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

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No. 501. Saturday, October 4, 1712. Parnell.

'Durum: sed levius sit patientia
Quicquid corrigere est nefas.'


As some of the finest Compositions among the Ancients are in Allegory, I
have endeavoured, in several of my Papers, to revive that way of
Writing, and hope I have not been altogether unsuccessful in it; for I
find there is always a great Demand for those particular Papers, and
cannot but observe that several Authors have endeavoured of late to
excel in Works of this Nature. Among these, I do not know any one who
has succeeded better than a very ingenious Gentleman, to whom I am much
obliged for the following Piece, and who was the Author of the Vision in
the CCCCLXth Paper. [O.]

How are we tortured with the Absence of what we covet to possess, when
it appears to be lost to us! What Excursions does the Soul make in
Imagination after it! And how does it turn into it self again, more
foolishly fond and dejected, at the Disappointment? Our Grief, instead
of having recourse to Reason, which might restrain it, searches to find
a further Nourishment. It calls upon Memory to relate the several
Passages and Circumstances of Satisfactions which we formerly enjoyed:
the Pleasures we purchased by those Riches that are taken from us; or
the Power and Splendour of our departed Honours; or the Voice, the
Words, the Looks, the Temper, and Affections of our Friends that are
deceased. It needs must happen from hence that the Passion should often
swell to such a Size as to burst the Heart which contains it, if Time
did not make these Circumstances less strong and lively, so that Reason
should become a more equal Match for the Passion, or if another Desire
which becomes more present did not overpower them with a livelier
Representation. These are Thoughts which I had, when I fell into a kind
of Vision upon this Subject, and may therefore stand for a proper
Introduction to a Relation of it.

I found my self upon a naked Shore, with Company whose afflicted
Countenances witnessed their Conditions. Before us flowed a Water deep,
silent, and called the River of _Tears_, which issuing from two
Fountains on an upper Ground, encompassed an Island that lay before us.
The Boat which plied in it was old and shattered, having been sometimes
overset by the Impatience and Haste of single Passengers to arrive at
the other side. This immediately was brought to us by _Misfortune_ who
steers it, and we were all preparing to take our places, when there
appeared a Woman of a mild and composed Behaviour, who began to deter us
from it, by representing the Dangers which would attend our Voyage.
Hereupon some who knew her for _Patience_, and some of those too who
till then cry'd the loudest, were persuaded by her, and returned back.
The rest of us went in, and she (whose Good-nature would not suffer her
to forsake Persons in Trouble) desired leave to accompany us, that she
might at least administer some small Comfort or Advice while we sailed.
We were no sooner embarked but the Boat was push'd off, the Sheet was
spread; and being filled with _Sighs_, which are the Winds of that
Country, we made a passage to the farther Bank, through several
Difficulties of which the most of us seemed utterly regardless.

When we landed, we perceived the Island to be strangely overcast with
Fogs, which no Brightness could pierce, so that a kind of gloomy Horror
sat always brooding over it. This had something in it very shocking to
easy Tempers, insomuch that some others, whom _Patience_ had by this
time gained over, left us here, and privily convey'd themselves round
the Verge of the Island to find a Ford by which she told them they might

For my part, I still went along with those who were for piercing into
the Centre of the Place; and joining our selves to others whom we found
upon the same Journey, we marched solemnly as at a Funeral, through
bordering Hedges of Rosemary, and through a Grove of Yew-trees, which
love to overshadow Tombs and flourish in Church-yards. Here we heard on
every side the Wailings and Complaints of several of the Inhabitants,
who had cast themselves disconsolately at the Feet of Trees; and as we
chanced to approach any of these, we might perceive them wringing their
Hands, beating their Breasts, tearing their Hair, or after some other
manner visibly agitated with Vexation. Our Sorrows were heightened by
the Influence of what we heard and saw, and one of our Number was
wrought up to such a Pitch of Wildness, as to talk of hanging himself
upon a Bough which shot temptingly across the Path we travelled in; but
he was restrained from it by the kind Endeavours of our above-mentioned

We had now gotten into the most dusky silent part of the Island, and by
the redoubled Sounds of Sighs, which made a doleful Whistling in the
Branches, the thickness of Air which occasioned faintish Respiration,
and the violent Throbbings of Heart which more and more affected us, we
found that we approached the _Grotto of Grief_. It was a wide, hollow,
and melancholy Cave, sunk deep in a Dale, and watered by Rivulets that
had a Colour between Red and Black. These crept slow and half congealed
amongst its Windings, and mixed their heavy Murmur with the Echo of
Groans that rolled through all the Passages. In the most retired Part of
it sat the _Doleful Being_ her self; the Path to her was strowed with
Goads, Stings and Thorns; and her Throne on which she sat was broken
into a Rock, with ragged Pieces pointing upwards for her to lean upon. A
heavy Mist hung above her, her Head oppressed with it reclined upon her
Arm: Thus did she reign over her disconsolate Subjects, full of her self
to stupidity, in eternal Pensiveness, and the profoundest Silence. On
one side of her stood _Dejection_ just dropping into a Swoon, and
_Paleness_ wasting to a Skeleton; on the other side were _Care_ inwardly
tormented with Imaginations, and _Anguish_ suffering outward _Troubles_
to suck the Blood from her Heart in the shape of _Vultures_. The whole
Vault had a genuine Dismalness in it, which a few scattered Lamps, whose
bluish Flames arose and sunk in their Urns, discovered to our Eyes with
Encrease. Some of us fell down, overcome and spent with what they
suffered in the way, and were given over to those Tormentors that stood
on either hand of the Presence; others, galled and mortified with Pain,
recover'd the Entrance, where _Patience_, whom we had left behind, was
still waiting to receive us.

With her (whose Company was now become more grateful to us by the want
we had found of her) we winded round the Grotto, and ascended at the
back of it, out of the mournful Dale in whose Bottom it lay. On this
Eminence we halted, by her Advice, to pant for Breath; and lifting our
Eyes, which till then were fixed downwards, felt a sullen sort of
Satisfaction, in observing through the Shades what Numbers had entred
the Island. The Satisfaction, which appears to have Ill-nature in it,
was excusable, because it happened at a time when we were too much taken
up with our own concern, to have respect to that of others; and
therefore we did not consider them as suffering, but ourselves as not
suffering in the most forlorn Estate. It had also the Ground-work of
Humanity and Compassion in it, tho' the Mind was then too dark and too
deeply engaged to perceive it; but as we proceeded onwards, it began to
discover it self, and from observing that others were unhappy, we came
to question one another, when it was that we met, and what were the sad
Occasions that brought us together. Then we heard our Stories, we
compared them, we mutually gave and received Pity, and so by degrees
became tolerable Company.

A considerable part of the troublesome Road was thus deceived; at length
the Openings among the Trees grew larger, the Air seemed thinner, it lay
with less oppression upon us, and we could now and then discern tracks
in it of a lighter Greyness, like the Breakings of Day, short in
duration, much enlivening, and called in that Country _Gleams of
Amusement_. Within a short while these Gleams began to appear more
frequent, and then brighter and of a longer continuance; the _Sighs_
that hitherto filled the Air with so much Dolefulness, altered to the
Sound of common Breezes, and in general the Horrors of the Island were

When we had arrived at last at the Ford by which we were to pass out, we
met with those fashionable Mourners who had been ferried over along with
us, and who being unwilling to go as far as we, had coasted by the Shore
to find the place, where they waited our coming; that by shewing
themselves to the World only at the time when we did, they might seem
also to have been among the Troubles of the Grotto. Here the Waters that
rolled on the other side so deep and silent, were much dried up, and it
was an easier matter for us to wade over.

The River being crossed, we were received upon the further Bank by our
Friends and Acquaintance, whom _Comfort_ had brought out to congratulate
our Appearance in the World again. Some of these blamed us for staying
so long away from them, others advised us against all Temptations of
going back again; every one was cautious not to renew our Trouble, by
asking any particulars of the Journey; and all concluded, that in a case
of so much Melancholy and Affliction, we could not have made choice of a
fitter Companion than _Patience_. Here _Patience_, appearing serene at
her Praises, delivered us over to _Comfort_. _Comfort_ smiled at his
receiving the Charge; immediately the Sky purpled on that side to which
he turned, and double Day at once broke in upon me.

* * * * *

No. 502. Monday, October 6, 1712. Steele.

'Melius, pejus, prosit, obsit, nil vident nisi quod lubent.'


When Men read, they taste the Matter with which they are entertained,
according as their own respective Studies and Inclinations have prepared
them, and make their Reflections accordingly. Some perusing _Roman_
Writers, would find in them, whatever the Subject of the Discourses
were, parts which implied the Grandeur of that People in their Warfare
or their Politicks. As for my part, who am a meer SPECTATOR, I drew this
Morning Conclusions of their Eminence in what I think great, to wit, in
having worthy Sentiments, from the reading a Comedy of _Terence_. The
Play was the _Self-Tormentor_. It is from the Beginning to the End a
perfect Picture of human Life, but I did not observe in the whole one
Passage that could raise a Laugh. How well disposed must that People be,
who could be entertained with Satisfaction by so sober and polite Mirth?
In the first Scene of the Comedy, when one of the old Men accuses the
other of Impertinence for interposing in his Affairs, he answers, _I am
a Man, and cannot help feeling any Sorrow that can arrive at Man_. It is
said, this Sentence was received with an universal Applause. There
cannot be a greater Argument of the general good Understanding of a
People, than a sudden Consent to give their Approbation of a Sentiment
which has no Emotion in it. If it were spoken with never so great Skill
in the Actor, the Manner of uttering that Sentence could have nothing in
it which could strike any but People of the greatest Humanity, nay
People elegant and skilful in Observations upon it. It is possible he
might have laid his Hand on his Breast, and with a winning Insinuation
in his Countenance, expressed to his Neighbour that he was a Man who
made his case his own; yet I'll engage a Player in _Covent-Garden_ might
hit such an Attitude a thousand times before he would have been
regarded. I have heard that a Minister of State in the Reign of Queen
_Elizabeth_ had all manner of Books and Ballads brought to him, of what
kind soever, and took great Notice how much they took with the People;
upon which he would, and certainly might, very well judge of their
present Dispositions, and the most proper way of applying them according
to his own purposes. [1] What passes on the Stage, and the Reception it
meets with from the Audience, is a very useful Instruction of this Kind.
According to what you may observe there on our Stage, you see them often
moved so directly against all common Sense and Humanity, that you would
be apt to pronounce us a Nation of Savages. It cannot be called a
Mistake of what is pleasant, but the very contrary to it is what most
assuredly takes with them. The other Night an old Woman carried off with
a Pain in her Side, with all the Distortions and Anguish of Countenance
which is natural to one in that Condition, was laughed and clapped off
the Stage. _Terence's_ Comedy, which I am speaking of, is indeed written
as if he hoped to please none but such as had as good a Taste as
himself. I could not but reflect upon the natural Description of the
innocent young Woman made by the Servant to his Master. _When I came to
the House_, said he, _an old Woman opened the Door, and I followed her
in, because I could by entring upon them unawares better observe what
was your Mistress's ordinary manner of spending her Time, the only way
of judging any one's Inclinations and Genius. I found her at her Needle
in a sort of second Mourning, which she wore for an Aunt she had lately
lost. She had nothing on but what shewed she dressed only for herself.
Her Hair hung negligently about her Shoulders. She had none of the Arts
with which others use to set themselves off, but had that Negligence of
Person which is remarkable in those who are careful of their Minds--Then
she had a Maid who was at work near her, that was a Slattern, because
her Mistress was careless; which I take to be another Argument of your
security in her; for the_ Go-betweens _of Women of Intrigue are rewarded
too well to be dirty. When you were named, I told her you desired to see
her, she threw down her Work for Joy, covered her Face, and decently hid
her Tears_ [2]--He must be a very good Actor, and draw Attention rather
from his own Character than the Words of the Author, that could gain it
among us for this Speech, though so full of Nature and good Sense.

