Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 37 out of 51

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 5.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

notice of in those Words, Who can understand his Errors? cleanse thou me
from secret Faults. [1]

If the open Professors of Impiety deserve the utmost Application and
Endeavours of Moral Writers to recover them from Vice and Folly, how
much more may those lay a Claim to their Care and Compassion, who are
walking in the Paths of Death, while they fancy themselves engaged in a
Course of Virtue! I shall endeavour, therefore, to lay down some Rules
for the Discovery of those Vices that lurk in the secret Corners of the
Soul, and to show my Reader those Methods by which he may arrive at a
true and impartial Knowledge of himself. The usual Means prescribed for
this Purpose, are to examine our selves by the Rules which are laid down
for our Direction in Sacred Writ, and to compare our Lives with the Life
of that Person who acted up to the Perfection of Human Nature, and is
the standing Example, as well as the great Guide and Instructor, of
those who receive his Doctrines. Though these two Heads cannot be too
much insisted upon, I shall but just mention them, since they have been
handled by many Great and Eminent Writers.

I would therefore propose the following Methods to the Consideration of
such as would find out their secret Faults, and make a true Estimate of

In the first Place, let them consider well what are the Characters which
they bear among their Enemies. Our Friends very often flatter us, as
much as our own Hearts. They either do not see our Faults, or conceal
them from us, or soften them by their Representations, after such a
manner, that we think them too trivial to be taken notice of. An
Adversary, on the contrary, makes a stricter Search into us, discovers
every Flaw and Imperfection in our Tempers, and though his Malice may
set them in too strong a Light, it has generally some Ground for what it
advances. A Friend exaggerates a Man's Virtues, an Enemy inflames his
Crimes. A Wise Man should give a just Attention to both of them, so far
as they may tend to the Improvement of the one, and Diminution of the
other. Plutarch has written an Essay on the Benefits which a Man may
receive from his Enemies, [2] and, among the good Fruits of Enmity,
mentions this in particular, that by the Reproaches which it casts upon
us we see the worst side of our selves, and open our Eyes to several
Blemishes and Defects in our Lives and Conversations, which we should
not have observed, without the Help of such ill-natured Monitors.

In order likewise to come at a true Knowledge of our selves, we should
consider on the other hand how far we may deserve the Praises and
Approbations which the World bestow upon us: whether the Actions they
celebrate proceed from laudable and worthy Motives; and how far we are
really possessed of the Virtues which gain us Applause among those with
whom we converse. Such a Reflection is absolutely necessary, if we
consider how apt we are either to value or condemn ourselves by the
Opinions of others, and to sacrifice the Report of our own Hearts to the
Judgment of the World.

In the next Place, that we may not deceive our selves in a Point of so
much Importance, we should not lay too great a Stress on any supposed
Virtues we possess that are of a doubtful Nature: And such we may esteem
all those in which Multitudes of Men dissent from us, who are as good
and wise as our selves. We should always act with great Cautiousness and
Circumspection in Points, where it is not impossible that we may be
deceived. Intemperate Zeal, Bigotry and Persecution for any Party or
Opinion, how praiseworthy soever they may appear to weak Men of our own
Principles, produce infinite Calamities among Mankind, and are highly
Criminal in their own Nature; and yet how many Persons eminent for Piety
suffer such monstrous and absurd Principles of Action to take Root in
their Minds under the Colour of Virtues? For my own Part, I must own I
never yet knew any Party so just and reasonable, that a Man could follow
it in its Height and Violence, and at the same time be innocent.

We should likewise be very apprehensive of those Actions which proceed
from natural Constitution, favourite Passions, particular Education, or
whatever promotes our worldly Interest or Advantage. In these and the
like Cases, a Man's Judgment is easily perverted, and a wrong Bias hung
upon his Mind. These are the Inlets of Prejudice, the unguarded Avenues
of the Mind, by which a thousand Errors and secret Faults find
Admission, without being observed or taken Notice of. A wise Man will
suspect those Actions to which he is directed by something [besides [3]]
Reason, and always apprehend some concealed Evil in every Resolution
that is of a disputable Nature, when it is conformable to his particular
Temper, his Age, or Way of Life, or when it favours his Pleasure or his

There is nothing of greater Importance to us than thus diligently to
sift our Thoughts, and examine all these dark Recesses of the Mind, if
we would establish our Souls in such a solid and substantial Virtue as
will turn to Account in that great Day, when it must stand the Test of
infinite Wisdom and Justice.

I shall conclude this Essay with observing that the two kinds of
Hypocrisie I have here spoken of, namely that of deceiving the World,
and that of imposing on our selves, are touched with wonderful Beauty in
the hundred and thirty ninth Psalm. The Folly of the first kind of
Hypocrisie is there set forth by Reflections on God's Omniscience and
Omnipresence, which are celebrated in as noble Strains of Poetry as any
other I ever met with, either Sacred or Profane. The other kind of
Hypocrisie, whereby a Man deceives himself, is intimated in the two last
Verses, where the Psalmist addresses himself to the great Searcher of
Hearts in that emphatical Petition; Try me, O God, and seek the ground
of my heart; prove me, and examine my Thoughts. Look well if there be
any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.


[Footnote 1: Psalm xix. 12.]

[Footnote 2: See note on p. 441 [Footnote 1 of No. 125], vol. i.]

[Footnote 3: more than]

* * * * *

No. 400. Monday, June 9, 1712. Steele.

'--Latet Anguis in Herba.'


It should, methinks, preserve Modesty and its Interests in the World,
that the Transgression of it always creates Offence; and the very
Purposes of Wantonness are defeated by a Carriage which has in it so
much Boldness, as to intimate that Fear and Reluctance are quite
extinguishd in an Object which would be otherwise desirable. It was said
of a Wit of the last Age,

Sedley has that prevailing gentle Art, }
Which, can with a resistless Charm impart }
The loosest Wishes to the chastest Heart; }
Raise such a Conflict, kindle such a Fire,
Between declining Virtue and Desire,
That the poor vanquished Maid dissolves away
In Dreams all Night, in Sighs and Tears all Day. [1]

This prevailing gentle Art was made up of Complaisance, Courtship, and
artful Conformity to the Modesty of a Woman's Manners. Rusticity, broad
Expression, and forward Obtrusion, offend those of Education, and make
the Transgressors odious to all who have Merit enough to attract Regard.
It is in this Taste that the Scenery is so beautifully ordered in the
Description which Antony makes, in the Dialogue between him and
Dolabella, of Cleopatra in her Barge.

Her Galley down the Silver Cydnos row'd;
The Tackling Silk, the Streamers wav'd with Gold;
The gentle Winds were lodg'd in purple Sails:
Her Nymphs, like Nereids, round her Couch were placed,
Where she, another Sea-born Venus, lay;
She lay, and lean'd her Cheek upon her Hand,
And cast a Look so languishingly sweet,
As if, secure of all Beholders Hearts,
Neglecting she could take 'em. Boys like Cupids
Stood fanning with their painted Wings the Winds
That play'd about her Face; but if she smil'd,
A darting Glory seemed to blaze abroad,
That Men's desiring Eyes were never weary'd,
But hung upon the Object. To soft Flutes
The Silver Oars kept Time; and while they play'd,
The Hearing gave new Pleasure to the Sight,
And both to Thought [2]--

Here the Imagination is warmed with all the Objects presented, and yet
there is nothing that is luscious, or what raises any Idea more loose
than that of a beautiful Woman set off to Advantage. The like, or a more
delicate and careful Spirit of Modesty, appears in the following Passage
in one of Mr. Philip's Pastorals. [3]

'Breathe soft ye Winds, ye Waters gently flow,
Shield her ye Trees, ye Flowers around her grow,
Ye Swains, I beg you, pass in Silence by,
My Love in yonder Vale asleep does lie.'

Desire is corrected when there is a Tenderness or Admiration expressed
which partakes the Passion. Licentious Language has something brutal in
it, which disgraces Humanity, and leaves us in the Condition of the
Savages in the Field. But it may be askd to what good Use can tend a
Discourse of this Kind at all? It is to alarm chaste Ears against such
as have what is above called the prevailing gentle Art. Masters of that
Talent are capable of cloathing their Thoughts in so soft a Dress, and
something so distant from the secret Purpose of their Heart, that the
Imagination of the Unguarded is touched with a Fondness which grows too
insensibly to be resisted. Much Care and Concern for the Lady's Welfare,
to seem afraid lest she should be annoyed by the very Air which
surrounds her, and this uttered rather with kind Looks, and expressed by
an Interjection, an Ah, or an Oh, at some little Hazard in moving or
making a Step, than in my direct Profession of Love, are the Methods of
skilful Admirers: They are honest Arts when their Purpose is such, but
infamous when misapplied. It is certain that many a young Woman in this
Town has had her Heart irrecoverably won, by Men who have not made one
Advance which ties their Admirers, tho' the Females languish with the
utmost Anxiety. I have often, by way of Admonition to my female Readers,
give them Warning against agreeable Company of the other Sex, except
they are well acquainted with their Characters. Women may disguise it if
they think fit, and the more to do it, they may be angry at me for
saying it; but I say it is natural to them, that they have no Manner of
Approbation of Men, without some Degree of Love: For this Reason he is
dangerous to be entertaind as a Friend or Visitant who is capable of
gaining any eminent Esteem or Observation, though it be never so remote
from Pretensions as a Lover. If a Man's Heart has not the Abhorrence of
any treacherous Design, he may easily improve Approbation into Kindness,
and Kindness into Passion. There may possibly be no manner of Love
between them in the Eyes of all their Acquaintance, no it is all
Friendship; and yet they may be as fond as Shepherd and Shepherdess in a
Pastoral, but still the Nymph and the Swain may be to each other no
other I warrant you, than Pylades and Orestes.

When Lucy decks with Flowers her swelling Breast,
And on her Elbow leans, dissembling Rest,
Unable to refrain my madding Mind,
Nor Sleep nor Pasture worth my Care I find.

Once Delia slept, on easie Moss reclin'd,
Her lovely Limbs half bare, and rude the Wind;
I smoothed her Coats, and stole a silent Kiss:
Condemn me Shepherds if I did amiss. [4]

Such good Offices as these, and such friendly Thoughts and Concerns for
one another, are what make up the Amity, as they call it, between Man
and Woman.

