Part 29 out of 51
I need not mention to the Reader the beautiful Circumstance in the last
Part of this Quotation. He will likewise observe how naturally the three
Persons concerned in this Allegory are tempted by one common Interest to
enter into a Confederacy together, and how properly Sin is made the
Portress of Hell, and the only Being that can open the Gates to that
World of Tortures.
The descriptive Part of this Allegory is likewise very strong, and full
of Sublime Ideas. The Figure of Death, [the Regal Crown upon his Head,]
his Menace of Satan, his advancing to the Combat, the Outcry at his
Birth, are Circumstances too noble to be past over in Silence, and
extreamly suitable to this King of Terrors. I need not mention the
Justness of Thought which is observed in the Generation of these several
Symbolical Persons; that Sin was produced upon the first Revolt of
Satan, that Death appear'd soon after he was cast into Hell, and that
the Terrors of Conscience were conceived at the Gate of this Place of
Torments. The Description of the Gates is very poetical, as the opening
of them is full of Milton's Spirit.
--On a sudden open fly
With impetuous Recoil and jarring Sound
Th' infernal Doors, and on their Hinges grate
Harsh Thunder, that the lowest Bottom shook
Of Erebus. She open'd, but to shut
Excell'd her Powr; the Gates wide open stood,
That with extended Wings a banner'd Host
Under spread Ensigns marching might pass through
With Horse and Chariots rank'd in loose Array;
So wide they stood, and like a Furnace Mouth
Cast forth redounding Smoak and ruddy Flame.
In Satan's Voyage through the Chaos there are several Imaginary Persons
described, as residing in that immense Waste of Matter. This may perhaps
be conformable to the Taste of those Criticks who are pleased with
nothing in a Poet which has not Life and Manners ascribed to it; but for
my own Part, I am pleased most with those Passages in this Description
which carry in them a greater Measure of Probability, and are such as
might possibly have happened. Of this kind is his first mounting in the
Smoke that rises from the Infernal Pit, his falling into a Cloud of
Nitre, and the like combustible Materials, that by their Explosion still
hurried him forward in his Voyage; his springing upward like a Pyramid
of Fire, with his laborious Passage through that Confusion of Elements
which the Poet calls
The Womb of Nature, and perhaps her Grave.
The Glimmering Light which shot into the Chaos from the utmost Verge of
the Creation, with the distant discovery of the Earth that hung close by
the Moon, are wonderfully Beautiful and Poetical.
* * * * *
No. 310. Monday, February 25, 1712. Steele.
Connubio Jungam stabili--
I am a certain young Woman that love a certain young Man very
heartily; and my Father and Mother were for it a great while, but now
they say I can do better, but I think I cannot. They bid me love him,
and I cannot unlove him. What must I do? speak quickly.
Feb. 19, 1712.
I have lov'd a Lady entirely for this Year and Half, tho for a great
Part of the Time (which has contributed not a little to my Pain) I
have been debarred the Liberty of conversing with her. The Grounds of
our Difference was this; that when we had enquired into each others
Circumstances, we found that at our first setting out into the World,
we should owe five hundred Pounds more than her Fortune would pay off.
My Estate is seven hundred Pounds a Year, besides the benefit of
Tin-Mines. Now, dear SPEC, upon this State of the Case, and the Lady's
positive Declaration that there is still no other Objection, I beg
you'll not fail to insert this, with your Opinion as soon as possible,
whether this ought to be esteemed a just Cause or Impediment why we
should not be join'd, and you will for ever oblige
P. S. Sir, if I marry this Lady by the Assistance of your Opinion, you
may expect a Favour for it.
I have the misfortune to be one of those unhappy Men who are
distinguished by the Name of discarded Lovers; but I am the less
mortified at my Disgrace, because the young Lady is one of those
Creatures who set up for Negligence of Men, are forsooth the most
rigidly Virtuous in the World, and yet their Nicety will permit them,
at the Command of Parents, to go to Bed to the most utter Stranger
that can be proposed to them. As to me my self, I was introduced by
the Father of my Mistress; but find I owe my being at first received
to a Comparison of my Estate with that of a former Lover, and that I
am now in like manner turned off, to give Way to an humble Servant
still richer than I am. What makes this Treatment the more extravagant
is, that the young Lady is in the Management of this way of Fraud, and
obeys her Fathers Orders on these Occasions without any Manner of
Reluctance, and does it with the same Air that one of your Men of the
World would signifie the Necessity of Affairs for turning another out
of Office. When I came home last Night I found this Letter from my
I hope you will not think it is any manner of Disrespect to your
Person or Merit, that the intended Nuptials between us are
interrupted. My Father says he has a much better Offer for me than
you can make, and has ordered me to break off the Treaty between us.
If it had proceeded, I should have behaved my self with all suitable
Regard to you, but as it is, I beg we may be Strangers for the
This great Indifference on this Subject, and the mercenary Motives for
making Alliances, is what I think lies naturally before you, and I beg
of you to give me your Thoughts upon it. My Answer to Lydia was as
follows, which I hope you will approve; for you are to know the
Woman's Family affect a wonderful Ease on these Occasions, tho they
expect it should be painfully received on the Man's Side.
"I have received yours, and knew the Prudence of your House so well,
that I always took Care to be ready to obey your Commands, tho they
should be to see you no more. Pray give my Service to all the good
The Opera Subscription is full.
Memorandum. The Censor of Marriage to consider this Letter, and report
the common Usages on such Treaties, with how many Pounds or Acres are
generally esteemed sufficient Reason for preferring a new to an old
Pretender; with his Opinion what is proper to be determined in such
Cases for the future.
There is an elderly Person, lately left off Business and settled in
our Town, in order, as he thinks, to retire from the World; but he has
brought with him such an Inclination to Talebearing, that he disturbs
both himself and all our Neighbourhood. Notwithstanding this Frailty,
the honest Gentleman is so happy as to have no Enemy: At the same time
he has not one Friend who will venture to acquaint him with his
Weakness. It is not to be doubted but if this Failing were set in a
proper Light, he would quickly perceive the Indecency and evil
Consequences of it. Now, Sir, this being an Infirmity which I hope may
be corrected, and knowing that he pays much Deference to you, I beg
that when you are at Leisure to give us a Speculation on Gossiping,
you would think of my Neighbour: You will hereby oblige several who
will be glad to find a Reformation in their gray-hair'd Friend: And
how becoming will it be for him, instead of pouring forth Words at all
Adventures to set a Watch before the Door of his Mouth, to refrain his
Tongue, to check its Impetuosity, and guard against the Sallies of
that little, pert, forward, busie Person; which, under a sober
Conduct, might prove a useful Member of a Society. In Compliance with
whose Intimations, I have taken the Liberty to make this Address to
I am, SIR,
Your most obscure Servant
Feb. 16, 1712.
This is to Petition you in Behalf of my self and many more of your
gentle Readers, that at any time when you have private Reasons against
letting us know what you think your self, you would be pleased to
pardon us such Letters of your Correspondents as seem to be of no use
but to the Printer.
It is further our humble Request, that you would substitute
Advertisements in the Place of such Epistles; and that in order
hereunto Mr. Buckley may be authorized to take up of your zealous
Friend Mr. Charles Lillie, any Quantity of Words he shall from time to
time have occasion for.
The many useful parts of Knowledge which may be communicated to the
Publick this Way, will, we hope, be a Consideration in favour of your
And your Petitioners, &c.
Note, That particular Regard be had to this Petition; and the Papers
marked Letter R may be carefully examined for the future. 
[Footnote 1: R. is one of Steele's signatures, but he had not used it
since No. 134 for August 3, 1711, every paper of his since that date
having been marked with a T.]
* * * * *
No. 311. Tuesday, February 26, 1712. Addison.
Nec Veneris pharetris macer est; aut lampade fervet:
Inde faces ardent, veniunt a dote sagittae.
I am amazed that among all the Variety of Characters, with which you
have enriched your Speculations, you have never given us a Picture of
those audacious young Fellows among us, who commonly go by the Name of
Fortune-Stealers. You must know, Sir, I am one who live in a continual
Apprehension of this sort of People that lye in wait, Day and Night,
for our Children, and may be considered as a kind of Kidnappers within
the Law. I am the Father of a Young Heiress, whom I begin to look upon
as Marriageable, and who has looked upon her self as such for above
these Six Years. She is now in the Eighteenth Year of her Age. The
Fortune-hunters have already cast their Eyes upon her, and take care
to plant themselves in her View whenever she appears in any Publick
Assembly. I have my self caught a young Jackanapes with a pair of
Silver Fringed Gloves, in the very Fact. You must know, Sir, I have
kept her as a Prisoner of State ever since she was in her Teens. Her
Chamber Windows are cross-barred, she is not permitted to go out of
the House but with her Keeper, who is a stay'd Relation of my own; I
have likewise forbid her the use of Pen and Ink for this Twelve-Month
last past, and do not suffer a Ban-box to be carried into her Room
before it has been searched. Notwithstanding these Precautions, I am
at my Wits End for fear of any sudden Surprize. There were, two or
three Nights ago, some Fiddles heard in the Street, which I am afraid
portend me no Good; not to mention a tall Irish-Man, that has been
seen walking before my House more than once this Winter. My Kinswoman
likewise informs me, that the Girl has talked to her twice or thrice
of a Gentleman in a Fair Wig, and that she loves to go to Church more
than ever she did in her Life. She gave me the slip about a Week ago,
upon which my whole House was in Alarm. I immediately dispatched a Hue
and Cry after her to the Change, to her Mantua-maker, and to the young
Ladies that Visit her; but after above an Hours search she returned
of herself, having been taking a Walk, as she told me, by Rosamond's
Pond. I have hereupon turned off her Woman, doubled her Guards, and
given new Instructions to my Relation, who, to give her her due, keeps
a watchful Eye over all her Motions. This, Sir, keeps me in a
perpetual Anxiety, and makes me very often watch when my Daughter
sleeps, as I am afraid she is even with me in her turn. Now, Sir, what
I would desire of you is, to represent to this fluttering Tribe of
young Fellows, who are for making their Fortunes by these indirect
Means, that stealing a Man's Daughter for the sake of her Portion, is
but a kind of Tolerated Robbery; and that they make but a poor Amends
to the Father, whom they plunder after this Manner, by going to bed
with his Child. Dear Sir, be speedy in your Thoughts on this Subject,
that, if possible, they may appear before the Disbanding of the Army.
I am, SIR,
Your most humble Servant,
Themistocles, the great Athenian General, being asked whether he would
chuse to marry his Daughter to an indigent Man of Merit, or to a
worthless Man of an Estate, replied, That he should prefer a Man without
an Estate, to an Estate without a Man. The worst of it is, our Modern
Fortune-Hunters are those who turn their Heads that way, because they
are good for nothing else. If a young Fellow finds he can make nothing
of Cook and Littleton, he provides himself with a Ladder of Ropes, and
by that means very often enters upon the Premises.
The same Art of Scaling has likewise been practised with good Success by
many military Ingineers. Stratagems of this nature make Parts and
Industry superfluous, and cut short the way to Riches.
Nor is Vanity a less Motive than Idleness to this kind of Mercenary
Pursuit. A Fop who admires his Person in a Glass, soon enters into a
Resolution of making his Fortune by it, not questioning but every Woman
that falls in his way will do him as much Justice as he does himself.
When an Heiress sees a Man throwing particular Graces into his Ogle, or
talking loud within her Hearing, she ought to look to her self; but if
withal she observes a pair of Red-Heels, a Patch, or any other
Particularity in his Dress, she cannot take too much care of her Person.
These are Baits not to be trifled with, Charms that have done a world of
Execution, and made their way into Hearts which have been thought
impregnable. The Force of a Man with these Qualifications is so well
known, that I am credibly informed there are several Female Undertakers
about the Change, who upon the Arrival of a likely Man out of a
neighbouring Kingdom, will furnish him with proper Dress from Head to
Foot, to be paid for at a double Price on the Day of Marriage.
We must however distinguish between Fortune-Hunters and
Fortune-Stealers. The first are those assiduous Gentlemen who employ
their whole Lives in the Chace, without ever coming at the Quarry.
Suffenus has combed and powdered at the Ladies for thirty Years
together, and taken his Stand in a Side Box, till he has grown wrinkled
under their Eyes. He is now laying the same Snares for the present
Generation of Beauties, which he practised on their Mothers. Cottilus,
after having made his Applications to more than you meet with in Mr.
Cowley's Ballad of Mistresses, was at last smitten with a City Lady of
20,000L. Sterling: but died of old Age before he could bring Matters to
bear. Nor must I here omit my worthy Friend Mr. HONEYCOMB, who has often
told us in the Club, that for twenty years successively, upon the death
of a Childless rich Man, he immediately drew on his Boots, called for
his Horse, and made up to the Widow. When he is rallied upon his ill
Success, WILL, with his usual Gaiety tells us, that he always found [her
Widows are indeed the great Game of your Fortune-Hunters. There is
scarce a young Fellow in the Town of six Foot high, that has not passed
in Review before one or other of these wealthy Relicts. Hudibrass's
--took his Stand
Upon a Widows Jointure Land, 
is daily employed in throwing Darts, and kindling Flames. But as for
Widows, they are such a Subtle Generation of People, that they may be
left to their own Conduct; or if they make a false Step in it, they are
answerable for it to no Body but themselves. The young innocent
Creatures who have no Knowledge and Experience of the World, are those
whose Safety I would principally consult in this Speculation. The
stealing of such an one should, in my Opinion, be as punishable as a
Rape. Where there is no Judgment there is no Choice; and why the
inveigling a Woman before she is come to Years of Discretion, should not
be as Criminal as the seducing of her before she is ten Years old, I am
at a Loss to comprehend.
[Footnote 1: them]
[Footnote 2: Hudibras, Part I., Canto 3, II. 310-11.]
* * * * *
No. 312. Wednesday, February 27, 1712. Steele.
Quod huic Officium, quae laus, quod Decus erit tanti, quod adipisci
cum colore Corporis velit, qui dolorem summum malum sibi persuaserit?
Quam porro quis ignominiam, quam turpitudinem non pertulerit, ut
effugiat dolorem, si id summum malum esse decrevit?
Tull. de Dolore tolerando.
It is a very melancholy Reflection, that Men are usually so weak, that
it is absolutely necessary for them to know Sorrow and Pain to be in
their right Senses. Prosperous People (for Happy there are none) are
hurried away with a fond Sense of their present Condition, and
thoughtless of the Mutability of Fortune: Fortune is a Term which we
must use in such Discourses as these, for what is wrought by the unseen
Hand of the Disposer of all Things. But methinks the Disposition of a
Mind which is truly great, is that which makes Misfortunes and Sorrows
little when they befall our selves, great and lamentable when they
befall other Men. The most unpardonable Malefactor in the World going to
his Death and bearing it with Composure, would win the Pity of those who
should behold him; and this not because his Calamity is deplorable, but
because he seems himself not to deplore it: We suffer for him who is
less sensible of his own Misery, and are inclined to despise him who
sinks under the Weight of his Distresses. On the other hand, without any
Touch of Envy, a temperate and well-govern'd Mind looks down on such as
are exalted with Success, with a certain Shame for the Imbecility of
human Nature, that can so far forget how liable it is to Calamity, as to
grow giddy with only the Suspence of Sorrow, which is the Portion of all
Men. He therefore who turns his Face from the unhappy Man, who will not
look again when his Eye is cast upon modest Sorrow, who shuns Affliction
like a Contagion, does but pamper himself up for a Sacrifice, and
contract in himself a greater Aptitude to Misery by attempting to escape
it. A Gentleman where I happened to be last Night, fell into a Discourse
which I thought shewed a good Discerning in him: He took Notice that
whenever Men have looked into their Heart for the Idea of true
Excellency in human Nature, they have found it to consist in Suffering
after a right Manner and with a good Grace. Heroes are always drawn
bearing Sorrows, struggling with Adversities, undergoing all kinds of
Hardships, and having in the Service of Mankind a kind of Appetite to
Difficulties and Dangers. The Gentleman went on to observe, that it is
from this secret Sense of the high Merit which there is in Patience
under Calamities, that the Writers of Romances, when they attempt to
furnish out Characters of the highest Excellence, ransack Nature for
things terrible; they raise a new Creation of Monsters, Dragons, and
Giants: Where the Danger ends, the Hero ceases; when he won an Empire,
or gained his Mistress, the rest of his Story is not worth relating. My
Friend carried his Discourse so far as to say, that it was for higher
Beings than Men to join Happiness and Greatness in the same Idea; but
that in our Condition we have no Conception of superlative Excellence,
or Heroism, but as it is surrounded with a Shade of Distress.
It is certainly the proper Education we should give our selves, to be
prepared for the ill Events and Accidents we are to meet with in a Life
sentenced to be a Scene of Sorrow: But instead of this Expectation, we
soften our selves with Prospects of constant Delight, and destroy in our
Minds the Seeds of Fortitude and Virtue, which should support us in
Hours of Anguish. The constant Pursuit of Pleasure has in it something
insolent and improper for our Being. There is a pretty sober Liveliness
in the Ode of Horace to Delius, where he tells him, loud Mirth, or
immoderate Sorrow, Inequality of Behaviour either in Prosperity or
Adversity, are alike ungraceful in Man that is born to die. Moderation
in both Circumstances is peculiar to generous Minds: Men of that Sort
ever taste the Gratifications of Health, and all other Advantages of
Life, as if they were liable to part with them, and when bereft of them,
resign them with a Greatness of Mind which shews they know their Value
and Duration. The Contempt of Pleasure is a certain Preparatory for the
Contempt of Pain: Without this, the Mind is as it were taken suddenly by
any unforeseen Event; but he that has always, during Health and
Prosperity, been abstinent in his Satisfactions, enjoys, in the worst of
Difficulties, the Reflection, that his Anguish is not aggravated with
the Comparison of past Pleasures which upbraid his present Condition.
Tully tells us a Story after Pompey, which gives us a good Taste of the
pleasant Manner the Men of Wit and Philosophy had in old Times of
alleviating the Distresses of Life by the Force of Reason and
Philosophy. Pompey, when he came to Rhodes, had a Curiosity to visit the
famous Philosopher Possidonius; but finding him in his sick Bed, he
bewailed the Misfortune that he should not hear a Discourse from him:
But you may, answered Possidonius; and immediately entered into the
Point of Stoical Philosophy, which says Pain is not an Evil. During the
Discourse, upon every Puncture he felt from his Distemper, he smiled and
cried out, Pain, Pain, be as impertinent and troublesome as you please,
I shall never own that thou art an Evil.
Having seen in several of your Papers, a Concern for the Honour of the
Clergy, and their doing every thing as becomes their Character, and
particularly performing the publick Service with a due Zeal and
Devotion; I am the more encouraged to lay before them, by your Means,
several Expressions used by some of them in their Prayers before
Sermon, which I am not well satisfied in: As their giving some Titles
and Epithets to great Men, which are indeed due to them in their
several Ranks and Stations, but not properly used, I think, in our
Prayers. Is it not Contradiction to say, Illustrious, Right, Reverend,
and Right Honourable poor Sinners? These Distinctions are suited only
to our State here, and have no place in Heaven: We see they are
omitted in the Liturgy; which I think the Clergy should take for their
Pattern in their own Forms of [Devotion. ] There is another
Expression which I would not mention, but that I have heard it several
times before a learned Congregation, to bring in the last Petition of
the Prayer in these Words, O let not the Lord be angry and I will
speak but this once; as if there was no Difference between Abraham's
interceding for Sodom, for which he had no Warrant as we can find, and
our asking those Things which we are required to pray for; they would
therefore have much more Reason to fear his Anger if they did not make
such Petitions to him. There is another pretty Fancy: When a young Man
has a Mind to let us know who gave him his Scarf, he speaks a
Parenthesis to the Almighty, Bless, as I am in Duty bound to pray, the
right honourable the Countess; is not that as much as to say, Bless
her, for thou knowest I am her Chaplain?
