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

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if there arises a Fragrancy of Smells or Perfumes, they heighten the
Pleasures of the Imagination, and make even the Colours and Verdure of
the Landskip appear more agreeable; for the Ideas of both Senses
recommend each other, and are pleasanter together than when they enter
the Mind separately: As the different Colours of a Picture, when they
are well disposed, set off one another, and receive an additional Beauty
from the Advantage of their Situation.


[Footnote 1: [to please]]

[Footnote 2: Addison's MS. described in the note to No. 411 shows, by
corrections in his handwriting of four or five lines in this piece of
Latin verse, that he was himself its author. Thus in the last line he
had begun with Scintillat solitis, altered that to Ostentat solitas,
struck out that also, and written, as above, Explicat ad solem.]

* * * * *

No. 413. Tuesday, June 24, 1712. Addison.

'--Causa latet, vis est notissima--'


Though in Yesterday's Paper we considered how every thing that is Great,
New, or Beautiful, is apt to affect the Imagination with Pleasure, we
must own that it is impossible for us to assign the necessary Cause of
this Pleasure, because we know neither the Nature of an Idea, nor the
Substance of a Human Soul, which might help us to discover the
Conformity or Disagreeableness of the one to the other; and therefore,
for want of such a Light, all that we can do in Speculations of this
kind is to reflect on those Operations of the Soul that are most
agreeable, and to range under their proper Heads, what is pleasing or
displeasing to the Mind, without being able to trace out the several
necessary and efficient Causes from whence the Pleasure or Displeasure

Final Causes lye more bare and open to our Observation, as there are
often a great Variety that belong to the same Effect; and these, tho'
they are not altogether so satisfactory, are generally more useful than
the other, as they give us greater Occasion of admiring the Goodness and
Wisdom of the first Contriver.

One of the Final Causes of our Delight, in any thing that is great, may
be this. The Supreme Author of our Being has so formed the Soul of Man,
that nothing but himself can be its last, adequate, and proper
Happiness. Because, therefore, a great Part of our Happiness must arise
from the Contemplation of his Being, that he might give our Souls a just
Relish of such a Contemplation, he has made them naturally delight in
the Apprehension of what is Great or Unlimited. Our Admiration, which is
a very pleasing Motion of the Mind, immediately rises at the
Consideration of any Object that takes up a great deal of Room in the
Fancy, and by Consequence, will improve into the highest Pitch of
Astonishment and Devotion when we contemplate his Nature, that is
neither circumscribed by Time nor Place, nor to be comprehended by the
largest Capacity of a Created Being.

He has annexed a secret Pleasure to the Idea of any thing that is new or
uncommon, that he might encourage us in the Pursuit after Knowledge, and
engage us to search into the Wonders of his Creation; for every new Idea
brings such a Pleasure along with it, as rewards any Pains we have taken
in its Acquisition, and consequently serves as a Motive to put us upon
fresh Discoveries.

He has made every thing that is beautiful in our own Species pleasant,
that all Creatures might be tempted to multiply their Kind, and fill the
World with Inhabitants; for 'tis very remarkable that where-ever Nature
is crost in the Production of a Monster (the Result of any unnatural
Mixture) the Breed is incapable of propagating its Likeness, and of
founding a new Order of Creatures; so that unless all Animals were
allured by the Beauty of their own Species, Generation would be at an
End, and the Earth unpeopled.

In the last Place, he has made every thing that is beautiful in all
other Objects pleasant, or rather has made so many Objects appear
beautiful, that he might render the whole Creation more gay and
delightful. He has given almost every thing about us the Power of
raising an agreeable Idea in the Imagination: So that it is impossible
for us to behold his Works with Coldness or Indifference, and to survey
so many Beauties without a secret Satisfaction and Complacency. Things
would make but a poor Appearance to the Eye, if we saw them only in
their proper Figures and Motions: And what Reason can we assign for
their exciting in us many of those Ideas which are different from any
thing that exists in the Objects themselves, (for such are Light and
Colours) were it not to add Supernumerary Ornaments to the Universe, and
make it more agreeable to the Imagination? We are every where
entertained with pleasing Shows and Apparitions, we discover Imaginary
Glories in the Heavens, and in the Earth, and see some of this Visionary
Beauty poured out upon the whole Creation; but what a rough unsightly
Sketch of Nature should we be entertained with, did all her Colouring
disappear, and the several Distinctions of Light and Shade vanish? In
short, our Souls are at present delightfully lost and bewildered in a
pleasing Delusion, and we walk about like the enchanted Hero of a
Romance, who sees beautiful Castles, Woods and Meadows; and at the same
time hears the warbling of Birds, and the purling of Streams; but upon
the finishing of some secret Spell, the fantastick Scene breaks up, and
the disconsolate Knight finds himself on a barren Heath, or in a
solitary Desart. It is not improbable that something like this may be
the State of the Soul after its first Separation, in respect of the
Images it will receive from Matter; tho indeed the Ideas of Colours are
so pleasing and beautiful in the Imagination, that it is possible the
Soul will not be deprived of them, but perhaps find them excited by some
other Occasional Cause, as they are at present by the different
Impressions of the subtle Matter on the Organ of Sight.

I have here supposed that my Reader is acquainted with that great Modern
Discovery, which is at present universally acknowledged by all the
Enquirers into Natural Philosophy: Namely, that Light and Colours, as
apprehended by the Imagination, are only Ideas in the Mind, and not
Qualities that have any Existence in Matter. As this is a Truth which
has been proved incontestably by many Modern Philosophers, and is indeed
one of the finest Speculations in that Science, if the English Reader
would see the Notion explained at large, he may find it in the Eighth
Chapter of the second Book of Mr. Lock's Essay on Human Understanding.


[To Addison's short paper there was added in number 413 of the Spectator
the following letter, which was not included in the reprint into volumes:

June 24, 1712.


I would not divert the Course of your Discourses, when you seem bent
upon obliging the World with a train of Thinking, which, rightly
attended to, may render the Life of every Man who reads it, more easy
and happy for the future. The Pleasures of the Imagination are what
bewilder Life, when Reason and Judgment do not interpose; It is
therefore a worthy Action in you to look carefully into the Powers of
Fancy, that other Men, from the Knowledge of them, may improve their
Joys and allay their Griefs, by a just use of that Faculty: I say,
Sir, I would not interrupt you in the progress of this Discourse; but
if you will do me the Favour of inserting this Letter in your next
Paper, you will do some Service to the Public, though not in so noble
a way of Obliging, as that of improving their Minds. Allow me, Sir, to
acquaint you with a Design (of which I am partly Author), though it
tends to no greater a Good than that of getting Money. I should not
hope for the Favour of a Philosopher in this Matter, if it were not
attempted under all the Restrictions which you Sages put upon private

The first Purpose which every good Man is to propose to himself, is
the Service of his Prince and Country; after that is done, he cannot
add to himself, but he must also be beneficial to them. This Scheme of
Gain is not only consistent with that End, but has its very Being in
Subordination to it; for no Man can be a Gainer here but at the same
time he himself, or some other, must succeed in their Dealings with
the Government. It is called the Multiplication Table, and is so far
calculated for the immediate Service of Her Majesty, that the same
Person who is fortunate in the Lottery of the State, may receive yet
further Advantage in this Table. And I am sure nothing can be more
pleasing to Her gracious Temper than to find out additional Methods of
increasing their good Fortune who adventure anything in Her Service,
or laying Occasions for others to become capable of serving their
Country who are at present in too low Circumstances to exert
themselves. The manner of executing the Design is, by giving out
Receipts for half Guineas received, which shall entitle the fortunate
Bearer to certain Sums in the Table, as is set forth at large in the
Proposals Printed the 23rd instant. There is another Circumstance in
this Design, which gives me hopes of your Favour to it, and that is
what Tully advises, to wit, that the Benefit is made as diffusive as
possible. Every one that has half a Guinea is put into a possibility,
from that small Sum, to raise himself an easy Fortune; when these
little parcels of Wealth are, as it were, thus thrown back again into
the Redonation of Providence, we are to expect that some who live
under Hardship or Obscurity, may be produced to the World in the
Figure they deserve by this means. I doubt not but this last Argument
will have Force with you, and I cannot add another to it, but what
your Severity will, I fear, very little regard; which is, that
I am, SIR, Your greatest Admirer,
Richard Steele.

* * * * *

No. 414. Wednesday, June 25, 1712. Addison.

--Alterius sic
Altera poscit opem res et conjurat amice.


If we consider the Works of Nature and Art, as they are qualified to
entertain the Imagination, we shall find the last very defective, in
Comparison of the former; for though they may sometimes appear as
Beautiful or Strange, they can have nothing in them of that Vastness and
Immensity, which afford so great an Entertainment to the Mind of the
Beholder. The one may be as Polite and Delicate as the other, but can
never shew her self so August and Magnificent in the Design. There is
something more bold and masterly in the rough careless Strokes of
Nature, than in the nice Touches and Embellishments of Art. The Beauties
of the most stately Garden or Palace lie in a narrow Compass, the
Imagination immediately runs them over, and requires something else to
gratifie her; but, in the wide Fields of Nature, the Sight wanders up
and down without Confinement, and is fed with an infinite variety of
Images, without any certain Stint or Number. For this Reason we always
find the Poet in Love with a Country-Life, where Nature appears in the
greatest Perfection, and furnishes out all those Scenes that are most
apt to delight the Imagination.

'Scriptorum chorus omnis amat nemus et fugit Urbes.'


'Hic Secura quies, et nescia fallere vita,
Dives opum variarum; hic latis otia fundis,
Speluncae, vivique lacus, hic frigida Tempe,
Mugitusque boum, mollesque sub arbore somni.'


But tho' there are several of these wild Scenes, that are more
delightful than any artificial Shows; yet we find the Works of Nature
still more pleasant, the more they resemble those of Art: For in this
case our Pleasure rises from a double Principle; from the Agreeableness
of the Objects to the Eye, and from their Similitude to other Objects:
We are pleased as well with comparing their Beauties, as with surveying
them, and can represent them to our Minds, either as Copies or
Originals. Hence it is that we take Delight in a Prospect which is well
laid out, and diversified with Fields and Meadows, Woods and Rivers; in
those accidental Landskips of Trees, Clouds and Cities, that are
sometimes found in the Veins of Marble; in the curious Fret-work of
Rocks and Grottos; and, in a Word, in any thing that hath such a Variety
or Regularity as may seem the Effect of Design, in what we call the
Works of Chance.