It is the Permission of such Intercourse, that makes a young Woman come
to the Arms of her Husband, after the Disappointment of four or five
Passions which she has successively had for different Men, before she is
prudentially given to him for whom she has neither Love nor Friendship.
For what should a poor Creature do that has lost all her Friends?
There's Marinet the Agreeable, has, to my Knowledge, had a Friendship
for Lord Welford, which had like to break her Heart; then she had so
great a Friendship for Colonel Hardy, that she could not endure any
Woman else should do any thing but rail at him. Many and fatal have been
Disasters between Friends who have fallen out, and their Resentments are
more keen than ever those of other Men can possibly be: But in this it
happens unfortunately, that as there ought to be nothing concealed from
one Friend to another, the Friends of different Sexes [very often [5]]
find fatal Effects from their Unanimity.

For my Part, who study to pass Life in as much Innocence and Tranquility
as I can, I shun the Company of agreeable Women as much as possible; and
must confess that I have, though a tolerable good Philosopher, but a low
Opinion of Platonick Love: for which Reason I thought it necessary to
give my fair Readers a Caution against it, having, to my great Concern,
observed the Waste of a Platonist lately swell to a Roundness which is
inconsistent with that Philosophy.


[Footnote 1: Rochester's 'Allusion to the 10th Satire of the 1st Book of

[Footnote 2: Dryden's All for Love, Act III. sc. i. ]

[Footnote 3: The Sixth.]

[Footnote 4: Two stanzas from different parts of Ambrose Philips's sixth
Pastoral. The first in the original follows the second, with three
stanzas intervening.]

[Footnote 5: (, for want of other Amusement, often study Anatomy
together; and what is worse than happens in any other Friendship, they)]

* * * * *

No. 401. Tuesday, June 10, 1712. Budgell.

'In amore haec omnia insunt vitia: Injuriae,
Suspiciones, Inimicitiae, Induciae,
Bellum, pax rursum:'


I shall publish for the Entertainment of this Day, an odd sort of a
Packet, which I have just received from one of my Female Correspondents.


Since you have often confess'd that you are not displeased your Paper
should sometimes convey the Complaints of distressed Lovers to each
other, I am in Hopes you will favour one who gives you an undoubted
Instance of her Reformation, and at the same time a convincing Proof
of the happy Influence your Labours have had over the most
Incorrigible Part of the most Incorrigible Sex. You must know, Sir, I
am one of that Species of Women, whom you have often Characteriz'd
under the Name of Jilts, and that I send you these Lines, as well to
do Publick Penance for having so long continued in a known Error, as
to beg Pardon of the Party offended. I the rather chuse this way,
because it in some measure answers the Terms on which he intimated the
Breach between us might possibly be made up, as you will see by the
Letter he sent me the next Day after I had discarded him; which I
thought fit to send you a Copy of, that you might the better know the
whole Case.

I must further acquaint you, that before I Jilted him, there had been
the greatest Intimacy between us for an Year and half together, during
all which time I cherished his Hopes, and indulged his Flame. I leave
you to guess after this what must be his Surprize, when upon his
pressing for my full Consent one Day, I told him I wondered what could
make him fancy he had ever any Place in my Affections. His own Sex
allow him Sense, and all ours Good-Breeding. His Person is such as
might, without Vanity, make him believe himself not incapable to be
beloved. Our Fortunes indeed, weighed in the nice Scale of Interest,
are not exactly equal, which by the way was the true Case of my
Jilting him, and I had the Assurance to acquaint him with the
following Maxim, That I should always believe that Man's Passion to be
the most Violent, who could offer me the largest Settlement. I have
since changed my Opinion, and have endeavoured to let him know so much
by several Letters, but the barbarous Man has refused them all; so
that I have no way left of writing to him, but by your Assistance. If
we can bring him about once more, I promise to send you all Gloves and
Favours, and shall desire the Favour of Sir ROGER and your self to
stand as God-Fathers to my first Boy.
I am, SIR,
Your most Obedient
most Humble Servant,

Philander to Amoret.


I am so surprised at the Question you were pleased to ask me
Yesterday, that I am still at a loss what to say to it. At least my
Answer would be too long to trouble you with, as it would come from
a Person, who, it seems, is so very indifferent to you. Instead of
it, I shall only recommend to your Consideration the Opinion of one
whose Sentiments on these matters I have often heard you say are
extremely just. A generous and Constant Passion, says your favourite
Author, in an agreeable Lover, where there is not too great a
Disparity in their Circumstances, is the greatest Blessing that can
befal a Person beloved; and if overlook'd in one, may perhaps never
be found in another.

I do not, however, at all despair of being very shortly much better
beloved by you than Antenor is at present; since whenever my Fortune
shall exceed his, you were pleased to intimate your Passion would
encrease accordingly.

The World has seen me shamefully lose that Time to please a fickle
Woman, which might have been employed much more to my Credit and
Advantage in other Pursuits. I shall therefore take the Liberty to
acquaint you, however harsh it may sound in a Lady's Ears, that tho
your Love-Fit should happen to return, unless you could contrive a
way to make your Recantation as well known to the Publick, as they
are already apprised of the manner with which you have treated me,
you shall never more see Philander.

Amoret to Philander.


Upon Reflection, I find the Injury I have done both to you and my
self to be so great, that though the Part I now act may appear
contrary to that Decorum usually observed by our Sex, yet I
purposely break through all Rules, that my Repentance may in some
measure equal my Crime. I assure you that in my present Hopes of
recovering you, I look upon Antenor's Estate with Contempt. The Fop
was here Yesterday in a gilt Chariot and new Liveries, but I refused
to see him. Tho' I dread to meet your Eyes after what has pass'd, I
flatter my self, that amidst all their Confusion you will discover
such a Tenderness in mine, as none can imitate but those who Love. I
shall be all this Month at Lady D--'s in the Country; but the Woods,
the Fields and Gardens, without Philander, afford no Pleasures to
the unhappy Amoret.

I must desire you, dear Mr. Spectator, to publish this my Letter to
Philander as soon as possible, and to assure him that I know nothing
at all of the Death of his rich Uncle in Gloucestershire.


* * * * *

No. 402. Wednesday, June 11, 1712. Steele.

Spectator tradit sibi--

Hor. [1]]

Were I to publish all the Advertisements I receive from different Hands,
and Persons of different Circumstances and Quality, the very Mention of
them, without Reflections on the several Subjects, would raise all the
Passions which can be felt by human Mind[s], As Instances of this, I
shall give you two or three Letters; the Writers of which can have no
Recourse to any legal Power for Redress, and seem to have written rather
to vent their Sorrow than to receive Consolation.


I am a young Woman of Beauty and Quality, and suitably married to a
Gentleman who doats on me. But this Person of mine is the Object of an
unjust Passion in a Nobleman who is very intimate with my Husband.
This Friendship gives him very easie Access, and frequent
Opportunities of entertaining me apart. My Heart is in the utmost
Anguish, and my Face is covered over with Confusion, when I impart to
you another Circumstance, which is, that my Mother, the most mercenary
of all Women, is gained by this false Friend of my Husband to sollicit
me for him. I am frequently chid by the poor believing Man my Husband,
for shewing an Impatience of his Friend's Company; and I am never
alone with my Mother, but she tells me Stories of the discretionary
Part of the World, and such a one, and such a one who are guilty of as
much as she advises me to. She laughs at my Astonishment; and seems to
hint to me, that as virtuous as she has always appeared, I am not the
Daughter of her Husband. It is possible that printing this Letter may
relieve me from the unnatural Importunity of my Mother, and the
perfidious Courtship of my Husband's Friend. I have an unfeigned Love
of Virtue, and am resolved to preserve my Innocence. The only Way I
can think of to avoid the fatal Consequences of the Discovery of this
Matter, is to fly away for ever; which I must do to avoid my Husband's
fatal Resentment against the Man who attempts to abuse him, and the
Shame of exposing the Parent to Infamy. The Persons concerned will
know these Circumstances relate to 'em; and though the Regard to
Virtue is dead in them, I have some Hopes from their Fear of Shame
upon reading this in your Paper; which I conjure you to do, if you
have any Compassion for Injured Virtue.



I am the Husband of a Woman of Merit, but am fallen in Love, as they
call it, with a Lady of her Acquaintance, who is going to be married
to a Gentleman who deserves her. I am in a Trust relating to this
Lady's Fortune, which makes my Concurrence in this Matter necessary;
but I have so irresistible a Rage and Envy rise in me when I consider
his future Happiness, that against all Reason, Equity, and common
Justice, I am ever playing mean Tricks to suspend the Nuptials. I have
no manner of Hopes for my self; Emilia, for so I'll call her, is a
Woman of the most strict Virtue; her Lover is a Gentleman who of all
others I could wish my Friend; but Envy and Jealousie, though placed
so unjustly, waste my very Being, and with the Torment and Sense of a
Daemon, I am ever cursing what I cannot but approve. I wish it were
the Beginning of Repentance, that I sit down and describe my present
Disposition with so hellish an Aspect; but at present the Destruction
of these two excellent Persons would be more welcome to me than their
Happiness. Mr. SPECTATOR, pray let me have a Paper on these terrible
groundless Sufferings, and do all you can to exorcise Crowds who are
in some Degree possessed as I am.



I have no other Means but this to express my Thanks to one Man, and my
Resentment against another. My Circumstances are as follows. I have
been for five Years last past courted by a Gentleman of greater
Fortune than I ought to expect, as the Market for Women goes. You must
to be sure have observed People who live in that sort of Way, as all
their Friends reckon it will be a Match, and are marked out by all the
World for each other. In this View we have been regarded for some
Time, and I have above these three Years loved him tenderly. As he is
very careful of his Fortune, I always thought he lived in a near
Manner to lay up what he thought was wanting in my Fortune to make up
what he might expect in another. Within few Months I have observed his
Carriage very much altered, and he has affected a certain Air of
getting me alone, and talking with a mighty Profusion of passionate
Words, How I am not to be resisted longer, how irresistible his Wishes
are, and the like. As long as I have been acquainted with him, I could
not on such Occasions say down-right to him, You know you may make me
yours when you please. But the other Night he with great Frankness and
Impudence explained to me, that he thought of me only as a Mistress. I
answered this Declaration as it deserv'd; upon which he only doubled
the Terms on which he proposed my yielding. When my Anger heightned
upon him, he told me he was sorry he had made so little Use of the
unguarded Hours we had been together so remote from Company, as
indeed, continued he, so we are at present. I flew from him to a
neighbouring Gentlewoman's House, and tho' her Husband was in the
Room, threw my self on a Couch, and burst into a Passion of Tears. My
Friend desired her Husband to leave the Room. But, said he, there is
something so extraordinary in this, that I will partake in the
Affliction; and be it what it will, she is so much your Friend, that
she knows she may command what Services I can do her. The Man sate
down by me, and spoke so like a Brother, that I told him my whole
Affliction. He spoke of the Injury done me with so much Indignation,
and animated me against the Love he said he saw I had for the Wretch
who would have betrayed me, with so much Reason and Humanity to my
Weakness, that I doubt not of my Perseverance. His Wife and he are my
Comforters, and I am under no more Restraint in their Company than if
I were alone; and I doubt not but in a small time Contempt and Hatred
will take Place of the Remains of Affection to a Rascal.