The intolerable Folly and Confidence of Players putting in Words of
their own, does in a great measure feed the absurd Taste of the
Audience. But however that is, it is ordinary for a Cluster of Coxcombs
to take up the House to themselves, and equally insult both the Actors
and the Company. These Savages, who want all manner of Regard and
Deference to the rest of Mankind, come only to shew themselves to us,
without any other Purpose than to let us know they despise us.

The gross of an Audience is composed of two sorts of People, those who
know no Pleasure but of the Body, and those who improve or command
corporeal Pleasures by the addition of fine Sentiments of the Mind. At
present the intelligent part of the Company are wholly subdued, by the
Insurrections of those who know no Satisfactions but what they have in
common with all other Animals.

This is the reason that when a Scene tending to Procreation is acted,
you see the whole Pit in such a Chuckle, and old Letchers, with Mouths
open, stare at the loose Gesticulations on the Stage with shameful
Earnestness; when the justest Pictures of human Life in its calm
Dignity, and the properest Sentiments for the Conduct of it, pass by
like meer Narration, as conducing only to somewhat much better which is
to come after. I have seen the whole House at some times in so proper a
Disposition, that indeed I have trembled for the Boxes, and feared the
Entertainment would end in the Representation of the Rape of the

I would not be understood in this Talk to argue, that nothing is
tolerable on the Stage but what has an immediate Tendency to the
Promotion of Virtue. On the contrary, I can allow, provided there is
nothing against the Interests of Virtue, and is not offensive to
Good-manners, that things of an indifferent nature may be represented.
For this Reason I have no Exception to the well-drawn Rusticities in the
_Country-Wake_[2]; and there is something so miraculously pleasant in
_Dogget's_ acting the aukward Triumph and comick Sorrow of _Hob_ in
different Circumstances, that I shall not be able to stay away whenever
it is acted. All that vexes me is, that the Gallantry of taking the
Cudgels for _Gloucestershire_, with the Pride of Heart in tucking
himself up, and taking Aim at his Adversary, as well as the other's
Protestation in the Humanity of low Romance, That he could not promise
the Squire to break _Hob's_ Head, but he would, if he could, do it in
Love; then flourish and begin: I say, what vexes me is, that such
excellent Touches as these, as well as the Squire's being out of all
patience at _Hob's_ Success, and venturing himself into the Croud, are
Circumstances hardly taken Notice of, and the height of the Jest is only
in the very Point that Heads are broken. I am confident, were there a
Scene written, wherein _Penkethman_ should break his Leg by wrestling
with _Bullock_, and _Dicky_ come in to set it, without one word said but
what should be according to the exact Rules of Surgery in making this
Extention, and binding up the Leg, the whole House should be in a Roar
of Applause at the dissembled Anguish of the Patient, the help given by
him who threw him down, and the handy Address and arch Looks of the
Surgeon. To enumerate the entrance of Ghosts, the Embattling of Armies,
the Noise of Heroes in Love, with a thousand other Enormities, would be
to transgress the bounds of this Paper, for which reason it is possible
they may have hereafter distinct Discourses; not forgetting any of the
Audience who shall set up for Actors, and interrupt the Play on the
Stage; and Players who shall prefer the Applause of Fools to that of the
reasonable part of the Company.


[Footnote 1: Is this another version of the very wise man whom Andrew
Fletcher of Saltoun, in a letter to Montrose, said that he knew, who

'believed, that if a Man were permitted to make all the ballads, he
need not care who should make the laws of a nation'?

Andrew Fletcher, who could not have known any of Elizabeth's statesmen,
was yet alive when this paper was written.]

[Footnote 2: Heautontimoroumenos, Act ii. sc. 2.]

[Footnote 3: Dogget had been acting a few nights before in _the Country
Wake_. The part of Hob was his own in every sense, he being the author
of the farce, which afterwards was made into a very popular ballad opera
called _Flora_, or _Hob in the Well_.]

* * * * *

No. 503. Tuesday, October 7, 1712. Steele.

'Deleo omnes dehinc ex animo Mulieres.'



'You have often mention'd with great Vehemence and Indignation the
Misbehaviour of People at Church; but I am at present to talk to you
on that Subject, and complain to you of one, whom at the same time I
know not what to accuse of, except it be looking too well there, and
diverting the Eyes of the Congregation to that one Object. However I
have this to say, that she might have stay'd at her own Parish, and
not come to perplex those who are otherwise intent upon their Duty.

'Last _Sunday_ was Seven-night I went into a Church not far from
_London_-Bridge; but I wish I had been contented to go to my own
Parish, I am sure it had been better for me: I say, I went to Church
thither, and got into a Pew very near the Pulpit. I had hardly been
accommodated with a Seat, before there entered into the Isle a young
Lady in the very Bloom of Youth and Beauty, and dressed in the most
elegant manner imaginable. Her Form was such, that it engaged the Eyes
of the whole Congregation in an Instant, and mine among the rest. Tho'
we were all thus fixed upon her, she was not in the least out of
Countenance, or under the least Disorder, tho' unattended by any one,
and not seeming to know particularly where to place her self. However,
she had not in the least a confident Aspect, but moved on with the
most graceful Modesty, every one making Way till she came to a Seat
just over-against that in which I was placed. The Deputy of the Ward
sat in that Pew, and she stood opposite to him; and at a Glance into
the Seat, tho' she did not appear the least acquainted with the
Gentleman, was let in, with a Confusion that spoke much Admiration at
the Novelty of the Thing. The Service immediately began, and she
compos'd her self for it with an Air of so much Goodness and
Sweetness, that the Confession which she uttered so as to be heard
where I sat, appeared an Act of Humiliation more than she had Occasion
for. The Truth is, her Beauty had something so innocent, and yet so
sublime, that we all gazed upon her like a Phantom. None of the
Pictures which we behold of the best _Italian_ Painters, have any
thing like the Spirit which appeared in her Countenance, at the
different Sentiments expressed in the several Parts of Divine Service:
That Gratitude and Joy at a Thanksgiving, that Lowliness and Sorrow at
the Prayers for the Sick and Distressed, that Triumph at the Passages
which gave Instances of divine Mercy, which appeared respectively in
her Aspect, will be in my Memory to my last Hour. I protest to you,
Sir, she suspended the Devotion of every one around her; and the Ease
she did every thing with, soon dispersed the churlish Dislike and
Hesitation in approving what is excellent, too frequent amongst us, to
a general Attention and Entertainment in observing her Behaviour. All
the while that we were gazing at her, she took Notice of no Object
about her, but had an Art of seeming awkwardly attentive, whatever
else her Eyes were accidentally thrown upon. One Thing indeed was
particular, she stood the whole Service, and never kneeled or sat; I
do not question but that was to shew her self with the greater
Advantage, and set forth to better Grace her Hands and Arms, lifted up
with the most ardent Devotion, and her Bosom, the fairest Observation;
while she, you must think, knew nothing of the Concern she gave
others, any other than as an Example of Devotion, that threw her self
out, without regard to Dress or Garment, all Contrition, and loose of
all Worldly Regards, in Ecstasy of Devotion. Well, now the Organ was
to play a Voluntary, and she was so skilful in Musick, and so touched
with it, that she kept time not only with some Motion of her Head, but
also with a different Air in her Countenance. When the Musick was
strong and bold, she look'd exalted, but serious; when lively and
airy, she was smiling and gracious; when the Notes were more soft and
languishing, she was kind and full of Pity. When she had now made it
visible to the whole Congregation, by her Motion and Ear, that she
could dance, and she wanted now only to inform us that she could sing
too, when the Psalm was given out, her Voice was distinguished above
all the rest, or rather People did not exert their own in order to
hear her. Never was any heard so sweet and so strong. The Organist
observed it, and he thought fit to play to her only, and she swelled
every Note; when she found she had thrown us all out, and had the last
Verse to herself in such a manner as the whole Congregation was intent
upon her, in the same manner as we see in the Cathedrals, they are on
the Person who sings alone the Anthem. Well, it came at last to the
Sermon, and our young Lady would not lose her Part in that neither;
for she fixed her Eye upon the Preacher, and as he said any thing she
approved, with one of _Charles Mathers's_ fine Tablets she set down
the Sentence, at once shewing her fine Hand, the Gold-Pen, her
Readiness in Writing, and her Judgment in chusing what to write. To
sum up what I intend by this long and particular Account, I mean to
appeal to you, whether it is reasonable that such a Creature as this
shall come from a jaunty Part of the Town, and give herself such
violent Airs, to the disturbance of an innocent and inoffensive
Congregation, with her Sublimities. The Fact, I assure you, was as I
have related; but I had like to have forgot another very considerable
Particular. As soon as Church was done, she immediately stepp'd out of
her Pew, and fell into the finest pitty-pat Air, forsooth, wonderfully
out of Countenance, tossing her Head up and down as she swam along the
Body of the Church. I, with several others of the Inhabitants,
follow'd her out, and saw her hold up her Fan to an Hackney-Coach at a
Distance, who immediately came up to her, and she whipp'd into it with
great Nimbleness, pull'd the Door with a bowing Mein, as if she had
been used to a better Glass. She said aloud, _You know where to go_,
and drove off. By this time the best of the Congregation was at the
Church-Door, and I could hear some say, _A very fine Lady_; others,
_I'll warrant ye, she's no better than she should be_; and one very
wise old Lady said, _She ought to have been taken up_. Mr. SPECTATOR,
I think this Matter lies wholly before you: for the Offence does not
come under any Law, tho' it is apparent this Creature came among us
only to give herself Airs, and enjoy her full Swing in being admir'd.
I desire you would print this, that she may be confin'd to her own
Parish; for I can assure you there is no attending any thing else in a
Place where she is a Novelty. She has been talked of among us ever
since under the Name of the _Phantom_: But I would advise her to come
no more; for there is so strong a Party made by the Women against her,
that she must expect they will not be excell'd a second time in so
outrageous a manner, without doing her some Insult. Young Women, who
assume after this rate, and affect exposing themselves to view in
Congregations at t'other end of the Town, are not so mischievous,
because they are rivall'd by more of the same Ambition, who will not
let the rest of the Company be particular: But in the Name of the
whole Congregation where I was, I desire you to keep these agreeable
Disturbances out of the City, where Sobriety of Manners is still
preserv'd, and all glaring and ostentatious Behaviour, even in things
laudable, discountenanced. I wish you may never see the Phantom, and


_Your most humble Servant_,

Ralph Wonder.