Your humble Servant,
[Footnote 1: Devotion. Another Expression which I take to be improper,
is this, the whole Race of Mankind, when they pray for all Men; for Race
signifies Lineage or Descent; and if the Race of Mankind may be used for
the present generation, (though I think not very fitly) the whole Race
takes in all from the Beginning to the End of the World. I don't
remember to have met with that Expression in their sense anywhere but in
the old Version of Psal. 14, which those Men, I suppose, have but little
Esteem for. And some, when they have prayed for all Schools and Nurserys
of good Learning and True Religion, especially the two Universities, add
these Words, Grant that from them and all other Places dedicated to thy
Worship and Service, may come forth such Persons. But what do they mean
by all other Places? It seems to me that this is either a Tautology, as
being the same with all Schools and Nurserys before expressed, or else
it runs too far; for there are general Places dedicated to the Divine
Service which cannot properly be intended here.]
* * * * *
No. 313. Thursday, February 28, 1712. Budgell.
Exigite ut mores teneros ceu pollice ducat,
Ut si quis cera vultum facit.
I shall give the following Letter no other Recommendation, than by
telling my Readers that it comes from the same Hand with that of last
I send you, according to my Promise, some farther Thoughts on the
Education of Youth, in which I intend to discuss that famous Question,
_Whether the Education at a publick School, or under a private Tutor,
is to be preferred_?
As some of the greatest Men in most Ages have been of very different
Opinions in this Matter, I shall give a short Account of what I think
may be best urged on both sides, and afterwards leave every Person to
determine for himself.
It is certain from _Suetonius_, that the Romans thought the Education
of their Children a business properly belonging to the Parents
themselves; and Plutarch, in the Life of Marcus Cato, tells us, that
as soon as his Son was capable of Learning, Cato would suffer no Body
to Teach him but himself, tho he had a Servant named Chilo, who was
an excellent Grammarian, and who taught a great many other Youths.
On the contrary, the Greeks seemed more inclined to Publick Schools
A private Education promises in the first place Virtue and
Good-Breeding; a publick School Manly Assurance, and an early
Knowledge in the Ways of the World.
Mr. Locke in his celebrated Treatise of Education , confesses
that there are Inconveniencies to be feared on both sides; If, says
he, I keep my Son at Home, he is in danger of becoming my young
Master; If I send him Abroad, it is scarce possible to keep him from
the reigning Contagion of Rudeness and Vice. He will perhaps be more
Innocent at Home, but more ignorant of the World, and more sheepish
when he comes Abroad. However, as this learned Author asserts, That
Virtue is much more difficult to be attained than Knowledge of the
World; and that Vice is a more stubborn, as well as a more dangerous
Fault than Sheepishness, he is altogether for a private Education; and
the more so, because he does not see why a Youth, with right
Management, might not attain the same Assurance in his Fathers House,
as at a publick School. To this end he advises Parents to accustom
their Sons to whatever strange Faces come to the House; to take them
with them when they Visit their Neighbours, and to engage them in
Conversation with Men of Parts and Breeding.
It may be objected to this Method, that Conversation is not the only
thing necessary, but that unless it be a Conversation with such as are
in some measure their Equals in Parts and Years, there can be no room
for Emulation, Contention, and several of the most lively Passions of
the Mind; which, without being sometimes moved by these means, may
possibly contract a Dulness and Insensibility.
One of the greatest Writers our Nation ever produced observes, That a
Boy who forms Parties, and makes himself Popular in a School or a
College, would act the same Part with equal ease in a Senate or a
Privy Council; and Mr. Osborn speaking like a Man versed in the Ways
of the World, affirms, that the well laying and carrying on of a
design to rob an Orchard, trains up a Youth insensibly to Caution,
Secrecy and Circumspection, and fits him for Matters of greater
In short, a private Education seems the most natural Method for the
forming of a virtuous Man; a Publick Education for making a Man of
Business. The first would furnish out a good Subject for Plato's
Republick, the latter a Member for a Community over-run with Artifice
It must however be confessed, that a Person at the head of a publick
School has sometimes so many Boys under his Direction, that it is
impossible he should extend a due proportion of his Care to each of
them. This is, however, in reality, the Fault of the Age, in which we
often see twenty Parents, who tho each expects his Son should be made
a Scholar, are not contented altogether to make it worth while for any
Man of a liberal Education to take upon him the Care of their
In our great Schools indeed this Fault has been of late Years
rectified, so that we have at present not only Ingenious Men for the
chief Masters, but such as have proper Ushers and Assistants under
them; I must nevertheless own, that for want of the same Encouragement
in the Country, we have many a promising Genius spoiled and abused in
I am the more inclined to this Opinion, having my self experienced
the Usage of two Rural Masters, each of them very unfit for the Trust
they took upon them to discharge. The first imposed much more upon me
than my Parts, tho none of the weakest, could endure; and used me
barbarously for not performing Impossibilities. The latter was of
quite another Temper; and a Boy, who would run upon his Errands, wash
his Coffee-pot, or ring the Bell, might have as little Conversation
with any of the Classicks as he thought fit. I have known a Lad at
this Place excused his Exercise for assisting the Cook-maid; and
remember a Neighbouring Gentleman's Son was among us five Years, most
of which time he employed in airing and watering our Masters grey
Pad. I scorned to Compound for my Faults, by doing any of these
Elegant Offices, and was accordingly the best Scholar, and the worst
used of any Boy in the School.
I shall conclude this Discourse with an Advantage mentioned by
Quintilian, as accompanying a Publick way of Education, which I have
not yet taken notice of; namely, That we very often contract such
Friendships at School, as are a Service to us all the following Part
of our Lives.
I shall give you, under this Head, a Story very well known to several
Persons, and which you may depend upon as a real Truth.
Every one, who is acquainted with Westminster-School, knows that
there is a Curtain which used to be drawn a-cross the Room, to
separate the upper School from the lower. A Youth happened, by some
Mischance, to tear the above-mentioned Curtain: The Severity of the
Master  was too well known for the Criminal to expect any Pardon
for such a Fault; so that the Boy, who was of a meek Temper, was
terrified to Death at the Thoughts of his Appearance, when his Friend,
who sat next to him, bad him be of good Cheer, for that he would take
the Fault on himself. He kept his word accordingly. As soon as they
were grown up to be Men the Civil War broke out, in which our two
Friends took the opposite Sides, one of them followed the Parliament,
the other the Royal Party.
As their Tempers were different, the Youth, who had torn the Curtain,
endeavoured to raise himself on the Civil List, and the other, who had
born the Blame of it, on the Military: The first succeeded so well,
that he was in a short time made a Judge under the Protector. The
other was engaged in the unhappy Enterprize of Penruddock and Groves
in the West. I suppose, Sir, I need not acquaint you with the Event of
that Undertaking. Every one knows that the Royal Party was routed, and
all the Heads of them, among whom was the Curtain Champion, imprisoned
at Exeter. It happened to be his Friends Lot at that time to go to
the Western Circuit: The Tryal of the Rebels, as they were then
called, was very short, and nothing now remained but to pass Sentence
on them; when the Judge hearing the Name of his old Friend, and
observing his Face more attentively, which he had not seen for many
Years, asked him, if he was not formerly a Westminster-Scholar; by the
Answer, he was soon convinced that it was his former generous Friend;
and, without saying any thing more at that time, made the best of his
Way to London, where employing all his Power and Interest with the
Protector, he saved his Friend from the Fate of his unhappy
The Gentleman, whose Life was thus preserv'd by the Gratitude of his
School-Fellow, was afterwards the Father of a Son, whom he lived to
see promoted in the Church, and who still deservedly fills one of the
highest Stations in it. 
[Footnote 1: Some Thoughts concerning Education, Sec. 70. The references to
Suetonius and Plutarch's Life of Cato are from the preceding section.]
[Footnote 2: Richard Busby; appointed in 1640.]
[Footnote 3: The allusion is to Colonel Wake, father of Dr. William
Wake, who was Bishop of Lincoln when this paper was written, and because
in 1716 Archbishop of Canterbury. The trials of Penruddock and his
friends were in 1685.]
* * * * *
No. 314. Friday, February 29, 1712. Steele.
Tandem desine Matrem
Tempestiva sequi viro.
Hor. Od. 23.
Feb. 7, 1711-12.
I am a young Man about eighteen Years of Age, and have been in Love
with a young Woman of the same Age about this half Year. I go to see
her six Days in the Week, but never could have the Happiness of being
with her alone. If any of her Friends are at home, she will see me in
their Company; but if they be not in the Way, she flies to her
Chamber. I can discover no Signs of her Aversion; but either a Fear of
falling into the Toils of Matrimony, or a childish Timidity, deprives
us of an Interview apart, and drives us upon the Difficulty of
languishing out our Lives in fruitless Expectation. Now, Mr.