I am


Your affectionate Reader,



I had the Misfortune to be an Uncle before I knew my Nephews from my
Nieces, and now we are grown up to better Acquaintance they deny me
the Respect they owe. One upbraids me with being their Familiar,
another will hardly be perswaded that I am an Uncle, a third calls me
Little Uncle, and a fourth tells me there is no Duty at all due to an
Uncle. I have a Brother-in-law whose Son will win all my Affection,
unless you shall think this worthy of your Cognizance, and will be
pleased to prescribe some Rules for our future reciprocal Behaviour.
It will be worthy the Particularity of your Genius to lay down Rules
for his Conduct who was as it were born an old Man, in which you will
much oblige,


Your most obedient Servant,

Cornelius Nepos.


[Footnote 1: No motto in the first issue.]

* * * * *

No. 403. Thursday, June 12, 1712. Addison

'Qui mores hominun multorum vidit?'


When I consider this great City in its several Quarters and Divisions, I
look upon it as an Aggregate of various Nations distinguished from each
other by their respective Customs, Manners and Interests. The Courts of
two Countries do not so much differ from one another, as the Court and
City in their peculiar Ways of Life and Conversation. In short, the
Inhabitants of St. James's, notwithstanding they live under the same
Laws, and speak the same Language, are a distinct People from those of
Cheapside, who are likewise removed from those of the Temple on the one
side, and those of Smithfield on the other, by several Climates and
Degrees in their way of Thinking and Conversing together.

For this Reason, when any publick Affair is upon the Anvil, I love to
hear the Reflections that arise upon it in the several Districts and
Parishes of London and Westminster, and to ramble up and down a whole
Day together, in order to make my self acquainted with the Opinions of
my Ingenious Countrymen. By this means I know the Faces of all the
principal Politicians within the Bills of Mortality; and as every
Coffee-house has some particular Statesman belonging to it, who is the
Mouth of the Street where he lives, I always take care to place my self
near him, in order to know his Judgment on the present Posture of
Affairs. The last Progress that I made with this Intention, was about
three Months ago, when we had a current Report of the King of France's
Death. As I foresaw this would produce a new Face of things in Europe,
and many curious Speculations in our British Coffee-houses, I was very
desirous to learn the Thoughts of our most eminent Politicians on that

That I might begin as near the Fountain Head as possible, I first of all
called in at St James's, where I found the whole outward Room in a Buzz
of Politics. The Speculations were but very indifferent towards the
Door, but grew finer as you advanced to the upper end of the Room, and
were so very much improved by a Knot of Theorists, who sat in the inner
Room, within the Steams of the Coffee-Pot, that I there heard the whole
Spanish Monarchy disposed of, and all the Line of Bourbon provided for
in less than a Quarter of an Hour.

I afterwards called in at Giles's, where I saw a Board of French
Gentlemen sitting upon the Life and Death of their Grand Monarque. Those
among them who had espoused the Whig Interest, very positively affirmed,
that he departed this Life about a Week since, and therefore proceeded
without any further Delay to the Release of their Friends on the
Gallies, and to their own Re-establishment; but finding they could not
agree among themselves, I proceeded on my intended Progress.

Upon my Arrival at Jenny Man's, I saw an alerte young Fellow that cocked
his Hat upon a Friend of his who entered just at the same time with my
self, and accosted him after the following Manner. Well, Jack, the old
Prig is dead at last. Sharp's the Word. Now or never, Boy. Up to the
Walls of Paris directly. With several other deep Reflections of the same

I met with very little Variation in the Politics between Charing-Cross
and Covent-Garden. And upon my going into Wills I found their Discourse
was gone off from the Death of the French King to that of Monsieur
Boileau, Racine, Corneile, and several other Poets, whom they regretted
on this Occasion, as Persons who would have obliged the World with very
noble Elegies on the Death of so great a Prince, and so eminent a Patron
of Learning.

At a Coffee-house near the Temple, I found a couple of young Gentlemen
engaged very smartly in a Dispute on the Succession to the Spanish
Monarchy. One of them seemed to have been retained as Advocate for the
Duke of Anjou, the other for his Imperial Majesty. They were both for
regulating the Title to that Kingdom by the Statute Laws of England; but
finding them going out of my Depth, I passed forward to Paul's
Church-Yard, where I listen'd with great Attention to a learned Man, who
gave the Company an Account of the deplorable State of France during the
Minority of the deceased King. I then turned on my right Hand into
Fish-street, where the chief Politician of that Quarter, upon hearing
the News, (after having taken a Pipe of Tobacco, and ruminated for some
time) If, says he, the King of France is certainly dead, we shall have
Plenty of Mackerell this Season; our Fishery will not be disturbed by
Privateers, as it has been for these ten Years past. He afterwards
considered how the Death of this great Man would affect our Pilchards,
and by several other Remarks infused a general Joy into his whole

I afterwards entered a By Coffee-house that stood at the upper end of a
narrow Lane, where I met with a Nonjuror, engaged very warmly with a
Laceman who was the great Support of a neighbouring Conventicle. The
Matter in Debate was, whether the late French King was most like
Augustus Caesar, or Nero. The Controversie was carried on with great Heat
on both Sides, and as each of them looked upon me very frequently during
the Course of their Debate, I was under some Apprehension that they
would appeal to me, and therefore laid down my Penny at the Bar, and
made the best of my way to Cheapside.

I here gazed upon the Signs for some time before I found one to my
Purpose. The first Object I met in the Coffeeroom was a Person who
expressed a great Grief for the Death of the French King; but upon his
explaining himself, I found his Sorrow did not arise from the Loss of
the Monarch, but for his having sold out of the Bank about three Days
before he heard the News of it: Upon which a Haberdasher, who was the
Oracle of the Coffee-house, and had his Circle of Admirers about him,
called several to witness that he had declared his Opinion above a Week
before, that the French King was certainly dead; to which he added, that
considering the late Advices we had received from France, it was
impossible that it could be otherwise. As he was laying these together,
and dictating to his Hearers with great Authority, there came in a
Gentleman from Garraway's, who told us that there were several Letters
from France just come in, with Advice that the King was in good Health,
and was gone out a Hunting the very Morning the Post came away: Upon
which the Haberdasher stole off his Hat that hung upon a wooden Pegg by
him, and retired to his Shop with great Confusion. This Intelligence put
a Stop to my Travels, which I had prosecuted with [much [1]]
Satisfaction; not being a little pleased to hear so many different
Opinions upon so great an Event, and to observe how naturally upon such
a Piece of News every one is apt to consider it with a Regard to his own
particular Interest and Advantage.


[Footnote 1: [great]]

* * * * *

No. 404. Friday, June 13, 1712. Budgell

['--Non omnia possumus omnes.'

Virg. [1]]

Nature does nothing in vain: the Creator of the Universe has appointed
every thing to a certain Use and Purpose, and determin'd it to a settled
Course and Sphere of Action, from which, if it in the least deviates, it
becomes unfit to answer those Ends for which it was designed. In like
manner it is in the Dispositions of Society, the civil Oeconomy is
formed in a Chain as well as the natural; and in either Case the Breach
but of one Link puts the Whole into some Disorder. It is, I think,
pretty plain, that most of the Absurdity and Ridicule we meet with in
the World, is generally owing to the impertinent Affectation of
excelling in Characters Men are not fit for, and for which Nature never
designed them.

Every Man has one or more Qualities which may make him useful both to
himself and others: Nature never fails of pointing them out, and while
the Infant continues under her Guardianship, she brings him on in this
Way; and then offers her self for a Guide in what remains of the
Journey; if he proceeds in that Course, he can hardly miscarry: Nature
makes good her Engagements; for as she never promises what she is not
able to perform, so she never fails of performing what she promises. But
the Misfortune is, Men despise what they may be Masters of, and affect
what they are not fit for; they reckon themselves already possessed of
what their Genius inclined them to, and so bend all their Ambition to
excel in what is out of their Reach: Thus they destroy the Use of their
natural Talents, in the same manner as covetous Men do their Quiet and
Repose; they can enjoy no Satisfaction in what they have, because of the
absurd Inclination they are possessed with for what they have not.

Cleanthes had good Sense, a great Memory, and a Constitution capable of
the closest Application: In a Word, there was no Profession in which
Cleanthes might not have made a very good Figure; but this won't
satisfie him, he takes up an unaccountable Fondness for the Character of
a fine Gentleman; all his Thoughts are bent upon this: instead of
attending a Dissection, frequenting the Courts of Justice, or studying
the Fathers, Cleanthes reads Plays, dances, dresses, and spends his Time
in drawing-rooms; instead of being a good Lawyer, Divine, or Physician,
Cleanthes is a downright Coxcomb, and will remain to all that knew him a
contemptible Example of Talents misapplied. It is to this Affectation
the World owes its whole Race of Coxcombs: Nature in her whole Drama
never drew such a Part: she has sometimes made a Fool, but a Coxcomb is
always of a Man's own making, by applying his Talents otherwise than
Nature designed, who ever bears an high Resentment for being put out of
her Course, and never fails of taking her Revenge on those that do so.
Opposing her Tendency in the Application of a Man's Parts, has the same
Success as declining from her Course in the Production of Vegetables; by
the Assistance of Art and an hot Bed, we may possibly extort an
unwilling Plant, or an untimely Sallad; but how weak, how tasteless and
insipid? Just as insipid as the Poetry of Valerio: Valerio had an
universal Character, was genteel, had Learning, thought justly, spoke
correctly; 'twas believed there was nothing in which Valerio did not
excel; and 'twas so far true, that there was but one; Valerio had no
Genius for Poetry, yet he's resolved to be a Poet; he writes Verses, and
takes great Pains to convince the Town, that Valerio is not that
extraordinary Person he was taken for.