If the Products of Nature rise in Value, according as they more or less
resemble those of Art, we may be sure that artificial Works receive a
greater Advantage from their Resemblance of such as are natural; because
here the Similitude is not only pleasant, but the Pattern more perfect.
The prettiest Landskip I ever saw, was one drawn on the Walls of a dark
Room, which stood opposite on one side to a navigable River, and on the
other to a Park. The Experiment is very common in Opticks. Here you
might discover the Waves and Fluctuations of the Water in strong and
proper Colours, with the Picture of a Ship entering at one end, and
sailing by Degrees through the whole Piece. On another there appeared
the Green Shadows of Trees, waving to and fro with the Wind, and Herds
of Deer among them in Miniature, leaping about upon the Wall. I must
confess, the Novelty of such a Sight may be one occasion of its
Pleasantness to the Imagination, but certainly the chief Reason is its
near Resemblance to Nature, as it does not only, like other Pictures,
give the Colour and Figure, but the Motion of the Things it represents.

We have before observed, that there is generally in Nature something
more Grand and August, than what we meet with in the Curiosities of Art.
When therefore, we see this imitated in any measure, it gives us a
nobler and more exalted kind of Pleasure than what we receive from the
nicer and more accurate Productions of Art. On this Account our English
Gardens are not so entertaining to the Fancy as those in France and
Italy, where we see a large Extent of Ground covered over with an
agreeable mixture of Garden and Forest, which represent every where an
artificial Rudeness, much more charming than that Neatness and Elegancy
which we meet with in those of our own Country. It might, indeed, be of
ill Consequence to the Publick, as well as unprofitable to private
Persons, to alienate so much Ground from Pasturage, and the Plow, in
many Parts of a Country that is so well peopled, and cultivated to a far
greater Advantage. But why may not a whole Estate be thrown into a kind
of Garden by frequent Plantations, that may turn as much to the Profit,
as the Pleasure of the Owner? A Marsh overgrown with Willows, or a
Mountain shaded with Oaks, are not only more beautiful, but more
beneficial, than when they lie bare and unadorned. Fields of Corn make a
pleasant Prospect, and if the Walks were a little taken care of that lie
between them, if the natural Embroidery of the Meadows were helpt and
improved by some small Additions of Art, and the several Rows of Hedges
set off by Trees and Flowers, that the Soil was capable of receiving, a
Man might make a pretty Landskip of his own Possessions.

Writers who have given us an Account of China, tell us the Inhabitants
of that Country laugh at the Plantations of our Europeans, which are
laid out by the Rule and Line; because, they say, any one may place
Trees in equal Rows and uniform Figures. They chuse rather to shew a
Genius in Works of this Nature, and therefore always conceal the Art by
which they direct themselves. They have a Word, it seems, in their
Language, by which they express the particular Beauty of a Plantation
that thus strikes the Imagination at first Sight, without discovering
what it is that has so agreeable an Effect. Our British Gardeners, on
the contrary, instead of humouring Nature, love to deviate from it as
much as possible. Our Trees rise in Cones, Globes, and Pyramids. We see
the Marks of the Scissars upon every Plant and Bush. I do not know
whether I am singular in my Opinion, but, for my own part, I would
rather look upon a Tree in all its Luxuriancy and Diffusion of Boughs
and Branches, than when it is thus cut and trimmed into a Mathematical
Figure; and cannot but fancy that an Orchard in Flower looks infinitely
more delightful, than all the little Labyrinths of the [more [1]]
finished Parterre. But as our great Modellers of Gardens have their
Magazines of Plants to dispose of, it is very natural for them to tear
up all the beautiful Plantations of Fruit Trees, and contrive a Plan
that may most turn to their own Profit, in taking off their Evergreens,
and the like Moveable Plants, with which their Shops are plentifully


[Footnote 1: [most]]

* * * * *

No. 415. Thursday, June 26, 1712. Addison.

'Adde tot egregias urbes, operumque laborem.'


Having already shewn how the Fancy is affected by the Works of Nature,
and afterwards considered in general both the Works of Nature and of
Art, how they mutually assist and compleat each other, in forming such
Scenes and Prospects as are most apt to delight the Mind of the
Beholder, I shall in this Paper throw together some Reflections on that
Particular Art, which has a more immediate Tendency, than any other, to
produce those Primary Pleasures of the Imagination, which have hitherto
been the Subject of this Discourse. The Art I mean is that of
Architecture, which I shall consider only with regard to the Light in
which the foregoing Speculations have placed it, without entring into
those Rules and Maxims which the great Masters of Architecture have laid
down, and explained at large in numberless Treatises upon that Subject.

Greatness, in the Works of Architecture, may be considered as relating
to the Bulk and Body of the Structure, or to the Manner in which it is
built. As for the first, we find the Ancients, especially among the
Eastern Nations of the World, infinitely superior to the Moderns.

Not to mention the Tower of Babel, of which an old Author says, there
were the Foundations to be seen in his time, which looked like a
spacious Mountain; what could be more noble than the Walls of Babylon,
its hanging Gardens, and its Temple to Jupiter Belus, that rose a Mile
high by Eight several Stories, each Story a Furlong in Height, and on
the Top of which was the Babylonian Observatory; I might here, likewise,
take Notice of the huge Rock that was cut into the Figure of Semiramis,
with the smaller Rocks that lay by it in the Shape of Tributary Kings;
the prodigious Basin, or artificial Lake, which took in the whole
Euphrates, till such time as a new Canal was formed for its Reception,
with the several Trenches through which that River was conveyed. I know
there are persons who look upon some of these Wonders of Art as
Fabulous, but I cannot find any [Grand [1]] for such a Suspicion, unless
it be that we have no such Works among us at present. There were indeed
many greater Advantages for Building in those Times, and in that Part of
the World, than have been met with ever since. The Earth was extremely
fruitful, Men lived generally on Pasturage, which requires a much
smaller number of Hands than Agriculture: There were few Trades to
employ the busie Part of Mankind, and fewer Arts and Sciences to give
Work to Men of Speculative Tempers; and what is more than all the rest,
the Prince was absolute; so that when he went to War, he put himself at
the Head of a whole People: As we find Semiramis leading her [three [2]]
Millions to the Field, and yet over-powered by the Number of her
Enemies. 'Tis no wonder, therefore, when she was at Peace, and turned
her Thoughts on Building, that she could accomplish so great Works, with
such a prodigious Multitude of Labourers: Besides that, in her Climate,
there was small Interruption of Frosts and Winters, which make the
Northern Workmen lie half the Year Idle. I might mention too, among the
Benefits of the Climate, what Historians say of the Earth, that it
sweated out a Bitumen or natural kind of Mortar, which is doubtless the
same with that mentioned in Holy Writ, as contributing to the Structure
of Babel. Slime they used instead of Mortar.

In Egypt we still see their Pyramids, which answer to the Descriptions
that have been made of them; and I question not but a traveller might
find out some Remains of the Labyrinth that covered a whole Province,
and had a hundred Temples disposed among its several Quarters and

The Wall of China is one of these Eastern Pieces of Magnificence, which
makes a Figure even in the Map of the World, altho an Account of it
would have been thought Fabulous, were not the Wall it self still

We are obliged to Devotion for the noblest Buildings that have adornd
the several Countries of the World. It is this which has set Men at work
on Temples and Publick Places of Worship, not only that they might, by
the Magnificence of the Building, invite the Deity to reside within it,
but that such stupendous Works might, at the same time, open the Mind to
vast Conceptions, and fit it to converse with the Divinity of the Place.
For every thing that is Majestick imprints an Awfulness and Reverence on
the Mind of the Beholder, and strikes in with the Natural Greatness of
the Soul.

In the Second place we are to consider Greatness of Manner in
Architecture, which has such Force upon the Imagination, that a small
Building, where it appears, shall give the Mind nobler Ideas than one of
twenty times the Bulk, where the Manner is ordinary or little. Thus,
perhaps, a Man would have been more astonished with the Majestick Air
that appeared in one of [Lysippus's [3]] Statues of Alexander, tho' no
bigger than the Life, than he might have been with Mount Athos, had it
been cut into the Figure of the Hero, according to the Proposal of
Phidias, [4] with a River in one Hand, and a City in the other.

Let any one reflect on the Disposition of Mind he finds in himself, at
his first Entrance into the Pantheon at Rome, and how his Imagination is
filled with something Great and Amazing; and, at the same time, consider
how little, in proportion, he is affected with the Inside of a Gothick
Cathedral, tho' it be five times larger than the other; which can arise
from nothing else, but the Greatness of the Manner in the one, and the
Meanness in the other.

I have seen an Observation upon this Subject in a French Author, which
very much pleased me. It is in Monsieur Freart's Parallel of the Ancient
and Modern Architecture. I shall give it the Reader with the same Terms
of Art which he has made use of. I am observing (says he) a thing which,
in my Opinion, is very curious, whence it proceeds, that in the same
Quantity of Superficies, the one Manner seems great and magnificent, and
the other poor and trifling; the Reason is fine and uncommon. I say
then, that to introduce into Architecture this Grandeur of Manner, we
ought so to proceed, that the Division of the Principal Members of the
Order may consist but of few Parts, that they be all great and of a bold
and ample Relievo, and Swelling; and that the Eye, beholding nothing
little and mean, the Imagination may be more vigorously touched and
affected with the Work that stands before it. For example; In a Cornice,
if the Gola or Cynatium of the Corona, the Coping, the Modillions or
Dentelli, make a noble Show by their graceful Projections, if we see
none of that ordinary Confusion which is the Result of those little
Cavities, Quarter Rounds of the Astragal and I know not how many other
intermingled Particulars, which produce no Effect in great and massy
Works, and which very unprofitably take up place to the Prejudice of the
Principal Member, it is most certain that this Manner will appear Solemn
and Great; as on the contrary, that it will have but a poor and mean
Effect, where there is a Redundancy of those smaller Ornaments, which
divide and scatter the Angles of the Sight into such a Multitude of
Rays, so pressed together that the whole will appear but a Confusion.

Among all the Figures in Architecture, there are none that have a
greater Air than the Concave and the Convex, and we find in all the
Ancient and Modern Architecture, as well in the remote Parts of China,
as in Countries nearer home, that round Pillars and Vaulted Roofs make a
great Part of those Buildings which are designed for Pomp and
Magnificence. The Reason I take to be, because in these Figures we
generally see more of the Body, than in those of other Kinds. There are,
indeed, Figures of Bodies, where the Eye may take in two Thirds of the
Surface; but as in such Bodies the Sight must split upon several Angles,
it does not take in one uniform Idea, but several Ideas of the same
kind. Look upon the Outside of a Dome, your Eye half surrounds it; look
up into the Inside, and at one Glance you have all the Prospect of it;
the entire Concavity falls into your Eye at once, the Sight being as the
Center that collects and gathers into it the Lines of the whole
Circumference: In a Square Pillar, the Sight often takes in but a fourth
Part of the Surface: and in a Square Concave, must move up and down to
the different Sides, before it is Master of all the inward Surface. For
this Reason, the Fancy is infinitely more struck with the View of the
open Air, and Skies, that passes through an Arch, than what comes
through a Square, or any other Figure. The Figure of the Rainbow does
not contribute less to its Magnificence, than the Colours to its Beauty,
as it is very poetically described by the Son of Sirach: Look upon the
Rainbow and praise him that made it; very beautiful it is in its
Brightness; it encompasses the Heavens with a glorious Circle, and the
Hands of the [most High [5]] have bended it.

Having thus spoken of that Greatness which affects the Mind in
Architecture, I might next shew the Pleasure that arises in the
Imagination from what appears new and beautiful in this Art; but as
every Beholder has naturally a greater Taste of these two Perfections in
every Building which offers it self to his View, than of that which I
have hitherto considered, I shall not trouble my Reader with any
Reflections upon it. It is sufficient for my present Purpose, to
observe, that there is nothing in this whole Art which pleases the
Imagination, but as it is Great, Uncommon, or Beautiful.


[Footnote 1: Grounds]

[Footnote 2: two]

[Footnote 3: Protogenes's]

[Footnote 4: Dinocrates.]

[Footnote 5: [Almighty]]

* * * * *

No. 416. Friday, June 27, 1712. Addison.

'Quatenus hoc simile est oculis, quod mente videmus.'


I at first divided the Pleasures of the Imagination, into such as arise
from Objects that are actually before our Eyes, or that once entered in
at our Eyes, and are afterwards called up into the Mind either barely by
its own Operations, or on occasion of something without us, as Statues,
or Descriptions. We have already considered the first Division, and
shall therefore enter on the other, which for Distinction sake, I have
called the Secondary Pleasures of the Imagination. When I say the Ideas
we receive from Statues, Descriptions, or such like Occasions, are the
same that were once actually in our View, it must not be understood that
we had once see the very Place, Action, or Person which are carved or
described. It is sufficient, that we have seen Places, Persons, or
Actions, in general, which bear a Resemblance, or at least some remote
Analogy with what we find represented. Since it is in the Power of the
Imagination, when it is once Stocked with particular Ideas, to enlarge,
compound, and vary them at her own Pleasure.

Among the different Kinds of Representation, Statuary is the most
natural, and shews us something likest the Object that is represented.
To make use of a common Instance, let one who is born Blind take an
Image in his Hands, and trace out with his Fingers the different Furrows
and Impressions of the Chissel, and he will easily conceive how the
Shape of a Man, or Beast, may be represented by it; but should he draw
his Hand over a Picture, where all is smooth and uniform, he would never
be able to imagine how the several Prominencies and Depressions of a
human Body could be shewn on a plain Piece of Canvas, that has in it no
Unevenness or Irregularity. Description runs yet further from the Things
it represents than Painting; for a Picture bears a real Resemblance to
its Original, which Letters and Syllables are wholly void of. Colours
speak of Languages, but Words are understood only by such a People or
Nation. For this Reason, tho' Men's Necessities quickly put them on
finding out Speech, Writing is probably of a later invention than
Painting; particularly we are told, that in America when the Spaniards
first arrived there Expresses were sent to the Emperor of Mexico in
Paint, and the News of his Country delineated by the Strokes of a
Pencil, which was a more natural Way than that of Writing, tho' at the
same time much more imperfect, because it is impossible to draw the
little Connexions of Speech, or to give the Picture of a Conjunction or
an Adverb. It would be yet more strange, to represent visible Objects by
Sounds that have no Ideas annexed to them, and to make something like
Description in Musick. Yet it is certain, there may be confused,
imperfect Notions of this Nature raised in the Imagination by an
Artificial Composition of Notes; and we find that great Masters in the
Art are able, sometimes, to set their Hearers in the Heat and Hurry of a
Battel, to overcast their Minds with melancholy Scenes and Apprehensions
of Deaths and Funerals, or to lull them into pleasing Dreams of Groves
and Elisiums.

In all these Instances, this Secondary Pleasure of the Imagination
proceeds from that Action of the Mind, which compares the Ideas arising
from the Original Objects, with the Ideas we receive from the Statue,
Picture, Description, or Sound that represents them. It is impossible
for us to give the necessary Reason, why this Operation of the Mind is
attended with so much Pleasure, as I have before observed on the same
Occasion; but we find a great Variety of Entertainments derived from
this single Principle: For it is this that not only gives us a Relish of
Statuary, Painting and Description, but makes us delight in all the
Actions and Arts of Mimickry. It is this that makes the several kinds of
Wit Pleasant, which consists, as I have formerly shewn, in the Affinity
of Ideas: And we may add, it is this also that raises the little
Satisfaction we sometimes find in the different Sorts of false Wit;
whether it consists in the Affinity of Letters, as in Anagram,
Acrostick; or of Syllables, as in Doggerel Rhimes, Ecchos; or of Words,
as in Punns, Quibbles; or of a whole Sentence or Poem, to Wings, and
Altars. The final Cause, probably, of annexing Pleasure to this
Operation of the Mind, was to quicken and encourage us in our Searches
after Truth, since the distinguishing one thing from another, and the
right discerning betwixt our Ideas, depends wholly upon our comparing
them together, and observing the Congruity or Disagreement that appears
among the several Works of Nature.

But I shall here confine my self to those Pleasures of the Imagination,
[which [1]] proceed from Ideas raised by Words, because most of the
Observations that agree with Descriptions, are equally Applicable to
Painting and Statuary.

Words, when well chosen, have so great a Force in them, that a
Description often gives us more lively Ideas than the Sight of Things
themselves. The Reader finds a Scene drawn in stronger Colours, and
painted more to the Life in his Imagination, by the help of Words, than
by an actual Survey of the Scene which they describe. In this case the
Poet seems to get the better of Nature; he takes, indeed, the Landskip
after her, but gives it more vigorous Touches, heightens its Beauty, and
so enlivens the whole Piece, that the Images which flow from the Objects
themselves appear weak and faint, in Comparison of those that come from
the Expressions. The Reason, probably, may be, because in the Survey of
any Object we have only so much of it painted on the Imagination, as
comes in at the Eye; but in its Description, the Poet gives us as free a
View of it as he pleases, and discovers to us several Parts, that either
we did not attend to, or that lay out of our Sight when we first beheld
it. As we look on any Object, our Idea of it is, perhaps, made up of two
or three simple Ideas; but when the Poet represents it, he may either
give us a more complex Idea of it, or only raise in us such Ideas as are
most apt to affect the Imagination.

It may be here worth our while to Examine how it comes to pass that
several Readers, who are all acquainted with the same Language, and know
the Meaning of the Words they read, should nevertheless have a different
Relish of the same Descriptions. We find one transported with a Passage,
which another runs over with Coldness and Indifference, or finding the
Representation extreamly natural, where another can perceive nothing of
Likeness and Conformity. This different Taste must proceed, either from
the Perfection of Imagination in one more than in another, or from the
different Ideas that several Readers affix to the same Words. For, to
have a true Relish, and form a right Judgment of a Description, a Man
should be born with a good Imagination, and must have well weighed the
Force and Energy that lye in the several Words of a Language, so as to
be able to distinguish which are most significant and expressive of
their proper Ideas, and what additional Strength and Beauty they are
capable of receiving from Conjunction with others. The Fancy must be
warm to retain the Print of those Images it hath received from outward
Objects and the Judgment discerning, to know what Expressions are most
proper to cloath and adorn them to the best Advantage. A Man who is
deficient in either of these Respects, tho' he may receive the general
Notion of a Description, can never see distinctly all its particular
Beauties: As a Person, with a weak Sight, may have the confused Prospect
of a Place that lies before him, without entering into its several
Parts, or discerning the variety of its Colours in their full Glory and


[Footnote 1: [that]]










* * * * *

No. 417. Saturday, June 28, 1712. Addison.

'Quem tu Melpomene semel
Nascentem placido lumine videris,
Non illum labor Isthmius
Clarabit pugilem, non equus impiger, &c.
Sed quae Tibur aquae fertile perfluunt,
Et Spissae nemorum comae
Fingent AEolio carmine nobilem.'


We may observe, that any single Circumstance of what we have formerly
seen often raises up a whole Scene of Imagery, and awakens [numberless
[1]] Ideas that before slept in the Imagination; such a particular Smell
or Colour is able to fill the Mind, on a sudden, with the Picture of the
Fields or Gardens, where we first met with it, and to bring up into View
all the Variety of Images that once attended it. Our Imagination takes
the Hint, and leads us unexpectedly into Cities or Theatres, Plains or
Meadows. We may further observe, when the Fancy thus reflects on the
Scenes that have past in it formerly, those which were at first pleasant
to behold, appear more so upon Reflection, and that the Memory heightens
the Delightfulness of the Original. A _Cartesian_ would account for both
these Instances in the following Manner.

The Sett of Ideas, which we received from such a Prospect or Garden,
having entered the Mind at the same time, have a Sett of Traces
belonging to them in the Brain, bordering very near upon one another;
when, therefore, any one of these Ideas arises in the Imagination, and
consequently dispatches a flow of Animal Spirits to its proper Trace,
these Spirits, in the Violence of their Motion, run not only into the
Trace, to which they were more particularly directed, but into several
of those that lie about it: By this means they awaken other Ideas of the
same Sett, which immediately determine a new Dispatch of Spirits, that
in the same manner open other Neighbouring Traces, till at last the
whole Sett of them is blown up, and the whole Prospect or Garden
flourishes in the Imagination. But because the Pleasure we received from
these Places far surmounted, and overcame the little Disagreeableness we
found in them; for this Reason there was at first a wider Passage worn
in the Pleasure Traces, and, on the contrary, so narrow a one in those
which belonged to the disagreeable Ideas, that they were quickly stopt
up, and rendered incapable of receiving any Animal Spirits, and
consequently of exciting any unpleasant Ideas in the Memory.

It would be in vain to enquire, whether the Power of Imagining Things
strongly proceeds from any greater Perfection in the Soul, or from any
nicer Texture in the Brain of one Man than of another. But this is
certain, that a noble Writer should be born with this Faculty in its
full Strength and Vigour, so as to be able to receive lively Ideas from
outward Objects, to retain them long, and to range them together, upon
Occasion, in such Figures and Representations as are most likely to hit
the Fancy of the Reader. A Poet should take as much Pains in forming his
Imagination, as a Philosopher in cultivating his Understanding. He must
gain a due Relish of the Works of Nature, and be thoroughly conversant
in the various Scenary of a Country Life.

When he is stored with Country Images, if he would go beyond Pastoral,
and the lower kinds of Poetry, he ought to acquaint himself with the
Pomp and Magnificence of Courts. He should be very well versed in every
thing that is noble and stately in the Productions of Art, whether it
appear in Painting or Statuary, in the great Works of Architecture which
are in their present Glory, or in the Ruins of those [which [2]]
flourished in former Ages.

Such Advantages as these help to open a Man's Thoughts, and to enlarge
his Imagination, and will therefore have their Influence on all kinds of
Writing, if the Author knows how to make right use of them. And among
those of the learned Languages who excel in this Talent, the most
perfect in their several kinds, are perhaps _Homer_, _Virgil_, and
_Ovid_. The first strikes the Imagination wonderfully with what is
Great, the second with what is Beautiful, and the last with what is
Strange. Reading the _Iliad_ is like travelling through a Country
uninhabited, where the Fancy is entertained with a thousand Savage
Prospects of vast Desarts, wide uncultivated Marshes, huge Forests,
mis-shapen Rocks and Precipices. On the contrary, the _AEneid_ is like a
well ordered Garden, where it is impossible to find out any Part
unadorned, or to cast our Eyes upon a single Spot, that does not produce
some beautiful Plant or Flower. But when we are in the _Metamorphoses_,
we are walking on enchanted Ground, and see nothing but Scenes of Magick
lying round us.

_Homer_ is in his Province, when he is describing a Battel or a
Multitude, a Heroe or a God. _Virgil_ is never better pleased, than when
he is in his _Elysium_, or copying out an entertaining Picture.
_Homer's_ Epithets generally mark out what is Great, _Virgil's_ what is
Agreeable. Nothing can be more Magnificent than the Figure _Jupiter_
makes in the first _Iliad_, no more Charming than that of Venus in the
first _AEneid_.

Ae, kai kyaneaesin ep' ophrysi neuse Kronion,
Ambrosiai d' ara chaitai eperrhosanto anaktos
Kratos ap' athanatoio megan d' elelixen Olympos.]

Dixit et avertens rosea cervice refulsit:
Ambrosiaeque comae; divinum vertice odorem
Spiravere: Pedes vestis defluxit ad imos:
Et vera incessu patuit Dea--

_Homer's_ Persons are most of them God-like and Terrible; _Virgil_ has
scarce admitted any into his Poem, who are not Beautiful, and has taken
particular Care to make his Heroe so.

--lumenque juventae
Purpureum, et laetos oculis afflavit honores.

In a Word, 'Homer' fills his Readers with Sublime Ideas, and, I believe,
has raised the Imagination of all the good Poets that have come after
him. I shall only instance 'Horace', who immediately takes Fire at the
first Hint of any Passage in the 'Iliad' or 'Odyssey', and always rises
above himself, when he has 'Homer' in his View. 'Virgil' has drawn
together, into his 'AEneid', all the pleasing Scenes his Subject is
capable of admitting, and in his 'Georgics' has given us a Collection of
the most delightful Landskips that can be made out of Fields and Woods,
Herds of Cattle, and Swarms of Bees.

'Ovid', in his 'Metamorphoses', has shewn us how the Imagination may be
affected by what is Strange. He describes a Miracle in every Story, and
always gives us the Sight of some new Creature at the end of it. His Art
consists chiefly in well-timing his Description, before the first Shape
is quite worn off, and the new one perfectly finished; so that he every
where entertains us with something we never saw before, and shews
Monster after Monster, to the end of the 'Metamorphoses'.

If I were to name a Poet that is a perfect Master in all these Arts of
working on the Imagination, I think 'Milton' may pass for one: And if
his 'Paradise Lost' falls short of the 'AEneid' or 'Iliad' in this
respect, it proceeds rather from the Fault of the Language in which it
is written, than from any Defect of Genius in the Author. So Divine a
Poem in 'English', is like a stately Palace built of Brick, where one
may see Architecture in as great a Perfection as in one of Marble, tho'
the Materials are of a coarser Nature. But to consider it only as it
regards our present Subject: What can be conceived greater than the
Battel of Angels, the Majesty of Messiah, the Stature and Behaviour of
Satan and his Peers? What more beautiful than 'Pandaemonium', Paradise,
Heaven, Angels, 'Adam' and 'Eve'? What more strange, than the Creation
of the World, the several Metamorphoses of the fallen Angels, and the
surprising Adventures their Leader meets with in his Search after
Paradise? No other Subject could have furnished a Poet with Scenes so
proper to strike the Imagination, as no other Poet could have painted
those Scenes in more strong and lively Colours.


[Footnote 1: [a Thousand]]

[Footnote 2: [that]]

* * * * *

[Advertisement:--'Whereas the Proposal called the Multiplication Table
is under an Information from the Attorney General, in Humble
Submission and Duty to her Majesty the said Undertaking is laid down,
and Attendance is this Day given ... in order to repay such Sums as
have been paid into the said Table without Deduction.']

* * * * *

No. 418. Monday, June 30, 1712. Addison.

'--ferat et rubus asper amomum.'


The Pleasures of these Secondary Views of the Imagination, are of a
wider and more Universal Nature than those it has when joined with
Sight; for not only what is Great, Strange or Beautiful, but any Thing
that is Disagreeable when looked upon, pleases us in an apt Description.
Here, therefore, we must enquire after a new Principle of Pleasure,
which is nothing else but the Action of the Mind, which _compares_ the
Ideas that arise from Words, with the Ideas that arise from the Objects
themselves; and why this Operation of the Mind is attended with so much
Pleasure, we have before considered. For this Reason therefore, the
Description of a Dunghill is pleasing to the Imagination, if the Image
be represented to our Minds by suitable Expressions; tho' perhaps, this
may be more properly called the Pleasure of the Understanding than of
the Fancy, because we are not so much delighted with the Image that is
contained in the Description, as with the Aptness of the Description to
excite the Image.

But if the Description of what is Little, Common, or Deformed, be
acceptable to the Imagination, the Description of what is Great,
Surprising or Beautiful, is much more so; because here we are not only
delighted with _comparing_ the Representation with the Original, but are
highly pleased with the Original itself. Most Readers, I believe, are
more charmed with _Milton's_ Description of Paradise, than of Hell; they
are both, perhaps, equally perfect in their Kind, but in the one the
Brimstone and Sulphur are not so refreshing to the Imagination, as the
Beds of Flowers and the Wilderness of Sweets in the other.

There is yet another Circumstance which recommends a Description more
than all the rest, and that is if it represents to us such Objects as
are apt to raise a secret Ferment in the Mind of the Reader, and to
work, with Violence, upon his Passions. For, in this Case, we are at
once warmed and enlightened, so that the Pleasure becomes more
Universal, and is several ways qualified to entertain us. Thus in
Painting, it is pleasant to look on the Picture of any Face, where the
Resemblance is hit, but the Pleasure increases, if it be the Picture of
a Face that is Beautiful, and is still greater, if the Beauty be
softened with an Air of Melancholy or Sorrow. The two leading Passions
which the more serious Parts of Poetry endeavour to stir up in us, are
Terror and Pity. And here, by the way, one would wonder how it comes to
pass, that such Passions as are very unpleasant at all other times, are
very agreeable when excited by proper Descriptions. It is not strange,
that we should take Delight in such Passions as are apt to produce Hope,
Joy, Admiration, Love, or the like Emotions in us, because they never
rise in the Mind without an inward Pleasure which attends them. But how
comes it to pass, that we should take delight in being terrified or
dejected by a Description, when we find so much Uneasiness in the Fear
or Grief [which [1]] we receive from any other Occasion?

If we consider, therefore, the Nature of this Pleasure, we shall find
that it does not arise so properly from the Description of what is
terrible, as from the Reflection we make on our selves at the time of
reading it. When we look on such hideous Objects, we are not a little
pleased to think we are in no Danger of them. We consider them at the
same time, as Dreadful and Harmless; so that the more frightful
Appearance they make, the greater is the Pleasure we receive from the
Sense of our own Safety. In short, we look upon the Terrors of a
Description, with the same Curiosity and Satisfaction that we survey a
dead Monster.

'--Informe cadaver
Protrahitur, nequeunt expleri corda tuendo
Terribiles oculos: vultum, villosaque satis
Pectora semiferi, atque extinctos faucibus ignes.'


It is for the same Reason that we are delighted with the reflecting upon
Dangers that are past, or in looking on a Precipice at a distance, which
would fill us with a different kind of Horror, if we saw it hanging over
our Heads.

In the like manner, when we read of Torments, Wounds, Deaths, and the
like dismal Accidents, our Pleasure does not flow so properly from the
Grief which such melancholy Descriptions give us, as from the secret
Comparison which we make between our selves and the Person [who [2]]
suffers. Such Representations teach us to set a just Value upon our own
Condition, and make us prize our good Fortune, which exempts us from the
like Calamities. This is, however, such a kind of Pleasure as we are not
capable of receiving, when we see a Person actually lying under the
Tortures that we meet with in a Description; because in this case, the
Object presses too close upon our Senses, and bears so hard upon us,
that it does not give us Time or Leisure to reflect on our selves. Our
Thoughts are so intent upon the Miseries of the Sufferer, that we cannot
turn them upon our own Happiness. Whereas, on the contrary, we consider
the Misfortunes we read in History or Poetry, either as past, or as
fictitious, so that the Reflection upon our selves rises in us
insensibly, and over-bears the Sorrow we conceive for the Sufferings of
the Afflicted.

But because the Mind of Man requires something more perfect in Matter,
than what it finds there, and can never meet with any Sight in Nature
which sufficiently answers its highest Ideas of Pleasantness; or, in
other Words, because the Imagination can fancy to it self Things more
Great, Strange, or Beautiful, than the Eye ever saw, and is still
sensible of some Defect in what it has seen; on this account it is the
part of a Poet to humour the Imagination in its own Notions, by mending
and perfecting Nature where he describes a Reality, and by adding
greater Beauties than are put together in Nature, where he describes a

He is not obliged to attend her in the slow Advances which she makes
from one Season to another, or to observe her Conduct, in the successive
Production of Plants and Flowers. He may draw into his Description all
the Beauties of the Spring and Autumn, and make the whole Year
contribute something to render it the more agreeable. His Rose-trees,
Wood-bines, and Jessamines may flower together, and his Beds be cover'd
at the same time with Lillies, Violets, and Amaranths. His Soil is not
restrained to any particular Sett of Plants, but is proper either for
Oaks or Mirtles, and adapts itself to the Products of every Climate.
Oranges may grow wild in it; Myrrh may be met with in every Hedge, and
if he thinks it proper to have a Grove of Spices, he can quickly command
Sun enough to raise it. If all this will not furnish out an agreeable
Scene, he can make several new Species of Flowers, with richer Scents
and higher Colours than any that grow in the Gardens of Nature. His
Consorts of Birds may be as full and harmonious, and his Woods as thick
and gloomy as he pleases. He is at no more Expence in a long Vista, than
a short one, and can as easily throw his Cascades from a Precipice of
half a Mile high, as from one of twenty Yards. He has his Choice of the
Winds, and can turn the Course of his Rivers in all the Variety of
_Meanders_, that are most delightful to the Reader's Imagination. In a
word, he has the modelling of Nature in his own Hands, and may give her
what Charms he pleases, provided he does not reform her too much, and
run into Absurdities, by endeavouring to excel.


[Footnote 1: that]

[Footnote 2: that]

* * * * *

No. 419. Tuesday, July 1, 1712. Addison.

'--mentis gratissimus Error.'


There is a kind of Writing, wherein the Poet quite loses Sight of
Nature, and entertains his Reader's Imagination with the Characters and
Actions of such Persons as have many of them no Existence, but what he
bestows on them. Such are Fairies, Witches, Magicians, Demons, and
departed Spirits. This Mr. _Dryden_ calls _the Fairy Way of Writing_,
which is, indeed, more difficult than any other that depends on the
Poet's Fancy, because he has no Pattern to follow in it, and must work
altogether out of his own Invention.

There is a very odd Turn of Thought required for this sort of Writing,
and it is impossible for a Poet to succeed in it, who has not a
particular Cast of Fancy, and an Imagination naturally fruitful and
superstitious. Besides this, he ought to be very well versed in Legends
and Fables, antiquated Romances, and the Traditions of Nurses and old
Women, that he may fall in with our natural Prejudices, and humour those
Notions which we have imbibed in our Infancy. For otherwise he will be
apt to make his Fairies talk like People of his own Species, and not
like other Setts of Beings, who converse with different Objects, and
think in a different Manner from that of Mankind;

'Sylvis deducti caveant, me Judice, Fauni
Ne velut innati triviis ac poene forenses
Aut nimium teneris juvenentur versibus'


I do not say with Mr. _Bays_ in the _Rehearsal_, that Spirits must not
be confined to speak Sense, but it is certain their Sense ought to be a
little discoloured, that it may seem particular, and proper to the
Person and the Condition of the Speaker.

These Descriptions raise a pleasing kind of Horrour in the Mind of the
Reader, and amuse his Imagination with the Strangeness and Novelty of
the Persons who are represented in them. They bring up into our Memory
the Stories we have heard in our Childhood, and favour those secret
Terrors and Apprehensions to which the Mind of Man is naturally subject.
We are pleased with surveying the different Habits and Behaviours of
Foreign Countries, how much more must we be delighted and surprised when
we are led, as it were, into a new Creation, and see the Persons and
Manners of another Species? Men of cold Fancies, and Philosophical
Dispositions, object to this kind of Poetry, that it has not Probability
enough to affect the Imagination. But to this it may be answered, that
we are sure, in general, there are many Intellectual Beings in the World
besides our selves, and several Species of Spirits, who are subject to
different Laws and Oeconomies from those of Mankind; when we see,
therefore, any of these represented naturally, we cannot look upon the
Representation as altogether impossible; nay, many are prepossest with
such false Opinions, as dispose them to believe these particular
Delusions; at least, we have all heard so many pleasing Relations in
favour of them, that we do not care for seeing through the Falshood, and
willingly give our selves up to so agreeable an Imposture.

The Ancients have not much of this Poetry among them, for, indeed,
almost the whole Substance of it owes its Original to the Darkness and
Superstition of later Ages, when pious Frauds were made use of to amuse
Mankind, and frighten them into a Sense of their Duty. Our Forefathers
look'd upon Nature with more Reverence and Horrour, before the World was
enlightened by Learning and Philosophy, and lov'd to astonish themselves
with the Apprehensions of Witchcraft, Prodigies, Charms and
Enchantments. There was not a Village in _England_, that had not a Ghost
in it, the Church-yards were all haunted, every large Common had a
Circle of Fairies belonging to it, and there was scarce a Shepherd to be
met with who had not seen a Spirit.

Among all the Poets of this Kind our _English_ are much the best, by
what I have yet seen; whether it be that we abound with more Stories of
this Nature, or that the Genius of our Country is fitter for this sort
of Poetry. For the _English_ are naturally fanciful, and very often
disposed by that Gloominess and Melancholy of Temper, which is so
frequent in our Nation, to many wild Notions and Visions, to which
others are not so liable.

Among the _English_, _Shakespear_ has incomparably excelled all others.
That noble Extravagance of Fancy which he had in so great Perfection,
thoroughly qualified him to touch this weak superstitious Part of his
Reader's Imagination; and made him capable of succeeding, where he had
nothing to support him besides the Strength of his own Genius. There is
something so wild and yet so solemn in the Speeches of his Ghosts,
Fairies, Witches and the like Imaginary Persons, that we cannot forbear
thinking them natural, tho' we have no rule by which to judge of them,
and must confess, if there are such Beings in the World, it looks highly
probable that they should talk and act as he has represented them.

There is another sort of imaginary Beings, that we sometimes meet with
among the Poets, when the Author represents any Passion, Appetite,
Virtue or Vice, under a visible Shape, and makes it a Person or an Actor
in his Poem. Of this Nature are the Descriptions of Hunger and Envy in
_Ovid_, of Fame in _Virgil_, and of Sin and Death in _Milton_. We find a
whole Creation of the like Shadowy Persons in _Spencer_, who had an
admirable Talent in Representations of this kind. I have discoursed of
these Emblematical Persons in former Papers, and shall therefore only
mention them in this Place. Thus we see how many Ways Poetry addresses
it self to the Imagination, as it has not only the whole Circle of
Nature for its Province, but makes new Worlds of its own, shews us
Persons who are not to be found in Being, and represents even the
Faculties of the Soul, with her several Virtues and Vices, in a sensible
Shape and Character.

I shall, in my two following Papers, consider in general, how other
kinds of Writing are qualified to please the Imagination, with which I
intend to conclude this Essay.


* * * * *

No. 420 Wednesday, July 2, 1712. Addison.

'Quocunque volunt mentem Auditoris agunto.'


As the Writers in Poetry and Fiction borrow their several Materials from
outward Objects, and join them together at their own Pleasure, there are
others who are obliged to follow Nature more closely, and to take entire
Scenes out of her. Such are Historians, natural Philosophers,
Travellers, Geographers, and in a Word, all who describe visible Objects
of a real Existence.

It is the most agreeable Talent of an Historian, to be able to draw up
his Armies and fight his Battels in proper Expressions, to set before
our Eyes the Divisions, Cabals, and Jealousies of great Men, and to lead
us Step by Step into the several Actions and Events of his History. We
love to see the Subject unfolding it self by just Degrees, and breaking
upon us insensibly, that so we may be kept in a pleasing Suspense, and
have time given us to raise our Expectations, and to side with one of
the Parties concerned in the Relation. I confess this shews more the Art
than the Veracity of the Historian, but I am only to speak of him as he
is qualified to please the Imagination. And in this respect _Livy_ has,
perhaps, excelled all who went before him, or have written since his
Time. He describes every thing in so lively a Manner, that his whole
History is an admirable Picture, and touches on such proper
Circumstances in every Story, that his Reader becomes a kind of
Spectator, and feels in himself all the Variety of Passions which are
correspondent to the several Parts of the Relation.

But among this Sett of Writers there are none who more gratifie and
enlarge the Imagination, than the Authors of the new Philosophy, whether
we consider their Theories of the Earth or Heavens, the Discoveries they
have made by Glasses, or any other of their Contemplations on Nature. We
are not a little pleased to find every green Leaf swarm with Millions of
Animals, that at their largest Growth are not visible to the naked Eye.
There is something very engaging to the Fancy, as well as to our Reason,
in the Treatises of Metals, Minerals, Plants, and Meteors. But when we
survey the whole Earth at once, and the several Planets that lie within
its Neighbourhood, we are filled with a pleasing Astonishment, to see so
many Worlds hanging one above another, and sliding round their Axles in
such an amazing Pomp and Solemnity. If, after this, we contemplate those
wild Fields of _Ether_, that reach in Height as far as from _Saturn_ to
the fixt Stars, and run abroad almost to an Infinitude, our Imagination
finds its Capacity filled with so immense a Prospect, and puts it self
upon the Stretch to comprehend it. But if we yet rise higher, and
consider the fixt Stars as so many vast Oceans of Flame, that are each
of them attended with a different Sett of Planets, and still discover
new Firmaments and new Lights that are sunk farther in those
unfathomable Depths of _Ether_, so as not to be seen by the strongest of
our Telescopes, we are lost in such a Labyrinth of Suns and Worlds, and
confounded with the Immensity and Magnificence of Nature.

Nothing is more pleasant to the Fancy, than to enlarge it self by
Degrees, in its Contemplation of the various Proportions [which [1]] its
several Objects bear to each other, when it compares the Body of Man to
the Bulk of the whole Earth, the Earth to the Circle it describes round
the Sun, that Circle to the Sphere of the fixt Stars, the sphere of the
fixt Stars to the Circuit of the whole Creation, the whole Creation it
self to the infinite Space that is every where diffused about it; or
when the Imagination works downward, and considers the Bulk of a human
Body in respect of an Animal, a hundred times less than a Mite, the
particular Limbs of such an Animal, the different Springs [which [2]]
actuate the Limbs, the Spirits which set these Springs a going, and the
proportionable Minuteness of these several Parts, before they have
arrived at their full Growth and Perfection. But if, after all this, we
take the least Particle of these Animal Spirits, and consider its
Capacity of being Wrought into a World, that shall contain within those
narrow Dimensions a Heaven and Earth, Stars and Planets, and every
different Species of living Creatures, in the same Analogy and
Proportion they bear to each other in our own Universe; such a
Speculation, by reason of its Nicety, appears ridiculous to those who
have not turned their Thoughts that way, though at the same time it is
founded on no less than the Evidence of a Demonstration. Nay, we might
yet carry it farther, and discover in the smallest Particle of this
little World a new and inexhausted Fund of Matter, capable of being spun
out into another Universe.

I have dwelt the longer on this Subject, because I think it may shew us
the proper Limits, as well as the Defectiveness of our Imagination; how
it is confined to a very small Quantity of Space, and immediately stopt
in its Operations, when it endeavours to take in any thing that is very
great, or very little. Let a Man try to conceive the different Bulk of
an Animal, which is twenty, from another which is a hundred times less
than a Mite, or to compare, in his Thoughts, a length of a thousand
Diameters of the Earth, with that of a Million, and he will quickly find
that he has no different Measures in his Mind, adjusted to such
extraordinary Degrees of Grandeur or Minuteness. The Understanding,
indeed, opens an infinite Space on every side of us, but the
Imagination, after a few faint Efforts, is immediately at a stand, and
finds her self swallowed up in the Immensity of the Void that surrounds
it: Our Reason can pursue a Particle of Matter through an infinite
Variety of Divisions, but the Fancy soon loses sight of it, and feels in
it self a kind of Chasm, that wants to be filled with Matter of a more
sensible Bulk. We can neither widen, nor contract the Faculty to the
Dimensions of either Extreme. The Object is too big for our Capacity,
when we would comprehend the Circumference of a World, and dwindles into
nothing, when we endeavour after the Idea of an Atome.

It is possible this defect of Imagination may not be in the Soul it
self, but as it acts in Conjunction with the Body. Perhaps there may not
be room in the Brain for such a variety of Impressions, or the Animal
Spirits may be incapable of figuring them in such a manner, as is
necessary to excite so very large or very minute Ideas. However it be,
we may well suppose that Beings of a higher Nature very much excel us in
this respect, as it is probable the Soul of Man will be infinitely more
perfect hereafter in this Faculty, as well as in all the rest; insomuch
that, perhaps, the Imagination will be able to keep Pace with the
Understanding, and to form in it self distinct Ideas of all the
different Modes and Quantities of Space.


[Footnote 1: [that]]

[Footnote 2: [that]]

* * * * *

No. 421. Thursday, July 3, 1712. Addison.

'Ignotis errare locis, ignota videre
Flumina gaudebat; studio minuente laborem.'


The Pleasures of the Imagination are not wholly confined to such
particular Authors as are conversant in material Objects, but are often
to be met with among the Polite Masters of Morality, Criticism, and
other Speculations abstracted from Matter, who, tho' they do not
directly treat of the visible Parts of Nature, often draw from them
their Similitudes, Metaphors, and Allegories. By these Allusions a Truth
in the Understanding is as it were reflected by the Imagination; we are
able to see something like Colour and Shape in a Notion, and to discover
a Scheme of Thoughts traced out upon Matter. And here the Mind receives
a great deal of Satisfaction, and has two of its Faculties gratified at
the same time, while the Fancy is busie in copying after the
Understanding, and transcribing Ideas out of the Intellectual World into
the Material.

The Great Art of a Writer shews it self in the Choice of pleasing
Allusions, which are generally to be taken from the _great_ or
_beautiful_ Works of Art or Nature; for though whatever is New or
Uncommon is apt to delight the Imagination, the chief Design of an
Allusion being to illustrate and explain the Passages of an Author, it
should be always borrowed from what is more known and common, than the
Passages which are to be explained.

Allegories, when well chosen, are like so many Tracks of Light in a
Discourse, that make every thing about them clear and beautiful. A noble
Metaphor, when it is placed to an Advantage, casts a kind of Glory round
it, and darts a Lustre through a whole Sentence: These different Kinds
of Allusion are but so many different Manners of Similitude, and, that
they may please the Imagination, the Likeness ought to be very exact, or
very agreeable, as we love to see a Picture where the Resemblance is
just, or the Posture and Air graceful. But we often find eminent Writers
very faulty in this respect; great Scholars are apt to fetch their
Comparisons and Allusions from the Sciences in which they are most
conversant, so that a Man may see the Compass of their Learning in a
Treatise on the most indifferent Subject. I have read a Discourse upon
Love, which none but a profound Chymist could understand, and have heard
many a Sermon that should only have been preached before a Congregation
of _Cartesians_. On the contrary, your Men of Business usually have
recourse to such Instances as are too mean and familiar. They are for
drawing the Reader into a Game of Chess or Tennis, or for leading him
from Shop to Shop, in the Cant of particular Trades and Employments. It
is certain, there may be found an infinite Variety of very agreeable
Allusions in both these kinds, but for the generality, the most
entertaining ones lie in the Works of Nature, which are obvious to all
Capacities, and more delightful than what is to be found in Arts and

It is this Talent of affecting the Imagination, that gives an
Embellishment to good Sense, and makes one Man's Compositions more
agreeable than another's. It sets off all Writings in general, but is
the very Life and highest Perfection of Poetry: Where it shines in an
Eminent Degree, it has preserved several Poems for many Ages, that have
nothing else to recommend them; and where all the other Beauties are
present, the Work appears dry and insipid, if this single one be
wanting. It has something in it like Creation; It bestows a kind of
Existence, and draws up to the Reader's View several Objects which are
not to be found in Being. It makes Additions to Nature, and gives a
greater Variety to God's Works. In a Word, it is able to beautifie and
adorn the most illustrious Scenes in the Universe, or to fill the Mind
with more glorious Shows and Apparitions, than can be found in any Part
of it.

We have now discovered the several Originals of those Pleasures that
gratify the Fancy; and here, perhaps, it would not be very difficult to
cast under their proper Heads those contrary Objects, which are apt to
fill it with Distaste and Terrour; for the Imagination is as liable to
Pain as Pleasure. When the Brain is hurt by any Accident, or the Mind
disordered by Dreams or Sickness, the Fancy is over-run with wild dismal
Ideas, and terrified with a thousand hideous Monsters of its own framing.

'Eumenidum veluti demens videt Agmina Pentheus,
Et solem geminum, et duplices se ostendere Thebas.
Aut Agamemnonius scenis agitatus Orestes,
Armatam facibus matrem et serpentibus atris
Cum videt, ultricesque sedent in limine Dirae.'


There is not a Sight in Nature so mortifying as that of a Distracted
Person, when his Imagination is troubled, and his whole Soul disordered
and confused. _Babylon_ in Ruins is not so melancholy a Spectacle. But
to quit so disagreeable a Subject, I shall only consider, by way of
Conclusion, what an infinite Advantage this Faculty gives an Almighty
Being over the Soul of Man, and how great a measure of Happiness or
Misery we are capable of receiving from the Imagination only.

We have already seen the Influence that one Man has over the Fancy of
another, and with what Ease he conveys into it a Variety of Imagery; how
great a Power then may we suppose lodged in him, who knows all the ways
of affecting the Imagination, who can infuse what Ideas he pleases, and
fill those Ideas with Terrour and Delight to what Degree he thinks fit?
He can excite Images in the Mind, without the help of Words, and make
Scenes rise up before us and seem present to the Eye without the
Assistance of Bodies or Exterior Objects. He can transport the
Imagination with such beautiful and glorious Visions, as cannot possibly
enter into our present Conceptions, or haunt it with such ghastly
Spectres and Apparitions, as would make us hope for Annihilation, and
think Existence no better than a Curse. In short, he can so exquisitely
ravish or torture the Soul through this single Faculty, as might suffice
to make up the whole Heaven or Hell of any finite Being.

This Essay on the Pleasures of the Imagination having been published in
separate Papers, I shall conclude it with a Table of the principal
Contents in each Paper.


PAPER I. [No. 411, Volume 2.]

The Perfection of our Sight above our other Senses. The Pleasures of
the Imagination arise originally from Sight. The Pleasures of the
Imagination divided under two Heads. The Pleasures of the Imagination
in some Respects equal to those of the Understanding. The Extent of
the Pleasures of the Imagination. The Advantages a Man receives from a
Relish of these Pleasures. In what Respect they are preferable to
those of the Understanding.

PAPER II. [No. 412, Volume 2.]

Three Sources of all the Pleasures of the Imagination, in our Survey
of outward Objects. How what is Great pleases the Imagination. How
what is New pleases the Imagination. How what is Beautiful in our own
Species, pleases the Imagination. How what is Beautiful in general
pleases the Imagination. What other Accidental Causes may contribute
to the heightening of these Pleasures.

PAPER III. [No. 413, Volume 2.]

Why the Necessary Cause of our being pleased with what is Great, New,
or Beautiful, unknown. Why the Final Cause more known and more useful.
The Final Cause of our being pleased with what is Great. The Final
Cause of our being pleased with what is New. The Final Cause of our
being pleased with what is Beautiful in our own Species. The Final
Cause of our being pleased with what is Beautiful in general.

PAPER IV. [No. 414, Volume 2.]

The Works of Nature more pleasant to the Imagination than those of
Art. The Works of Nature still more pleasant, the more they resemble
those of Art. The Works of Art more pleasant, the more they resemble
those of Nature. Our English Plantations and Gardens considered in the
foregoing Light.

PAPER V. [No. 415, Volume 2.]

Of Architecture as it affects the Imagination. Greatness in
Architecture relates either to the Bulk or to the Manner. Greatness of
Bulk in the Ancient Oriental Buildings. The ancient Accounts of these
Buildings confirm'd,

1. From the Advantages, for raising such Works, in the first Ages of
the World and in the Eastern Climates:

2. From several of them which are still extant.

Instances how Greatness of Manner affects the Imagination. A French
Author's Observation on this Subject. Why Concave and Convex Figures
give a Greatness of Manner to Works of Architecture. Every thing that
pleases the Imagination in Architecture is either Great, Beautiful, or

PAPER VI. [No. 416, Volume 2.]

The Secondary Pleasures of the Imagination. The several Sources of
these Pleasures (Statuary, Painting, Description and Musick) compared
together. The Final Cause of our receiving Pleasure from these several
Sources. Of Descriptions in particular. The Power of Words over the
Imagination. Why one Reader more pleased with Descriptions than

PAPER VII. [No. 417, Volume 3.]

How a whole Set of Ideas Hang together, &c. A Natural Cause assigned
for it. How to perfect the Imagination of a Writer. Who among the
Ancient Poets had this Faculty in its greatest Perfection. Homer
excelled in Imagining what is Great; Virgil in Imagining what is
Beautiful; Ovid in imagining what is New. Our own Country-man Milton
very perfect in all three respects.

PAPER VIII. [No. 418, Volume 3.]

Why any thing that is unpleasant to behold, pleases the Imagination
when well described. Why the Imagination receives a more Exquisite
Pleasure from the Description of what is Great, New, or Beautiful. The
Pleasure still heightned, if--what is described raises Passion in the
Mind. Disagreeable Passions pleasing when raised by apt Descriptions.
Why Terror and Grief are pleasing to the Mind when excited by
Descriptions. A particular Advantage the Writers in Poetry and Fiction
have to please the Imagination. What Liberties are allowed them.

PAPER IX. [No. 419, Volume 3.]

Of that kind of Poetry which Mr. Dryden calls the Fairy Way of
Writing. How a Poet should be Qualified for it. The Pleasures of the
Imagination that arise from it. In this respect why the Moderns excell
the Ancients. Why the English excell the Moderns. Who the Best among
the English. Of Emblematical Persons.

PAPER X. [No. 420, Volume 3.]

What Authors please the Imagination who have nothing to do with
Fiction. How History pleases the Imagination. How the Authors of the
new Philosophy please the Imagination. The Bounds and Defects of the
Imagination. Whether these Defects are Essential to the Imagination.

PAPER XI. [No. 421, Volume 3.]

How those please the Imagination who treat of Subjects abstracted from
Matter, by Allusions taken from it. What Allusions most pleasing to
the Imagination. Great Writers how Faulty in this Respect. Of the Art
of Imagining in General. The Imagination capable of Pain as well as
Pleasure. In what Degree the Imagination is capable either of Pain or


* * * * *

No. 422. Friday, July 4, 1712. Steele.

'Haec scripsi non otii abundantia sed amoris erga te.'

Tull. Epis.

I do not know any thing which gives greater Disturbance to Conversation,
than the false Notion some People have of Raillery. It ought certainly
to be the first Point to be aimed at in Society, to gain the good Will
of those with whom you converse. The Way to that, is to shew you are
well inclined towards them: What then can be more absurd, than to set up
for being extremely sharp and biting, as the Term is, in your
Expressions to your Familiars? A Man who has no good Quality but
Courage, is in a very ill way towards making an agreeable Figure in the
World, because that which he has superior to other People cannot be
exerted, without raising himself an _Enemy_. Your Gentleman of a
Satyrical Vein is in the like Condition. To say a Thing which perplexes
the Heart of him you speak to, or brings Blushes into his Face, is a
degree of Murder; and it is, I think, an unpardonable Offence to shew a
Man you do not care, whether he is pleased or displeased. But won't you
then take a Jest? Yes: but pray let it be a Jest. It is no Jest to put
me, who am so unhappy as to have an utter Aversion to speaking to more
than one Man at a time, under a Necessity to explain my self in much
Company, and reducing me to Shame and Derision, except I perform what my
Infirmity of Silence disables me to do.

_Callisthenes_ has great Wit accompanied with that Quality (without
which a Man can have no Wit at all) a Sound Judgment. This Gentleman
rallies the best of any Man I know, for he forms his Ridicule upon a
Circumstance which you are in your Heart not unwilling to grant him, to
wit, that you are Guilty of an Excess in something which is in it self
laudable. He very well understands what you would be, and needs not fear
your Anger for declaring you are a little too much that Thing. The
Generous will bear being reproached as Lavish, and the Valiant, Rash,
without being provoked to Resentment against their Monitor. What has
been said to be a Mark of a good Writer, will fall in with the Character
of a good Companion. The good Writer makes his Reader better pleased
with himself, and the agreeable Man makes his Friends enjoy themselves,
rather than him, while he is in their Company. _Callisthenes_ does this
with inimitable Pleasantry. He whispered a Friend the other Day, so as
to be overheard by a young Officer, who gave Symptoms of Cocking upon
the Company, That Gentleman has very much of the Air of a General
Officer. The Youth immediately put on a Composed Behaviour, and behaved
himself suitably to the Conceptions he believed the Company had of him.
It is to be allowed that _Callisthenes_ will make a Man run into
impertinent Relations, to his own Advantage, and express the
Satisfaction he has in his own dear self till he is very ridiculous, but
in this case the Man is made a Fool by his own Consent, and not exposed
as such whether he will or no. I take it therefore that to make Raillery
agreeable, a Man must either not know he is rallied, or think never the
worse of himself if he sees he is.

_Acetus_ is of a quite contrary Genius, and is more generally admired
than _Callisthenes_, but not with Justice. _Acetus_ has no regard to the
Modesty or Weakness of the Person he rallies; but if his Quality or
Humility gives him any Superiority to the Man he would fall upon, he has
no Mercy in making the Onset. He can be pleased to see his best Friend
out of Countenance, while the Laugh is loud in his own Applause. His
Raillery always puts the Company into little Divisions and separate
Interests, while that of _Callisthenes_ cements it, and makes every Man
not only better pleased with himself, but also with all the rest in the

To rally well, it is absolutely necessary that Kindness must run thro'
all you say, and you must ever preserve the Character of a Friend to
support your Pretensions to be free with a Man. _Acetus_ ought to be
banished human Society, because he raises his Mirth upon giving Pain to
the Person upon whom he is pleasant. Nothing but the Malevolence, which
is too general towards those who excell, could make his Company
tolerated; but they with whom he converses, are sure to see some Man
sacrificed where-ever he is admitted, and all the Credit he has for Wit
is owing to the Gratification it gives to other Men's Ill-nature.

_Minutius_ has a Wit that conciliates a Man's Love at the same time that
it is exerted against his Faults. He has an Art of keeping the Person he
rallies in Countenance, by insinuating that he himself is guilty of the
same Imperfection. This he does with so much Address, that he seems
rather to bewail himself, than fall upon his Friend.

It is really monstrous to see how unaccountably it prevails among Men,
to take the Liberty of displeasing each other. One would think sometimes
that the Contention is, who shall be most disagreeable, Allusions to
past Follies, Hints which revive what a Man has a Mind to forget for
ever, and deserves that all the rest of the World should, are commonly
brought forth even in Company of Men of Distinction. They do not thrust
with the Skill of Fencers, but cut up with the Barbarity of Butchers. It
is, methinks, below the Character of Men of Humanity and Good-manners,
to be capable of Mirth while there is any one of the Company in Pain and
Disorder. They who have the true Taste of Conversation, enjoy themselves
in a Communication of each other's Excellencies, and not in a Triumph
over their Imperfections. _Fortius_ would have been reckoned a Wit, if
there had never been a Fool in the World: He wants not Foils to be a
Beauty, but has that natural Pleasure in observing Perfection in others,
that his own Faults are overlooked out of Gratitude by all his

After these several Characters of Men who succeed or fail in Raillery,
it may not be amiss to reflect a little further what one takes to be the
most agreeable Kind of it; and that to me appears when the Satyr is
directed against Vice, with an Air of Contempt of the Fault, but no
Ill-will to the Criminal. Mr. _Congreve's Doris_ is a Master-piece in
this Kind. It is the Character of a Woman utterly abandoned, but her
Impudence by the finest Piece of Raillery is made only Generosity.

'Peculiar therefore is her Way,
Whether by Nature taught,
I shall not undertake to say,
Or by experience bought;

For who o'er Night obtain'd her Grace,
She can next Day disown,
And stare upon the strange Man's Face,
As one she ne'er had known,

So well she can the Truth disguise,
Such artful Wonder frame,
The Lover or distrusts his Eyes,
Or thinks 'twas all a Dream.

Some censure this as lewd or low,
Who are to Bounty blind;
For to forget what we bestow,
Bespeaks a noble Mind.'


* * * * *

No. 423. Saturday, July 5, 1712. Steele.

'--Nuper Idoneus.'


I look upon my self as a Kind of Guardian to the Fair, and am always
watchful to observe any thing which concerns their Interest. The present
Paper shall be employed in the Service of a very fine young Woman; and
the Admonitions I give her, may not be unuseful to the rest of the Sex.
_Gloriana_ shall be the Name of the Heroine in To-day's Entertainment;
and when I have told you that she is rich, witty, young and beautiful,
you will believe she does not want Admirers. She has had since she came
to Town about twenty five of those Lovers, who make their Addresses by
way of Jointure and Settlement. These come and go, with great
Indifference on both Sides; and as beauteous as she is, a Line in a Deed
has had Exception enough against it, to outweigh the Lustre of her Eyes,
the Readiness of her Understanding, and the Merit of her general
Character. But among the Crowd of such cool Adorers, she has two who are
very assiduous in their Attendance. There is something so extraordinary
and artful in their Manner of Application, that I think it but common
Justice to alarm her in it. I have done it in the following Letter.


'I have for some time taken Notice of two Gentlemen who attend you in
all publick Places, both of whom have also easie Access to you at your
own House: But the Matter is adjusted between them, and _Damon_, who
so passionately addresses you, has no Design upon you; but _Strephon_,
who seems to be indifferent to you, is the Man, who is, as they have
settled it, to have you. The Plot was laid over a Bottle of Wine; and
_Strephon_, when he first thought of you, proposed to _Damon_ to be
his Rival. The manner of his breaking of it to him, I was so placed at
a Tavern, that I could not avoid hearing. _Damon_, said he with a deep
Sigh, I have long languished for that Miracle of Beauty _Gloriana_,
and if you will be very stedfastly my Rival, I shall certainly obtain
her. Do not, continued he, be offended at this Overture; for I go upon
the Knowledge of the Temper of the Woman, rather than any Vanity that
I should profit by an Opposition of your Pretensions to those of your
humble Servant. _Gloriana_ has very good Sense, a quick Relish of the
Satisfactions of Life, and will not give her self, as the Crowd of
Women do, to the Arms of a Man to whom she is indifferent. As she is a
sensible Woman, Expressions of Rapture and Adoration will not move her
neither; but he that has her must be the Object of her Desire, not her
Pity. The Way to this End I take to be, that a Man's general Conduct
should be agreeable, without addressing in particular to the Woman he
loves. Now, Sir, if you will be so kind as to sigh and die for
_Gloriana_, I will carry it with great Respect towards her, but seem
void of any Thoughts as a Lover. By this Means I shall be in the most
amiable Light of which I am capable; I shall be received with Freedom,
you with Reserve. _Damon_, who has himself no Designs of Marriage at
all, easily fell into the Scheme; and you may observe, that where-ever
you are _Damon_ appears also. You see he carries on an unaffecting
Exactness in his Dress and Manner, and strives always to be the very
Contrary of _Strephon_. They have already succeeded so far, that your
Eyes are ever in Search of _Strephon_, and turn themselves of Course
from _Damon_. They meet and compare Notes upon your Carriage; and the
Letter which, was brought to you the other Day, was a Contrivance to
remark your Resentment. When you saw the Billet subscribed _Damon_,
and turned away with a scornful Air, and cried Impertinence! you gave
Hopes to him that shuns you, without mortifying him that languishes
for you. What I am concerned for, Madam, is, that in the disposal of
your Heart, you should know what you are doing, and examine it before
it is lost. _Strephon_ contradicts you in Discourse with the Civility
of one who has a Value for you, but gives up nothing like one that
loves you. This seeming Unconcern gives this Behaviour the advantage
of Sincerity, and insensibly obtains your good Opinion, by appearing
disinterested in the purchase of it. If you watch these Correspondents
hereafter, you will find that _Strephon_ makes his Visit of Civility
immediately after _Damon_ has tired you with one of Love. Tho' you are
very discreet, you will find it no easie matter to escape the Toils so
well laid, as when one studies to be disagreeable in Passion, the
other to be pleasing without it. All the Turns of your Temper are
carefully watched, and their quick and faithful Intelligence gives
your Lovers irresistible Advantage. You will please, Madam, to be upon
your guard, and take all the necessary Precautions against one who is
amiable to you before you know he is enamoured.

_I am, Madam,
Your most Obedient Servant._

_Strephon_ makes great Progress in this Lady's good Graces, for most
Women being actuated by some little Spirit of Pride and Contradiction,
he has the good effects of both those Motives by this Covert-Way of
Courtship. He received a Message Yesterday from _Damon_ in the following
Words, superscribed _With Speed_.

'All goes well; she is very angry at me, and I dare say hates me in
earnest. It is a good time to Visit.

The Comparison of _Strephon's_ Gayety to _Damon's_ Languishment, strikes
her Imagination with a Prospect of very agreeable Hours with such a Man
as the former, and Abhorrence of the insipid Prospect with one like the
latter. To know when a Lady is displeased with another, is to know the
best time of advancing your self. This method of two Persons playing
into each other's Hand is so dangerous, that I cannot tell how a Woman
could be able to withstand such a Siege. The Condition of _Gloriana_, I
am afraid, is irretrievable, for _Strephon_ has had so many
Opportunities of pleasing without suspicion, that all which is left for
her to do is to bring him, now she is advised, to an Explanation of his
Passion, and beginning again, if she can conquer the kind Sentiments she
has already conceived for him. When one shews himself a Creature to be
avoided, the other proper to be fled to for Succour, they have the whole
Woman between them, and can occasionally rebound her Love and Hatred
from one to the other, in such a manner as to keep her at a distance
from all the rest of the World, and cast Lots for the Conquest.

N. B. _I have many other Secrets which concern the Empire of Love, but I
consider that while I alarm my Women, I instruct my Men_.


* * * * *

No. 424. Monday, July 7, 1712. Steele

'Est Ulubris, animus si te non deficit--'


London, June 24.

Mr. Spectator,

'A man who has it in his Power to chuse his own Company, would
certainly be much to blame should he not, to the best of his Judgment,
take such as are of a Temper most suitable to his own; and where that
Choice is wanting, or where a Man is mistaken in his Choice, and yet
under a Necessity of continuing in the same Company, it will certainly
be to his Interest to carry himself as easily as possible.

'In this I am sensible I do but repeat what has been said a thousand
times, at which however I think no Body has any Title to take
Exception, but they who never failed to put this in Practice--Not to
use any longer Preface, this being the Season of the Year in which
great Numbers of all sorts of People retire from this Place of
Business and Pleasure to Country Solitude, I think it not improper to
advise them to take with them as great a Stock of Good-humour as they
can; for tho' a Country-Life is described as the most pleasant of all
others, and though it may in Truth be so, yet it is so only to those
who know how to enjoy Leisure and Retirement.

'As for those who can't live without the constant helps of Business or
Company, let them consider, that in the Country there is no
_Exchange_, there are no Play-houses, no Variety of Coffee-houses, nor
many of those other Amusements which serve here as so many Reliefs
from the repeated Occurrences in their own Families; but that there
the greatest Part of their Time must be spent within themselves, and
consequently it behoves them to consider how agreeable it will be to
them before they leave this dear Town.

'I remember, Mr. SPECTATOR, we were very well entertained last Year,
with the Advices you gave us from Sir ROGER'S Country Seat; which I
the rather mention, because 'tis almost impossible not to live
pleasantly, where the Master of a Family is such a one as you there
describe your Friend, who cannot therefore (I mean as to his domestick
Character) be too often recommended to the Imitation of others. How
amiable is that Affability and Benevolence with which he treats his
Neighbours, and every one, even the meanest of his own Family! And yet
how seldom imitated? instead of which we commonly meet with
ill-natured Expostulations, Noise, and Chidings--And this I hinted,
because the Humour and Disposition of the Head, is what chiefly
influences all the other Parts of a Family.

'An Agreement and kind Correspondence between Friends and
Acquaintance, is the greatest Pleasure of Life. This is an undoubted
Truth, and yet any Man who judges from the Practice of the World, will
be almost persuaded to believe the contrary; for how can we suppose
People should be so industrious to make themselves uneasie? What can
engage them to entertain and foment Jealousies of one another upon
every the least Occasion? Yet so it is, there are People who (as it
should seem) delight in being troublesome and vexatious, who (as
_Tully_ speaks) _Mira sunt alacritate ad litigandum, Have a certain
Chearfulness in wrangling_. And thus it happens, that there are very
few Families in which there are not Feuds and Animosities, tho' 'tis
every one's Interest, there more particularly, to avoid 'em, because
there (as I would willingly hope) no one gives another Uneasiness,
without feeling some share of it--But I am gone beyond what I
designed, and had almost forgot what I chiefly proposed; which was,
barely to tell you, how hardly we who pass most of our Time in Town
dispense with a long Vacation in the Country, how uneasie we grow to
our selves and to one another when our Conversation is confined,
insomuch that by _Michaelmas_ 'tis odds but we come to downright
squabbling, and make as free with one another to our Faces, as we do
with the rest of the World behind their Backs. After I have told you
this, I am to desire that you would now and then give us a Lesson of
Good-humour, a Family-Piece; which, since we are all very fond of you,
I hope may have some Influence upon us--

'After these plain Observations give me leave to give you an Hint of
what a Set of Company of my Acquaintance, who are now gone into the
Country, and have the Use of an absent Nobleman's Seat, have settled
among themselves, to avoid the Inconveniencies above mentioned. They
are a Collection of ten or twelve, of the same good Inclination
towards each other, but of very different Talents and Inclinations:
From hence they hope, that the Variety of their Tempers will only
create Variety of Pleasures. But as there always will arise, among the
same People, either for want of Diversity of Objects, or the like
Causes, a certain Satiety, which may grow into ill Humour or
Discontent, there is a large Wing of the House which they design to
employ in the Nature of an Infirmary. Whoever says a peevish thing, or
acts any thing which betrays a Sowerness or Indisposition to Company,
is immediately to be conveyed to his Chambers in the Infirmary; from
whence he is not to be relieved, till by his Manner of Submission, and
the Sentiments expressed in his Petition for that Purpose, he appears
to the Majority of the Company to be again fit for Society. You are to
understand, that all ill-natured Words or uneasie Gestures are
sufficient Cause for Banishment; speaking impatiently to Servants,
making a Man repeat what he says, or any thing that betrays
Inattention or Dishumour, are also criminal without Reprieve: But it
is provided, that whoever observes the ill-natured Fit coming upon
himself, and voluntarily retires, shall be received at his return from
the Infirmary with the highest Marks of Esteem. By these and other
wholesome Methods it is expected that if they cannot cure one another,
yet at least they have taken Care that the ill Humour of one shall not
be troublesome to the rest of the Company. There are many other Rules
which the Society have established for the Preservation of their Ease
and Tranquility, the Effects of which, with the Incidents that arise
among them, shall be communicated to you from Time to Time for the
publick Good, by,

Your most humble Servant,
R. O.


* * * * *

No. 425. Tuesday, July 8, 1712. Budgell.

'Frigora mitescunt Zephyris, Ver proterit AEstas
Interitura, simul
Pomifer Autumnus fruges effuderit, et mox
Bruma recurrit iners.'



'There is hardly any thing gives me a more sensible Delight, than the
Enjoyment of a cool still Evening after the Uneasiness of a hot sultry
Day. Such a one I passed not long ago, which made me rejoice when the
Hour as come for the Sun to set, that I might enjoy the Freshness of
the Evening in my Garden, which then affords me the pleasantest Hours
I pass in the whole Four and twenty. I immediately rose from my Couch,
and went down into it. You descend at first by twelve Stone Steps into
a large Square divided into four Grass-plots, in each of which is a
Statue of white Marble. This is separated from a large Parterre by a
low Wall, and from thence, thro' a Pair of Iron Gates, you are led
into a long broad Walk of the finest Turf, set on each Side with tall
Yews, and on either Hand bordered by a Canal, which on the Right
divides the Walk from a Wilderness parted into Variety of Allies and
Arbours, and on the Left from a kind of Amphitheatre, which is the
Receptacle of a great Number of Oranges and Myrtles. The Moon shone
bright, and seemed then most agreeably to supply the Place of the Sun,
obliging me with as much Light as was necessary to discover a thousand
pleasing Objects, and at the same time divested of all Power of Heat.
The Reflection of it in the Water, the Fanning of the Wind rustling on
the Leaves, the Singing of the Thrush and Nightingale, and the
Coolness of the Walks, all conspired to make me lay aside all
displeasing Thoughts, and brought me into such a Tranquility of Mind,
as is I believe the next Happiness to that of hereafter. In this sweet
Retirement I naturally fell into the Repetition of some Lines out of a
Poem of _Milton's_, which he entitles _Il Penseroso_, the Ideas of
which were exquisitely suited to my present Wandrings of Thought.

'Sweet Bird! that shun'st the Noise of Folly,
Most musical! most melancholy!
Thee Chauntress, oft the Woods among,
I wooe to hear thy Evening Song:
And missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth-shaven Green,
To behold the wandring Moon,

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