SPECTATOR, if you think us ripe for Oeconomy, perswade the dear
Creature, that to pine away into Barrenness and Deformity under a
Mothers Shade, is not so honourable, nor does she appear so amiable,
as she would in full Bloom. [_There is a great deal left out before he
concludes_] Mr. SPECTATOR,
_Your humble Servant_,
If this Gentleman be really no more than Eighteen, I must do him the
Justice to say he is the most knowing Infant I have yet met with. He
does not, I fear, yet understand, that all he thinks of is another
Woman; therefore, till he has given a further Account of himself, the
young Lady is hereby directed to keep close to her Mother. The
I cannot comply with the Request in Mr. Trott's Letter; but let it go
just as it came to my Hands, for being so familiar with the old
Gentleman, as rough as he is to him. Since Mr. Trott has an Ambition to
make him his Father-in-Law, he ought to treat him with more Respect;
besides, his Style to me might have been more distant than he has
thought fit to afford me: Moreover, his Mistress shall continue in her
Confinement, till he has found out which Word in his Letter is not
I shall ever own my self your obliged humble Servant for the Advice
you gave me concerning my Dancing; which unluckily came too late: For,
as I said, I would not leave off Capering till I had your Opinion of
the Matter; was at our famous Assembly the Day before I received your
Papers, and there was observed by an old Gentleman, who was informed I
had a Respect for his Daughter; told me I was an insignificant little
Fellow, and said that for the future he would take Care of his Child;
so that he did not doubt but to crosse my amorous Inclinations. The
Lady is confined to her Chamber, and for my Part, am ready to hang my
self with the Thoughts that I have danced my self out of Favour with
her Father. I hope you will pardon the Trouble I give; but shall take
it for a mighty Favour, if you will give me a little more of your
Advice to put me in a write Way to cheat the old Dragon and obtain my
Mistress. I am once more,
Your obliged humble Servant, John Trott.
York, Feb. 23, 1711-12.
Let me desire you to make what Alterations you please, and insert this
as soon as possible. Pardon Mistake by Haste.
I never do pardon Mistakes by Haste. The SPECTATOR.
Feb. 27, 1711-12.
Pray be so kind as to let me know what you esteem to be the chief
Qualification of a good Poet, especially of one who writes Plays; and
you will very much oblige,
SIR, Your very humble Servant, N. B.
To be a very well-bred Man. The SPECTATOR.
You are to know that I am naturally Brave, and love Fighting as well
as any Man in England. This gallant Temper of mine makes me extremely
delighted with Battles on the Stage. I give you this Trouble to
complain to you, that Nicolini refused to gratifie me in that Part of
the Opera for which I have most Taste. I observe its become a Custom,
that whenever any Gentlemen are particularly pleased with a Song, at
their crying out Encore or Altro Volto, the Performer is so obliging
as to sing it over again. I was at the Opera the last time Hydaspes
was performed. At that Part of it where the Heroe engages with the
Lion, the graceful Manner with which he put that terrible Monster to
Death gave me so great a Pleasure, and at the same time so just a
Sense of that Gentleman's Intrepidity and Conduct, that I could not
forbear desiring a Repetition of it, by crying out Altro Volto in a
very audible Voice; and my Friends flatter me, that I pronounced those
Words with a tolerable good Accent, considering that was but the third
Opera I had ever seen in my Life. Yet, notwithstanding all this, there
was so little Regard had to me, that the Lion was carried off, and
went to Bed, without being killed any more that Night. Now, Sir, pray
consider that I did not understand a Word of what Mr. Nicolini said to
this cruel Creature; besides, I have no Ear for Musick; so that during
the long Dispute between em, the whole Entertainment I had was from
my Eye; Why then have not I as much Right to have a graceful Action
repeated as another has a pleasing Sound, since he only hears as I
only see, and we neither of us know that there is any reasonable thing
a doing? Pray, Sir, settle the Business of this Claim in the Audience,
and let us know when we may cry Altro Volto, Anglice, again, again,
for the Future. I am an Englishman, and expect some Reason or other to
be given me, and perhaps an ordinary one may serve; but I expect your
I am, SIR,
Your most humble Servant,
You must give me Leave, amongst the rest of your Female
Correspondents, to address you about an Affair which has already given
you many a Speculation; and which, I know, I need not tell you have
had a very happy Influence over the adult Part of our Sex: But as many
of us are either too old to learn, or too obstinate in the Pursuit of
the Vanities which have been bred up with us from our Infancy, and all
of us quitting the Stage whilst you are prompting us to act our Part
well; you ought, methinks, rather to turn your Instructions for the
Benefit of that Part of our Sex, who are yet in their native
Innocence, and ignorant of the Vices and that Variety of Unhappinesses
that reign amongst us.
I must tell you, Mr. SPECTATOR, that it is as much a Part of your
Office to oversee the Education of the female Part of the Nation, as
well as of the Male; and to convince the World you are not partial,
pray proceed to detect the Male Administration of Governesses as
successfully as you have exposed that of Pedagogues; and rescue our
Sex from the Prejudice and Tyranny of Education as well as that of
your own, who without your seasonable Interposition are like to
improve upon the Vices that are now in vogue.
I who know the Dignity of your Post, as SPECTATOR, and the Authority a
skilful Eye ought to bear in the Female World, could not forbear
consulting you, and beg your Advice in so critical a Point, as is that
of the Education of young Gentlewomen. Having already provided myself
with a very convenient House in a good Air, I'm not without Hope but
that you will promote this generous Design. I must farther tell you,
Sir, that all who shall be committed to my Conduct, beside the usual
Accomplishments of the Needle, Dancing, and the French Tongue, shall
not fail to be your constant Readers. It is therefore my humble
Petition, that you will entertain the Town on this important Subject,
and so far oblige a Stranger, as to raise a Curiosity and Enquiry in
my Behalf, by publishing the following Advertisement.
I am, SIR,
Your constant Admirer,
* * * * *
The Boarding-School for young Gentlewomen, which was formerly kept on
Mile-End-Green, being laid down, there is now one set up almost opposite
to it at the two Golden-Balls, and much more convenient in every
Respect; where, beside the common Instructions given to young
Gentlewomen, they will be taught the whole Art of Paistrey and
Preserving, with whatever may render them accomplished. Those who please
to make Tryal of the Vigilance and Ability of the Persons concerned may
enquire at the two Golden-Balls on Mile-End-Green near Stepney, where
they will receive further Satisfaction.
This is to give Notice, that the SPECTATOR has taken upon him to be
Visitant of all Boarding-Schools, where young Women are educated; and
designs to proceed in the said Office after the same Manner that the
Visitants of Colleges do in the two famous Universities of this Land.
All Lovers who write to the SPECTATOR, are desired to forbear one
Expression which is in most of the Letters to him, either out of
Laziness, or want of Invention, and is true of not above two thousand
Women in the whole World; viz. She has in her all that is valuable in
* * * * *
No. 315 Saturday, March 1, 1712. Addison.
Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus
Horace advises a Poet to consider thoroughly the Nature and Force of his
Genius.  Milton seems to have known perfectly well, wherein his
Strength lay, and has therefore chosen a Subject entirely conformable to
those Talents, of which he was Master. As his Genius was wonderfully
turned to the Sublime, his Subject is the noblest that could have
entered into the Thoughts of Man. Every thing that is truly great and
astonishing, has a place in it. The whole System of the intellectual
World; the Chaos, and the Creation; Heaven, Earth and Hell; enter into
the Constitution of his Poem.
Having in the First and Second Books represented the Infernal World with
all its Horrors, the Thread of his Fable naturally leads him into the
opposite Regions of Bliss and Glory.
If Milton's Majesty forsakes him any where, it is in those Parts of his
Poem, where the Divine Persons are introduced as Speakers. One may, I
think, observe that the Author proceeds with a kind of Fear and
Trembling, whilst he describes the Sentiments of the Almighty. He dares
not give his Imagination its full Play, but chuses to confine himself to
such Thoughts as are drawn from the Books of the most Orthodox Divines,
and to such Expressions as may be met with in Scripture. The Beauties,
therefore, which we are to look for in these Speeches, are not of a
Poetical Nature, nor so proper to fill the Mind with Sentiments of
Grandeur, as with Thoughts of Devotion. The Passions, which they are
designed to raise, are a Divine Love and Religious Fear. The Particular
Beauty of the Speeches in the Third Book, consists in that Shortness and
Perspicuity of Style, in which the Poet has couched the greatest
Mysteries of Christianity, and drawn together, in a regular Scheme, the
whole Dispensation of Providence, with respect to Man. He has
represented all the abstruse Doctrines of Predestination, Free-Will and
Grace, as also the great Points of Incarnation and Redemption, (which
naturally grow up in a Poem that treats of the Fall of Man) with great
Energy of Expression, and in a clearer and stronger Light than I ever
met with in any other Writer. As these Points are dry in themselves to
the generality of Readers, the concise and clear manner in which he has
treated them, is very much to be admired, as is likewise that particular
Art which he has made use of in the interspersing of all those Graces of
Poetry, which the Subject was capable of receiving.
The Survey of the whole Creation, and of every thing that is transacted
in it, is a Prospect worthy of Omniscience; and as much above that, in
which Virgil has drawn his Jupiter, as the Christian Idea of the Supreme
Being is more Rational and Sublime than that of the Heathens. The
particular Objects on which he is described to have cast his Eye, are
represented in the most beautiful and lively Manner.
Now had th' Almighty Father from above,
(From the pure Empyrean where he sits
High thron'd above all height) bent down his Eye,
His own Works and their Works at once to view.
About him all the Sanctities of Heavn
Stood thick as Stars, and from his Sight received
Beatitude past uttrance: On his right
The radiant Image of his Glory sat,
His only Son. On earth he first beheld
Our two first Parents, yet the only two
Of Mankind, in the happy garden plac'd,
Reaping immortal fruits of Joy and Love;
Uninterrupted Joy, unrival'd Love
In blissful Solitude. He then surveyed
Hell and the Gulph between, and Satan there
Coasting the Wall of Heaven on this side Night,
In the dun air sublime; and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feel
On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
Firm land imbosom'd without firmament;
Uncertain which, in Ocean or in Air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.
Satan's Approach to the Confines of the Creation, is finely imaged in
the beginning of the Speech, which immediately follows. The Effects of
this Speech in the blessed Spirits, and in the Divine Person to whom it
was addressed, cannot but fill the Mind of the Reader with a secret
Pleasure and Complacency.
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd
All Heavn, and in the blessed Spirits elect
Sense of new Joy ineffable diffus'd.
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious, in him all his Father shone
Substantially expressed, and in his face
Divine Compassion visibly appeared,
Love without end, and without measure Grace.
I need not point out the Beauty of that Circumstance, wherein the whole
Host of Angels are represented as standing Mute; nor shew how proper the
Occasion was to produce such a Silence in Heaven. The Close of this
Divine Colloquy, with the Hymn of Angels that follows upon it, are so
wonderfully Beautiful and Poetical, that I should not forbear inserting
the whole Passage, if the Bounds of my Paper would give me leave.
No sooner had th' Almighty ceas'd, but all
The multitudes of Angels with a shout
(Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
As from blest Voices) uttring Joy, Heavn rung
With Jubilee, and loud Hosannas fill'd
Th' eternal regions; &c. &c.--
Satan's Walk upon the Outside of the Universe, which, at a Distance,
appeared to him of a globular Form, but, upon his nearer Approach,
looked like an unbounded Plain, is natural and noble: As his Roaming
upon the Frontiers of the Creation between that Mass of Matter, which
was wrought into a World, and that shapeless unformed Heap of Materials,
which still lay in Chaos and Confusion, strikes the Imagination with
something astonishingly great and wild. I have before spoken of the
Limbo of Vanity, which the Poet places upon this outermost Surface of
the Universe, and shall here explain my self more at large on that, and
other Parts of the Poem, which are of the same Shadowy Nature.
Aristotle observes, that the Fable of an Epic Poem should abound in
Circumstances that are both credible and astonishing; or as the French
Criticks chuse to phrase it, the Fable should be filled with the
Probable and the Marvellous. This Rule is as fine and just as any in
Aristotle's whole Art of Poetry.
If the Fable is only Probable, it differs nothing from a true History;
if it is only Marvellous, it is no better than a Romance. The great
Secret therefore of Heroic Poetry is to relate such Circumstances, as
may produce in the Reader at the same time both Belief and Astonishment.
This is brought to pass in a well-chosen Fable, by the Account of such
things as have really happened, or at least of such things as have
happened according to the received Opinions of Mankind. Milton's Fable
is a Masterpiece of this Nature; as the War in Heaven, the Condition of
the fallen Angels, the State of Innocence, and Temptation of the
Serpent, and the Fall of Man, though they are very astonishing in
themselves, are not only credible, but actual Points of Faith.
The next Method of reconciling Miracles with Credibility, is by a happy
Invention of the Poet; as in particular, when he introduces Agents of a
superior Nature, who are capable of effecting what is wonderful, and
what is not to be met with in the ordinary course of things. Ulysses's
Ship being turned into a Rock, and AEneas's Fleet into a Shoal of Water
Nymphs; though they are very surprising Accidents, are nevertheless
probable, when we are told that they were the Gods who thus transformed
them. It is this kind of Machinery which fills the Poems both of Homer
and Virgil with such Circumstances as are wonderful, but not impossible,
and so frequently produce in the Reader the most pleasing Passion that
can rise in the Mind of Man, which is Admiration. If there be any
Instance in the AEneid liable to Exception upon this Account, it is in
the Beginning of the Third Book, where AEneas is represented as tearing
up the Myrtle that dropped Blood. To qualifie this wonderful
Circumstance, Polydorus tells a Story from the Root of the Myrtle, that
the barbarous Inhabitants of the Country having pierced him with Spears
and Arrows, the Wood which was left in his Body took Root in his Wounds,
and gave Birth to that bleeding Tree. This Circumstance seems to have
the Marvellous without the Probable, because it is represented as
proceeding from Natural Causes, without the Interposition of any God, or
other Supernatural Power capable of producing it. The Spears and Arrows
grow of themselves, without so much as the Modern Help of an
Enchantment. If we look into the Fiction of Milton's Fable, though we
find it full of surprizing Incidents, they are generally suited to our
Notions of the Things and Persons described, and tempered with a due
Measure of Probability. I must only make an Exception to the Limbo of
Vanity, with his Episode of Sin and Death, and some of the imaginary
Persons in his Chaos. These Passages are astonishing, but not credible;
the Reader cannot so far impose upon himself as to see a Possibility in
them; they are the Description of Dreams and Shadows, not of Things or
Persons. I know that many Criticks look upon the Stories of Circe,
Polypheme, the Sirens, nay the whole Odyssey and Iliad, to be
Allegories; but allowing this to be true, they are Fables, which
considering the Opinions of Mankind that prevailed in the Age of the
Poet, might possibly have been according to the Letter. The Persons are
such as might have acted what is ascribed to them, as the Circumstances
in which they are represented, might possibly have been Truths and
Realities. This Appearance of Probability is so absolutely requisite in
the greater kinds of Poetry, that Aristotle observes the Ancient Tragick
Writers made use of the Names of such great Men as had actually lived in
the World, tho the Tragedy proceeded upon Adventures they were never
engaged in, on purpose to make the Subject more Credible. In a Word,
besides the hidden Meaning of an Epic Allegory, the plain litteral Sense
ought to appear Probable. The Story should be such as an ordinary Reader
may acquiesce in, whatever Natural, Moral, or Political Truth may be
discovered in it by Men of greater Penetration.
Satan, after having long wandered upon the Surface, or outmost Wall of
the Universe, discovers at last a wide Gap in it, which led into the
Creation, and is described as the Opening through which the Angels pass
to and fro into the lower World, upon their Errands to Mankind. His
Sitting upon the Brink of this Passage, and taking a Survey of the whole
Face of Nature that appeared to him new and fresh in all its Beauties,
with the Simile illustrating this Circumstance, fills the Mind of the
Reader with as surprizing and glorious an Idea as any that arises in the
whole Poem. He looks down into that vast Hollow of the Universe with the
Eye, or (as Milton calls it in his first Book) with the Kenn of an
Angel. He surveys all the Wonders in this immense Amphitheatre that lye
between both the Poles of Heaven, and takes in at one View the whole
Round of the Creation.
His Flight between the several Worlds that shined on every side of him,
with the particular Description of the Sun, are set forth in all the
Wantonness of a luxuriant Imagination. His Shape, Speech and Behaviour
upon his transforming himself into an Angel of Light, are touched with
exquisite Beauty. The Poets Thought of directing Satan to the Sun,
which in the vulgar Opinion of Mankind is the most conspicuous Part of
the Creation, and the placing in it an Angel, is a Circumstance very
finely contrived, and the more adjusted to a Poetical Probability, as it
was a received Doctrine among the most famous Philosophers, that every
Orb had its Intelligence; and as an Apostle in Sacred Writ is said to
have seen such an Angel in the Sun. In the Answer which this Angel
returns to the disguised evil Spirit, there is such a becoming Majesty
as is altogether suitable to a Superior Being. The Part of it in which
he represents himself as present at the Creation, is very noble in it
self, and not only proper where it is introduced, but requisite to
prepare the Reader for what follows in the Seventh Book.
I saw when at his Word the formless Mass,
This Worlds material Mould, came to a Heap:
Confusion heard his Voice, and wild Uproar
Stood rul'd, stood vast Infinitude confin'd.
Till at his second Bidding Darkness fled,
Light shon, &c.
In the following Part of the Speech he points out the Earth with such
Circumstances, that the Reader can scarce forbear fancying himself
employed on the same distant View of it.
Look downward on the Globe whose hither Side
With Light from hence, tho but reflected, shines;
That place is Earth, the Seat of Man, that Light
His Day, &c.
I must not conclude my Reflections upon this Third Book of Paradise
Lost, without taking Notice of that celebrated Complaint of Milton with
which it opens, and which certainly deserves all the Praises that have
been given it; tho as I have before hinted, it may rather be looked
upon as an Excrescence, than as an essential Part of the Poem. The same
Observation might be applied to that beautiful Digression upon
Hypocrisie, in the same Book.
[Footnote 1: De Arte Poetica. II. 38-40.]
[Footnote 2: Poetics, iii. 4.
The surprising is necessary in tragedy; but the Epic Poem goes
farther, and admits even the improbable and incredible, from which the
highest degree of the surprising results, because there the action is
* * * * *
No. 316. Monday, March 3, 1712. John Hughes.
Libertas; quae sera tamen respexit Inertem.
Virg. Ecl. I.
If you ever read a Letter which is sent with the more Pleasure for
the Reality of its Complaints, this may have Reason to hope for a
favourable Acceptance; and if Time be the most irretrievable Loss, the
Regrets which follow will be thought, I hope, the most justifiable.
The regaining of my Liberty from a long State of Indolence and
Inactivity, and the Desire of resisting the further Encroachments of
Idleness, make me apply to you; and the Uneasiness with which I I
recollect the past Years, and the Apprehensions with which I expect
the Future, soon determined me to it.