If Men would be content to graft upon Nature, and assist her Operations,
what mighty Effects might we expect? Tully would not stand so much alone
in Oratory, Virgil in Poetry, or Caesar in War. To build upon Nature, is
laying the Foundation upon a Rock; every thing disposes its self into
Order as it were of Course, and the whole Work is half done as soon as
undertaken. Cicero's Genius inclined him to Oratory, Virgil's to follow
the Train of the Muses; they piously obeyed the Admonition, and were
rewarded. Had Virgil attended the Bar, his modest and ingenious Virtue
would surely have made but a very indifferent Figure; and Tully's
declamatory Inclination would have been as useless in Poetry. Nature, if
left to her self, leads us on in the best Course, but will do nothing by
Compulsion and Constraint; and if we are not satisfied to go her Way, we
are always the greatest Sufferers by it.

Wherever Nature designs a Production, she always disposes Seeds proper
for it, which are as absolutely necessary to the Formation of any moral
or intellectual Excellence, as they are to the Being and Growth of
Plants; and I know not by what Fate and Folly it is, that Men are taught
not to reckon him equally absurd that will write Verses in Spite of
Nature, with that Gardener that should undertake to raise a Jonquil or
Tulip without the Help of their respective Seeds.

As there is no Good or bad Quality that does not affect both Sexes, so
it is not to be imagined but the fair Sex must have suffered by an
Affectation of this Nature, at least as much as the other: The ill
Effect of it is in none so conspicuous as in the two opposite Characters
of Caelia and Iras; Caelia has all the Charms of Person, together with an
abundant Sweetness of Nature, but wants Wit, and has a very ill Voice;
Iras is ugly and ungenteel, but has Wit and good Sense: If Caelia would
be silent, her Beholders would adore her; if Iras would talk, her
Hearers would admire her; but Caelia's Tongue runs incessantly, while
Iras gives her self silent Airs and soft Languors; so that 'tis
difficult to persuade one's self that Caelia has Beauty and Iras Wit:
Each neglects her own Excellence, and is ambitious of the other's
Character; Iras would be thought to have as much Beauty as Caelia, and
Caelia as much Wit as Iras.

The great Misfortune of this Affectation is, that Men not only lose a
good Quality, but also contract a bad one: They not only are unfit for
what they were designed, but they assign themselves to what they are not
fit for; and instead of making a very good Figure one Way, make a very
ridiculous one another. If Semanthe would have been satisfied with her
natural Complexion, she might still have been celebrated by the Name of
the Olive Beauty; but Semanthe has taken up an Affectation to White and
Red, and is now distinguished by the Character of the Lady that paints
so well. In a word, could the World be reformed to the Obedience of that
famed Dictate, Follow Nature, which the Oracle of Delphos pronounced to
Cicero when he consulted what Course of Studies he should pursue, we
should see almost every Man as eminent in his proper Sphere as Tully was
in his, and should in a very short time find Impertinence and
Affectation banished from among the Women, and Coxcombs and false
Characters from among the Men. For my Part, I could never consider this
preposterous Repugnancy to Nature any otherwise, than not only as the
greatest Folly, but also one of the most heinous Crimes, since it is a
direct Opposition to the Disposition of Providence, and (as Tully
expresses it) like the Sin of the Giants, an actual Rebellion against


[Footnote 1:

Continuo has leges aeternaque foedera certis
Imposuit natura locis.


* * * * *

No. 405. Saturday, June 14, 1712. Addison.

Oi de panaemerioi molpae theon hilaskonto,
Kalon aeidontes paiaeona kouroi Achaion,
Melpontes Ekaergon. Ho de phrena terpet akouon.]


I am very sorry to find, by the Opera Bills for this Day, that we are
likely to lose the greatest Performer in Dramatick Musick that is now
living, or that perhaps ever appeared upon a Stage. I need not acquaint
my Reader, that I am speaking of Signior Nicolini. [1] The Town is
highly obliged to that Excellent Artist, for having shewn us the Italian
Musick in its Perfection, as well as for that generous Approbation he
lately gave to an Opera of our own Country, in which the Composer
endeavoured to do Justice to the Beauty of the Words, by following that
Noble Example, which has been set him by the greatest Foreign Masters in
that Art.

I could heartily wish there was the same Application and Endeavours to
cultivate and improve our Church-Musick, as have been lately bestowed on
that of the Stage. Our Composers have one very great Incitement to it:
They are sure to meet with Excellent Words, and, at the same time, a
wonderful Variety of them. There is no Passion that is not finely
expressed in those parts of the inspired Writings, which are proper for
Divine Songs and Anthems.

There is a certain Coldness and Indifference in the Phrases of our
European Languages, when they are compared with the Oriental Forms of
Speech: and it happens very luckily, that the Hebrew Idioms run into the
English Tongue with a particular Grace and Beauty. Our Language has
received innumerable Elegancies and Improvements, from that Infusion of
Hebraisms, which are derived to it out of the Poetical Passages in Holy
Writ. They give a Force and Energy to our Expressions, warm and animate
our Language, and convey our Thoughts in more ardent and intense
Phrases, than any that are to be met with in our own Tongue. There is
something so pathetick in this kind of Diction, that it often sets the
Mind in a Flame, and makes our Hearts burn within us. How cold and dead
does a Prayer appear, that is composed in the most Elegant and Polite
Forms of Speech, which are natural to our Tongue, when it is not
heightened by that Solemnity of Phrase, which may be drawn from the
Sacred Writings. It has been said by some of the Ancients, that if the
Gods were to talk with Men, they would certainly speak in Plato's Style;
but I think we may say, with Justice, that when Mortals converse with
their Creator, they cannot do it in so proper a Style as in that of the
Holy Scriptures.

If any one would judge of the Beauties of Poetry that are to be met with
in the Divine Writings, and examine how kindly the Hebrew Manners of
Speech mix and incorporate with the English Language; after having
perused the Book of Psalms, let him read a literal Translation of Horace
or Pindar. He will find in these two last such an Absurdity and
Confusion of Style, with such a Comparative Poverty of Imagination, as
will make him very sensible of what I have been here advancing.

Since we have therefore such a Treasury of Words, so beautiful in
themselves, and so proper for the Airs of Musick, I cannot but wonder
that Persons of Distinction should give so little Attention and
Encouragement to that Kind of Musick, which would have its Foundation in
Reason, and which would improve our Virtue in proportion as it raised
our Delight. The Passions that are excited by ordinary Compositions
generally flow from such silly and absurd Occasions, that a Man is
ashamed to reflect upon them seriously; but the Fear, the Love, the
Sorrow, the Indignation that are awakened in the Mind by Hymns and
Anthems, make the Heart better, and proceed from such Causes as are
altogether reasonable and praise-worthy. Pleasure and Duty go hand in
hand, and the greater our Satisfaction is, the greater is our Religion.

Musick among those who were styled the chosen People was a Religious
Art. The Songs of Sion, which we have reason to believe were in high
Repute among the Courts of the Eastern Monarchs, were nothing else but
Psalms and Pieces of Poetry that adored or celebrated the Supreme Being.
The greatest Conqueror in this Holy Nation, after the manner of the old
Grecian Lyricks, did not only compose the Words of his Divine Odes, but
generally set them to Musick himself: After which, his Works, tho' they
were consecrated to the Tabernacle, became the National Entertainment,
as well as the Devotion of his People.

The first Original of the Drama was a Religious Worship consisting only
of a Chorus, which was nothing else but an Hymn to a Deity. As Luxury
and Voluptuousness prevailed over Innocence and Religion, this Form of
Worship degenerated into Tragedies; in which however the Chorus so far
remembered its first Office, as to brand every thing that was vicious,
and recommend every thing that was laudable, to intercede with Heaven
for the Innocent, and to implore its Vengeance on the Criminal.

Homer and Hesiod intimate to us how this Art should be applied, when
they represent the Muses as surrounding Jupiter, and warbling their
Hymns about his Throne. I might shew from innumerable Passages in
Ancient Writers, not only that Vocal and Instrumental Musick were made
use of in their Religious Worship, but that their most favourite
Diversions were filled with Songs and Hymns to their respective Deities.
Had we frequent Entertainments of this Nature among us, they would not a
little purifie and exalt our Passions, give our Thoughts a proper Turn,
and cherish those Divine Impulses in the Soul, which every one feels
that has not stifled them by sensual and immoderate Pleasures.

Musick, when thus applied, raises noble Hints in the Mind of the Hearer,
and fills it with great Conceptions. It strengthens Devotion, and
advances Praise into Rapture. It lengthens out every Act of Worship, and
produces more lasting and permanent Impressions in the Mind, than those
which accompany any transient Form of Words that are uttered in the
ordinary Method of Religious Worship.


[Footnote 1: See note on p. 51, vol. i [Footnote 1 of No. 13]. He took
leave, June 14, in the Opera of Antiochus.]

* * * * *

No. 406. Monday, June 16, 1712. Steele.

'Haec studia Adolescentiam alunt, Senectutem oblectant, secundas res
ornant, adversis solatium et perfugium praebet delectant domi, non
impediunt foris; Pernoctant nobiscum, peregrinantur, rusticantur.'


The following Letters bear a pleasing Image of the Joys and
Satisfactions of private Life. The first is from a Gentleman to a
Friend, for whom he has a very great Respect, and to whom he
communicates the Satisfaction he takes in Retirement; the other is a
Letter to me, occasioned by an Ode written by my Lapland Lover; this
Correspondent is so kind as to translate another of Scheffer's Songs [1]
in a very agreeable Manner. I publish them together, that the Young and
Old may find something in the same Paper which may be suitable to their
respective Taste in Solitude; for I know no Fault in the Description of
ardent Desires, provided they are honourable.

Dear Sir,

You have obliged me with a very kind Letter; by which I find you shift
the Scene of your Life from the Town to the Country, and enjoy that
mixt State which wise Men both delight in, and are qualified for.
Methinks most of the Philosophers and Moralists have run too much into
Extreams, in praising entirely either Solitude or publick Life; in the
former Men generally grow useless by too much Rest, and in the latter
are destroyed by too much Precipitation: As Waters lying still,
putrifie and are good for nothing; and running violently on, do but
the more Mischief in their Passage to others, and are swallowed up and
lost the sooner themselves. Those who, like you, can make themselves
useful to all States, should be like gentle Streams, that not only
glide through lonely Vales and Forests amidst the Flocks and
Shepherds, but visit populous Towns in their Course, and are at once
of Ornament and Service to them. But there is another sort of People
who seem designed for Solitude, those I mean who have more to hide
than to shew: As for my own Part, I am one of those of whom Seneca
says, Tum Umbratiles sunt, ut putent in turbido esse quicquid in luce
est. Some Men, like Pictures, are fitter for a Corner than a full
Light; and I believe such as have a natural Bent to Solitude, are like
Waters which may be forced into Fountains, and exalted to a great
Height, may make a much nobler Figure, and a much louder Noise, but
after all run more smoothly, equally and plentifully, in their own
natural Course upon the Ground. The Consideration of this would make
me very well contented with the Possession only of that Quiet which
Cowley calls the Companion of Obscurity; but whoever has the Muses too
for his Companions, can never be idle enough to be uneasie. Thus, Sir,
you see I would flatter my self into a good Opinion of my own Way of
Living; Plutarch just now told me, that 'tis in human Life as in a
Game at Tables, one may wish he had the highest Cast, but if his
Chance be otherwise, he is even to play it as well as he can, and make
the best of it.

