments]]

[Footnote 13: Iliad, Bk. i., near the close.]

[Footnote 14: Iliad, Bk. ii.]

[Footnote 15: Bk. v., at close.]

[Footnote 16: Odyssey, Bk. xviii]

[Footnote 17: Paradise Lost, Bk. vi. 1. 609, &c. Milton meant that the
devils should be shown as scoffers, and their scoffs as mean.]

* * * * *

No. 280. Monday, January 21, 1712. Steele.

Principibus Placuisse viris non ultima I laus est.


The Desire of Pleasing makes a Man agreeable or unwelcome to those with
whom he converses, according to the Motive from which that Inclination
appears to flow. If your Concern for pleasing others arises from innate
Benevolence, it never fails of Success; if from a Vanity to excel, its
Disappointment is no less certain. What we call an agreeable Man, is he
who is endowed with [the [1]] natural Bent to do acceptable things from
a Delight he takes in them meerly as such; and the Affectation of that
Character is what constitutes a Fop. Under these Leaders one may draw up
all those who make any Manner of Figure, except in dumb Show. A rational
and select Conversation is composed of Persons, who have the Talent of
Pleasing with Delicacy of Sentiments flowing from habitual Chastity of
Thought; but mixed Company is frequently made up of Pretenders to Mirth,
and is usually pestered with constrained, obscene, and painful
Witticisms. Now and then you meet with a Man so exactly formed for
Pleasing, that it is no matter what he is doing or saying, that is to
say, that there need no Manner of Importance in it, to make him gain
upon every Body who hears or beholds him. This Felicity is not the Gift
of Nature only, but must be attended with happy Circumstances, which add
a Dignity to the familiar Behaviour which distinguishes him whom we call
an agreeable Man. It is from this that every Body loves and esteems
_Polycarpus_. He is in the Vigour of his Age and the Gayety of Life, but
has passed through very conspicuous Scenes in it; though no Soldier, he
has shared the Danger, and acted with great Gallantry and Generosity on
a decisive Day of Battle. To have those Qualities which only make other
Men conspicuous in the World as it were supernumerary to him, is a
Circumstance which gives Weight to his most indifferent Actions; for as
a known Credit is ready Cash to a Trader, so is acknowledged Merit
immediate Distinction, and serves in the Place of Equipage to a
Gentleman. This renders _Polycarpus_ graceful in Mirth, important in
Business, and regarded with Love in every ordinary Occurrence. But not
to dwell upon Characters which have such particular Recommendations to
our Hearts, let us turn our Thoughts rather to the Methods of Pleasing
which must carry Men through the World who cannot pretend to such
Advantages. Falling in with the particular Humour or Manner of one above
you, abstracted from the general Rules of good Behaviour, is the Life of
a Slave. A Parasite differs in nothing from the meanest Servant, but
that the Footman hires himself for bodily Labour, subjected to go and
come at the Will of his Master, but the other gives up his very Soul: He
is prostituted to speak, and professes to think after the Mode of him
whom he courts. This Servitude to a Patron, in an honest Nature, would
be more grievous than that of wearing his Livery; therefore we will
speak of those Methods only which are worthy and ingenuous.

The happy Talent of Pleasing either those above you or below you, seems
to be wholly owing to the Opinion they have of your Sincerity. This
Quality is to attend the agreeable Man in all the Actions of his Life;
and I think there need no more be said in Honour of it, than that it is
what forces the Approbation even of your Opponents. The guilty Man has
an Honour for the Judge who with Justice pronounces against him the
Sentence of Death it self. The Author of the Sentence at the Head of
this Paper, was an excellent Judge of human Life, and passed his own in
Company the most agreeable that ever was in the World. _Augustus_ lived
amongst his Friends as if he had his Fortune to make in his own Court:
Candour and Affability, accompanied with as much Power as ever Mortal
was vested with, were what made him in the utmost Manner agreeable among
a Set of admirable Men, who had Thoughts too high for Ambition, and
Views too large to be gratified by what he could give them in the
Disposal of an Empire, without the Pleasures of their mutual
Conversation. A certain Unanimity of Taste and Judgment, which is
natural to all of the same Order in the Species, was the Band of this
Society; and the Emperor assumed no Figure in it but what he thought was
his Due from his private Talents and Qualifications, as they contributed
to advance the Pleasures and Sentiments of the Company.