* * * * *

No. 504. Wednesday, October 8, 1712. Steele.

'Lepus tute es, et pulpamentum quaeris.'


It is a great Convenience to those who want Wit to furnish out a
Conversation, that there is something or other in all Companies where it
is wanted substituted in its stead, which according to their Taste, does
the Business as well. Of this nature is the agreeable Pastime in
Country-Halls of Cross-purposes, Questions and Commands, and the like. A
little superior to these are those who can play at Crambo, or cap
Verses. Then above them are such as can make Verses, that is, Rhime; and
among those who have the _Latin_ Tongue, such as use to make what they
call golden Verses. Commend me also to those who have not Brains enough
for any of these Exercises, and yet do not give up their Pretensions to
Mirth. These can slap you on the Back unawares, laugh loud, ask you how
you do with a Twang on your Shoulders, say you are dull to-day, and
laugh a Voluntary to put you in Humour; the laborious Way among the
minor Poets, of making things come into such and such a Shape, as that
of an Egg, an Hand, an Ax, or any thing that no body had ever thought on
before for that purpose, or which would have cost a great deal of Pains
to accomplish it if they did. But all these Methods, tho' they are
mechanical, and may be arrived at with the smallest Capacity, do not
serve an honest Gentleman who wants Wit for his Ordinary Occasions;
therefore it is absolutely necessary that the Poor in Imagination should
have something which may be serviceable to them at all Hours upon all
common Occurrences. That which we call Punning is therefore greatly
affected by Men of small Intellects. These Men need not be concerned
with you for the whole Sentence; but if they can say a quaint thing, or
bring in a Word which sounds like any one Word you have spoken to them
they can turn the Discourse, or distract you so that you cannot go on,
and by consequence if they cannot be as witty as you are, they can
hinder your being any wittier than they are. Thus if you talk of a
Candle, he _can deal_ with you; and if you ask him to help you to some
Bread, a Punster should think himself very ill-_bred_ if he did not; and
if he is not as well-_bred_ as your self, he hopes for _Grains_ of
Allowance. If you do not understand that last Fancy, you must recollect
that Bread is made of Grain; and so they go on for ever, without
Possibility of being exhausted.

There are another Kind of People of small Faculties, who supply want of
Wit with want of Breeding; and because Women are both by Nature and
Education more offended at any thing which is immodest than we Men are,
these are ever harping upon things they ought not to allude to, and deal
mightily in double Meanings. Every one's own Observation will suggest
Instances enough of this kind, without my mentioning any; for your
double Meaners are dispersed up and down thro' all Parts of Town or City
where there are any to offend, in order to set off themselves. These Men
are mighty loud Laughers, and held very pretty Gentlemen with the
sillier and unbred Part of Womankind. But above all already mentioned,
or any who ever were, or ever can be in the World, the happiest and
surest to be pleasant, are a Sort of People whom we have not indeed
lately heard much of, and those are your _Biters_.

A _Biter_ [1] is one who tells you a thing you have no reason to
disbelieve in it self; and perhaps has given you, before he bit you, no
reason to disbelieve it for his saying it; and if you give him Credit,
laughs in your Face, and triumphs that he has deceiv'd you. In a Word, a
_Biter_ is one who thinks you a Fool, because you do not think him a
Knave. This Description of him one may insist upon to be a just one; for
what else but a Degree of Knavery is it, to depend upon Deceit for what
you gain of another, be it in point of Wit, or Interest, or any thing

This way of Wit is called _Biting_, by a Metaphor taken from Beasts of
Prey, which devour harmless and unarmed Animals, and look upon them as
their Food wherever they meet them. The Sharpers about Town very
ingeniously understood themselves to be to the undesigning Part of
Mankind what Foxes are to Lambs, and therefore used the Word _Biting_ to
express any Exploit wherein they had over-reach'd any innocent and
inadvertent Man of his Purse. These Rascals of late Years have been the
Gallants of the Town, and carried it with a fashionable haughty Air, to
the discouragement of Modesty and all honest Arts. Shallow Fops, who are
govern'd by the Eye, and admire every thing that struts in vogue, took
up from the Sharpers the Phrase of _Biting_, and used it upon all
Occasions, either to disown any nonsensical Stuff they should talk
themselves, or evade the Force of what was reasonably said by others.
Thus, when one of these cunning Creatures was enter'd into a Debate with
you, whether it was practicable in the present State of Affairs to
accomplish such a Proposition, and you thought he had let fall what
destroy'd his Side of the Question, as soon as you look'd with an
Earnestness ready to lay hold of it, he immediately cry'd, _Bite_, and
you were immediately to acknowledge all that Part was in Jest. They
carry this to all the Extravagance imaginable, and if one of these
Witlings knows any Particulars which may give Authority to what he says,
he is still the more ingenious if he imposes upon your Credulity. I
remember a remarkable Instance of this Kind. There came up a shrewd
young Fellow to a plain young Man, his Countryman, and taking him aside
with a grave concern'd Countenance, goes on at this rate: I see you
here, and have you heard nothing out of _Yorkshire_--You look so
surpriz'd you could not have heard of it--and yet the Particulars are
such, that it cannot be false: I am sorry I am got into it so far that I
now must tell you; but I know not but it may be for your Service to
know--on _Tuesday_ last, just after Dinner--you know his Manner is to
smoke, opening his Box, your Father fell down dead in an Apoplexy. The
Youth shew'd the filial Sorrow which he ought--Upon which the witty Man
cry'd, _Bite, there was nothing in all this_--

To put an end to this silly, pernicious, frivolous Way at once, I will
give the Reader one late Instance of a _Bite_, which no _Biter_ for the
future will ever be able to equal, tho' I heartily wish him the same
Occasion. It is a Superstition with some Surgeons who beg the Bodies of
condemn'd Malefactors, to go to the Gaol, and bargain for the Carcase
with the Criminal himself. A good honest Fellow did so last Sessions,
and was admitted to the condemned Men on the Morning wherein they died.
The Surgeon communicated his Business, and fell into discourse with a
little Fellow, who refused Twelve Shillings, and insisted upon Fifteen
for his Body. The Fellow, who kill'd the Officer of _Newgate_, very
forwardly, and like a Man who was willing to deal, told him, Look you,
Mr. Surgeon, that little dry Fellow, who has been half-starved all his
Life, and is now half-dead with Fear, cannot answer your Purpose. I have
ever liv'd high and freely, my Veins are full, I have not pined in
Imprisonment; you see my Crest swells to your Knife, and after
_Jack-Catch_ has done, upon my Honour you'll find me as sound as e'er a
Bullock in any of the Markets. Come, for Twenty Shillings I am your
Man--Says the Surgeon, Done, there's a Guinea--This witty Rogue took the
Money, and as soon as he had it in his Fist, cries, _Bite, I am to be
hang'd in Chains._


[Footnote 1: See No. 47. Swift writes,

'I'll teach you a way to outwit Mrs. Johnson; it is a new fashioned
way of being witty, and they call it a _Bite_. You must ask a
bantering question, or tell some lie in a serious manner, then she
will answer, or speak as if you were in earnest, and then cry you,
"Madam, there's a _Bite_." I would not have you undervalue this, for
it is the constant amusement in Court, and every where else among the
great people; and I let you know it, in order to have it among you,
and to teach you a new refinement.'

Journal to Stella. Although 'bite' and 'biter' have not retained this
sense, it remains in an occasional use of the word 'bitten.']

* * * * *

No. 505. Thursday, October 9, 1712. Addison.

'Non habeo denique nauci Marsum Augurem,
Non vicanos Aruspices, non de circo Astrologos,
Non Isiacos Conjectores, non Interpletes somnium:
Non enim sunt ii aut scientia, aut arte Divini,
Sed superstitiosi vates, impudentesque harioli,
Aut inertes, aut insani, aut quibus egestas imperat:
Qui sui questus causa fictas suscitant sententias,
Qui sibi semitam non sapiunt, alteri monstrant viam,
Quibus divitias pollicentur, ab iis drachmam petunt;
De divitiis deducant drachmam, reddant coetera.'


Those who have maintain'd that Men would be more miserable than Beasts,
were their Hopes confin'd to this Life only; among other Considerations
take notice that the latter are only afflicted with the Anguish of the
present Evil, whereas the former are very often pained by the Reflection
on what is passed, and the Fear of what is to come. This Fear of any
Future Difficulties or Misfortunes is so natural to the Mind, that were
a Man's Sorrows and Disquietudes summ'd up at the End of his Life, it
would generally be found that he had suffer'd more from the Apprehension
of such Evils as never happen'd to him, than from those Evils which had
really befallen him. To this we may add, that among those Evils which
befal us, there are many that have been more painful to us in the
Prospect, than by their actual Pressure.

This natural Impatience to look into Futurity, and to know what
Accidents may happen to us hereafter, has given birth to many ridiculous
Arts and Inventions. Some found their Prescience on the Lines of a Man's
Hand, others on the Features of his Face; some on the Signatures which
Nature has impressed on his Body, and others on his own Hand-Writing:
Some read Men's Fortunes in the Stars, as others have searched after
them in the Entrails of Beasts, or the Flights of Birds. Men of the best
Sense have been touched, more or less, with these groundless Horrours
and Presages of Futurity, upon surveying the most indifferent Works of
Nature. Can any thing be more surprizing than to consider _Cicero_, who
made the greatest Figure at the Bar, and in the Senate of the _Roman_
Commonwealth, and, at the same time, outshined all the Philosophers of
Antiquity in his Library and in his Retirements, as busying himself in
the College of Augurs, and observing, with a religious Attention, after
what manner the Chickens peck'd the several Grains of Corn which were
thrown to them?

Notwithstanding these Follies are pretty well worn out of the Minds of
the Wise and Learned in the present Age, Multitudes of weak and ignorant
Persons are still Slaves to them. There are numberless Arts of
Prediction among the Vulgar, which are too trifling to enumerate; and
infinite Observations, of Days, Numbers, Voices, and Figures, which are
regarded by them as Portents and Prodigies. In short, every thing
Prophesies to the superstitious Man, there is scarce a Straw or a rusty
Piece of Iron that lies in his way by Accident.

It is not to be conceiv'd how many Wizards, Gypsies, and Cunning-Men are
dispers'd thro' all the Countries and Market-Towns of _Great-Britain_,
not to mention the Fortune-tellers and Astrologers, who live very
comfortably upon the Curiosity of several well-dispos'd Persons in the
Cities of _London_ and _Westminster_.

Among the many pretended Arts of Divination, there is none which so
universally amuses as that by Dreams. I have indeed observ'd in a late
Speculation, that there have been sometimes, upon very extraordinary
Occasions, supernatural Revelations made to certain Persons by this
means; but as it is the chief Business of this Paper to root out popular
Errors, I must endeavour to expose the Folly and Superstition of those
Persons, who, in the common and ordinary course of Life, lay any stress
upon things of so uncertain, shadowy, and chimerical a nature. This I
cannot do more effectually than by the following Letter, which is dated
from a Quarter of the Town that has always been the Habitation of some
prophetick _Philomath_; it having been usual, time out of Mind, for all
such People as have lost their Wits, to resort to that Place either for
their Cure [1] or for their Instruction.

_Moor-Fields_, Oct. 4, 1712.


'Having long consider'd whether there be any Trade wanting in this
great City, after having survey'd very attentively all kinds of Ranks
and Professions, I do not find in any Quarter of the Town an
_Oneirocritick_, or, in plain _English_, an Interpreter of Dreams. For
want of so useful a Person, there are several good People who are very
much puzled in this Particular, and dream a whole Year together
without being ever the wiser for it. I hope I am pretty well qualify'd
for this Office, having studied by Candlelight all the Rules of Art
which have been laid down upon this Subject. My great Uncle by my
Wife's Side was a _Scotch_ Highlander, and second-sighted. I have four
Fingers and two Thumbs upon one Hand, and was born on the longest
Night of the Year. My Christian and Sir-Name begin and end with the
same Letters. I am lodg'd in _Moorfields_, in a House that for these
fifty years has been always tenanted by a Conjurer.

'If you had been in Company, so much as my self, with ordinary Women
of the Town, you must know that there are many of them who every day
in their Lives, upon seeing or hearing of any thing that is
unexpected, cry, _My Dream is out_; and cannot go to sleep in quiet
the next night, till something or other has happen'd which has
expounded the Visions of the preceding one. There are others who are
in very great pain for not being able to recover the Circumstances of
a Dream, that made strong Impressions upon them while it lasted. In
short, Sir, there are many whose waking Thoughts are wholly employ'd
on their sleeping ones. For the benefit therefore of this curious and
inquisitive Part of my Fellow-Subjects, I shall in the first place
tell those Persons what they dreamt of, who fancy they never dream at
all. In the next place, I shall make out any Dream, upon hearing a
single Circumstance of it; and in the last place, shall expound to
them the good or bad Fortune which such Dreams portend. If they do not
presage good luck, I shall desire nothing for my Pains; not
questioning at the same time that those who consult me will be so
reasonable as to afford me a moderate Share out of any considerable
Estate, Profit or Emolument which I shall thus discover to them. I
interpret to the Poor for nothing, on condition that their Names may
be inserted in Publick Advertisements, to attest the Truth of such my
Interpretations. As for People of Quality or others, who are
indisposed, and do not care to come in Person, I can interpret their
Dreams by seeing their Water. I set aside one Day in the Week for
Lovers; and interpret by the great for any Gentlewoman who is turned
of Sixty, after the rate of half a Crown _per_ Week, with the usual
Allowances for good Luck. I have several Rooms and Apartments fitted
up, at reasonable rates, for such as have not Conveniences for
dreaming at their own Houses.

_Titus Trophonius_.

_N. B_. I am not dumb.


[Footnote 1: Bedlam was then in Moorfields.]

* * * * *

No. 206. Friday, October 10, 1712. Budgell.

'Candida perpetuo reside, concordia, lecto,
Tamque pari semper sit Venus aequa jugo.
Diligat illa, senem quondam: Sed et ipsa marito,
Tunc quoque cum fuerit, non videatur anus.'


The following Essay is written by the Gentleman, to whom the World is
oblig'd for those several excellent Discourses which have been marked
with the Letter X.

I have somewhere met with a Fable that made _Wealth_ the Father of
_Love_. It is certain a Mind ought, at least, to be free from the
Apprehensions of Want and Poverty, before it can fully attend to all the
Softnesses and Endearments of this Passion. Notwithstanding we see
Multitudes of married People, who are utter Strangers to this delightful
Passion amidst all the Affluence of the most plentiful Fortunes.

It is not sufficient to make a Marriage happy, that the Humours of two
People should be alike; I could instance an hundred Pair, who have not
the least Sentiment of Love remaining for one another, yet are so like
in their Humours, that if they were not already married, the whole World
would design them for Man and Wife.

The Spirit of Love has something so extremely fine in it, that it is
very often disturbed and lost, by some little Accidents which the
Careless and Unpolite never attend to, till it is gone past Recovery.

Nothing has more contributed to banish it from a married State, than too
great a Familiarity, and laying aside the common Rules of Decency. Tho'
I could give Instances of this in several Particulars, I shall only
mention that of _Dress_. The Beaus and Belles about Town, who dress
purely to catch one another, think there is no further occasion for the
Bait, when their first Design has succeeded. But besides the too common
Fault in point of Neatness, there are several others which I do not
remember to have seen touched upon, but in one of our modern Comedies,
[1] where a _French_ Woman offering to undress and dress herself before
the Lover of the Play, and assuring his Mistress that it was very useful
in _France_, the Lady tells her that's a Secret in Dress she never knew
before, and that she was so unpolish'd an _English_ Woman, as to resolve
never to learn even to dress before her Husband.

There is something so gross in the Carriage of some Wives, that they
lose their Husbands Hearts for Faults, which, if a Man has either
Good-Nature or Good-Breeding, he knows not how to tell them of. I am
afraid, indeed, the Ladies are generally most faulty in this Particular,
who, at their first giving into Love, find the Way so smooth and
pleasant, that they fancy 'tis scarce possible to be tired in it.

There is so much Nicety and Discretion requir'd to keep Love alive after
Marriage, and make Conversation still new and agreeable after twenty or
thirty years, that I know nothing which seems readily to promise it, but
an earnest endeavour to please on both sides, and superior good Sense on
the part of Man.

By a Man of Sense, I mean one acquainted with Business and Letters.

A Woman very much settles her Esteem for a Man, according to the Figure
he makes in the World, and the Character he bears among his own Sex. As
Learning is the chief Advantage we have over them, it is, methinks, as
scandalous and inexcusable for a Man of Fortune to be illiterate, as for
a Woman not to know how to behave her self on the most ordinary
Occasions. It is this which sets the two Sexes at the greatest Distance;
a Woman is vexed and surpriz'd, to find nothing more in the Conversation
of a Man, than in the common Tattle of her own Sex.

Some small Engagement at least in Business, not only sets a Man's
Talents in the fairest Light, and allots him a Part to act, in which a
Wife cannot well intermeddle; but gives frequent occasions for those
little Absences, which, whatever seeming Uneasiness they may give, are
some of the best Preservatives of Love and Desire.

The Fair Sex are so conscious to themselves, that they have
nothing in them which can deserve entirely to engross the
whole Man, that they heartily despise one, who, to use their
own Expression, is always hanging at their Apron-Strings.

_Laetitia_ is pretty, modest, tender, and has Sense enough; she married
_Erastus_, who is in a Post of some Business, and has a general Taste in
most Parts of polite Learning. _Laetitia_, where ever she visits, has the
pleasure to hear of something which was handsomely said or done by
_Erastus_. _Erastus_, since his Marriage, is more gay in his Dress than
ever, and in all Companies is as complaisant to _Laetitia_ as to any
other Lady. I have seen him give her her Fan, when it has dropped, with
all the Gallantry of a Lover. When they take the Air together, _Erastus_
is continually improving her Thoughts, and with a Turn of Wit and Spirit
which is peculiar to him, giving her an Insight into things she had no
notion of before. _Laetitia_ is transported at having a new World thus
open'd to her, and hangs upon the Man that gives her such agreeable
Informations. _Erastus_ has carried this Point still further, as he
makes her daily not only more fond of him, but infinitely more satisfied
with herself. _Erastus_ finds a Justness or Beauty in whatever she says
or observes, that _Laetitia_ herself was not aware of; and, by his
Assistance, she has discovered an hundred good Qualities and
Accomplishments in herself, which she never before once dreamed of.
_Erastus_, with the most artful Complaisance in the World, by several
remote Hints, finds the means to make her say or propose almost whatever
he has a mind to, which he always receives as her own Discovery, and
gives her all the Reputation of it.

_Erastus_ has a perfect Taste in Painting, and carried _Laetitia_ with
him the other day to see a Collection of Pictures. I sometimes visit
this happy Couple. As we were last Week walking in the long Gallery
before Dinner, _I have lately laid out some Mony in Paintings_, says
_Erastus; I bought that_ Venus _and_ Adonis _purely upon_ Laetitia's
_Judgment; it cost me three-score Guineas, and I was this morning
offer'd [a [2]] hundred for it_. I turned towards _Laetitia_, and saw her
Cheeks glow with Pleasure, while at the same time she cast a look upon
_Erastus_, the most tender and affectionate I ever beheld.

_Flavilla_ married _Tom Tawdry_; she was taken with his laced Coat and
rich Sword-knot; she has the mortification to see _Tom_ despised by all
the worthy Part of his own Sex. _Tom_ has nothing to do after Dinner,
but to determine whether he will pare his Nails at St. _James's,
White's_, or his own House. He has said nothing to _Flavilla_ since they
were married, which she might not have heard as well from her own Woman.
He however takes great care to keep up the saucy ill-natur'd Authority
of a Husband. Whatever _Flavilla_ happens to assert, _Tom_ immediately
contradicts with an Oath, by way of Preface, and, _My Dear, I must tell
you, you talk most confoundedly silly. Flavilla_ had a Heart naturally
as well dispos'd for all the Tenderness of Love as that of _Laetitia_;
but as Love seldom continues long after Esteem, it is difficult to
determine, at present, whether the unhappy _Flavilla_ hates or despises
the Person most, whom she is obliged to lead her whole Life with.


[Footnote 1: Steele's _Funeral_, or _Grief a la Mode_, Act III.]

[Footnote 2: [an] and in first reprint.]

* * * * *

No. 507. Saturday, October 11, 1712. Addison.

'Defendit numerus, junctaeque umbone Phalanges.'


There is something very Sublime, tho' very fanciful, in _Plato's_
Description of the Supreme Being, That _Truth is his Body, and Light his
Shadow_. According to this Definition, there is nothing so contradictory
to his Nature, as Error and Falshood. The Platonists have so just a
Notion of the Almighty's Aversion to every thing which is false and
erroneous, that they looked upon _Truth_ as no less necessary than
_Virtue_, to qualifie an human Soul for the Enjoyment of a separate
State. For this reason as they recommended Moral Duties to qualifie and
season the Will for a future Life, so they prescribed several
Contemplations and Sciences to rectifie the Understanding. Thus _Plato_
has called Mathematical Demonstrations the Catharticks or Purgatives of
the Soul, as being the most proper Means to cleanse it from Error, and
to give it a Relish of Truth; which is the natural Food and Nourishment
of the Understanding, as Virtue is the Perfection and Happiness of the

There are many Authors who have shewn wherein the Malignity of a _Lie_
consists, and set forth in proper Colours, the Heinousness of the
Offence. I shall here consider one Particular Kind of this Crime, which
has not been so much spoken to; I mean that abominable Practice of
_Party-lying_. This Vice is so very predominant among us at present,
that a Man is thought of no Principles, who does not propagate a certain
System of Lies. The Coffee-Houses are supported by them, the Press is
choaked with them, eminent Authors live upon them. Our
Bottle-Conversation is so infected with them, that a Party-Lie is grown
as fashionable an Entertainment, as a lively Catch or a merry Story: The
Truth of it is, half the great Talkers in the Nation would be struck
dumb, were this Fountain of Discourse dried up. There is however one
Advantage resulting from this detestable Practice; the very Appearances
of Truth are so little regarded, that Lies are at present discharg'd in
the Air, and begin to hurt no Body. When we hear a Party-story from a
Stranger, we consider whether he is a Whig or a Tory that relates it,
and immediately conclude they are Words of course, in which the honest
Gentleman designs to recommend his Zeal, without any Concern for his
Veracity. A Man is looked upon as bereft of common Sense, that gives
Credit to the Relations of Party-Writers; [nay] his own Friends shake
their Heads at him, and consider him in no other Light than as an
officious Tool or a well-meaning Ideot. When it was formerly the Fashion
to husband a Lie, and trump it up in some extraordinary Emergency, it
generally did Execution, and was not a little serviceable to the Faction
that made use of it; but at present every Man is upon his Guard, the
Artifice has been too often repeated to take Effect.

I have frequently wonder'd to see Men of Probity, who would scorn to
utter a Falshood for their own particular Advantage, give so readily
into a Lie when it becomes the Voice of their Faction, notwithstanding
they are thoroughly sensible of it as such. How is it possible for those
who are Men of Honour in their Persons, thus to become notorious Liars
in their Party? If we look into the Bottom of this Matter, we may find,
I think, three Reasons for it, and at the same time discover the
Insufficiency of these Reasons to justify so Criminal a Practice.

In the first place, Men are apt to think that the Guilt of a Lie, and
consequently the Punishment, may be very much diminish'd, if not wholly
worn out, by the Multitudes of those who partake in it. Tho' the Weight
of a Falshood would be too heavy for _one_ to bear, it grows light in
their Imaginations, when it is shared among _many_. But in this Case a
Man very much deceives himself; Guilt, when it spreads thro' numbers, is
not so properly divided as multiplied: Every one is criminal in
proportion to the Offence which he commits, not to the Number of those
who are his Companions in it. Both the Crime and the Penalty lie as
heavy upon every Individual of an offending Multitude, as they would
upon any single Person had none shared with him in the Offence. In a
word, the Division of Guilt is like that of Matter; tho' it may be
separated into infinite Portions, every Portion shall have the whole
Essence of Matter in it, and consist of as many Parts as the Whole did
before it was divided.

But in the second place, tho' Multitudes, who join in a Lie, cannot
exempt themselves from the Guilt, they may from the Shame of it. The
Scandal of a Lie is in a manner lost and annihilated, when diffused
among several Thousands; as a Drop of the blackest Tincture wears away
and vanishes, when mixed and confused in a considerable Body of Water;
the Blot is still in it, but is not able to discover it self. This is
certainly a very great Motive to several Party-Offenders, who avoid
Crimes, not as they are prejudicial to their Virtue, but to their
Reputation. It is enough to shew the Weakness of this Reason, which
palliates Guilt without removing it, that every Man who is influenced by
it declares himself in effect an infamous Hypocrite, prefers the
Appearance of Virtue to its Reality, and is determined in his Conduct
neither by the Dictates of his own Conscience, the Suggestions of true
Honour, nor the Principles of Religion.

The third and last great Motive for Mens joining in a popular Falshood,
or, as I have hitherto called it, a Party-Lie, notwithstanding they are
convinced of it as such, is the doing Good to a Cause which every Party
may be supposed to look upon as the most meritorious. The Unsoundness of
this Principle has been so often exposed, and is so universally
acknowledged, that a Man must be an utter Stranger to the Principles,
either of natural Religion or Christianity, who suffers himself to be
guided by it. If a Man might promote the supposed Good of his Country by
the blackest Calumnies and Falshoods, our Nation abounds more in
Patriots than any other of the Christian World. When _Pompey_ was
desired not to set Sail in a Tempest that would hazard his Life, _It is
necessary for me_, says he, _to Sail, but it is not necessary for me to
Live_: [1] Every Man should say to himself, with the same Spirit, It is
my Duty to speak Truth, tho' it is not my Duty to be in an Office. One
of the Fathers hath carried this Point so high, as to declare, _He would
not tell a Lie, tho' he were sure to gain Heaven by it_. However
extravagant such a Protestation may appear, every one will own, that a
Man may say very reasonably, _He would not tell a Lie, if he were sure
to gain Hell by it_; or, if you have a mind to soften the Expression,
that he would not tell a Lie to gain any Temporal Reward by it, when he
should run the hazard of losing much more than it was possible for him
to gain.


[Footnote 1: Quoted from Plutarch's Life, Sec. 50. Terser in the
original:--'[Greek: Plein anagkae, zaen ouk anagkae.]']

* * * * *

No. 508. Monday, October 13, 1712. Steele.

'Omnes autem et habentur et dicuntur Tyranni, qui potestate sunt
perpetua, in ea Civitate quae libertate usa est.'

Corn. Nepos.

The following Letters complain of what I have frequently observed with
very much Indignation; therefore I shall give them to the Publick in the
Words with which my Correspondents, who suffer under the Hardships
mention'd in them, describe them.


'In former Ages all Pretensions to Dominion have been supported and
submitted to, either upon Account of Inheritance, Conquest or
Election; and all such Persons who have taken upon 'em any Soveraignty
over their Fellow-Creatures upon any other Account, have been always
called Tyrants, not so much because they were guilty of any particular
Barbarities, as because every Attempt to such a Superiority was in its
Nature tyrannical. But there is another sort of Potentates, who may
with greater Propriety be call'd Tyrants, than those last mention'd,
both as they assume a despotick Dominion over those as free as
themselves, and as they support it by Acts of notable Oppression and
Injustice; and these are the Rulers in all Clubs and Meetings. In
other Governments, the Punishments of some have been alleviated by the
Reward of others; but what makes the Reign of these Potentates so
particularly grievous, is, that they are exquisite in punishing their
Subjects, at the same time they have it not in their power to reward
'em. That the Reader may the better comprehend the Nature of these
Monarchs, as well as the miserable State of those that are their
Vassals, I shall give an Account of the King of the Company I am
fallen into, whom for his particular Tyranny I shall call _Dionysius_;
as also of the Seeds that sprung up to this odd sort of Empire.

'Upon all Meetings at Taverns, 'tis necessary some one of the Company
should take it upon him to get all things in such order and readiness,
as may contribute as much as possible to the Felicity of the
Convention; such as hastening the Fire, getting a sufficient number of
Candles, tasting the Wine with a judicious Smack, fixing the Supper,
and being brisk for the Dispatch of it. Know then, that _Dionysius_
went thro' these Offices with an Air that seem'd to express a
Satisfaction rather in serving the Publick, than in gratifying any
particular Inclination of his own. We thought him a Person of an
exquisite Palate, and therefore by consent beseeched him to be always
our Proveditor; which Post, after he had handsomely denied, he could
do no otherwise than accept. At first he made no other use of his
Power, than in recommending such and such things to the Company, ever
allowing these Points to be disputable; insomuch that I have often
carried the Debate for Partridge, when his Majesty has given
Intimation of the high Relish of Duck, but at the same time has
chearfully submitted, and devour'd his Partridge with most gracious
Resignation. This Submission on his side naturally produc'd the like
on ours; of which he in a little time made such barbarous Advantage,
as in all those Matters, which before seem'd indifferent to him, to
issue out certain Edicts as uncontroulable and unalterable as the Laws
of the _Medes_ and _Persians_. He is by turns outragious, peevish,
froward and jovial. He thinks it our Duty for the little Offices, as
Proveditor, that in Return all Conversation is to be interrupted or
promoted by his Inclination for or against the present Humour of the
Company. We feel, at present, in the utmost Extremity, the Insolence
of Office; however, I being naturally warm, ventur'd to oppose him in
a Dispute about a Haunch of Venison. I was altogether for roasting,
but _Dionysius_ declar'd himself for boiling with so much Prowess and
Resolution, that the Cook thought it necessary to consult his own
Safety rather than the Luxury of my Proposition. With the same
Authority that he orders what we shall eat and drink, he also commands
us where to do it, and we change our Taverns according as he suspects
any Treasonable Practices in the settling the Bill by the Master, or
sees any bold Rebellion in point of Attendance by the Waiters. Another
Reason for changing the Seat of Empire, I conceive to be the Pride he
takes in the Promulgation of our Slavery, tho' we pay our Club for our
Entertainments even in these Palaces of our grand Monarch. When he has
a mind to take the Air, a Party of us are commanded out by way of
Life-Guard, and we march under as great Restrictions as they do. If we
meet a neighbouring King, we give or keep the Way according as we are
outnumber'd or not; and if the Train of each is equal in number,
rather than give Battle, the Superiority is soon adjusted by a
Desertion from one of 'em.

'Now, the Expulsion of these unjust Rulers out of all Societies, would
gain a Man as everlasting a Reputation, as either of the _Brutus's_
got from their Endeavours to extirpate Tyranny from among the
_Romans_. I confess my self to be in a Conspiracy against the Usurper
of our Club; and to shew my Reading, as well as my merciful
Disposition, shall allow him till the Ides of _March_ to dethrone
himself. If he seems to affect Empire till that time, and does not
gradually recede from the Incursions he has made upon our Liberties,
he shall find a Dinner dress'd which he has no Hand in, and shall be
treated with an Order, Magnificence and Luxury as shall break his
proud Heart; at the same time that he shall be convinc'd in his
Stomach he was unfit for his Post, and a more mild and skilful Prince
receive the Acclamations of the People, and be set up in his Room:
but, as _Milton_ says,

'--These Thoughts
Full Counsel must mature. Peace is despair'd,
And who can think Submission? War, then War
Open, or understood, must be resolved.' [1]

'I am, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant.


'I am a young Woman at a Gentleman's Seat in the Country, who is a
particular Friend of my Father's, and came hither to pass away a Month
or two with his Daughters. I have been entertained with the utmost
Civility by the whole Family, and nothing has been omitted which can
make my Stay easy and agreeable on the Part of the Family; but there
is a Gentleman here, a Visitant as I am, whose Behaviour has given me
great Uneasinesses. When I first arrived here, he used me with the
utmost Complaisance; but, forsooth, that was not with regard to my
Sex, and since he has no Designs upon me, he does not know why he
should distinguish me from a Man in things indifferent. He is, you
must know, one of those familiar Coxcombs, who have observed some
well-bred Men with a good Grace converse with Women, and say no fine
things, but yet treat them with that sort of Respect which flows from
the Heart and the Understanding, but is exerted in no Professions or
Compliments. This Puppy, to imitate this Excellence, or avoid the
contrary Fault of being troublesome in Complaisance, takes upon him to
try his Talent upon me, insomuch that he contradicts me upon all
Occasions, and one day told me I lied. If I had stuck him with my
Bodkin, and behaved my self like a Man, since he won't treat me as a
Woman, I had, I think, served him right. I wish, Sir, you would please
to give him some Maxims of Behaviour in these Points, and resolve me
if all Maids are not in point of Conversation to be treated by all
Batchelors as their Mistresses? if not so, are they not to be used as
gently as their Sisters? Is it sufferable, that the Fop of whom I
complain should say, as he would rather have such a-one without a
Groat, than me with the _Indies_? What right has any Man to make
Suppositions of things not in his Power, and then declare his Will to
the dislike of one that has never offended him? I assure you these are
things worthy your Consideration, and I hope we shall have your
Thoughts upon them. I am, tho' a Woman justly offended, ready to
forgive all this, because I have no Remedy but leaving very agreeable
Company sooner than I desire. This also is an heinous Aggravation of
his Offence, that he is inflicting Banishment upon me. Your printing
this Letter may perhaps be an Admonition to reform him: As soon as it
appears I will write my Name at the End of it, and lay it in his Way;
the making which just Reprimand, I hope you will put in the Power of,

Your constant Reader,
and humble Servant_.


[Footnote 1: Paradise Lost, i. 659-662.]

* * * * *

No. 509. Tuesday, October 14, 1712. Steele.

'Hominis frugi et temperantis functus officium.'


The useful Knowledge in the following Letter shall have a Place in my
Paper, tho' there is nothing in it which immediately regards the Polite
or the Learned World; I say immediately, for upon Reflection every Man
will find there is a remote Influence upon his own Affairs, in the
Prosperity or Decay of the Trading Part of Mankind. My present
Correspondent, I believe, was never in Print before; but what he says
well deserves a general Attention, tho' delivered in his own homely
Maxims, and a Kind of Proverbial Simplicity; which Sort of Learning has
rais'd more Estates than ever were, or will be, from attention to
_Virgil, Horace, Tully, Seneca, Plutarch_, or any of the rest, whom, I
dare say, this worthy Citizen would hold to be indeed ingenious, but
unprofitable Writers. But to the Letter.

_Broadstreet, Oct._ 10, 1712.



'I accuse you of many Discourses on the Subject of Money, which you
have heretofore promis'd the Publick, but have not discharg'd your
self thereof. But, forasmuch as you seem to depend upon Advice from
others what to do in that Point, have sate down to write you the
Needful upon that Subject. But, before I enter thereupon, I shall take
this Opportunity to observe to you, that the thriving frugal Man shews
it in every Part of his Expence, Dress, Servants, and House; and I
must in the first place, complain to you, as SPECTATOR, that in these
Particulars there is at this Time, throughout the City of _London_, a
lamentable Change from that Simplicity of Manners, which is the true
Source of Wealth and Prosperity. I just now said, the Man of Thrift
shews Regularity in every thing; but you may, perhaps, laugh that I
take Notice of such a Particular as I am going to do, for an Instance
that this City is declining, if their antient Oeconomy is not
restor'd. The Thing which gives me this Prospect, and so much Offence,
is the Neglect of the _Royal-Exchange_, I mean the Edifice so called,
and the Walks appertaining thereunto. The _Royal-Exchange_ is a
Fabrick that well deserves to be so called, as well to express that
our Monarch's highest Glory and Advantage consists in being the
Patrons of Trade, as that it is commodious for Business, and an
Instance of the Grandeur both of Prince and People. But alas! at
present it hardly seems to be set apart for any such Use or Purpose.
Instead of the Assembly of honourable Merchants, substantial
Tradesmen, and knowing Masters of Ships; the Mumpers, the Halt, the
Blind, and the Lame; your Venders of Trash, Apples, Plumbs; your
Ragamuffins, Rakeshames, and Wenches, have justled the greater Number
of the former out of that Place. Thus it is, especially on the
Evening-Change; so that what with the Din of Squalings, Oaths and
Cries of Beggars, Men of the greatest Consequence in our City absent
themselves from the Place. This Particular, by the way, is of evil
Consequence; for if the Change be no Place for Men of the highest
Credit to frequent, it will not be a Disgrace to those of less
Abilities to absent. I remember the time when Rascally Company were
kept out, and the unlucky Boys with Toys and Balls were whipped away
by a Beadle. I have seen this done indeed of late, but then it has
been only to chase the Lads from Chuck, that the Beadle might seize
their Copper.

I must repeat the Abomination, that the Walnut Trade is carry'd on by
old Women within the Walks, which makes the Place impassable by reason
of Shells and Trash. The Benches around are so filthy, that no one can
sit down, yet the Beadles and Officers have the Impudence at
_Christmas_ to ask for their Box, though they deserve the Strapado. I
do not think it impertinent to have mentioned this, because it speaks
a neglect in the Domestick Care of the City, and the Domestick is the
truest Picture of a Man every where else.

But I designed to speak on the Business of Money and Advancement of
Gain. The Man proper for this, speaking in the general, is of a
sedate, plain, good Understanding, not apt to go out of his way, but
so behaving himself at home, that Business may come to him. Sir
_William Turner_, that valuable Citizen, has left behind him a most
excellent Rule, and couched it in very few Words, suited to the
meanest Capacity. He would say, _Keep your Shop and your Shop will
keep you_. It must be confessed, that if a Man of a great Genius could
add Steadiness to his Vivacities, or substitute slower Men of Fidelity
to transact the methodical part of his Affairs, such a one would
outstrip the rest of the World: But Business and Trade is not to be
managed by the same Heads which write Poetry, and make Plans for the
Conduct of Life in general. So tho' we are at this day beholden to the
late witty and inventive Duke of _Buckingham_ for the whole Trade and
Manufacture of Glass, yet I suppose there is no one will aver, that,
were his Grace yet living, they would not rather deal with my diligent
Friend and Neighbour, Mr. _Gumley_, for any Goods to be prepared and
delivered on such a Day, than he would with that illustrious Mechanick

'No, no, _Mr_. SPECTATOR, you Wits must not pretend to be rich; and it
is possible the Reason may be, in some Measure, because you despise,
or at least you do not value it enough to let it take up your chief
Attention; which the Trader must do, or lose his Credit, which is to
him what Honour, Reputation, Fame, or Glory is to other sort of Men.

'I shall not speak to the Point of Cash it self, till I see how you
approve of these my Maxims in general: But, I think, a Speculation
upon _Many a Little makes a Mickle, A Penny sav'd is a Penny got,
Penny wise and Pound foolish, It is Need that makes the old Wife
trot_, would be very useful to the World, and if you treated them with
Knowledge would be useful to your self, for it would make Demands for
your Paper among those who have no Notion of it at present. But of
these Matters more hereafter. If you did this, as you excel many
Writers of the present Age for Politeness, so you would outgo the
Author of the true Strops of Razors for Use.

'I shall conclude this Discourse with an Explanation of a Proverb,
which by vulgar Errour is taken and used when a Man is reduced to an
Extremity, whereas the Propriety of the Maxim is to use it when you
would say, there is Plenty, but you must make such a Choice, as not to
hurt another who is to come after you.

'Mr. _Tobias Hobson_, from whom we have the Expression, was a very
honourable Man, for I shall ever call the Man so who gets an Estate
honestly. Mr. _Tobias Hobson_ was a Carrier, and being a Man of great
Abilities and Invention, and one that saw where there might good
Profit arise, though the duller Men overlooked it; this ingenious Man
was the first in this Island who let out Hackney-Horses. He lived in
_Cambridge_, and observing that the Scholars rid hard, his manner was
to keep a large Stable of Horses, with Boots, Bridles, and Whips to
furnish the Gentlemen at once, without going from College to College
to borrow, as they have done since the Death of this worthy Man: I
say, Mr. _Hobson_ kept a Stable of forty good Cattle, always ready and
fit for travelling; but when a Man came for a Horse, he was led into
the Stable, where there was great Choice, but he obliged him to take
the Horse which stood next to the Stable-Door; so that every Customer
was alike well served according to his Chance, and every Horse ridden
with the same Justice: From whence it became a Proverb, when what
ought to be your Election was forced upon you, to say, _Hobson's
Choice_. This memorable Man stands drawn in Fresco at an Inn (which he
used) in _Bishopsgate-street_, with an hundred Pound Bag under his
Arm, with this Inscription upon the said Bag,

'The fruitful Mother of an Hundred more.'

'Whatever Tradesman will try the Experiment, and begin the day after
you publish this my Discourse to treat his Customers all alike, and
all reasonably and honestly, I will ensure him the same Success.

I am, Sir,
Your loving Friend,

Hezekiah Thrift


* * * * *

No. 510. Wednesday, October 15, 1712. Steele.

'--Si sapis
Neque praeterquam quas ipse amor molestias
Habet addas; et illas, quas habet, recte feras.'


I was the other day driving in [a [1]] Hack thro' _Gerrard-street_, when
my Eye was immediately catch'd with the prettiest Object imaginable, the
Face of a very fair Girl, between Thirteen and Fourteen, fixed at the
Chin to a painted Sash, and made part of the Landskip. It seemed
admirably done, and upon throwing my self eagerly out of the Coach to
look at it, it laugh'd and flung from the Window. This amiable Figure
dwelt upon me; and I was considering the Vanity of the Girl, and her
pleasant Coquettry in acting a Picture till she was taken Notice of, and
raised the Admiration of her Beholders. This little Circumstance made me
run into Reflections upon the Force of Beauty, and the wonderful
Influence the Female Sex has upon the other part of the Species. Our
Hearts are seized with their Enchantments, and there are few of us, but
brutal Men, who by that Hardness lose the chief Pleasure in them, can
resist their Insinuations, tho' never so much against our own Interest
and Opinion. It is common with Women to destroy the good Effects a Man's
following his own Way and Inclination might have upon his Honour and
Fortune, by interposing their Power over him in matters wherein they
cannot influence him, but to his Loss and Disparagement. I do not know
therefore a Task so difficult in human Life, as to be proof against the
Importunities of a Woman a Man loves. There is certainly no Armour
against Tears, sullen Looks, or at best constrained Familiarities, in
her whom you usually meet with Transport and Alacrity. Sir _Walter
Rawleigh_ was quoted in a Letter (of a very ingenious Correspondent of
mine) on this Subject. That Author, who had lived in Courts, Camps,
travelled through many Countries, and seen many Men under several
Climates, and of as various Complections, speaks of our Impotence to
resist the Wiles of Women, in very severe Terms. His words are as
follows: [2]

_What Means did the Devil find out, or what Instruments did his own
Subtlety present him, as fittest and aptest to work his Mischief by?
Even the unquiet Vanity of the Woman; so as by_ Adam's _hearkening to
the Voice of his Wife, contrary to the express Commandment of the
living God, Mankind by that her Incantation became the subject of
Labour, Sorrow, and Death; the Woman being given to Man for a
Comforter and Companion, but not for a Counsellor. It is also to be
noted by whom the Woman was tempted; even by the most ugly and
unworthy of all Beasts, into whom the Devil entered and persuaded.
Secondly, What was the Motive of her Disobedience? Even a desire to
know what was most unfitting her Knowledge; an Affection which has
ever since remained in all the Posterity of her Sex. Thirdly, What was
it that moved the Man to yield to her Persuasions; even the same Cause
which hath moved all Men since to the like Consent, namely, an
Unwillingness to grieve her or make her sad, lest she should pine, and
be overcome with Sorrow. But if _Adam _in the state of Perfection,
and_ Solomon_ the Son of _David, _God's chosen Servant, and himself a
Man endued with the greatest Wisdom, did both of them disobey their
Creator by the Persuasion and for the Love they bare to a Woman, it is
not so wonderful as lamentable, that other Men in succeeding Ages have
been allured to so many inconvenient and wicked Practices by the
Persuasion of their Wives, or other beloved Darlings, who cover over
and shadow many malicious Purposes with a counterfeit Passion of
dissimulate Sorrow and Unquietness._

The Motions of the Minds of Lovers are no where so well described, as in
the Works of skillful Writers for the Stage. The Scene between _Fulvia_
and _Curius_, in the second Act of _Johnson's Catiline_, is an excellent
Picture of the Power of a Lady over her Gallant. The Wench plays with
his Affections; and as a Man of all Places in the World wishes to make a
good Figure with his Mistress, upon her upbraiding him with Want of
Spirit, he alludes to Enterprizes which he cannot reveal but with the
Hazard of his Life. When he is worked thus far, with a little Flattery
of her Opinion of his Gallantry, and desire to know more of it out of
her overflowing Fondness to him, he brags to her till his Life is in her

When a Man is thus liable to be vanquished by the Charms of her he
loves, the safest Way is to determine what is proper to be done, but to
avoid all Expostulation with her before he executes what he has
resolved. Women are ever too hard for us upon a Treaty, and one must
consider how senseless a thing it is to argue with one whose Looks and
Gestures are more prevalent with you, than your Reason and Arguments can
be with her. It is a most miserable Slavery to submit to what you
disapprove, and give up a Truth for no other Reason, but that you had
not Fortitude to support you in asserting it. A Man has enough to do to
conquer his own unreasonable Wishes and Desires; but he does that in
vain, if he has those of another to gratify. Let his Pride be in his
Wife and Family, let him give them all the Conveniences of Life in such
a manner as if he were proud of them; but let it be his own innocent
Pride, and not their exorbitant Desires, which are indulged by him. In
this case all the little Arts imaginable are used to soften a Man's
Heart, and raise his Passion above his Understanding; but in all
Concessions of this Kind, a Man should consider whether the Present he
makes flows from his own Love, or the Importunity of his Beloved: If
from the latter, he is her Slave; if from the former, her Friend. We
laugh it off, and do not weigh this Subjection to Women with that
Seriousness which so important a Circumstance deserves. Why was Courage
given to Man, if his Wife's Fears are to frustrate it? When this is once
indulged, you are no longer her Guardian and Protector, as you were
designed by Nature; but, in Compliance to her Weaknesses, you have
disabled your self from avoiding the Misfortunes into which they will
lead you both, and you are to see the Hour in which you are to be
reproached by her self for that very Complaisance to her. It is indeed
the most difficult Mastery over our selves we can possibly attain, to
resist the Grief of her who charms us; but let the Heart ake, be the
Anguish never so quick and painful, it is what must be suffered and
passed through, if you think to live like a Gentleman, or be conscious
to your self that you are a Man of Honesty. The old Argument, that _You
do not love me if you deny me this_, which first was used to obtain a
Trifle, by habitual Success will oblige the unhappy Man who gives Way to
it, to resign the Cause even of his Country and his Honour.


[Footnote 1: [an] and in first reprint.]

[Footnote 2: History of the World, Bk. i. ch. 4, sect. 4.]

* * * * *

No. 511. Thursday, October 16, 1712. Addison.

'Quis non invenit turba quod amaret in illa?'


_Dear_ SPEC.

'Finding that my last Letter took, I do intend to continue my
epistolary Correspondence with thee, on those dear confounded
Creatures, _Women_. Thou knowest, all the little Learning I am Master
of is upon that Subject; I never looked in a Book, but for their
sakes. I have lately met with two pure Stories for a _Spectator_,
which I am sure will please mightily, if they pass through thy Hands.
The first of them I found by chance in a _English_ Book called
_Herodotus_, that lay in my Friend _Dapperwit's_ Window, as I visited
him one Morning. It luckily opened in the Place where I met with the
following Account. He tells us that it was the Manner among the
_Persians_ to have several Fairs in the Kingdom, at which all the
young unmarried Women were annually exposed to Sale. The Men who
wanted Wives came hither to provide themselves: Every Woman was given
to the highest Bidder, and the Mony which she fetched laid aside for
the publick Use, to be employed as thou shalt hear by and by. By this
means the richest People had the Choice of the Market, and culled out
all the most extraordinary Beauties. As soon as the Fair was thus
picked, the Refuse was to be distributed among the Poor, and among
those who could not go to the Price of a _Beauty_ Several of these
married the _Agreeables_, without paying a Farthing for them, unless
somebody chanced to think it worth his while to bid for them, in which
Case the best Bidder was always the Purchaser. But now you must know,
SPEC. it happened in _Persia_ as it does in our own Country, that
there were as many _ugly Women_, as _Beauties_ or _Agreeables;_ so
that by Consequence, after the Magistrates had put off a great many,
there were still a great many that stuck upon their Hands. In order
therefore to clear the Market, the Money which the Beauties had sold
for, was disposed of among the Ugly; so that a poor Man, who could not
afford to have a Beauty for his Wife, was forced to take up with a
Fortune; the greatest Portion being always given to the most Deformed.
To this the Author adds, that every poor Man was forced to live kindly
with his Wife, or in case he repented of his Bargain, to return her
Portion with her to the next publick Sale.

What I would recommend to thee on this Occasion is, to establish such
an imaginary Fair in _Great Britain_: Thou couldst make it very
pleasant, by matching Women of Quality with Coblers and Carmen, or
describing Titles and Garters leading off in great Ceremony
Shop-keepers and Farmers Daughters. Tho' to tell thee the Truth, I am
confoundedly afraid that as the love of Mony prevails in our Island
more than it did in _Persia_, we should find that some of our greatest
Men would chuse out the Portions, and rival one another for the
richest Piece of Deformity; and that on the contrary, the Toasts and
Belles would be bought up by extravagant Heirs, Gamesters and
Spendthrifts. Thou couldst make very pretty Reflections upon this
Occasion in Honour of the _Persian_ Politicks, who took care, by such
Marriages, to beautify the upper part of the Species, and to make the
greatest Persons in the Government the most graceful. But this I shall
leave to thy judicious Pen.

'I have another Story to tell thee, which I likewise met with in a
Book. It seems the General of the _Tartars_, after having laid siege
to a strong Town in _China_, and taken it by Storm, would set to Sale
all the Women that were found in it. Accordingly, he put each of them
into a Sack, and after having thoroughly considered the Value of the
Woman who was inclosed, marked the Price that was demanded for her
upon the Sack. There were a great Confluence of Chapmen, that resorted
from every Part, with a Design to purchase, which they were to do
_unsight unseen_. The Book mentions a Merchant in particular, who
observing one of the Sacks to be marked pretty high, bargained for it,
and carried it off with him to his House. As he was resting with it
upon a half-way Bridge, he was resolved to take a Survey of his
Purchase: Upon opening the Sack, a little old Woman popped her Head
out of it; at which the Adventurer was in so great a Rage, that he was
going to shoot her out into the River. The old Lady, however, begged
him first of all to hear her Story, by which he learned that she was
sister to a great _Mandarin_, who would infallibly make the Fortune of
his Brother-in-Law as soon as he should know to whose Lot she fell.
Upon which the Merchant again tied her up in his Sack, and carried her
to his House, where she proved an excellent Wife, and procured him all
the Riches from her Brother that she had promised him.

'I fancy, if I was disposed to dream a second time, I could make a
tolerable Vision upon this Plan. I would suppose all the unmarried
Women in _London_ and _Westminster_ brought to Market in Sacks, with
their respective Prices on each Sack. The first Sack that is sold is
marked with five thousand Pound: Upon the opening of it, I find it
filled with an admirable Housewife, of an agreeable Countenance: The
Purchaser, upon hearing her good Qualities, pays down her Price very
chearfully. The second I would open, should be a five hundred Pound
Sack: The Lady in it, to our surprize, has the Face and Person of a
Toast: As we are wondering how she came to be set at so low a Price,
we hear that she would have been valued at ten thousand Pound, but
that the Publick had made those Abatements for her being a Scold. I
would afterwards find some beautiful, modest, and discreet Woman, that
should be the top of the Market; and perhaps discover half a dozen
Romps tyed up together in the same Sack, at one hundred Pound an Head.
The Prude and the Coquet should be valued at the same Price, tho' the
first should go off the better of the two. I fancy thou wouldst like
such a Vision, had I time to finish it; because, to talk in thy own
way, there is a Moral in it. Whatever thou may'st think of it,
pr'ythee do not make any of thy queer Apologies for this Letter, as
thou didst for my last. The Women love a gay lively Fellow, and are
never angry at the Railleries of one who is their known Admirer. I am
always bitter upon them, but well with them.




* * * * *

No. 512. Friday, October 17, 1712. Addison.

'Lectorem delectando pariterque monendo.'


There is nothing which we receive with so much Reluctance as Advice. We
look upon the Man who gives it us as offering an Affront to our
Understanding, and treating us like Children or Ideots. We consider the
Instruction as an implicit Censure, and the Zeal which any one shews for
our Good on such an Occasion as a Piece of Presumption or Impertinence.
The Truth of it is, the Person who pretends to advise, does, in that
particular, exercise a Superiority over us, and can have no other Reason
for it, but that in comparing us with himself, he thinks us defective
either in our Conduct or our Understanding. For these Reasons, there is
nothing so difficult as the Art of making Advice agreeable; and indeed
all the Writers, both Ancient and Modern, have distinguished themselves
among one another, according to the Perfection at which they have
arrived in this Art. How many Devices have been made use of, to render
this bitter Potion palatable? Some convey their Instructions to us in
the best chosen Words, others in the most harmonious Numbers, some in
Points of Wit, and others in short Proverbs.

In the next place, if we look into human Nature, we shall find that the
Mind is never so much pleased, as when she exerts her self in any Action
that gives her an Idea of her own Perfections and Abilities. This
natural Pride and Ambition of the Soul is very much gratified in the
reading of a Fable: for in Writings of this kind, the Reader comes in
for half of the Performance; every thing appears to him like a Discovery
of his own; he is busied all the while in applying Characters and
Circumstances, and is in this respect both a Reader and a Composer. It
is no wonder therefore that on such Occasions, when the Mind is thus
pleased with it self, and amused with its own Discoveries, that it is
highly delighted with the Writing which is the occasion of it. For this
reason the _Absalom_ and _Achitophel_ [1] was one of the most popular
Poems that ever appeared in _English_. The poetry is indeed very fine,
but had it been much finer, it would not have so much pleased, without a
plan which gave the Reader an Opportunity of exerting his own Talents.

This oblique manner of giving Advice is so inoffensive, that if we look
into ancient Histories, we find the wise Men of old very often chose to
give Counsel to their Kings in Fables. To omit many which will occur to
every one's Memory, there is a pretty Instance of this Nature in a
_Turkish_ Tale, which I do not like the worse for that little Oriental
Extravagance which is mixed with it.

We are told that the Sultan _Mahmoud_, by his perpetual Wars abroad, and
his Tyranny at home, had filled his Dominions with Ruin and Desolation,
and half unpeopled the _Persian_ Empire. The Visier to this great Sultan
(whether an Humourist or an Enthusiast, we are not informed) pretended
to have learned of a certain Dervise to understand the Language of
Birds, so that there was not a Bird that could open his Mouth, but the
Visier knew what it was he said. As he was one Evening with the Emperor,
in their return from Hunting, they saw a couple of Owls upon a Tree that
grew near an old Wall out of an Heap of Rubbish. _I would fain know_,
says the Sultan, _what those two Owls are saying to one another; listen
to their Discourse, and give me an account of it_. The Visier approached
the Tree, pretending to be very attentive to the two Owls. Upon his
return to the Sultan, _Sir_, says he, _I have heard part of their
Conversation, but dare not tell you what it is_. The Sultan would not be
satisfied with such an Answer, but forced him to repeat word for word
every thing the Owls had said. _You must know then_, said the
Visier, _that one of these Owls has a Son, and the other a Daughter,
between whom they are now upon a Treaty of Marriage. The Father of the
Son said to the Father of the Daughter, in my hearing, Brother, I
consent to this Marriage, provided you will settle upon your Daughter
fifty ruined Villages for her Portion. To which the Father of the
Daughter replied, Instead of fifty I will give her five hundred, if you
please. God grant a long Life to Sultan_ Mahmoud; _whilst he reigns over
us, we shall never want ruined Villages_.

The Story says, the Sultan was so touched with the Fable, that he
rebuilt the Towns and Villages which had been destroyed, and from that
time forward consulted the Good of his People. [2]

To fill up my Paper, I shall add a most ridiculous piece of natural
Magic, which was taught by no less a Philosopher than _Democritus_,
namely, that if the Blood of certain Birds, which he mentioned, were
mixed together, it would produce a Serpent of such a wonderful Virtue,
that whoever did eat it should be skill'd in the Language of Birds, and
understand every thing they said to one another. Whether the Dervise
abovementioned might not have eaten such a Serpent, I shall leave to the
Determinations of the Learned.


[Footnote 1: Dryden's satire on the intrigues of the Duke of Monmouth
and Lord Shaftesbury to exclude the King's brother from the Throne.
Monmouth was Absalom, and Shaftesbury Achitophel.]

[Footnote 2: Pilpay's Fables.]

* * * * *

No. 513. Saturday, October 18, 1712. Addison.

'--Afflata est numine quando
Jam propiore Dei--'


The following Letter comes to me from that excellent Man in Holy Orders,
whom I have mentioned more than once as one of that Society who assist
me in my Speculations. It is a _Thought in Sickness_, and of a very
serious Nature, for which Reason I give it a place in the Paper of this


'The Indisposition which has long hung upon me, is at last grown to
such [a [1]] Head, that it must quickly make an End of me, or of it
self. You may imagine, that whilst I am in this bad state of Health,
there are none of your Works which I read with greater Pleasure than
your _Saturday's_ Papers. I should be very glad if I could furnish you
with any Hints for that Day's Entertainment. Were I able to dress up
several Thoughts of a serious nature, which have made great
Impressions on my Mind during a long Fit of Sickness, they might not
be an improper Entertainment for that Occasion.

'Among all the Reflections which usually rise in the Mind of a sick
Man, who has Time and Inclination to consider his approaching End,
there is none more natural than that of his going to appear Naked and
Unbodied before Him who made him. When a Man considers, that as soon
as the vital Union is dissolved, he shall see that Supreme Being, whom
he now contemplates at a Distance, and only in his Works; or, to speak
more philosophically, when by some Faculty in the Soul he shall
apprehend the Divine Being, and be more sensible of his Presence, than
we are now of the Presence of any Object which the Eye beholds, a Man
must be lost in Carelessness and Stupidity, who is not alarmed at such
a Thought. Dr. _Sherlock_, in his excellent Treatise upon Death, has
represented, in very strong and lively Colours, the State of the Soul
in its first Separation from the Body, with regard to that invisible
World which every where surrounds us, tho' we are not able to discover
it through this grosser World of Matter, which is accommodated to our
Senses in this Life. His Words are as follow.

'_That Death, which is our leaving this World, is nothing else but
our putting off these Bodies, teaches us, that it is only our Union
to these Bodies, which intercepts the sight of the other World: The
other World is not at such a distance from us, as we may imagine;
the Throne of God indeed is at a great remove from this Earth, above
the third Heavens, where he displays his Glory to those blessed
Spirits which encompass his Throne; but as soon as we step out of
these Bodies, we step into the other World, which is not so properly
another World, (for there is the same Heaven and Earth still) as a
new state of Life. To live in these Bodies is to live in this World;
to live out of them is to remove into the next: For while our Souls
are confined to these Bodies, and can look only thro' these material
Casements, nothing but what is material can affect us; nay, nothing
but what is so gross, that it can reflect Light, and convey the
Shapes and Colours of Things with it to the Eye: So that though
within this visible World, there be a more glorious Scene of Things
than what appears to us, we perceive nothing at all of it; for this
Veil of Flesh parts the visible and invisible World: But when we put
off these Bodies, there are new and surprizing Wonders present
themselves to our Views; when these material Spectacles are taken
off, the Soul, with its own naked Eyes, sees what was invisible
before: And then we are in the other World, when we can see it, and
converse with it: Thus St._ Paul _tell us, That_ when we are at home
in the Body, we are absent from the Lord; but when we are absent
from the Body, we are present with the Lord, 2 _Cor._ 5. 6, 8. _And
methinks this is enough to cure us of our Fondness for these Bodies,
unless we think it more desirable to be confined to a Prison, and to
look through a Grate all our Lives, which gives us but a very narrow
prospect, and that none of the best neither, than to be set at
liberty to view all the Glories of the World. What would we give now
for the least Glimpse of that invisible World, which the first step
we take out of these Bodies will present us with? There are such
things_ as Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, neither hath it entered
into the Heart of Man to conceive: _Death opens our Eyes, enlarges
our Prospect, presents us with a new and more glorious World, which
we can never see while we are shut up in Flesh; which should make us
as willing to part with this Veil, as to take the Film off of our
Eyes, which hinders our Sight_.

'As a thinking Man cannot but be very much affected with the Idea of
his appearing in the presence of that Being _whom none can see and
live_; he must be much more affected when he considers that this Being
whom he appears before, will examine all the Actions of his past Life,
and reward or punish him accordingly. I must confess that I think
there is no Scheme of Religion, besides that of Christianity, which
can possibly support the most virtuous Person under this Thought. Let
a Man's Innocence be what it will, let his Virtues rise to the highest
pitch of Perfection attainable in this Life, there will be still in
him so many secret Sins, so many human Frailties, so many Offences of
Ignorance, Passion and Prejudice, so many unguarded Words and
Thoughts, and in short, so many Defects in his best Actions, that,
without the Advantages of such an Expiation and Atonement as
Christianity has revealed to us, it is impossible that he should be
cleared before his Sovereign Judge, or that he should be able _to
stand in his Sight_. Our Holy Religion suggests to us the only Means
whereby our Guilt may be taken away, and our imperfect Obedience

'It is this Series of Thought that I have endeavoured to express in
the following Hymn, which I have composed during this my Sickness.

I. When rising from the Bed of Death,
O'erwhelm'd with Guilt and Fear,
I see my Maker, Face to Face,
O how shall I appear!

II. If yet, while Pardon may be found,
And Mercy may be sought,
My Heart with inward Horrour shrinks,
And trembles at the Thought;

III. When thou, O Lord, shalt stand disclos'd
In Majesty severe,
And sit in Judgment on my Soul,
O how shall I appear!

IV. But thou hast told the troubled Mind,
Who does her Sins lament,
The timely Tribute of her Tears
Shall endless Woe prevent.

V. Then see the Sorrows of my Heart,
Ere yet it be too late;
And hear my Saviour's dying Groans,
To give those Sorrows Weight.

VI. For never shall my Soul despair
Her Pardon to procure,
Who knows thine only Son has dy'd
To make her Pardon sure.

'There is a noble Hymn in _French_, which Monsieur _Bayle_ has
celebrated for a _very fine one_, and which the famous Author of the
Art of Speaking calls an _Admirable one_, that turns upon a Thought of
the same Nature. If I could have done it Justice in _English_, I would
have sent it you translated; it was written by Monsieur _Des
Barreaux_; who had been one of the greatest Wits and Libertines in
_France_, but in his last Years was as remarkable a Penitent. [2]

'Grand Dieu, tes jugemens sont remplis d'equite;
Toujours tu prens plaisir a nous etre propice:
Mais j'ai tant fait de mal, que jamais ta bonte
Ne me pardonnera sans choquer ta Justice.
Ouy, mon Dieu, la grandeur de mon impiete
Ne laisse a ton pouvoir que le choix du suplice:
Ton interest s' oppose a ma felicite;
Et ta clemence meme attend que je perisse.
Contente ton desir puis qu'il t'est glorieux;
Offense toy des pleurs qui coulent de mes yeux;
Tonne, frappe, il est temps, rens moi guerre pour guerre.
J'adore en perissant la raison qui t'aigrit:
Mais dessus quel endroit tombera ton tonnerre,
Qui ne soit tout convert du sang de_ JESUS CHRIST.'

'If these Thoughts may be serviceable to you, I desire you would place
them in a proper Light, and am ever, with great Sincerity,'


_Yours, &c_.


[Footnote 1: _an_ in first reprint.]

[Footnote 2: Jacques Vallee Seigneur des Barreaux, born in Paris in
1602, was Counsellor of the Parliament of Paris, and gave up his charge
to devote himself to pleasure. He was famous for his songs and verses,
for his affability and generosity and irreligion. A few years before his
death he was converted, and wrote the pious sonnet given above, which
had been very widely praised and quoted. In his religious days he lived
secluded at Chalon sur Saone, where he died, in 1673.]

* * * * *

No. 514. Monday, October 20, [1] 1712. Steele.

'Me Parnassi deserta per ardua, dulcis
Raptat Amor; juvat ire jugis qua nulla priorum
Castaliam molle divertitur Orbita Clivo.'



'I came home a little later than usual the other Night, and not
finding my self inclined to sleep, I took up _Virgil_ to divert me
till I should be more disposed to Rest. He is the Author whom I always
chuse on such Occasions, no one writing in so divine, so harmonious,
nor so equal a Strain, which leaves the Mind composed, and softened
into an agreeable Melancholy; the Temper in which, of all others, I
chuse to close the Day. The Passages I turned to were those beautiful
Raptures in his _Georgicks_, where he professes himself entirely given
up to the Muses, and smit with the Love of Poetry, passionately
wishing to be transported to the cool Shades and Retirements of the
Mountain _Haemus_. I clos'd the Book and went to Bed. What I had just
before been reading made so strong an Impression on my Mind, that
Fancy seemed almost to fulfil to me the Wish of _Virgil_, in
presenting to me the following Vision.

'Methought I was on a sudden plac'd in the Plains of _Boeotia_, where
at the end of the Horizon I saw the Mountain _Parnassus_ rising before
me. The Prospect was of so large an Extent, that I had long wander'd
about to find a Path which should directly lead me to it, had I not
seen at some distance a Grove of Trees, which in a Plain that had
nothing else remarkable enough in it to fix my Sight, immediately

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