I am, SIR,
Your most obliged,
and most humble Servant.


The Town being so well pleased with the fine Picture of artless Love,
which Nature inspired the Laplander to paint in the Ode you lately
printed; we were in Hopes that the ingenious Translator would have
obliged it with the other also which Scheffer has given us; but since
he has not, a much inferior Hand has ventured to send you this.

It is a Custom with the Northern Lovers to divert themselves with a
Song, whilst they Journey through the fenny Moors to pay a visit to
their Mistresses. This is addressed by the Lover to his Rain-Deer,
which is the Creature that in that Country supplies the Want of
Horses. The Circumstances which successively present themselves to him
in his Way, are, I believe you will think, naturally interwoven. The
Anxiety of Absence, the Gloominess of the Roads, and his Resolution of
frequenting only those, since those only can carry him to the Object
of his Desires; the Dissatisfaction he expresses even at the greatest
Swiftness with which he is carried, and his joyful Surprize at an
unexpected Sight of his Mistress as she is bathing, seems beautifully
described in the Original.

If all those pretty Images of Rural Nature are lost in the Imitation,
yet possibly you may think fit to let this supply the Place of a long
Letter, when Want of Leisure or Indisposition for Writing will not
permit our being entertained by your own Hand. I propose such a Time,
because tho it is natural to have a Fondness for what one does ones
self, yet I assure you I would not have any thing of mine displace a
single Line of yours.

I. Haste, my Rain-Deer, and let us nimbly go
Our am'rous Journey through this dreery Waste;
Haste, my Rain-Deer! still still thou art too slow;
Impetuous Love demands the Lightning's Haste.

II. Around us far the Rushy Moors are spread:
Soon will the Sun withdraw her chearful Ray:
Darkling and tir'd we shall the Marshes tread,
No Lay unsung to cheat the tedious Way.

III. The wat'ry Length of these unjoyous Moors
Does all the flow'ry Meadow's Pride excel,
Through these I fly to her my Soul adores;
Ye flowery Meadows, empty Pride, Farewel.

IV. Each Moment from the Charmer I'm confin'd,
My Breast is tortur'd with impatient Fires;
Fly, my Rain-Deer, fly swifter than the Wind,
Thy tardy Feet wing with my fierce Desires.

V. Our pleasing Toil will then be soon o'erpaid,
And thou, in Wonder lost, shalt view my Fair,
Admire each Feature of the lovely Maid,
Her artless Charms, her Bloom, her sprightly Air,

VI. But lo! with graceful Motion there she swims,
Gently moving each ambitious Wave;
The crowding Waves transported clasp her Limbs:
When, when, oh when, shall I such Freedoms have!

VII. In vain, you envious Streams, so fast you flow,
To hide her from a Lover's ardent Gaze:
From ev'ry Touch you more transparent grow,
And all reveal'd the beauteous Wanton plays.


[Footnote 1: See No. 366 and note.]

* * * * *

No. 407. Tuesday, June 17, 1712. Addison.

'--abest facundis Gratia dictis.'


Most Foreign Writers who have given any Character of the English Nation,
whatever Vices they ascribe to it, allow in general, that the People are
naturally Modest. It proceeds perhaps from this our National Virtue,
that our Orators are observed to make use of less Gesture or Action than
those of other Countries. Our Preachers stand stock-still in the Pulpit,
and will not so much as move a Finger to set off the best Sermons in the
World. We meet with the same speaking Statues at our Bars, and in all
publick Places of Debate. Our Words flow from us in a smooth continued
Stream, without those Strainings of the Voice, Motions of the Body, and
Majesty of the Hand, which are so much celebrated in the Orators of
Greece and Rome. We can talk of Life and Death in cold Blood, and keep
our Temper in a Discourse which turns upon every thing that is dear to
us. Though our Zeal breaks out in the finest Tropes and Figures, it is
not able to stir a Limb about us. I have heard it observed more than
once by those who have seen Italy, that an untravelled Englishman cannot
relish all the Beauties of Italian Pictures, because the Postures which
are expressed in them are often such as are peculiar to that Country.
One who has not seen an Italian in the Pulpit, will not know what to
make of that noble Gesture in Raphael's Picture of St. Paul preaching at
Athens, where the Apostle is represented as lifting up both his Arms,
and pouring out the Thunder of his Rhetorick amidst an Audience of Pagan

It is certain that proper Gestures and vehement Exertions of the Voice
cannot be too much studied by a publick Orator. They are a kind of
Comment to what he utters, and enforce every thing he says, with weak
Hearers, better than the strongest Argument he can make use of. They
keep the Audience awake, and fix their Attention to what is delivered to
them, at the same time that they shew the Speaker is in earnest, and
affected himself with what he so passionately recommends to others.
Violent Gesture and Vociferation naturally shake the Hearts of the
Ignorant, and fill them with a kind of Religious Horror. Nothing is more
frequent than to see Women weep and tremble at the Sight of a moving
Preacher, though he is placed quite out of their Hearing; as in England
we very frequently see People lulled asleep with solid and elaborate
Discourses of Piety, who would be warmed and transported out of
themselves by the Bellowings and Distortions of Enthusiasm.

If Nonsense, when accompanied with such an Emotion of Voice and Body,
has such an Influence on Men's Minds, what might we not expect from many
of those Admirable Discourses which are printed in our Tongue, were they
delivered with a becoming Fervour, and with the most agreeable Graces of
Voice and Gesture?

We are told that the great Latin Orator very much impaired his Health by
this laterum contentio, this Vehemence of Action, with which he used to
deliver himself. The Greek Orator was likewise so very Famous for this
Particular in Rhetorick, that one of his Antagonists, whom he had
banished from Athens, reading over the Oration which had procured his
Banishment, and seeing his Friends admire it, could not forbear asking
them, if they were so much affected by the bare reading of it, how much
more they would have been alarmed, had they heard him actually throwing
out such a Storm of Eloquence?

How cold and dead a Figure in Comparison of these two great Men, does an
Orator often make at the British Bar, holding up his Head with the most
insipid Serenity, and streaking the sides of a long Wigg that reaches
down to his Middle? The truth of it is, there is often nothing more
ridiculous than the Gestures of an English Speaker; you see some of them
running their Hands into their Pockets as far as ever they can thrust
them, and others looking with great Attention on a piece of Paper that
has nothing written in it; you may see many a smart Rhetorician turning
his Hat in his Hands, moulding it into several different Cocks,
examining sometimes the Lining of it, and sometimes the Button, during
the whole course of his Harangue. A deaf Man would think he was
Cheap'ning a Beaver, when perhaps he is talking of the Fate of the
British Nation. I remember, when I was a young Man, and used to frequent
Westminster-Hall, there was a Counsellor who never pleaded without a
Piece of Pack-thread in his Hand, which he used to twist about a Thumb,
or a Finger, all the while he was speaking: The Waggs of those Days used
to call it the Thread of his Discourse, for he was not able to utter a
Word without it. One of his Clients, who was more merry than wise, stole
it from him one Day in the midst of his Pleading; but he had better have
let it alone, for he lost his Cause by his Jest.

I have all along acknowledged my self to be a Dumb Man, and therefore
may be thought a very improper Person to give Rules for Oratory; but I
believe every one will agree with me in this, that we ought either to
lay aside all kinds of Gesture, (which seems to be very suitable to the
Genius of our Nation) or at least to make use of such only as are
graceful and expressive.


* * * * *

No. 408. Wednesday, June 18, 1712. Pope.

'Decet affectus animi neque se nimium erigere, nec subjacere

Tull. de Finibus.


I have always been a very great Lover of your Speculations, as well in
Regard to the Subject, as to your Manner of Treating it. Human Nature
I always thought the most useful Object of human Reason, and to make
the Consideration of it pleasant and entertaining, I always thought
the best Employment of human Wit: Other Parts of Philosophy may
perhaps make us wiser, but this not only answers that End, but makes
us better too. Hence it was that the Oracle pronounced Socrates the
wisest of all Men living, because he judiciously made Choice of human
Nature for the Object of his Thoughts; an Enquiry into which as much
exceeds all other Learning, as it is of more Consequence to adjust the
true Nature and Measures of Right and Wrong, than to settle the
Distance of the Planets, and compute the Times of their

One good Effect that will immediately arise from a near Observation of
human Nature, is, that we shall cease to wonder at those Actions which
Men are used to reckon wholly unaccountable; for as nothing is
produced without a Cause, so by observing the Nature and Course of the
Passions, we shall be able to trace every Action from its first
Conception to its Death; We shall no more admire at the Proceedings of
Catiline or Tiberius, when we know the one was actuated by a cruel
Jealousie, the other by a furious Ambition; for the Actions of Men
follow their Passions as naturally as Light does Heat, or as any other
Effect flows from its Cause; Reason must be employed in adjusting the
Passions, but they must ever remain the Principles of Action.

The strange and absurd Variety that is so apparent in Men's Actions,
shews plainly they can never proceed immediately from Reason; so pure
a Fountain emits no such troubled Waters: They must necessarily arise
from the Passions, which are to the Mind as the Winds to a Ship, they
only can move it, and they too often destroy it; if fair and gentle,
they guide it into the Harbour; if contrary and furious, they overset
it in the Waves: In the same manner is the Mind assisted or endangered
by the Passions; Reason must then take the Place of Pilot, and can
never fail of securing her Charge if she be not wanting to her self:
The Strength of the Passions will never be accepted as an Excuse for
complying with them, they were designed for Subjection, and if a Man
suffers them to get the upper Hand, he then betrays the Liberty of his
own Soul.

As Nature has framed the several Species of Beings as it were in a
Chain, so Man seems to be placed as the middle Link between Angels and
Brutes: Hence he participates both of Flesh and Spirit by an admirable
Tie, which in him occasions perpetual War of Passions; and as a Man
inclines to the angelick or brute Part of his Constitution, he is then
denominated good or bad, virtuous or wicked; if Love, Mercy, and
Good-nature prevail, they speak him of the Angel; if Hatred, Cruelty,
and Envy predominate, they declare his Kindred to the Brute. Hence it
was that some of the Ancients imagined, that as Men in this Life
inclined more to the Angel or Brute, so after their Death they should
transmigrate into the one or the other: and it would be no unpleasant
Notion, to consider the several Species of Brutes, into which we may
imagine that Tyrants, Misers, the Proud, Malicious, and Ill-natured
might be changed.