Idleness is so general a Distemper that I cannot but imagine a
Speculation on this Subject will be of universal Use. There is hardly
any one Person without some Allay of it; and thousands besides my self
spend more Time in an idle Uncertainty which to begin first of two
Affairs, that would have been sufficient to have ended them both. The
Occasion of this seems to be the Want of some necessary Employment, to
put the Spirits in Motion, and awaken them out of their Lethargy. If I
had less Leisure, I should have more; for I should then find my Time
distinguished into Portions, some for Business, and others for the
indulging of Pleasures: But now one Face of Indolence overspreads the
whole, and I have no Land-mark to direct my self by. Were ones Time a
little straitned by Business, like Water inclosed in its Banks, it
would have some determined Course; but unless it be put into some
Channel it has no Current, but becomes a Deluge without either Use or
When Scanderbeg Prince of Epirus was dead, the Turks, who had but too
often felt the Force of his Arm in the Battels he had won from them,
imagined that by wearing a piece of his Bones near their Heart, they
should be animated with a Vigour and Force like to that which inspired
him when living. As I am like to be but of little use whilst I live, I
am resolved to do what Good I can after my Decease; and have
accordingly ordered my Bones to be disposed of in this Manner for the
Good of my Countrymen, who are troubled with too exorbitant a Degree
of Fire. All Fox-hunters upon wearing me, would in a short Time be
brought to endure their Beds in a Morning, and perhaps even quit them
with Regret at Ten: Instead of hurrying away to teaze a poor Animal,
and run away from their own Thoughts, a Chair or a Chariot would be
thought the most desirable Means of performing a Remove from one Place
to another. I should be a Cure for the unnatural Desire of John Trott
for Dancing, and a Specifick to lessen the Inclination Mrs. Fidget has
to Motion, and cause her always to give her Approbation to the present
Place she is in. In fine, no Egyptian Mummy was ever half so useful in
Physick, as I should be to these feaverish Constitutions, to repress
the violent Sallies of Youth, and give each Action its proper Weight
I can stifle any violent Inclination, and oppose a Torrent of Anger,
or the Sollicitations of Revenge, with Success. But Indolence is a
Stream which flows slowly on, but yet undermines the Foundation of
every Virtue. A Vice of a more lively Nature were a more desirable
Tyrant than this Rust of the Mind, which gives a Tincture of its
Nature to every Action of ones Life. It were as little Hazard to be
lost in a Storm, as to lye thus perpetually becalmed: And it is to no
Purpose to have within one the Seeds of a thousand good Qualities, if
we want the Vigour and Resolution necessary for the exerting them.
Death brings all Persons back to an Equality; and this Image of it,
this Slumber of the Mind, leaves no Difference between the greatest
Genius and the meanest Understanding: A Faculty of doing things
remarkably praise-worthy thus concealed, is of no more use to the
Owner, than a Heap of Gold to the Man who dares not use it.
To-Morrow is still the fatal Time when all is to be rectified:
To-Morrow comes, it goes, and still I please my self with the Shadow,
whilst I lose the Reality; unmindful that the present Time alone is
ours, the future is yet unborn, and the past is dead, and can only
live (as Parents in their Children) in the Actions it has produced.
The Time we live ought not to be computed by the Numbers of Years,
but by the Use has been made of it; thus tis not the Extent of
Ground, but the yearly Rent which gives the Value to the Estate.
Wretched and thoughtless Creatures, in the only Place where
Covetousness were a Virtue we turn Prodigals! Nothing lies upon our
Hands with such Uneasiness, nor has there been so many Devices for any
one Thing, as to make it slide away imperceptibly and to no purpose. A
Shilling shall be hoarded up with Care, whilst that which is above the
Price of an Estate, is flung away with Disregard and Contempt. There
is nothing now-a-days so much avoided, as a sollicitous Improvement of
every part of Time; tis a Report must be shunned as one tenders the
Name of a Wit and a fine Genius, and as one fears the Dreadful
Character of a laborious Plodder: But notwithstanding this, the
greatest Wits any Age has produced thought far otherwise; for who can
think either Socrates or Demosthenes lost any Reputation, by their
continual Pains both in overcoming the Defects and improving the Gifts
of Nature. All are acquainted with the Labour and Assiduity with which
Tully acquired his Eloquence.
Seneca in his Letters to Lucelius assures him, there was not a Day
in which he did not either write something, or read and epitomize some
good Author; and I remember Pliny in one of his Letters, where he
gives an Account of the various Methods he used to fill up every
Vacancy of Time, after several Imployments which he enumerates;
sometimes, says he, I hunt; but even then I carry with me a
Pocket-Book, that whilst my Servants are busied in disposing of the
Nets and other Matters I may be employed in something that may be
useful to me in my Studies; and that if I miss of my Game, I may at
the least bring home some of my own Thoughts with me, and not have the
Mortification of having caught nothing all Day.
Thus, Sir, you see how many Examples I recall to Mind, and what
Arguments I use with my self, to regain my Liberty: But as I am afraid
tis no Ordinary Perswasion that will be of Service, I shall expect
your Thoughts on this Subject, with the greatest Impatience,
especially since the Good will not be confined to me alone, but will
be of Universal Use. For there is no Hopes of Amendment where Men are
pleased with their Ruin, and whilst they think Laziness is a desirable
Character: Whether it be that they like the State it self, or that
they think it gives them a new Lustre when they do exert themselves,
seemingly to be able to do that without Labour and Application, which
others attain to but with the greatest Diligence.
I am, SIR,
Your most obliged humble Servant,
Clytander to Cleone.
Permission to love you is all I desire, to conquer all the
Difficulties those about you place in my Way, to surmount and acquire
all those Qualifications you expect in him who pretends to the Honour
Your most humble Servant,
[Footnote 1: Ep. 2.]
[Footnote 2: Ep. I. 6.]
* * * * *
No. 317. Tuesday, March 4, 1712 Addison.
--fruges consumere nati.
Augustus, a few Moments before his Death, asked his Friends who stood
about him, if they thought he had acted his Part well; and upon
receiving such an Answer as was due to his extraordinary Merit, _Let me
then, says he, go off the Stage with your Applause_; using the
Expression with which the Roman Actors made their _Exit_ at the
Conclusion of a Dramatick Piece. I could wish that Men, while they are
in Health, would consider well the Nature of the Part they are engaged
in, and what Figure it will make in the Minds of those they leave behind
them: Whether it was worth coming into the World for; whether it be
suitable to a reasonable Being; in short, whether it appears Graceful in
this Life, or will turn to an Advantage in the next. Let the Sycophant,
or Buffoon, the Satyrist, or the Good Companion, consider with himself,
when his Body shall be laid in the Grave, and his Soul pass into another
State of Existence, how much it will redound to his Praise to have it
said of him, that no Man in England eat better, that he had an admirable
Talent at turning his Friends into Ridicule, that no Body out-did him at
an Ill-natured Jest, or that he never went to Bed before he had
dispatched his third Bottle. These are, however, very common Funeral
Orations, and Elogiums on deceased Persons who have acted among Mankind
with some Figure and Reputation.
But if we look into the Bulk of our Species, they are such as are not
likely to be remembred a Moment after their Disappearance. They leave
behind them no Traces of their Existence, but are forgotten as tho they
had never been. They are neither wanted by the Poor, regretted by the
Rich, [n]or celebrated by the Learned. They are neither missed in the
Commonwealth, nor lamented by private Persons. Their Actions are of no
Significancy to Mankind, and might have been performed by Creatures of
much less Dignity, than those who are distinguished by the Faculty of
Reason. An eminent French Author speaks somewhere to the following
Purpose: I have often seen from my Chamber-window two noble Creatures,
both of them of an erect Countenance and endowed with Reason. These two
intellectual Beings are employed from Morning to Night, in rubbing two
smooth Stones one upon another; that is, as the Vulgar phrase it, in
My Friend, Sir ANDREW FREEPORT, as we were sitting in the Club last
Night, gave us an Account of a sober Citizen, who died a few Days since.
This honest Man being of greater Consequence in his own Thoughts, than
in the Eye of the World, had for some Years past kept a Journal of his
Life. Sir ANDREW shewed us one Week of it. [Since ] the Occurrences
set down in it mark out such a Road of Action as that I have been
speaking of, I shall present my Reader with a faithful Copy of it; after
having first inform'd him, that the Deceased Person had in his Youth
been bred to Trade, but finding himself not so well turned for Business,
he had for several Years last past lived altogether upon a moderate
MONDAY, Eight-a-Clock. I put on my Cloaths and walked into the
Nine a-Clock, ditto. Tied my Knee-strings, and washed my Hands.
Hours Ten, Eleven and Twelve. Smoaked three Pipes of Virginia. Read
the Supplement and Daily Courant. Things go ill in the North. Mr.
Nisby's Opinion thereupon.
One a-Clock in the Afternoon. Chid Ralph for mislaying my Tobacco-Box.
Two a-Clock. Sate down to Dinner. Mem. Too many Plumbs, and no Sewet.
From Three to Four. Took my Afternoons Nap.
From Four to Six. Walked into the Fields. Wind, S. S. E.
From Six to Ten. At the Club. Mr. Nisby's Opinion about the Peace.
Ten a-Clock. Went to Bed, slept sound.
TUESDAY, BEING HOLIDAY, Eight a-Clock. Rose as usual.
Nine a-Clock. Washed Hands and Face, shaved, put on my double-soaled
Ten, Eleven, Twelve. Took a Walk to Islington.
One. Took a Pot of Mother Cobs Mild.
Between Two and Three. Return'd, dined on a Knuckle of Veal and Bacon.
Mem. Sprouts wanting.
Three. Nap as usual.
From Four to Six. Coffee-house. Read the News. A Dish of Twist. Grand
From Six to Ten. At the Club. Mr. Nisby's Account of the Great Turk.
Ten. Dream of the Grand Vizier. Broken Sleep.
WEDNESDAY, Eight a-Clock. Tongue of my Shooe-Buckle broke. Hands but
Nine. Paid off the Butchers Bill. Mem. To be allowed for the last Leg
Ten, Eleven. At the Coffee-house. More Work in the North. Stranger in
a black Wigg asked me how Stocks went.
From Twelve to One. Walked in the Fields. Wind to the South.
From One to Two. Smoaked a Pipe and an half.
Two. Dined as usual. Stomach good.
Three. Nap broke by the falling of a Pewter Dish. Mem. Cook-maid in
Love, and grown careless.
From Four to Six. At the Coffee-house. Advice from Smyrna, that the
Grand Vizier was first of all strangled, and afterwards beheaded.
Six a-Clock in the Evening. Was half an Hour in the Club before any
Body else came. Mr. Nisby of Opinion that the Grand Vizier was not
strangled the Sixth Instant.
Ten at Night. Went to Bed. Slept without waking till Nine next
THURSDAY, Nine a-Clock. Staid within till Two a-Clock for Sir Timothy;
who did not bring me my Annuity according to his Promise.
Two in the Afternoon. Sate down to Dinner. Loss of Appetite. Small
Beer sour. Beef over-corned.
Three. Could not take my Nap.
Four and Five. Gave Ralph a box on the Ear. Turned off my Cookmaid.
Sent a Message to Sir Timothy. Mem. I did not go to the Club to-night.
Went to Bed at Nine a-Clock.
FRIDAY, Passed the Morning in Meditation upon Sir Timothy, who was
with me a Quarter before Twelve.
Twelve a-Clock. Bought a new Head to my Cane, and a Tongue to my
Buckle. Drank a Glass of Purl to recover Appetite.
Two and Three. Dined, and Slept well.
From Four to Six. Went to the Coffee-house. Met Mr. Nisby there.
Smoaked several Pipes. Mr. Nisby of opinion that laced Coffee is bad
for the Head.
Six a-Clock. At the Club as Steward. Sate late.
Twelve a-Clock. Went to Bed, dreamt that I drank Small Beer with the
SATURDAY. Waked at Eleven, walked in the Fields. Wind N. E.
Twelve. Caught in a Shower.
One in the Afternoon. Returned home, and dryed my self.
Two. Mr. Nisby dined with me. First Course Marrow-bones, Second
Ox-Cheek, with a Bottle of Brooks and Hellier.
Three a-Clock. Overslept my self.
Six. Went to the Club. Like to have fal'n into a Gutter. Grand Vizier
certainly Dead. etc.
I question not but the Reader will be surprized to find the
above-mentioned Journalist taking so much care of a Life that was filled
with such inconsiderable Actions, and received so very small
Improvements; and yet, if we look into the Behaviour of many whom we
daily converse with, we shall find that most of their Hours are taken up
in those three Important Articles of Eating, Drinking and Sleeping. I do
not suppose that a Man loses his Time, who is not engaged in publick
Affairs, or in an Illustrious Course of Action. On the Contrary, I
believe our Hours may very often be more profitably laid out in such
Transactions as make no Figure in the World, than in such as are apt to
draw upon them the Attention of Mankind. One may become wiser and better
by several Methods of Employing ones Self in Secrecy and Silence, and
do what is laudable without Noise, or Ostentation. I would, however,
recommend to every one of my Readers, the keeping a Journal of their
Lives for one Week, and setting down punctually their whole Series of
Employments during that Space of Time. This Kind of Self-Examination
would give them a true State of themselves, and incline them to consider
seriously what they are about. One Day would rectifie the Omissions of
another, and make a Man weigh all those indifferent Actions, which,
though they are easily forgotten, must certainly be accounted for.
[Footnote 1: [As]]
* * * * *
No. 318. Wednesday, March 5, 1712. Steele.
[--non omnia possumus omnes.
A certain Vice which you have lately attacked, has not yet been
considered by you as growing so deep in the Heart of Man, that the
Affectation outlives the Practice of it. You must have observed that
Men who have been bred in Arms preserve to the most extreme and feeble
old Age a certain Daring in their Aspect: In like manner, they who
have pass'd their Time in Gallantry and Adventure, keep up, as well as
they can, the Appearance of it, and carry a petulant Inclination to
their last Moments. Let this serve for a Preface to a Relation I am
going to give you of an old Beau in Town, that has not only been
amorous, and a Follower of Women in general, but also, in Spite of the
Admonition of grey Hairs, been from his sixty-third Year to his
present seventieth, in an actual Pursuit of a young Lady, the Wife of
his Friend, and a Man of Merit. The gay old Escalus has Wit, good
Health, and is perfectly well bred; but from the Fashion and Manners
of the Court when he was in his Bloom, has such a natural Tendency to
amorous Adventure, that he thought it would be an endless Reproach to
him to make no use of a Familiarity he was allowed at a Gentleman's
House, whose good Humour and Confidence exposed his Wife to the
Addresses of any who should take it in their Head to do him the good
Office. It is not impossible that Escalus might also resent that the
Husband was particularly negligent of him; and tho he gave many
Intimations of a Passion towards the Wife, the Husband either did not
see them, or put him to the Contempt of over-looking them. In the mean
time Isabella, for so we shall call our Heroine, saw his Passion, and
rejoiced in it as a Foundation for much Diversion, and an Opportunity
of indulging her self in the dear Delight of being admired, addressed
to, and flattered, with no ill Consequence to her Reputation. This
Lady is of a free and disengaged Behaviour, ever in good Humour, such
as is the Image of Innocence with those who are innocent, and an
Encouragement to Vice with those who are abandoned. From this Kind of
Carriage, and an apparent Approbation of his Gallantry, Escalus had
frequent Opportunities of laying amorous Epistles in her Way, of
fixing his Eyes attentively upon her Action, of performing a thousand
little Offices which are neglected by the Unconcerned, but are so many
Approaches towards Happiness with the Enamoured. It was now, as is
above hinted, almost the End of the seventh Year of his Passion, when
Escalus from general Terms, and the ambiguous Respect which criminal
Lovers retain in their Addresses, began to bewail that his Passion
grew too violent for him to answer any longer for his Behaviour
towards her; and that he hoped she would have Consideration for his
long and patient Respect, to excuse the Motions of a Heart now no
longer under the Direction of the unhappy Owner of it. Such for some
Months had been the Language of Escalus both in his Talk and his
Letters to Isabella; who returned all the Profusion of kind Things
which had been the Collection of fifty Years with I must not hear you;
you will make me forget that you are a Gentleman, I would not
willingly lose you as a Friend; and the like Expressions, which the
Skilful interpret to their own Advantage, as well knowing that a
feeble Denial is a modest Assent. I should have told you, that
Isabella, during the whole Progress of this Amour, communicated it to
her Husband; and that an Account of Escalus's Love was their usual
Entertainment after half a Days Absence: Isabella therefore, upon her
Lovers late more open Assaults, with a Smile told her Husband she
could hold out no longer, but that his Fate was now come to a Crisis.
After she had explained her self a little farther, with her Husbands
Approbation she proceeded in the following Manner. The next Time that
Escalus was alone with her, and repeated his Importunity, the crafty
Isabella looked on her Fan with an Air of great Attention, as
considering of what Importance such a Secret was to her; and upon the
Repetition of a warm Expression, she looked at him with an Eye of
Fondness, and told him he was past that Time of Life which could make
her fear he would boast of a Lady's Favour; then turned away her Head
with a very well-acted Confusion, which favoured the Escape of the
aged Escalus. This Adventure was Matter of great Pleasantry to
Isabella and her Spouse; and they had enjoyed it two Days before
Escalus could recollect himself enough to form the following Letter.
"What happened the other Day, gives me a lively Image of the
Inconsistency of human Passions and Inclinations. We pursue what we
are denied, and place our Affections on what is absent, tho we
neglected it when present. As long as you refused my Love, your
Refusal did so strongly excite my Passion, that I had not once the
Leisure to think of recalling my Reason to aid me against the Design
upon your Virtue. But when that Virtue began to comply in my Favour,
my Reason made an Effort over my Love, and let me see the Baseness
of my Behaviour in attempting a Woman of Honour. I own to you, it
was not without the most violent Struggle that I gained this Victory
over my self; nay, I will confess my Shame, and acknowledge I could
not have prevailed but by Flight. However, Madam, I beg that you
will believe a Moments Weakness has not destroyed the Esteem I had
for you, which was confirmed by so many Years of Obstinate Virtue.
You have Reason to rejoice that this did not happen within the
Observation of one of the young Fellows, who would have exposed your
Weakness, and gloried in his own Brutish Inclinations.
I am, Madam,
Your most devoted Humble Servant."
Isabella, with the Help of her Husband, returned the following Answer.
"I cannot but account my self a very happy Woman, in having a Man
for a Lover that can write so well, and give so good a Turn to a
Disappointment. Another Excellence you have above all other
Pretenders I ever heard of; on Occasions where the most reasonable
Men lose all their Reason, you have yours most powerful. We are each
of us to thank our Genius, that the Passion of one abated in
Proportion as that of the other grew violent. Does it not yet come
into your Head, to imagine that I knew my Compliance was the
greatest Cruelty I could be guilty of towards you? In Return for
your long and faithful Passion, I must let you know that you are old
enough to become a little more Gravity; but if you will leave me and
coquet it any where else, may your Mistress yield.
Rideat et pulset Lasciva decentius AEtas.
* * * * *
No. 319. Thursday, March 6, 1712. Budgell.
Quo teneam vultus mutantem Protea nodo?
I have endeavoured, in the Course of my Papers, to do Justice to the
Age, and have taken care as much as possible to keep my self a Neuter
between both Sexes. I have neither spared the Ladies out of
Complaisance, nor the Men out of Partiality; but notwithstanding the
great Integrity with which I have acted in this Particular, I find my
self taxed with an Inclination to favour my own half of the Species.
Whether it be that the Women afford a more fruitful Field for
Speculation, or whether they run more in my Head than the Men, I cannot
tell, but I shall set down the Charge as it is laid against me in the
I always make one among a Company of young Females, who peruse your
Speculations every Morning. I am at present Commissioned, by our whole
Assembly, to let you know, that we fear you are a little enclined to
be partial towards your own Sex. We must however acknowledge, with all
due Gratitude, that in some Cases you have given us our Revenge on the
Men, and done us Justice. We could not easily have forgiven you
several Strokes in the Dissection of the Coquets Heart, if you had
not, much about the same time, made a Sacrifice to us of a Beaus
You may, however, Sir, please to remember, that long since you
attacked our Hoods and Commodes in such manner, as, to use your own
Expression, made very many of us ashamed to shew our Heads. We must,
therefore, beg leave to represent to you, that we are in Hopes, if you
would please to make a due Enquiry, the Men in all Ages would be found
to have been little less whimsical in adorning that Part, than our
selves. The different Forms of their Wiggs, together with the various
Cocks of their Hats, all flatter us in this Opinion.
I had an humble Servant last Summer, who the first time he declared
himself, was in a Full-Bottom'd Wigg; but the Day after, to my no
small Surprize, he accosted me in a thin Natural one. I received him,
at this our second Interview, as a perfect Stranger, but was extreamly
confounded, when his Speech discovered who he was. I resolved,
therefore, to fix his Face in my Memory for the future; but as I was
walking in the Park the same Evening, he appeared to me in one of
those Wiggs that I think you call a Night-cap, which had altered him
more effectually than before. He afterwards played a Couple of Black
Riding Wiggs upon me, with the same Success; and, in short, assumed a
new Face almost every Day in the first Month of his Courtship.
I observed afterwards, that the Variety of Cocks into which he
moulded his Hat, had not a little contributed to his Impositions upon
Yet, as if all these ways were not sufficient to distinguish their
Heads, you must, doubtless, Sir, have observed, that great Numbers of
young Fellows have, for several Months last past, taken upon them to
We hope, therefore, that these may, with as much Justice, be called
Indian Princes, as you have styled a Woman in a coloured Hood an
Indian Queen; and that you will, in due time, take these airy
Gentlemen into Consideration.
We the more earnestly beg that you would put a Stop to this Practice,
since it has already lost us one of the most agreeable Members of our
Society, who after having refused several good Estates, and two
Titles, was lured from us last Week by a mixed Feather.
I am ordered to present you the Respects of our whole Company, and
Your very humble Servant,
Note, The Person wearing the Feather, tho our Friend took him for an
Officer in the Guards, has proved to be [an arrant Linnen-Draper. ]
I am not now at leisure to give my Opinion upon the Hat and Feather;
however to wipe off the present Imputation, and gratifie my Female
Correspondent, I shall here print a Letter which I lately received from
a Man of Mode, who seems to have a very extraordinary Genius in his way.
I presume I need not inform you, that among Men of Dress it is a
common Phrase to say Mr. Such an one has struck a bold Stroke; by
which we understand, that he is the first Man who has had Courage
enough to lead up a Fashion. Accordingly, when our Taylors take
Measure of us, they always demand whether we will have a plain Suit,
or strike a bold Stroke. 1 think I may without Vanity say, that I have
struck some of the boldest and most successful Strokes of any Man in
Great Britain. I was the first that struck the Long Pocket about two
Years since: I was likewise the Author of the Frosted Button, which
when I saw the Town came readily into, being resolved to strike while
the Iron was hot, I produced much about the same time the Scallop
Flap, the knotted Cravat, and made a fair Push for the Silver-clocked
A few Months after I brought up the modish Jacket, or the Coat with
close Sleeves. I struck this at first in a plain Doily; but that
failing, I struck it a second time in blue Camlet; and repeated the
Stroke in several kinds of Cloth, till at last it took effect. There
are two or three young Fellows at the other End of the Town, who have
always their Eye upon me, and answer me Stroke for Stroke. I was once
so unwary as to mention my Fancy in relation to the new-fashioned
Surtout before one of these Gentlemen, who was disingenuous enough to
steal my Thought, and by that means prevented my intended Stroke.
I have a Design this Spring to make very considerable Innovations in
the Wastcoat, and have already begun with a Coup dessai upon the
Sleeves, which has succeeded very well.
I must further inform you, if you will promise to encourage or at
least to connive at me, that it is my Design to strike such a Stroke
the Beginning of the next Month, as shall surprise the whole Town.
I do not think it prudent to acquaint you with all the Particulars of
my intended Dress; but will only tell you, as a Sample of it, that I
shall very speedily appear at Whites in a Cherry-coloured Hat. I took
this Hint from the Ladies Hoods, which I look upon as the boldest
Stroke that Sex has struck for these hundred Years last past.
I am, SIR,
Your most Obedient, most Humble Servant,
[I have not Time at present to make any Reflections on this Letter, but
must not however omit that having shewn it to WILL. HONEYCOMB, he
desires to be acquainted with the Gentleman who writ it.]
[Footnote 1: only an Ensign in the Train Bands.]
* * * * *
No. 320. Friday, March 7, 1712. Steele.
[--non pronuba Juno,
Non Hymenaeus adest, non illi Gratia lecto,
Eumenides stravere torum.
You have given many Hints in your Papers to the Disadvantage of
Persons of your own Sex, who lay Plots upon Women. Among other hard
Words you have published the Term Male-Coquets, and been very severe
upon such as give themselves the Liberty of a little Dalliance of
Heart, and playing fast and loose, between Love and Indifference, till
perhaps an easie young Girl is reduced to Sighs, Dreams and Tears; and
languishes away her Life for a careless Coxcomb, who looks astonished,
and wonders at such an Effect from what in him was all but common
Civility. Thus you have treated the Men who are irresolute in
Marriage; but if you design to be impartial, pray be so honest as to
print the Information I now give you, of a certain Set of Women who
never Coquet for the Matter, but with an high Hand marry whom they
please to whom they please. As for my Part, I should not have
concerned my self with them, but that I understand I am pitched upon
by them, to be married, against my Will, to one I never saw in my
Life. It has been my Misfortune, Sir, very innocently, to rejoice in a
plentiful Fortune, of which I am Master, to bespeak a fine Chariot, to
give Direction for two or three handsome Snuff-Boxes, and as many
Suits of fine Cloaths; but before any of these were ready, I heard
Reports of my being to be married to two or three different young
Women. Upon my taking Notice of it to a young Gentleman who is often
in my Company he told me smiling, I was in the Inquisition. You may
believe I was not a little startled at what he meant, and more so when
he asked me if I had bespoke any thing of late that was fine. I told
him several; upon which he produced a Description of my Person from
the Tradesmen whom I had employed, and told me that they had certainly
informed against me. Mr. SPECTATOR, Whatever the World may think of
me, I am more Coxcomb than Fool, and I grew very inquisitive upon this
Head, not a little pleased with the Novelty. My Friend told me there
were a certain Set of Women of Fashion whereof the Number of Six made
a Committee, who sat thrice a Week, under the Title of the Inquisition
on Maids and Batchelors. It seems, whenever there comes such an
unthinking gay Thing as my self to Town, he must want all Manner of
Necessaries, or be put into the Inquisition by the first Tradesman he
employs. They have constant Intelligence with Cane-Shops, Perfumers,
Toymen, Coach-makers, and China-houses. From these several Places,
these Undertakers for Marriages have as constant and regular
Correspondence, as the Funeral-men have with Vintners and
Apothecaries. All Batchelors are under their immediate Inspection, and
my Friend produced to me a Report given into their Board, wherein an
old Unkle of mine, who came to Town with me, and my self, were
inserted, and we stood thus; the Unkle smoaky, rotten, poor; the
Nephew raw, but no Fool, sound at present, very rich. My Information
did not end here, but my Friends Advices are so good, that he could
shew me a Copy of the Letter sent to the young Lady who is to have me
which I enclose to you.
This is to let you know, that you are to be Married to a Beau that
comes out on Thursday Six in the Evening. Be at the Park. You cannot
but know a Virgin Fop; they have a Mind to look saucy, but are out
of Countenance. The Board has denied him to several good Families. I
wish you Joy.
What makes my Correspondents Case the more deplorable, is, that as I
find by the Report from my Censor of Marriages, the Friend he speaks of
is employed by the Inquisition to take him in, as the Phrase is. After
all that is told him, he has Information only of one Woman that is laid
for him, and that the wrong one; for the Lady-Commissioners have devoted
him to another than the Person against whom they have employed their
Agent his Friend to alarm him. The Plot is laid so well about this young
Gentleman, that he has no Friend to retire to, no Place to appear in, or
Part of the Kingdom to fly into, but he must fall into the Notice, and
be subject to the Power of the Inquisition. They have their Emissaries
and Substitutes in all Parts of this united Kingdom. The first Step they
usually take, is to find from a Correspondence, by their Messengers and
Whisperers with some Domestick of the Batchelor (who is to be hunted
into the Toils they have laid for him) what are his Manners, his
Familiarities, his good Qualities or Vices; not as the Good in him is a
Recommendation, or the ill a Diminution, but as they affect or
contribute to the main Enquiry, What Estate he has in him? When this
Point is well reported to the Board, they can take in a wild roaring
Fox-hunter, as easily as a soft, gentle young Fop of the Town. The Way
is to make all Places uneasie to him, but the Scenes in which they have
allotted him to act. His Brother Huntsmen, Bottle Companions, his
Fraternity of Fops, shall be brought into the Conspiracy against him.
Then this Matter is not laid in so bare-faced a Manner before him, as to
have it intimated Mrs. Such-a-one would make him a very proper Wife; but
by the Force of their Correspondence they shall make it (as Mr. Waller
said of the Marriage of the Dwarfs) as impracticable to have any Woman
besides her they design him, as it would have been in Adam to have
refused Eve. The Man named by the Commission for Mrs. Such-a-one, shall
neither be in Fashion, nor dare ever to appear in Company, should he
attempt to evade their Determination.
The Female Sex wholly govern domestick Life; and by this Means, when
they think fit, they can sow Dissentions between the dearest Friends,
nay make Father and Son irreconcilable Enemies, in spite of all the Ties
of Gratitude on one Part, and the Duty of Protection to be paid on the
other. The Ladies of the Inquisition understand this perfectly well; and
where Love is not a Motive to a Man's chusing one whom they allot, they
can, with very much Art, insinuate Stories to the Disadvantage of his
Honesty or Courage, till the Creature is too much dispirited to bear up
against a general ill Reception, which he every where meets with, and in
due time falls into their appointed Wedlock for Shelter. I have a long
Letter bearing Date the fourth Instant, which gives me a large Account