Cunning People, Hypocrites, all who are but half virtuous, or half wise,
are incapable of tasting the refined Pleasure of such an equal Company
as could wholly exclude the Regard of Fortune in their Conversations.
_Horace_, in the Discourse from whence I take the Hint of the present
Speculation, lays down excellent Rules for Conduct in Conversation with
Men of Power; but he speaks it with an Air of one who had no Need of
such an Application for any thing which related to himself. It shews he
understood what it was to be a skilful Courtier, by just Admonitions
against Importunity, and shewing how forcible it was to speak Modestly
of your own Wants. There is indeed something so shameless in taking all
Opportunities to speak of your own Affairs, that he who is guilty of it
towards him upon whom he depends, fares like the Beggar who exposes his
Sores, which instead of moving Compassion makes the Man he begs of turn
away from the Object.

I cannot tell what is become of him, but I remember about sixteen Years
ago an honest Fellow, who so justly understood how disagreeable the
Mention or Appearance of his Wants would make him, that I have often
reflected upon him as a Counterpart of _Irus_, whom I have formerly
mentioned. This Man, whom I have missed for some Years in my Walks, and
have heard was someway employed about the Army, made it a Maxim, That
good Wigs, delicate Linen, and a chearful Air, were to a poor Dependent
the same that working Tools are to a poor Artificer. It was no small
Entertainment to me, who knew his Circumstances, to see him, who had
fasted two Days, attribute the Thinness they told him of to the Violence
of some Gallantries he had lately been guilty of. The skilful Dissembler
carried this on with the utmost Address; and if any suspected his
Affairs were narrow, it was attributed to indulging himself in some
fashionable Vice rather than an irreproachable Poverty, which saved his
Credit with those on whom he depended.

The main Art is to be as little troublesome as you can, and make all you
hope for come rather as a Favour from your Patron than Claim from you.
But I am here prating of what is the Method of Pleasing so as to succeed
in the World, when there are Crowds who have, in City, Town, Court, and
Country, arrived at considerable Acquisitions, and yet seem incapable of
acting in any constant Tenour of Life, but have gone on from one
successful Error to another: Therefore I think I may shorten this
Enquiry after the Method of Pleasing; and as the old Beau said to his
Son, once for all, Pray, Jack, _be a fine Gentleman_, so may I, to my
Reader, abridge my Instructions, and finish the Art of Pleasing in a
Word, Be rich.


[Footnote 1: [that]]

* * * * *

No. 281. Tuesday, January 22, 1712. Addison.

Pectoribus inhians spirantia consulit exta.


Having already given an Account of the Dissection of a Beaus Head, with
the several Discoveries made on that Occasion; I shall here, according
to my Promise, enter upon the Dissection of a Coquets Heart, and
communicate to the Public such Particularities as we observed in that
curious Piece of Anatomy.

I should perhaps have waved this Undertaking, had not I been put in mind
of my Promise by several of my unknown Correspondents, who are very
importunate with me to make an Example of the Coquet, as I have already
done of the Beau. It is therefore in Compliance with the Request of
Friends, that I have looked over the Minutes of my former Dream, in
order to give the Publick an exact Relation to it, which I shall enter
upon without further Preface.

Our Operator, before he engaged in this Visionary Dissection, told us,
that there was nothing in his Art more difficult than to lay open the
Heart of a Coquet, by reason of the many Labyrinths and Recesses which
are to be found in it, and which do not appear in the Heart of any other

He desired us first of all to observe the _Pericardium_, or outward Case
of the Heart, which we did very attentively; and by the help of our
Glasses discern'd in it Millions of little Scars, which seem'd to have
been occasioned by the Points of innumerable Darts and Arrows, that from
time to time had glanced upon the outward Coat; though we could not
discover the smallest Orifice, by which any of them had entered and
pierced the inward Substance.

Every Smatterer in Anatomy knows that this _Pericardium_, or Case of the
Heart, contains in it a thin reddish Liquor, supposed to be bred from
the Vapours which exhale out of the Heart, and, being stopt here, are
condensed into this watry Substance. Upon examining this Liquor, we
found that it had in it all the Qualities of that Spirit which is made
use of in the Thermometer, to shew the Change of Weather.

Nor must I here omit an Experiment one of the Company assured us he
himself had made with this Liquor, which he found in great Quantity
about the Heart of a Coquet whom he had formerly dissected. He affirmed
to us, that he had actually inclosed it in a small Tube made after the
manner of a Weather Glass; but that instead of acquainting him with the
Variations of the Atmosphere, it shewed him the Qualities of those
Persons who entered the Room where it stood. He affirmed also, that it
rose at the Approach of a Plume of Feathers, an embroidered Coat, or a
Pair of fringed Gloves; and that it fell as soon as an ill-shaped
Perriwig, a clumsy Pair of Shoes, or an unfashionable Coat came into his
House: Nay, he proceeded so far as to assure us, that upon his Laughing
aloud when he stood by it, the Liquor mounted very sensibly, and
immediately sunk again upon his looking serious. In short, he told us,
that he knew very well by this Invention whenever he had a Man of Sense
or a Coxcomb in his Room.

Having cleared away the _Pericardium_, or the Case and Liquor
above-mentioned, we came to the Heart itself. The outward Surface of it
was extremely slippery, and the _Mufro_, or Point, so very cold withal,
that, upon endeavouring to take hold of it it glided through the Fingers
like a smooth Piece of Ice.

The Fibres were turned and twisted in a more intricate and perplexed
manner than they are usually found in other Hearts; insomuch that the
whole Heart was wound up together in a Gordian Knot, and must have had
very irregular and unequal Motions, whilst it was employed in its Vital

One thing we thought very observable, namely, that, upon examining all
the Vessels which came into it or issued out of it, we could not
discover any Communication that it had with the Tongue.

We could not but take Notice likewise, that several of those little
Nerves in the Heart which are affected by the Sentiments of Love,
Hatred, and other Passions, did not descend to this before us from the
Brain, but from the Muscles which lie about the Eye.

Upon weighing the Heart in my Hand, I found it to be extreamly light,
and consequently very hollow, which I did not wonder at, when upon
looking into the Inside of it, I saw Multitudes of Cells and Cavities
running one within another, as our Historians describe the Apartments of
_Rosamond's_ Bower. Several of these little Hollows were stuffed with
innumerable sorts of Trifles, which I shall forbear giving any
particular Account of, and shall therefore only take Notice of what lay
first and uppermost, which, upon our unfolding it and applying our
Microscopes to it, appeared to be a Flame-coloured Hood.

We were informed that the Lady of this Heart, when living, received the
Addresses of several who made Love to her, and did not only give each of
them Encouragement, but made every one she conversed with believe that
she regarded him with an Eye of Kindness; for which Reason we expected
to have seen the Impression of Multitudes of Faces among the several
Plaits and Foldings of the Heart; but to our great Surprize not a single
Print of this nature discovered it self till we came into the very Core
and Center of it. We there observed a little Figure, which, upon
applying our Glasses to it, appeared dressed in a very fantastick
manner. The more I looked upon it, the more I thought I had seen the
Face before, but could not possibly recollect either the Place or Time;
when, at length, one of the Company, who had examined this Figure more
nicely than the rest, shew'd us plainly by the Make of its Face, and the
several Turns of its Features, that the little Idol which was thus
lodged in the very Middle of the Heart was the deceased Beau, whose Head
I gave some Account of in my last _Tuesdays_ Paper.

As soon as we had finished our Dissection, we resolved to make an
Experiment of the Heart, not being able to determine among our selves
the Nature of its Substance, which differ'd in so many Particulars from
that of the Heart in other Females. Accordingly we laid it into a Pan of
burning Coals, when we observed in it a certain Salamandrine Quality,
that made it capable of living in the midst of Fire and Flame, without
being consumed, or so much as singed.

As we were admiring this strange _Phoenomenon_, and standing round the
Heart in a Circle, it gave a most prodigious Sigh or rather Crack, and
dispersed all at once in Smoke and Vapour. This imaginary Noise, which
methought was louder than the burst of a Cannon, produced such a violent
Shake in my Brain, that it dissipated the Fumes of Sleep, and left me in
an Instant broad awake.


* * * * *

No. 282. Wednesday, January 23, 1712. Steele.

[--Spes incerta futuri.

Virg. [1]]

It is a lamentable thing that every Man is full of Complaints, and
constantly uttering Sentences against the Fickleness of Fortune, when
People generally bring upon themselves all the Calamities they fall
into, and are constantly heaping up Matter for their own Sorrow and
Disappointment. That which produces the greatest Part of the [Delusions
[2]] of Mankind, is a false Hope which People indulge with so sanguine a
Flattery to themselves, that their Hearts are bent upon fantastical
Advantages which they had no Reason to believe should ever have arrived
to them. By this unjust Measure of calculating their Happiness, they
often mourn with real Affliction for imaginary Losses. When I am talking
of this unhappy way of accounting for our selves, I cannot but reflect
upon a particular Set of People, who, in their own Favour, resolve every
thing that is possible into what is probable, and then reckon on that
Probability as on what must certainly happen. WILL. HONEYCOMB, upon my
observing his looking on a Lady with some particular Attention, gave me
an Account of the great Distresses which had laid waste that her very
fine Face, and had given an Air of Melancholy to a very agreeable
Person, That Lady, and a couple of Sisters of hers, were, said WILL.,
fourteen Years ago, the greatest Fortunes about Town; but without having
any Loss by bad Tenants, by bad Securities, or any Damage by Sea or
Land, are reduced to very narrow Circumstances. They were at that time
the most inaccessible haughty Beauties in Town; and their Pretensions to
take upon them at that unmerciful rate, was rais'd upon the following
Scheme, according to which all their Lovers were answered.

Our Father is a youngish Man, but then our Mother is somewhat older,
and not likely to have any Children: His Estate, being L800 per Annum,
at 20 Years Purchase, is worth L16,000. Our Uncle who is above 50, has
L400 _per Annum_, which at the foresaid Rate, is L8000. There's a Widow
Aunt, who has L10,000 at her own Disposal left by her Husband, and an
old Maiden Aunt who has L6000. Then our Fathers Mother has L900 _per
Annum_, which is worth L18,000 and L1000 each of us has of her own,
which cant be taken from us. These summ'd up together stand thus.

Fathers 800- 16,000 This equally divided between
Uncles 400- 8000 us three amounts to L20,000
Aunts 10,000 each; and Allowance being
6000- 16,000 given for Enlargement upon
Grandmother 900- 18,000 common Fame, we may lawfully
Own 1000 each- 3000 pass for L30,000 Fortunes.
Total- 61,000

In Prospect of this, and the Knowledge of her own personal Merit, every
one was contemptible in their Eyes, and they refus'd those Offers which
had been frequently made em. But _mark the End:_ The Mother dies, the
Father is married again, and has a Son, on him was entail'd the
Fathers, Uncles, and Grand-mothers Estate. This cut off L43,000. The
Maiden Aunt married a tall Irishman, and with her went the L6000. The
Widow died, and left but enough to pay her Debts and bury her; so that
there remained for these three Girls but their own L1000. They had [by]
this time passed their Prime, and got on the wrong side of Thirty; and
must pass the Remainder of their Days, upbraiding Mankind that they mind
nothing but Money, and bewailing that Virtue, Sense and Modesty are had
at present in no manner of Estimation.

I mention this Case of Ladies before any other, because it is the most
irreparable: For tho Youth is the Time less capable of Reflection, it
is in that Sex the only Season in which they can advance their Fortunes.
But if we turn our Thoughts to the Men, we see such Crowds of Unhappy
from no other Reason, but an ill-grounded Hope, that it is hard to say
which they rather deserve, our Pity or Contempt. It is not unpleasant to
see a Fellow after grown old in Attendance, and after having passed half
a Life in Servitude, call himself the unhappiest of all Men, and pretend
to be disappointed because a Courtier broke his Word. He that promises
himself any thing but what may naturally arise from his own Property or
Labour, and goes beyond the Desire of possessing above two Parts in
three even of that, lays up for himself an encreasing Heap of
Afflictions and Disappointments. There are but two Means in the World of
gaining by other Men, and these are by being either agreeable or
considerable. The Generality of Mankind do all things for their own
sakes; and when you hope any thing from Persons above you, if you cannot
say, I can be thus agreeable or thus serviceable, it is ridiculous to
pretend to the Dignity of being unfortunate when they leave you; you
were injudicious, in hoping for any other than to be neglected, for such
as can come within these Descriptions of being capable to please or
serve your Patron, when his Humour or Interests call for their Capacity
either way.

It would not methinks be an useless Comparison between the Condition of
a Man who shuns all the Pleasures of Life, and of one who makes it his
Business to pursue them. Hope in the Recluse makes his Austerities
comfortable, while the luxurious Man gains nothing but Uneasiness from
his Enjoyments. What is the Difference in the Happiness of him who is
macerated by Abstinence, and his who is surfeited with Excess? He who
resigns the World, has no Temptation to Envy, Hatred, Malice, Anger, but
is in constant Possession of a serene Mind; he who follows the Pleasures
of it, which are in their very Nature disappointing, is in constant
Search of Care, Solicitude, Remorse, and Confusion.

_January the 14th, 1712_.


I am a young Woman and have my Fortune to make; for which Reason I
come constantly to Church to hear Divine Service, and make Conquests:
But one great Hindrance in this my Design, is, that our Clerk, who was
once a Gardener, has this _Christmas_ so over-deckt the Church with
Greens, that he has quite spoilt my Prospect, insomuch that I have
scarce seen the young Baronet I dress at these three Weeks, though we
have both been very constant at our Devotions, and don't sit above
three Pews off. The Church, as it is now equipt, looks more like a
Green-house than a Place of Worship: The middle Isle is a very pretty
shady Walk, and the Pews look like so many Arbours of each Side of it.
The Pulpit itself has such Clusters of Ivy, Holly, and Rosemary about
it, that a light Fellow in our Pew took occasion to say, that the
Congregation heard the Word out of a Bush, like _Moses_. Sir _Anthony
Loves_ Pew in particular is so well hedged, that all my Batteries
have no Effect. I am obliged to shoot at random among the Boughs,
without taking any manner of Aim. _Mr_. SPECTATOR, unless you'll give
Orders for removing these Greens, I shall grow a very awkward Creature
at Church, and soon have little else to do there but to say my
Prayers. I am in haste,

_Dear SIR_,
_Your most Obedient Servant_,
Jenny Simper.


[Footnote 1: _Et nulli rei nisi Poenitentiae natus._ ]

[Footnote 2: Pollutions]

* * * * *

No. 283. Thursday, January 24, 1712. Budgell.

Magister artis et largitor ingeni


Lucian [1] rallies the Philosophers in his Time, who could not agree
whether they should admit _Riches_ into the number of _real Goods_; the
Professors of the Severer Sects threw them quite out, while others as
resolutely inserted them.

I am apt to believe, that as the World grew more Polite, the rigid
Doctrines of the first were wholly discarded; and I do not find any one
so hardy at present, as to deny that there are very great Advantages in
the Enjoyment of a plentiful Fortune. Indeed the best and wisest of Men,
tho they may possibly despise a good Part of those things which the
World calls Pleasures, can, I think, hardly be insensible of that Weight
and Dignity which a moderate Share of Wealth adds to their Characters,
Councils, and Actions.

We find it is a General Complaint in Professions and Trades, that the
richest Members of them are chiefly encouraged, and this is falsly
imputed to the Ill-nature of Mankind, who are ever bestowing their
Favours on such as least want them. Whereas if we fairly consider their
Proceedings in this Case, we shall find them founded on undoubted
Reason: Since supposing both equal in their natural Integrity, I ought,
in common Prudence, to fear foul Play from an Indigent Person, rather
than from one whose Circumstances seem to have placed him above the bare
Temptation of Money.

This Reason also makes the Common-wealth regard her richest Subjects, as
those who are most concerned for her Quiet and Interest, and
consequently fittest to be intrusted with her highest Imployments. On
the contrary, _Cataline's_ Saying to those Men of desperate Fortunes,
who applied themselves to him, and of whom he afterwards composed his
Army, that _they had nothing to hope for but a Civil War_, was too true
not to make the Impressions he desired.

I believe I need not fear but that what I have said in Praise of Money,
will be more than sufficient with most of my Readers to excuse the
Subject of my present Paper, which I intend as an Essay on _The Ways to
raise a Man's Fortune_, or, _The Art of growing Rich._

The first and most infallible Method towards the attaining of this End,
is _Thrift:_ All Men are not equally qualified for getting Money, but it
is in the Power of every one alike to practise this Virtue, and I
believe there are very few Persons, who, if they please to reflect on
their past Lives, will not find that had they saved all those Little
Sums which they have spent unnecessarily, they might at present have
been Masters of a competent Fortune. _Diligence_ justly claims the next
Place to _Thrift:_ I find both these excellently well recommended to
common use in the three following _Italian_ Proverbs,

Never do that by Proxy which you can do yourself.
Never defer that till To-morrow which you can do To-day.
Never neglect small Matters and Expences.

A third Instrument of growing Rich, is _Method in Business_, which, as
well as the two former, is also attainable by Persons of the meanest

The famous _De Wit_, one of the greatest Statesmen of the Age in which
he lived, being asked by a Friend, How he was able to dispatch that
Multitude of Affairs in which he was engaged? reply'd, That his whole
Art consisted in doing _one thing at once_. If, says he, I have any
necessary Dispatches to make, I think of nothing else till those are
finished; If any Domestick Affairs require my Attention, I give myself
up wholly to them till they are set in Order.

In short, we often see Men of dull and phlegmatick Tempers, arriving to
great Estates, by making a regular and orderly Disposition of their
Business, and that without it the greatest Parts and most lively
Imaginations rather puzzle their Affairs, than bring them to an happy

From what has been said, I think I may lay it down as a Maxim, that
every Man of good common Sense may, if he pleases, in his particular
Station of Life, most certainly be Rich. The Reason why we sometimes see
that Men of the greatest Capacities are not so, is either because they
despise Wealth in Comparison of something else; or at least are not
content to be getting an Estate, unless they may do it their own way,
and at the same time enjoy all the Pleasures and Gratifications of Life.

But besides these ordinary Forms of growing Rich, it must be allowed
that there is Room for Genius, as well in this as in all other
Circumstances of Life.

Tho the Ways of getting Money were long since very numerous; and tho
so many new ones have been found out of late Years, there is certainly
still remaining so large a Field for Invention, that a Man of an
indifferent Head might easily sit down and draw up such a Plan for the
Conduct and support of his Life, as was never yet once thought of.

We daily see Methods put in practice by hungry and ingenious Men, which
demonstrate the Power of Invention in this Particular.

It is reported of _Scaramouch_, the first famous Italian Comedian, that
being at _Paris_ and in great Want, he bethought himself of constantly
plying near the Door of a noted Perfumer in that City, and when any one
came out who had been buying Snuff, never failed to desire a Taste of
them: when he had by this Means got together a Quantity made up of
several different Sorts, he sold it again at a lower Rate to the same
Perfumer, who finding out the Trick, called it _Tabac de mille fleures_,
or _Snuff of a thousand Flowers_. The Story farther tells us, that by
this means he got a very comfortable Subsistence, till making too much
haste to grow Rich, he one Day took such an unreasonable Pinch out of
the Box of a _Swiss_ Officer, as engaged him in a Quarrel, and obliged
him to quit this Ingenious Way of Life.

Nor can I in this Place omit doing Justice to a Youth of my own Country,
who, tho he is scarce yet twelve Years old, has with great Industry and
Application attained to the Art of beating the Grenadiers March on his
Chin. I am credibly informed that by this means he does not only
maintain himself and his Mother, but that he is laying up Money every
Day, with a Design, if the War continues, to purchase a Drum at least,
if not a Colours.

I shall conclude these Instances with the Device of the famous
_Rabelais_, when he was at a great Distance from _Paris_, and without
Money to bear his Expences thither. This ingenious Author being thus
sharp set, got together a convenient Quantity of Brick-Dust, and having
disposed of it into several Papers, writ upon one _Poyson for Monsieur_,
upon a second, _Poyson for the Dauphin_, and on a third, _Poyson for the
King_. Having made this Provision for the Royal Family of _France_, he
laid his Papers so that his Landlord, who was an Inquisitive Man, and a
good Subject, might get a Sight of them.

The Plot succeeded as he desired: The Host gave immediate Intelligence
to the Secretary of State. The Secretary presently sent down a Special
Messenger, who brought up the Traitor to Court, and provided him at the
Kings Expence with proper Accommodations on the Road. As soon as he
appeared he was known to be the Celebrated _Rabelais_, and his Powder
upon Examination being found very Innocent, the Jest was only laught at;
for which a less eminent _Drole_ would have been sent to the Gallies.

Trade and Commerce might doubtless be still varied a thousand Ways, out
of which would arise such Branches as have not yet been touched. The
famous _Doily_ is still fresh in every ones Memory, who raised a
Fortune by finding out Materials for such Stuffs as might at once be
cheap and genteel. I have heard it affirmed, that had not he discovered
this frugal Method of gratifying our Pride, we should hardly have been
[able[1]] to carry on the last War.

I regard Trade not only as highly advantageous to the Commonwealth in
general; but as the most natural and likely Method of making a Man's
Fortune, having observed, since my being a _Spectator_ in the World,
greater Estates got about _Change_, than at _Whitehall_ or at St.
_James's_. I believe I may also add, that the first Acquisitions are
generally attended with more Satisfaction, and as good a Conscience.

I must not however close this Essay, without observing that what has
been said is only intended for Persons in the common ways of Thriving,
and is not designed for those Men who from low Beginnings push
themselves up to the Top of States, and the most considerable Figures in
Life. My Maxim of _Saving_ is not designed for such as these, since
nothing is more usual than for _Thrift_ to disappoint the Ends of
_Ambition_; it being almost impossible that the Mind should [be [2]]
intent upon Trifles, while it is at the same time forming some great

I may therefore compare these Men to a great Poet, who, as _Longinus_
says, while he is full of the most magnificent Ideas, is not always at
leisure to mind the little Beauties and Niceties of his Art.

I would however have all my Readers take great care how they mistake
themselves for uncommon _Genius's_, and Men above Rule, since it is very
easy for them to be deceived in this Particular.


[Footnote 1: In his Auction of Philosophers.]

[Footnote 2: [able so well]]

[Footnote 3: [descend to and be]]

* * * * *

No. 284. Friday, January 25, 1712. Steele.

[Posthabui tamen illorum mea seria Ludo.

Virg. [1]]

An unaffected Behaviour is without question a very great Charm; but
under the Notion of being unconstrained and disengaged, People take upon
them to be unconcerned in any Duty of Life. A general Negligence is what
they assume upon all Occasions, and set up for an Aversion to all manner
of Business and Attention. _I am the carelessest Creature in the World,
I have certainly the worst Memory of any Man living_, are frequent
Expressions in the Mouth of a Pretender of this sort. It is a professed
Maxim with these People never to _think_; there is something so solemn
in Reflexion, they, forsooth, can never give themselves Time for such a
way of employing themselves. It happens often that this sort of Man is
heavy enough in his Nature to be a good Proficient in such Matters as
are attainable by Industry; but alas! he has such an ardent Desire to be
what he is not, to be too volatile, to have the Faults of a Person of
Spirit, that he professes himself the most unfit Man living for any
manner of Application. When this Humour enters into the Head of a
Female, she gently professes Sickness upon all Occasions, and acts all
things with an indisposed Air: She is offended, but her Mind is too lazy
to raise her to Anger, therefore she lives only as actuated by a violent
Spleen and gentle Scorn. She has hardly Curiosity to listen to Scandal
of her Acquaintance, and has never Attention enough to hear them
commended. This Affectation in both Sexes makes them vain of being
useless, and take a certain Pride in their Insignificancy.

Opposite to this Folly is another no less unreasonable, and that is the
Impertinence of being always in a Hurry. There are those who visit
Ladies, and beg Pardon afore they are well seated in their Chairs, that
they just called in, but are obliged to attend Business of Importance
elsewhere the very next Moment: Thus they run from Place to Place,
professing that they are obliged to be still in another Company than
that which they are in. These Persons who are just a going somewhere
else should never be detained; [let [2]] all the World allow that
Business is to be minded, and their Affairs will be at an end. Their
Vanity is to be importuned, and Compliance with their Multiplicity of
Affairs would effectually dispatch em. The Travelling Ladies, who have
half the Town to see in an Afternoon, may be pardoned for being in
constant Hurry; but it is inexcusable in Men to come where they have no
Business, to profess they absent themselves where they have. It has been
remarked by some nice Observers and Criticks, that there is nothing
discovers the true Temper of a Person so much as his Letters. I have by
me two Epistles, which are written by two People of the different
Humours above-mentioned. It is wonderful that a Man cannot observe upon
himself when he sits down to write, but that he will gravely commit
himself to Paper the same Man that he is in the Freedom of Conversation.
I have hardly seen a Line from any of these Gentlemen, but spoke them as
absent from what they were doing, as they profess they are when they
come into Company. For the Folly is, that they have perswaded themselves
they really are busy. Thus their whole Time is spent in suspense of the
present Moment to the next, and then from the next to the succeeding,
which to the End of Life is to pass away with Pretence to many things,
and Execution of nothing.


The Post is just going out, and I have many other Letters of very
great Importance to write this Evening, but I could not omit making my
Compliments to you for your Civilities to me when I was last in Town.
It is my Misfortune to be so full of Business, that I cannot tell you
a Thousand Things which I have to say to you. I must desire you to
communicate the Contents of this to no one living; but believe me to
be, with the greatest Fidelity,


_Your most Obedient_,

_Humble Servant_,

Stephen Courier.


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

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

_Mr_. SPECTATOR, _Jan_. 24, 1712.

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

_Your Humble Servant_,

Francis Sternhold.


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

[Footnote 2: [_but_]]

* * * * *

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

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


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

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

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

And that in which he describes Adam and Eve.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imparadised in one anothers Arms.

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

The grassie Clods now calvd,--

[Spangled with Eyes--]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The excellence of Diction consists in being perspicuous without being

[Footnote 2:

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

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 6:

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 9: [this]]

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

Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song.

Again a few lines later,

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

Ten lines farther we read of the Serpent

Stirr'd up with envy and revenge.

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

To set himself in glory above his peers,

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

Against the throne and monarchy of God.

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

That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfall.

But none a few lines lower down in

Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heaven.

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

Nomina Honesta praetenduntur vitiis.


York, Jan. 18, 1712.

Mr. Spectator,

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

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


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

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


Your humble Servant,


T. [2]

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

[Footnote 2: [Z.]]

* * * * *

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


[Footnote 1: [Historian]]

[Footnote 2: [that]]

* * * * *

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

--Pavor est utrique molestus.



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

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

Melainie's Complaint is occasioned by so general a Folly, that it is
wonderful one could so long overlook it. But this false Gallantry
proceeds from an Impotence of Mind, which makes those who are guilty of
it incapable of pursuing what they themselves approve. Many a Man wishes
a Woman his Wife whom he dares not take for such. Tho no one has Power
over his Inclinations or Fortunes, he is a Slave to common Fame. For
this Reason I think Melainia gives them too soft a Name in that of Male
Coquets. I know not why Irresolution of Mind should not be more
contemptible than Impotence of Body; and these frivolous Admirers would
be but tenderly used, in being only included in the same Term with the
Insufficient another Way. They whom my Correspondent calls Male Coquets,
shall hereafter be called Fribblers. A Fribbler is one who professes
Rapture and Admiration for the Woman to whom he addresses, and dreads
nothing so much as her Consent. His Heart can flutter by the Force of
Imagination, but cannot fix from the Force of Judgment. It is not
uncommon for the Parents of young Women of moderate Fortune to wink at
the Addresses of Fribblers, and expose their Children to the ambiguous
Behaviour which Melainia complains of, till by the Fondness to one they
are to lose, they become incapable of Love towards others, and by
Consequence in their future Marriage lead a joyless or a miserable Life.

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