As a Consequence of this Original, all Passions are in all Men, but
all appear not in all; Constitution, Education, Custom of the Country,
Reason, and the like Causes, may improve or abate the Strength of
them, but still the Seeds remain, which are ever ready to sprout forth
upon the least Encouragement. I have heard a Story of a good religious
Man, who, having been bred with the Milk of a Goat, was very modest in
Publick by a careful Reflection he made on his Actions, but he
frequently had an Hour in Secret, wherein he had his Frisks and
Capers; and if we had an Opportunity of examining the Retirement of
the strictest Philosophers, no doubt but we should find perpetual
Returns of those Passions they so artfully conceal from the Publick. I
remember Matchiavel observes, that every State should entertain a
perpetual jealousie of its Neighbours, that so it should never be
unprovided when an Emergency happens; [1] in like manner should the
Reason be perpetually on its Guard against the Passions, and never
suffer them to carry on any Design that may be destructive of its
Security; yet at the same Time it must be careful, that it don't so
far break their Strength as to render them contemptible, and
consequently it self unguarded.

The Understanding being of its self too slow and lazy to exert it self
into Action, its necessary it should be put in Motion by the gentle
Gales of the Passions, which may preserve it from stagnating and
Corruption; for they are as necessary to the Health of the Mind, as
the Circulation of the animal Spirits is to the Health of the Body;
they keep it in Life, and Strength, and Vigour; nor is it possible for
the Mind to perform its Offices without their Assistance: These
Motions are given us with our Being, they are little Spirits that are
born and dye with us; to some they are mild, easie, and gentle, to
others wayward and unruly, yet never too strong for the Reins of
Reason and the Guidance of Judgment.

We may generally observe a pretty nice Proportion between the Strength
of Reason and Passion; the greatest Genius's have commonly the
strongest Affections, as on the other hand, the weaker Understandings
have generally the weaker Passions; and 'tis fit the Fury of the
Coursers should not be too great for the Strength of the Charioteer.
Young Men whose Passions are not a little unruly, give small Hopes of
their ever being considerable; the Fire of Youth will of course abate,
and is a Fault, if it be a Fault, that mends every Day; but surely
unless a Man has Fire in Youth, he can hardly have Warmth in Old Age.
We must therefore be very cautious, lest while we think to regulate
the Passions, we should quite extinguish them, which is putting out
the Light of the Soul: for to be without Passion, or to be hurried
away with it, makes a Man equally blind. The extraordinary Severity
used in most of our Schools has this fatal Effect, it breaks the
Spring of the Mind, and most certainly destroys more good Genius's
than it can possibly improve. And surely 'tis a mighty Mistake that
the Passions should be so intirely subdued; for little Irregularities
are sometimes not only to be borne with, but to be cultivated too,
since they are frequently attended with the greatest Perfections. All
great Genius's have Faults mixed with their Virtues, and resemble the
flaming Bush which has Thorns amongst Lights.

Since, therefore the Passions are the Principles of human Actions, we
must endeavour to manage them so as to retain their Vigour, yet keep
them under strict Command; we must govern them rather like free
Subjects than Slaves, lest while we intend to make them obedient, they
become abject, and unfit for those great Purposes to which they were
designed. For my Part I must confess, I could never have any Regard to
that Sect of Philosophers, who so much insisted upon an absolute
Indifference and Vacancy from all Passion; for it seems to me a Thing
very inconsistent for a Man to divest himself of Humanity, in order to
acquire Tranquility of Mind, and to eradicate the very Principles of
Action, because its possible they may produce ill Effects.

I am, SIR,

Your Affectionate Admirer,

T. B.


[Footnote 1: The Prince, ch. xlv, at close.]

* * * * *

No. 409. Thursday, June 19, 1712. Addison.

'Musaeo contingere cuncta lepore.'


Gratian very often recommends the Fine Taste, [1] as the utmost
Perfection of an accomplished Man. As this Word arises very often in
Conversation, I shall endeavour to give some Account of it, and to lay
down Rules how we may know whether we are possessed of it, and how we
may acquire that fine Taste of Writing, which is so much talked of among
the Polite World.

Most Languages make use of this Metaphor, to express that Faculty of the
Mind, which distinguishes all the most concealed Faults and nicest
Perfections in Writing. We may be sure this Metaphor would not have been
so general in all Tongues, had there not been a very great Conformity
between that Mental Taste, which is the Subject of this Paper, and that
Sensitive Taste which gives us a Relish of every different Flavour that
affects the Palate. Accordingly we find, there are as many Degrees of
Refinement in the intellectual Faculty, as in the Sense, which is marked
out by this common Denomination.

I knew a Person who possessed the one in so great a Perfection, that
after having tasted ten different Kinds of Tea, he would distinguish,
without seeing the Colour of it, the particular Sort which was offered
him; and not only so, but any two Sorts of them that were mixt together
in an equal Proportion; nay he has carried the Experiment so far, as
upon tasting the Composition of three different Sorts, to name the
Parcels from whence the three several Ingredients were taken. A Man of a
fine Taste in Writing will discern, after the same manner, not only the
general Beauties and Imperfections of an Author, but discover the
several Ways of thinking and expressing himself, which diversify him
from all other Authors, with the several Foreign Infusions of Thought
and Language, and the particular Authors from whom they were borrowed.

After having thus far explained what is generally meant by a fine Taste
in Writing, and shewn the Propriety of the Metaphor which is used on
this Occasion, I think I may define it to be that Faculty of the Soul,
which discerns the Beauties of an Author with Pleasure, and the
Imperfections with Dislike. If a Man would know whether he is possessed
of this Faculty, I would have him read over the celebrated Works of
Antiquity, which have stood the Test of so many different Ages and
Countries, or those Works among the Moderns which have the Sanction of
the Politer Part of our Contemporaries. If upon the Perusal of such
Writings he does not find himself delighted in an extraordinary Manner,
or if, upon reading the admired Passages in such Authors, he finds a
Coldness and Indifference in his Thoughts, he ought to conclude, not (as
is too usual among tasteless Readers) that the Author wants those
Perfections which have been admired in him, but that he himself wants
the Faculty of discovering them.

He should, in the second Place, be very careful to observe, whether he
tastes the distinguishing Perfections, or, if I may be allowed to call
them so, the Specifick Qualities of the Author whom he peruses; whether
he is particularly pleased with Livy for his Manner of telling a Story,
with Sallust for his entering into those internal Principles of Action
which arise from the Characters and Manners of the Persons he describes,
or with Tacitus for his displaying those outward Motives of Safety and
Interest, which give Birth to the whole Series of Transactions which he

He may likewise consider, how differently he is affected by the same
Thought, which presents it self in a great Writer, from what he is when
he finds it delivered by a Person of an ordinary Genius. For there is as
much Difference in apprehending a Thought cloathed in Cicero's Language,
and that of a common Author, as in seeing an Object by the Light of a
Taper, or by the Light of the Sun.

It is very difficult to lay down Rules for the Acquirement of such a
Taste as that I am here speaking of. The Faculty must in some degree be
born with us, and it very often happens, that those who have other
Qualities in Perfection are wholly void of this. One of the most eminent
Mathematicians of the Age has assured me, that the greatest Pleasure he
took in reading Virgil, was in examining AEneas his Voyage by the Map; as
I question not but many a Modern Compiler of History, would be delighted
with little more in that Divine Author, than in the bare Matters of

But notwithstanding this Faculty must in some measure be born with us,
there are several Methods for Cultivating and Improving it, and without
which it will be very uncertain, and of little use to the Person that
possesses it. The most natural Method for this Purpose is to be
conversant among the Writings of the most Polite Authors. A Man who has
any Relish for fine Writing, either discovers new Beauties, or receives
stronger Impressions from the Masterly Strokes of a great Author every
time he peruses him; Besides that he naturally wears himself into the
same manner of Speaking and Thinking.

Conversation with Men of a Polite Genius is another Method for improving
our Natural Taste. It is impossible for a Man of the greatest Parts to
consider anything in its whole Extent, and in all its Variety of Lights.
Every Man, besides those General Observations which are to be made upon
an Author, forms several Reflections that are peculiar to his own Manner
of Thinking; so that Conversation will naturally furnish us with Hints
which we did not attend to, and make us enjoy other Men's Parts and
Reflections as well as our own. This is the best Reason I can give for
the Observation which several have made, that Men of great Genius in the
same way of Writing seldom rise up singly, but at certain Periods of
Time appear together, and in a Body; as they did at Rome in the Reign of
Augustus, and in Greece about the Age of Socrates. I cannot think that
Corneille, Racine, Moliere, Boileau, la Fontaine, Bruyere, Bossu, or the
Daciers, would have written so well as they have done, had they not been
Friends and Contemporaries.

It is likewise necessary for a Man who would form to himself a finished
Taste of good Writing, to be well versed in the Works of the best
Criticks both Ancient and Modern. I must confess that I could wish there
were Authors of this kind, who beside the Mechanical Rules which a Man
of very little Taste may discourse upon, would enter into the very
Spirit and Soul of fine Writing, and shew us the several Sources of that
Pleasure which rises in the Mind upon the Perusal of a noble Work. Thus
although in Poetry it be absolutely necessary that the Unities of Time,
Place and Action, with other Points of the same Nature, should be
thoroughly explained and understood; there is still something more
essential to the Art, something that elevates and astonishes the Fancy,
and gives a Greatness of Mind to the Reader, which few of the Criticks
besides Longinus have considered.

Our general Taste in England is for Epigram, Turns of Wit, and forced
Conceits, which have no manner of Influence, either for the bettering or
enlarging the Mind of him who reads them, and have been carefully
avoided by the greatest Writers, both among the Ancients and Moderns. I
have endeavoured in several of my Speculations to banish this Gothic
Taste, which has taken Possession among us. I entertained the Town, for
a Week together, with an Essay upon Wit, in which I endeavoured to
detect several of those false Kinds which have been admired in the
different Ages of the World; and at the same time to shew wherein the
Nature of true Wit consists. I afterwards gave an Instance of the great
Force which lyes in a natural Simplicity of Thought to affect the Mind
of the Reader, from such vulgar Pieces as have little else besides this
single Qualification to recommend them. I have likewise examined the
Works of the greatest Poet which our Nation or perhaps any other has
produced, and particularized most of those rational and manly Beauties
which give a Value to that Divine Work. I shall next Saturday enter upon
an Essay on the Pleasures of the Imagination, which, though it shall
consider that Subject at large, will perhaps suggest to the Reader what
it is that gives a Beauty to many Passages of the finest Writers both in
Prose and Verse. As an Undertaking of this Nature is entirely new, I
question not but it will be received with Candour.


[Footnote 1: See note on p. 620, ante [Footnote 3 of No. 379]. This fine
taste was the 'cultismo', the taste for false concepts, which Addison

* * * * *

No. 410. Friday, June 20, 1712. Tickell.

'Dum foris sunt, nihil videtur Mundius,
Nec magis compositum quidquam, nec magis elegans:
Quae, cum amatore suo cum coenant, Liguriunt,
Harum videre ingluviem, sordes, inopiam:
Quam inhonestae solae sint domi, atque avidae cibi,
Quo pacto ex Jure Hesterno panem atrum varent.
Nosse omnia haec, salus est adolescentulis.'


WILL. HONEYCOMB, who disguises his present Decay by visiting the Wenches
of the Town only by Way of Humour, told us, that the last rainy Night he
with Sir ROGER DE COVERLY was driven into the Temple Cloister, whither
had escaped also a Lady most exactly dressed from Head to Foot. WILL,
made no Scruple to acquaint us, that she saluted him very familiarly by
his Name, and turning immediately to the Knight, she said, she supposed
that was his good Friend, Sir ROGER DE COVERLY: Upon which nothing less
could follow than Sir ROGER'S Approach to Salutation, with, Madam the
same at your Service. She was dressed in a black Tabby Mantua and
Petticoat, without Ribbons; her Linnen striped Muslin, and in the whole
in an agreeable Second-Mourning; decent Dresses being often affected by
the Creatures of the Town, at once consulting Cheapness and the
Pretensions to Modesty. She went on with a familiar easie Air. Your
Friend, Mr. HONEYCOMB, is a little surprized to see a Woman here alone
and unattended; but I dismissed my Coach at the Gate, and tripped it
down to my Council's Chambers, for Lawyer's Fees take up too much of a
small disputed Joynture to admit any other Expence but meer Necessaries.
Mr. HONEYCOMB begged they might have the Honour of setting her down, for
Sir ROGER'S Servant was gone to call a Coach. In the Interim the Footman
returned, with no Coach to be had; and there appeared nothing to be done
but trusting herself with Mr. HONEYCOMB and his Friend to wait at the
Tavern at the Gate for a Coach, or to be subjected to all the
Impertinence she must meet with in that publick Place. Mr. HONEYCOMB
being a Man of Honour determined the Choice of the first, and Sir ROGER,
as the better Man, took the Lady by the Hand, leading through all the
Shower, covering her with his Hat, and gallanting a familiar
Acquaintance through Rows of young Fellows, who winked at Sukey in the
State she marched off, WILL. HONEYCOMB bringing up the Rear.

Much Importunity prevailed upon the Fair one to admit of a Collation,
where, after declaring she had no Stomach, and eaten a Couple of
Chickens, devoured a Trusse of Sallet, and drunk a full Bottle to her
Share, she sung the Old Man's Wish to Sir ROGER. The Knight left the
Room for some Time after Supper, and writ the following Billet, which he
conveyed to Sukey, and Sukey to her Friend WILL. HONEYCOMB. WILL. has
given it to Sir ANDREW FREEPORT, who read it last Night to the Club.


I am not so meer a Country-Gentleman, but I can guess at the
Law-Business you had at the Temple. If you would go down to the
Country and leave off all your Vanities but your Singing, let me know
at my Lodgings in Bow-street Covent-Garden, and you shall be
encouraged by

Your humble Servant,


My good Friend could not well stand the Raillery which was rising upon
him; but to put a Stop to it I deliverd WILL. HONEYCOMB the following
Letter, and desired him to read it to the Board.


Having seen a Translation of one of the Chapters in the Canticles into
English Verse inserted among your late Papers, I have ventured to send
you the 7th Chapter of the Proverbs in a poetical Dress. If you think
it worthy appearing among your Speculations, it will be a sufficient
Reward for the Trouble of

Your constant Reader,

A. B.

My Son, th' Instruction that my Words impart,
Grave on the Living Tablet of thy Heart;
And all the wholesome Precepts that I give,
Observe with strictest Reverence, and live.
Let all thy Homage be to Wisdom paid,
Seek her Protection and implore her Aid;
That she may keep thy Soul from Harm secure,
And turn thy Footsteps from the Harlot's Door,
Who with curs'd Charms lures the Unwary in,
And sooths with Flattery their Souls to Sin.
Once from my Window as I cast mine Eye
On those that pass'd in giddy Numbers by,
A Youth among the foolish Youths I spy'd,
Who took not sacred Wisdom for his Guide.
Just as the Sun withdrew his cooler Light,
And Evening soft led on the Shades of Night,
He stole in covert Twilight to his Fate,
And passd the Corner near the Harlot's Gate
When, lo, a Woman comes!--
Loose her Attire, and such her glaring Dress,
As aptly did the Harlot's Mind express:
Subtle she is, and practisd in the Arts,
By which the Wanton conquer heedless Hearts:
Stubborn and loud she is; she hates her Home,
Varying her Place and Form; she loves to roam;
Now she's within, now in the Street does stray;
Now at each Corner stands, and waits her Prey.
The Youth she seiz'd; and laying now aside
All Modesty, the Female's justest Pride,
She said, with an Embrace, Here at my House
Peace-offerings are, this Day I paid my Vows.
I therefore came abroad to meet my Dear,
And, Lo, in Happy Hour I find thee here.
My Chamber I've adornd, and o'er my Bed
Are cov'rings of the richest Tap'stry spread,
With Linnen it is deck'd from Egypt brought,
And Carvings by the Curious Artist wrought,
It wants no Glad Perfume Arabia yields
In all her Citron Groves, and spicy Fields;
Here all her store of richest Odours meets,
Ill lay thee in a Wilderness of Sweets.
Whatever to the Sense can grateful be
I have collected there--I want but Thee.
My Husband's gone a Journey far away, }
Much Gold he took abroad, and long will stay, }
He nam'd for his return a distant Day. }
Upon her Tongue did such smooth Mischief dwell,
And from her Lips such welcome Flatt'ry fell,
Th' unguarded Youth, in Silken Fetters ty'd,
Resign'd his Reason, and with Ease comply'd.
Thus does the Ox to his own Slaughter go,
And thus is senseless of th' impending Blow.
Thus flies the simple Bird into the Snare,
That skilful Fowlers for his Life prepare.
But let my Sons attend, Attend may they
Whom Youthful Vigour may to Sin betray;
Let them false Charmers fly, and guard their Hearts
Against the wily Wanton's pleasing Arts,
With Care direct their Steps, nor turn astray,
To tread the Paths of her deceitful Way;
Lest they too late of Her fell Power complain,
And fall, where many mightier have been Slain.


* * * * *

No. 411. Saturday, June 21, 1712. Addison.

'Avia Pieridum peragro loca, nullius ante
Trita solo; juvat integros accedere fonteis;
Atque haurire:--'


Our Sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our Senses. It
fills the Mind with the largest Variety of Ideas, converses with its
Objects at the greatest Distance, and continues the longest in Action
without being tired or satiated with its proper Enjoyments. The Sense of
Feeling can indeed give us a Notion of Extension, Shape, and all other
Ideas that enter at the Eye, except Colours; but at the same time it is
very much streightned and confined in its Operations, to the number,
bulk, and distance of its particular Objects. Our Sight seems designed
to supply all these Defects, and may be considered as a more delicate
and diffusive kind of Touch, that spreads it self over an infinite
Multitude of Bodies, comprehends the largest Figures, and brings into
our reach some of the most remote Parts of the Universe.

It is this Sense which furnishes the Imagination with its Ideas; so that
by the Pleasures of the Imagination or Fancy (which I shall use
promiscuously) I here mean such as arise from visible Objects, either
when we have them actually in our View, or when we call up their Ideas
in our Minds by Paintings, Statues, Descriptions, or any the like
Occasion. We cannot indeed have a single Image in the Fancy that did not
make its first Entrance through the Sight; but we have the Power of
retaining, altering and compounding those Images, which we have once
received, into all the varieties of Picture and Vision that are most
agreeable to the Imagination; for by this Faculty a Man in a Dungeon is
capable of entertaining himself with Scenes and Landskips more beautiful
than any that can be found in the whole Compass of Nature.

There are few Words in the English Language which are employed in a more
loose and uncircumscribed Sense than those of the Fancy and the
Imagination. I therefore thought it necessary to fix and determine the
Notion of these two Words, as I intend to make use of them in the Thread
of my following Speculations, that the Reader may conceive rightly what
is the Subject which I proceed upon. I must therefore desire him to
remember, that by the Pleasures of the Imagination, I mean only such
Pleasures as arise originally from Sight, and that I divide these
Pleasures into two Kinds: My Design being first of all to Discourse of
those Primary Pleasures of the Imagination, which entirely proceed from
such Objects as are [before our [1]] Eye[s]; and in the next place to
speak of those Secondary Pleasures of the Imagination which flow from
the Ideas of visible Objects, when the Objects are not actually before
the Eye, but are called up into our Memories, or formed into agreeable
Visions of Things that are either Absent or Fictitious.

The Pleasures of the Imagination, taken in the full Extent, are not so
gross as those of Sense, nor so refined as those of the Understanding.
The last are, indeed, more preferable, because they are founded on some
new Knowledge or Improvement in the Mind of Man; yet it must be confest,
that those of the Imagination are as great and as transporting as the
other. A beautiful Prospect delights the Soul, as much as a
Demonstration; and a Description in Homer has charmed more Readers than
a Chapter in Aristotle. Besides, the Pleasures of the Imagination have
this Advantage, above those of the Understanding, that they are more
obvious, and more easie to be acquired. It is but opening the Eye, and
the Scene enters. The Colours paint themselves on the Fancy, with very
little Attention of Thought or Application of Mind in the Beholder. We
are struck, we know not how, with the Symmetry of any thing we see, and
immediately assent to the Beauty of an Object, without enquiring into
the particular Causes and Occasions of it.

A Man of a Polite Imagination is let into a great many Pleasures, that
the Vulgar are not capable of receiving. He can converse with a Picture,
and find an agreeable Companion in a Statue. He meets with a secret
Refreshment in a Description, and often feels a greater Satisfaction in
the Prospect of Fields and Meadows, than another does in the Possession.
It gives him, indeed, a kind of Property in every thing he sees, and
makes the most rude uncultivated Parts of Nature administer to his
Pleasures: So that he looks upon the World, as it were in another Light,
and discovers in it a Multitude of Charms, that conceal themselves from
the generality of Mankind.

There are, indeed, but very few who know how to be idle and innocent, or
have a Relish of any Pleasures that are not Criminal; every Diversion
they take is at the Expence of some one Virtue or another, and their
very first Step out of Business is into Vice or Folly. A Man should
endeavour, therefore, to make the Sphere of his innocent Pleasures as
wide as possible, that he may retire into them with Safety, and find in
them such a Satisfaction as a wise Man would not blush to take. Of this
Nature are those of the Imagination, which do not require such a Bent of
Thought as is necessary to our more serious Employments, nor, at the
same time, suffer the Mind to sink into that Negligence and Remissness,
which are apt to accompany our more sensual Delights, but, like a gentle
Exercise to the Faculties, awaken them from Sloth and Idleness, without
putting them upon any Labour or Difficulty.

We might here add, that the Pleasures of the Fancy are more conducive to
Health, than those of the Understanding, which are worked out by Dint of
Thinking, and attended with too violent a Labour of the Brain.
Delightful Scenes, whether in Nature, Painting, or Poetry, have a kindly
Influence on the Body, as well as the Mind, and not only serve to clear
and brighten the Imagination, but are able to disperse Grief and
Melancholy, and to set the Animal Spirits in pleasing and agreeable
Motions. For this Reason Sir Francis Bacon, in his Essay upon Health,
has not thought it improper to prescribe to his Reader a Poem or a
Prospect, where he particularly dissuades him from knotty and subtile
Disquisitions, and advises him to pursue Studies that fill the Mind with
splendid and illustrious Objects, as Histories, Fables, and
Contemplations of Nature.

I have in this Paper, by way of Introduction, settled the Notion of
those Pleasures of the Imagination which are the Subject of my present
Undertaking, and endeavoured, by several Considerations, to recommend to
my Reader the Pursuit of those Pleasures. I shall, in my next Paper,
examine the several Sources from whence these Pleasures are derived. [2]


[Footnote 1: [present to the]]

[Footnote 2: From a MS. Note-book of Addison's, met with in 1858, Mr. J.
Dykes Campbell printed at Glasgow, in 1864, 250 copies of some portions
of the first draught of these papers on Imagination with the Essay on
Jealousy (No. 176) and that on Fame (No. 255). The MS. was an old calf
bound 8vo volume obtained from a dealer. There were about 31 pages
written on one side of each leaf in a beautiful print-like hand, which
contained the Essays in their first state. Passages were added by
Addison in his ordinary handwriting upon the blank pages opposite to
this carefully-written text, and there are pieces in a third
hand-writing which neither the keeper of the MSS. Department of the
British Museum nor the Librarian of the Bodleian could identify. The
insertions in this third hand form part of the paper as finally
published. Thus in the paper on Jealousy (No. 171) it wrote the English
verse translation added to the quotation from Horace's Ode I. xiii. The
MS. shows with how much care Addison revised and corrected the first
draught of his papers, especially where, as in the series of eleven upon
Imagination here commenced, he meant to put out all his strength. In
Blair's Rhetoric four Lectures (20-23) are given to a critical
Examination of the Style of Mr. Addison in Nos. 411, 412, 413, and 414
of the Spectator. Akenside's poem on the Pleasures of the Imagination,
published in 1744, when he was 23 years old, was suggested by these
papers. Many disquisitions upon Taste were written towards the close of
the last century. They formed a new province in literature, of which
Addison here appears as the founder and first lawgiver.]

* * * * *

No. 412. Monday, June 23, 1712. Addison.

'--Divisum sic breve fiet Opus.'


I shall first consider those Pleasures of the Imagination, which arise
from the actual View and Survey of outward Objects: And these, I think,
all proceed from the Sight of what is Great, Uncommon, or Beautiful.
There may, indeed, be something so terrible or offensive, that the
Horror or Loathsomeness of an Object may over-bear the Pleasure which
results from its Greatness, Novelty, or Beauty; but still there will be
such a Mixture of Delight in the very Disgust it gives us, as any of
these three Qualifications are most conspicuous and prevailing.

By Greatness, I do not only mean the Bulk of any single Object, but the
Largeness of a whole View, considered as one entire Piece. Such are the
Prospects of an open Champain Country, a vast uncultivated Desart, of
huge Heaps of Mountains, high Rocks and Precipices, or a wide Expanse of
Waters, where we are not struck with the Novelty or Beauty of the Sight,
but with that rude kind of Magnificence which appears in many of these
stupendous Works of Nature. Our Imagination loves to be filled with an
Object, or to grasp at any thing that is too big for its Capacity. We
are flung into a pleasing Astonishment at such unbounded Views, and feel
a delightful Stillness and Amazement in the Soul at the Apprehension[s]
of them. The Mind of Man naturally hates every thing that looks like a
Restraint upon it, and is apt to fancy it self under a sort of
Confinement, when the Sight is pent up in a narrow Compass, and shortned
on every side by the Neighbourhood of Walls or Mountains. On the
contrary, a spacious Horizon is an Image of Liberty, where the Eye has
Room to range abroad, to expatiate at large on the Immensity of its
Views, and to lose it self amidst the Variety of Objects that offer
themselves to its Observation. Such wide and undetermined Prospects are
as pleasing to the Fancy, as the Speculations of Eternity or Infinitude
are to the Understanding. But if there be a Beauty or Uncommonness
joined with this Grandeur, as in a troubled Ocean, a Heaven adorned with
Stars and Meteors, or a spacious Landskip cut out into Rivers, Woods,
Rocks, and Meadows, the Pleasure still grows upon us, as it rises from
more than a single Principle.

Every thing that is new or uncommon raises a Pleasure in the
Imagination, because it fills the Soul with an agreeable Surprize,
gratifies its Curiosity, and gives it an Idea of which it was not before
possest. We are indeed so often conversant with one Set of Objects, and
tired out with so many repeated Shows of the same Things, that whatever
is new or uncommon contributes a little to vary human Life, and to
divert our Minds, for a while, with the Strangeness of its Appearance:
It serves us for a kind of Refreshment, and takes off from that Satiety
we are apt to complain of in our usual and ordinary Entertainments. It
is this that bestows Charms on a Monster, and makes even the
Imperfections of Nature [please [1]] us. It is this that recommends
Variety, where the Mind is every Instant called off to something new,
and the Attention not suffered to dwell too long, and waste it self on
any particular Object. It is this, likewise, that improves what is great
or beautiful, and make it afford the Mind a double Entertainment.
Groves, Fields, and Meadows, are at any Season of the Year pleasant to
look upon, but never so much as in the Opening of the Spring, when they
are all new and fresh, with their first Gloss upon them, and not yet too
much accustomed and familiar to the Eye. For this Reason there is
nothing that more enlivens a Prospect than Rivers, Jetteaus, or Falls of
Water, where the Scene is perpetually shifting, and entertaining the
Sight every Moment with something that is new. We are quickly tired with
looking upon Hills and Vallies, where every thing continues fixed and
settled in the same Place and Posture, but find our Thoughts a little
agitated and relieved at the Sight of such Objects as are ever in
Motion, and sliding away from beneath the Eye of the Beholder.

But there is nothing that makes its Way more directly to the Soul than
Beauty, which immediately diffuses a secret Satisfaction and Complacency
through the Imagination, and gives a Finishing to any thing that is
Great or Uncommon. The very first Discovery of it strikes the Mind with
an inward Joy, and spreads a Chearfulness and Delight through all its
Faculties. There is not perhaps any real Beauty or Deformity more in one
Piece of Matter than another, because we might have been so made, that
whatsoever now appears loathsome to us, might have shewn it self
agreeable; but we find by Experience, that there are several
Modifications of Matter which the Mind, without any previous
Consideration, pronounces at first sight Beautiful or Deformed. Thus we
see that every different Species of sensible Creatures has its different
Notions of Beauty, and that each of them is most affected with the
Beauties of its own Kind. This is no where more remarkable than in Birds
of the same Shape and Proportion, where we often see the Male determined
in his Courtship by the single Grain or Tincture of a Feather, and never
discovering any Charms but in the Colour of its Species.

Scit thalamo servare fidem, sanctasque veretur
Connubii leges, non illum in pectore candor
Sollicitat niveus; neque pravum accendit amorem
Splendida Lanugo, vel honesta in vertice crista,
Purpureusve nitor pennarum; ast agmina late
Foeminea explorat cautus, maculasque requirit
Cognatas, paribusque interlita corpora guttis:
Ni faceret, pictis sylvam circum undique monstris
Confusam aspiceres vulgo, partusque biformes,
Et genus ambiguum, et Veneris monumenta nefandae.
Hinc merula in nigro se oblectat nigra marito,
Hinc socium lasciva petit Philomela canorum,
Agnoscitque pares sonitus, hinc Noctua tetram
Canitiem alarum, et glaucos miratur ocellos.
Nempe sibi semper constat, crescitque quotannis
Lucida progenies, castos confessa parentes;
Dum virides inter saltus lucosque sonoros
Vere novo exultat, plumasque decora Juventus
Explicat ad solem, patriisque coloribus ardet. [2]

There is a second Kind of Beauty that we find in the several Products of
Art and Nature, which does not work in the Imagination with that Warmth
and Violence as the Beauty that appears in our proper Species, but is
apt however to raise in us a secret Delight, and a kind of Fondness for
the Places or Objects in which we discover it. This consists either in
the Gaiety or Variety of Colours, in the Symmetry and Proportion of
Parts, in the Arrangement and Disposition of Bodies, or in a just
Mixture and Concurrence of all together. Among these several Kinds of
Beauty the Eye takes most Delight in Colours. We no where meet with a
more glorious or pleasing Show in Nature than what appears in the
Heavens at the rising and setting of the Sun, which is wholly made up of
those different Stains of Light that shew themselves in Clouds of a
different Situation. For this Reason we find the Poets, who are always
addressing themselves to the Imagination, borrowing more of their
Epithets from Colours than from any other Topic. As the Fancy delights
in every thing that is Great, Strange, or Beautiful, and is still more
pleased the more it finds of these Perfections in the same Object, so is
it capable of receiving a new Satisfaction by the Assistance of another
Sense. Thus any continued Sound, as the Musick of Birds, or a Fall of
Water, awakens every moment the Mind of the Beholder, and makes him more
attentive to the several Beauties of the Place that lye before him. Thus

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest