Part 51 out of 51
this slow Method till there was not a Grain of it left, on Condition you
were to be miserable for ever after; or, supposing that you might be
happy for ever after, on Condition you would be miserable till the whole
Mass of Sand were thus annihilated at the Rate of one Sand in a thousand
Years: Which of these two Cases would you make your Choice?
It must be confessed in this Case, so many Thousands of Years are to the
Imagination as a kind of eternity, tho' in reality they do not bear so
great a Proportion to that Duration which is to follow them, as a Unite
does to the greatest Number which you can put together in Figures, or as
one of those Sands to the supposed Heap. Reason therefore tells us,
without any Manner of Hesitation, which would be the better Part in this
Choice. However, as I have before intimated, our Reason might in such a
Case be so overset by the Imagination, as to dispose some Persons to
sink under the Consideration of the great Length of the first Part of
this Duration, and of the great Distance of that second Duration which
is to succeed it. The Mind, I say, might give it self up to that
Happiness which is at Hand, considering that it is so very near, and
that it would last so very long. But when the Choice we actually have
before us is this, Whether we will chuse to be happy for the space of
only three-score and ten, nay perhaps of only twenty or ten Years, I
might say of only a Day or an Hour, and miserable to all Eternity; or,
on the contrary, miserable for this short Term of Years, and happy for a
whole Eternity: What Words are sufficient to express that Folly and want
of Consideration which in such a Case makes a wrong Choice?
I here put the Case even at the worst, by supposing (what seldom
happens) that a Course of Virtue makes us miserable in this Life: But if
we suppose (as it generally happens) that Virtue would make us more
happy even in this Life than a contrary Course of Vice; how can we
sufficiently admire the Stupidity or Madness of those Persons who are
capable of making so absurd a Choice?
Every wise Man therefore will consider this Life only as it may conduce
to the Happiness of the other, and chearfully sacrifice the Pleasures of
a few Years to those of an Eternity.
* * * * *
No. 576. Wednesday, August 4, 1714. Addison.
'Nitor in adversum; nec me, qui coetera, vincit
Impetus; et rapido contrarius euchor Orbi.'
I remember a young Man of very lively Parts, and of a sprightly Turn in
Conversation, who had only one Fault, which was an inordinate Desire of
appearing fashionable. This ran him into many Amours, and consequently
into many Distempers. He never went to Bed till two a-Clock in the
Morning, because he would not be a queer Fellow; and was every now and
then knocked down by a Constable, to signalize his Vivacity. He was
initiated into Half a Dozen Clubs before he was One and twenty, and so
improved in them his natural Gayety of Temper, that you might frequently
trace him to his Lodgings by a range of broken Windows, and other the
like Monuments of Wit and Gallantry. To be short, after having fully
established his Reputation of being a very agreeable Rake, he died of
old Age at Five and twenty.
There is indeed nothing which betrays a Man into so many Errors and
Inconveniences, as the Desire of not appearing singular; for which
Reason it is very necessary to form a right Idea of Singularity, that we
may know when it is laudable, and when it is vicious. In the first
Place, every Man of Sense will agree with me, that Singularity is
laudable, when, in Contradiction to a Multitude, it adheres to the
Dictates of Conscience, Morality, and Honour. In these Cases we ought to
consider, that it is not Custom, but Duty, which is the Rule of Action;
and that we should be only so far _sociable_, as we are reasonable
Creatures. Truth is never the less so, for not being attended to; and it
is the Nature of Actions, not the Number of Actors, by which we ought to
regulate our Behaviour. Singularity in Concerns of this Kind is to be
looked upon as heroick Bravery, in which a Man leaves the Species only
as he soars above it. What greater Instance can there be of a weak and
pusillanimous Temper, than for a Man to pass his whole Life in
Opposition to his own Sentiments? or not to dare to be what he thinks he
ought to be?
Singularity therefore is only vicious when it makes Men act contrary to
Reason, or when it puts them upon distinguishing themselves by Trifles.
As for the first of these, who are singular in any thing that is
irreligious, immoral, or dishonourable, I believe every one will easily
give them up. I shall therefore speak of those only who are remarkable
for their Singularity in things of no Importance, as in Dress,
Behaviour, Conversation, and all the little Intercourses of Life. In
these Cases there is a certain Deference due to Custom; and
notwithstanding there may be a Colour of Reason to deviate from the
Multitude in some Particulars, a Man ought to sacrifice his private
Inclinations and Opinions to the Practice of the Publick. It must be
confessed that good Sense often makes a Humourist; but then it
unqualifies him for being of any Moment in the World, and renders him
ridiculous to Persons of a much inferiour Understanding.
I have heard of a Gentleman in the North of _England_, who was a
remarkable Instance of this foolish Singularity. He had laid it down as
a Rule within himself, to act in the most indifferent Parts of Life
according to the most abstracted Notions of Reason and Good Sense,
without any Regard to Fashion or Example. This Humour broke out at first
in many little Oddnesses: He had never any stated Hours for his Dinner,
Supper or Sleep; because, said he, we ought to attend the Calls of
Nature, and not set our Appetites to our Meals, but bring our Meals to
our Appetites. In his Conversation with Country Gentlemen, he would not
make use of a Phrase that was not strictly true: He never told any of
them, that he was his humble Servant, but that he was his Well-wisher;
and would rather be thought a Malecontent, than drink the King's Health
when he was not a-dry. He would thrust his Head out of his
Chamber-Window every Morning, and after having gaped for fresh Air about
half an Hour, repeat fifty Verses as loud as he could bawl them for the
Benefit of his Lungs; to which End he generally took them out of
_Homer_; the _Greek_ Tongue, especially in that Author, being more deep
and sonorous, and more conducive to Expectoration, than any other. He
had many other Particularities, for which he gave sound and
philosophical Reasons. As this Humour still grew upon him, he chose to
wear a Turban instead of a Perriwig; concluding very justly, that a
Bandage of clean Linnen about his Head was much more wholsome, as well
as cleanly, than the Caul of a Wig, which is soiled with frequent
Perspirations. He afterwards judiciously observed, that the many
Ligatures in our _English_ Dress must naturally check the Circulation of
the Blood; for which Reason, he made his Breeches and his Doublet of one
continued Piece of Cloth, after the Manner of the _Hussars_. In short,
by following the pure Dictates of Reason, he at length departed so much
from the rest of his Countrymen, and indeed from his whole Species, that
his Friends would have clapped him into _Bedlam_, and have begged his
Estate; but the Judge being informed that he did no Harm, contented
himself with issuing out a Commission of Lunacy against him, and putting
his Estate into the Hands of proper Guardians.
The Fate of this Philosopher puts me in Mind of a Remark in Monsieur
_Fontinell's_ Dialogues of the Dead. _The Ambitious and the Covetous_
(says he) _are Madmen to all Intents and Purposes, as much as those who
are shut up in dark Rooms; but they have the good Luck to have Numbers
on their Side; whereas the Frenzy of one who is given up for a Lunatick,
is a Frenzy_ hors d'oeuvre; that is, in other Words, something which is
singular in its Kind, and does not fall in with the Madness of a
The Subject of this Essay was occasioned by a Letter which I received
not long since, and which, for want of Room at present, I shall insert
in my next Paper.
* * * * *
No. 577. Friday, August 6, 1714.
'--Hoc tolerabile, si non
Et furere incipias--'
The Letter mentioned in my last Paper is as follows.
'You have so lately decryed that Custom, too much in use among most
People, of making themselves the Subjects of their Writings and
Conversation, that I had some difficulty to perswade my self to give
you this Trouble, till I had considered that tho' I should speak in
the First Person, yet I could not be justly charged with Vanity, since
I shall not add my Name; as also, because what I shall write will not,
to say the best, redound to my Praise; but is only designed to remove
a Prejudice conceived against me, as I hope, with very little
Foundation. My short History is this.
I have lived for some Years last past altogether in _London_, till
about a Month ago an Acquaintance of mine, for whom I have done some
small Services in Town, invited me to pass part of the Summer with him
at his House in the Country. I accepted his Invitation, and found a
very hearty Welcome. My Friend, an honest plain Man, not being
qualified to pass away his Time without the Reliefs of Business, has
grafted the Farmer upon the Gentleman, and brought himself to submit
even to the servile Parts of that Employment, such as inspecting his
Plough, and the like. This necessarily takes up some of his Hours
every Day; and as I have no Relish for such Diversions, I used at
these Times to retire either to my Chamber, or a shady Walk near the
House, and entertain my self with some agreeable Author. Now you must
know, Mr. SPECTATOR, that when I read, especially if it be Poetry, it
is very usual with me, when I meet with any Passage or Expression
which strikes me much, to pronounce it aloud, with that Tone of the
Voice which I think agreeable to the Sentiments there expressed; and
to this I generally add some Motion or Action of the Body. It was not
long before I was observed by some of the Family in one of these
heroick Fits, who thereupon received Impressions very much to my
Disadvantage. This however I did not soon discover, nor should have
done probably, had it not been for the following Accident. I had one
Day shut my self up in my Chamber, and was very deeply engaged in the
Second Book of _Milton's Paradise Lost._ I walked to and fro with the
Book in my Hand, and, to speak the Truth, I fear I made no little
Noise; when presently coming to the following Lines,
'--On a sudden open fly,
With impetuous Recoil and jarring Sound,
Th' infernal Doors, and on their Hinges grate
Harsh Thunder, &c.'
'I in great Transport threw open the Door of my Chamber, and found the
greatest Part of the Family standing on the Out-side in a very great
Consternation. I was in no less Confusion, and begged Pardon for
having disturbed them; addressing my self particularly to comfort one
of the Children, who received an unlucky fall in this Action, whilst
he was too intently surveying my Meditations through the Key-hole. To
be short, after this Adventure I easily observed that great Part of
the Family, especially the Women and Children, looked upon me with
some Apprehensions of Fear; and my Friend himself, tho' he still
continued his Civilities to me, did not seem altogether easie: I took
Notice, that the Butler was never after this Accident ordered to leave
the Bottle upon the Table after Dinner. Add to this, that I frequently
overheard the Servants mention me by the Name of the crazed Gentleman,
the Gentleman a little touched, the mad _Londoner,_ and the like. This
made me think it high Time for me to shift my Quarters, which I
resolved to do the first handsome Opportunity; and was confirmed in
this Resolution by a young Lady in the Neighbourhood who frequently
visited us, and who one Day, after having heard all the fine Things I
was able to say, was pleased with a scornful Smile to bid me go to
'The first Minute I got to my Lodgings in Town I set Pen to Paper to
desire your Opinion, whether, upon the Evidence before you, I am mad
or not. I can bring Certificates that I behave my self soberly before
Company, and I hope there is at least some Merit in withdrawing to be
mad. Look you, Sir, I am contented to be esteemed a little touched, as
they phrase it, but should be sorry to be madder than my Neighbours;
therefore, pray let me be as much in my Senses as you can afford. I
know I could bring your self as an Instance of a Man who has confessed
talking to himself; but yours is a particular Case, and cannot justify
me, who have not kept Silence any Part of my Life. What if I should
own my self in Love? You know Lovers are always allowed the Comfort of
Soliloquy.--But I will say no more upon this Subject, because I have
long since observed, the ready Way to be thought Mad is to contend
that you are not so; as we generally conclude that Man drunk, who
takes Pains to be thought sober. I will therefore leave my self to
your Determination; but am the more desirous to be thought in my
Senses, that it may be no Discredit to you when I assure you that I
have always been very much
P.S. _If I must be mad, I desire the young Lady may believe it is for
The humble Petition of_ John a Nokes _and_ John a Stiles, _Sheweth,_
'That your Petitioners have had Causes depending in _Westminster-Hall_
above five hundred Years, and that we despair of ever seeing them
brought to an Issue: That your Petitioners have not been involved in
these Law Suits, out of any litigious Temper of their own, but by the
Instigation of contentious Persons; that the young Lawyers in our Inns
of Court are continually setting us together by the Ears, and think
they do us no Hurt, because they plead for us without a Fee; That many
of the Gentlemen of the Robe have no other Clients in the World
besides us two; That when they have nothing else to do, they make us
Plaintiffs and Defendants, tho' they were never retained by either of
us; That they traduce, condemn, or acquit us, without any manner of
Regard to our Reputations and good Names in the World. Your
Petitioners therefore (being thereunto encouraged by the favourable
Reception which you lately gave to our Kinsman _Blank_) do humbly
pray, that you will put an End to the Controversies which have been so
long depending between us your said Petitioners, and that our Enmity
may not endure from Generation to Generation; it being our Resolution
to live hereafter as it becometh Men of peaceable Dispositions.
_And your Petitioners (as in Duty bound) shall ever Pray, &c._
* * * * *
No. 578. Monday, August 9, 1714.
'--Eque feris humana in corpora transit,
Inque feras Noster--'
There has been very great Reason, on several Accounts, for the learned
World to endeavour at settling what it was that might be said to compose
Mr. _Lock_, after having premised that the Word _Person_ properly
signifies a thinking intelligent Being that has Reason and Reflection,
and can consider it self as it self; concludes That it is Consciousness
alone, and not an Identity of Substance, which makes this personal
Identity of Sameness. Had I the same Consciousness (says that Author)
that I saw the Ark and _Noah's_ Flood, as that I saw an Overflowing of
the _Thames_ last Winter; or as that I now write; I could no more doubt
that I who write this now, that saw the _Thames_ overflow last Winter,
and that viewed the Flood at the general Deluge, was the same _Self_,
place that _Self_ in what Substance you please, than that I who write
this am the same _My self_ now whilst I write, (whether I consist of all
the same Substance material or immaterial or no) that I was Yesterday;
For as to this Point of being the same _Self_, it matters not whether
this present _Self_ be made up of the same or other Substances.
I was mightily pleased with a Story in some Measure applicable to this
Piece of Philosophy, which I read the other Day in the _Persian Tales_,
as they are lately very well translated by Mr. _Philips_; and with an
Abridgement whereof I shall here present my Readers.
I shall only premise that these Stories are writ after the Eastern
Manner, but somewhat more correct.
'_Fadlallah_, a Prince of great Virtues, succeeded his Father
_Bin-Ortoc_, in the Kingdom of _Mousel_. He reigned over his faithful
Subjects for some time, and lived in great Happiness with his beauteous
Consort Queen _Zemroude_; when there appeared at his Court a young
_Dervis_ of so lively and entertaining a Turn of Wit, as won upon the
Affections of every one he conversed with. His Reputation grew so fast
every Day, that it at last raised a Curiosity in the Prince himself to
see and talk with him. He did so, and far from finding that common Fame
had flatter'd him, he was soon convinced that every thing he had heard
of him fell short of the Truth.
'_Fadlallah_ immediately lost all Manner of Relish for the Conversation
of other Men; and as he was every Day more and more satisfied of the
Abilities of this Stranger, offered him the first Posts in his Kingdom.
The young _Dervis_, after having thanked him with a very singular
Modesty, desired to be excused, as having made a Vow never to accept of
any Employment, and preferring a free and independent State of Life to
all other Conditions.
'The King was infinitely charmed with so great an Example of Moderation;
and tho' he could not get him to engage in a Life of Business, made him
however his chief Companion and first Favourite.
'As they were one Day hunting together, and happened to be separated
from the rest of the Company, the _Dervis_ entertained _Fadlallah_ with
an Account of his Travels and Adventures. After having related to him
several Curiosities which he had seen in the _Indies_, _It was in this
Place_, says he, _that I contracted an Acquaintance with an old_
Brachman, _who was skilled in the most hidden Powers of Nature: He died
within my Arms, and with his parting Breath communicated to me one of
the most valuable of his Secrets, on Condition I should never reveal it
to any Man_. The King immediately reflecting on his young Favourite's
having refused the late Offers of Greatness he had made him, told him he
presumed it was the Power of making Gold. _No Sir_, says the _Dervis_,
_it is somewhat more wonderful than that; it is the Power of
re-animating a dead Body, by flinging my own Soul into it_.
'While he was yet speaking a Doe came bounding by them; and the King,
who had his Bow ready, shot her through the Heart; telling the _Dervis_,
that a fair Opportunity now offered for him to show his Art. The young
Man immediately left his own Body breathless on the Ground, while at the
same Instant that of the Doe was re-animated, she came to the King,
fawned upon him, and after having play'd several wanton Tricks, fell
again upon the Grass; at the same Instant the Body of the _Dervis_
recovered its Life. The King was infinitely pleased at so uncommon an
Operation, and conjured his Friend by every thing that was sacred to
communicate it to him. The _Dervis_ at first made some Scruple of
violating his Promise to the dying _Brachman_; but told him at last that
he found he could conceal nothing from so excellent a Prince; after
having obliged him therefore by an Oath to Secrecy, he taught him to
repeat two Cabalistick Words, in pronouncing of which the whole Secret
consisted. The King, impatient to try the Experiment, immediately
repeated them as he had been taught, and in an Instant found himself in
the Body of the Doe. He had but little Time to contemplate himself in
this new Being; for the treacherous _Dervis_ shooting his own Soul into
the Royal Corps, and bending the Prince's own Bow against him, had laid
him dead on the Spot, had not the King, who perceiv'd his Intent, fled
swiftly to the Woods.
'The _Dervis_, now triumphant in his Villany, returned to _Mousel_, and
filled the Throne and Bed of the unhappy _Fadlallah_.
'The first thing he took Care of, in order to secure himself in the
Possession of his new-acquired Kingdom, was to issue out a Proclamation,
ordering his Subjects to destroy all the Deer in the Realm. The King had
perished among the rest, had he not avoided his Pursuers by re-animating
the Body of a Nightingale which he saw lie dead at the Foot of a Tree.
In this new Shape he winged his Way in Safety to the Palace, where
perching on a Tree which stood near his Queen's Apartment, he filled the
whole Place with so many melodious and Melancholy Notes as drew her to
the Window. He had the Mortification to see that instead of being
pitied, he only moved the Mirth of his Princess, and of a young Female
Slave who was with her. He continued however to serenade her every
Morning, 'till at last the Queen, charmed with his Harmony, sent for the
Bird-catchers, and ordered them to employ their utmost Skill to put that
little Creature into her Possession. The King, pleased with an
Opportunity of being once more near his beloved Consort, easily suffered
himself to be taken; and when he was presented to her, tho' he shewed a
Fearfulness to be touched by any of the other Ladies, flew of his own
Accord, and hid himself in the Queen's Bosom. _Zemroude_ was highly
pleased at the unexpected Fondness of her new Favourite, and ordered him
to be kept in an open Cage in her own Apartment. He had there an
Opportunity of making his Court to her every Morning, by a thousand
little Actions which his Shape allowed him. The Queen passed away whole
Hours every Day in hearing and playing with him. _Fadlallah_ could even
have thought himself happy in this State of Life, had he not frequently
endured the inexpressible Torment of seeing the _Dervis_ enter the
Apartment and caress his Queen even in his Presence.
The Usurper, amidst his toying with the Princess, would often endeavour
to ingratiate himself with her Nightingale; and while the enraged
_Fadlallah_ peck'd at him with his Bill, beat his Wings, and shewed all
the Marks of an impotent Rage, it only afforded his Rival and the Queen
new Matter for their Diversion.
_Zemroude_ was likewise fond of a little Lap-Dog which she kept in her
Apartment, and which one Night happened to die.
The King immediately found himself inclined to quit the shape of the
Nightingale, and enliven this new Body. He did so, and the next Morning
_Zemroude_ saw her favourite Bird lie dead in the Cage. It is impossible
to express her Grief on this Occasion, and when she called to mind all
its little Actions, which even appeared to have somewhat in them like
Reason, she was inconsolable for her Loss.
Her Women immediately sent for the _Dervis_, to come and comfort her,
who after having in vain represented to her the Weakness of being
grieved at such an Accident, touched at last by her repeated Complaints;
_Well Madam_, says he, _I will exert the utmost of my Art to please you.
Your Nightingale shall again revive every Morning and serenade you as
before_. The Queen beheld him with a Look which easily shewed she did
not believe him; when laying himself down on a Sofa, he shot his Soul
into the Nightingale, and _Zemroude_ was amazed to see her Bird revive.
'The King, who was a Spectator of all that passed, lying under the Shape
of a Lap-Dog, in one Corner of the Room, immediately recovered his own
Body, and running to the Cage with the utmost Indignation, twisted off
the Neck of the false Nightingale.
'_Zemroude_ was more than ever amazed and concerned at this second
Accident, 'till the King entreating her to hear him, related to her his
'The Body of the _Dervis_, which was found dead in the Wood, and his
Edict for killing all the Deer, left her no Room to doubt of the Truth
of it: But the Story adds, That out of an extream Delicacy (peculiar to
the Oriental Ladies) she was so highly afflicted at the innocent
Adultery in which she had for some time lived with the _Dervis_, that no
Arguments even from _Fadlallah_ himself could compose her Mind. She
shortly after died with Grief, begging his Pardon with her last Breath
for what the most rigid Justice could not have interpreted as a Crime.
'The King was so afflicted with her Death, that he left his Kingdom to
one of his nearest Relations, and passed the rest of his Days in
Solitude and Retirement.
* * * * *
No. 579. Wednesday, August 11, 1714. Addison.
'--Odora canum vis--'
In the Reign of King _Charles_ I., the Company of Stationers, into whose
Hands the Printing of the Bible is committed by Patent, made a very
remarkable _Erratum_ or Blunder in one of their Editions: For instead of
_Thou shalt not commit Adultery_, they printed off several thousands of
Copies with _Thou shalt commit Adultery_. Archbishop _Laud_, to punish
this their Negligence, laid a considerable Fine upon that Company in the
By the Practice of the World, which prevails in this degenerate Age, I
am afraid that very many young Profligates, of both Sexes, are possessed
of this spurious Edition of the Bible, and observe the Commandment
according to that faulty Reading.
Adulterers, in the first Ages of the Church, were excommunicated for
ever, and unqualified all their Lives from bearing a Part in Christian
Assemblies, notwithstanding they might seek it with Tears, and all the
Appearances of the most unfeigned Repentance.
I might here mention some ancient Laws among the Heathens which punished
this Crime with Death: and others of the same Kind, which are now in
Force among several Governments that have embraced the Reformed
Religion. But because a Subject of this Nature may be too serious for my
ordinary Readers, who are very apt to throw by my Papers, when they are
not enlivened with something that is diverting or uncommon; I shall here
publish the Contents of a little Manuscript lately fallen into my Hands,
and which pretends to great Antiquity, tho' by Reason of some modern
Phrases and other Particulars in it, I can by no means allow it to be
genuine, but rather the Production of a Modern Sophist.
It is well known by the Learned, that there was a Temple upon Mount
_AEtna_ dedicated to _Vulcan_, which was guarded by Dogs of so exquisite
a Smell, (say the Historians) that they could discern whether the
Persons who came thither were chast or otherwise. They used to meet and
faun upon such as were chast, caressing them as the Friends of their
Master _Vulcan;_ but flew at those who were polluted, and never ceased
barking at them till they had driven them from the Temple.
My Manuscript gives the following Account of these Dogs, and was
probably designed as a Comment upon this Story.
'These Dogs were given to Vulcan by his Sister Diana, the Goddess of
Hunting and of Chastity, having bred them out of some of her Hounds, in
which she had observed this natural Instinct and Sagacity. It was
thought she did it in Spight to _Venus,_ who, upon her Return home,
always found her Husband in a good or bad Humour, according to the
Reception which she met with from his Dogs. They lived in the Temple
several Years, but were such snappish Curs that they frighted away most
of the Votaries. The Women of _Sicily_ made a solemn Deputation to the
Priest, by which they acquainted him, that they would not come up to the
Temple with their annual Offerings unless he muzzled his Mastiffs; and
at last comprimised the Matter with him, that the Offering should always
be brought by a Chorus of young Girls, who were none of them above seven
Years old. It was wonderful (says the Author) to see how different the
Treatment was which the Dogs gave to these little Misses, from that
which they had shown to their Mothers. It is said that the Prince of
_Syracuse_, having married a young Lady, and being naturally of a
jealous Temper, made such an Interest with the Priests of this Temple,
that he procured a Whelp from them of this famous Breed. The young Puppy
was very troublesome to the fair Lady at first, insomuch that she
sollicited her Husband to send him away, but the good Man cut her short
with the old _Sicilian_ Proverb, _Love me love my Dog_. From which Time
she lived very peaceably with both of them. The Ladies of _Syracuse_
were very much annoyed with him, and several of very good Reputation
refused to come to Court till he was discarded. There were indeed some
of them that defied his Sagacity, but it was observed, though he did not
actually bite them, he would growle at them most confoundedly. To return
to the Dogs of the Temple: After they had lived here in great Repute for
several Years, it so happened, that as one of the Priests, who had been
making a charitable Visit to a Widow who lived on the Promontory of
_Lilybeum_, return'd home pretty late in the Evening, the Dogs flew at
him with so much Fury, that they would have worried him if his Brethren
had not come in to his Assistance: Upon which, says my Author, the Dogs
were all of them hanged, as having lost their original Instinct.
I cannot conclude this Paper without wishing, that we had some of this
Breed of Dogs in _Great Britain_, which would certainly do _Justice_, I
should say _Honour_, to the Ladies of our Country, and shew the World
the difference between Pagan Women and those who are instructed in
sounder Principles of Virtue and Religion.
* * * * *
No. 580. Friday, August 13, 1714. Addison.
'--Si verbo audacia detur,
Non metuam magni dixisse palatia Coeli.'
'I considered in my two last Letters  that awful and tremendous
Subject, the Ubiquity or Omnipresence of the Divine Being. I have
shewn that he is equally present in all Places throughout the whole
Extent of infinite Space.
'This Doctrine is so agreeable to Reason, that we meet with it in the
Writings of the enlightened Heathens, as I might show at large, were
it not already done by other Hands. But tho' the Deity be thus
essentially present through all the Immensity of Space, there is one
Part of it in which he discovers himself in a most transcendent and
visible Glory. This is that Place which is marked out in Scripture
under the different Appellations of _Paradise, the third Heaven, the
Throne of God_, and _the Habitation of his Glory_. It is here where
the glorified Body of our Saviour resides, and where all the celestial
Hierarchies, and the innumerable Hosts of Angels, are represented as
perpetually surrounding the Seat of God with _Hallelujahs_ and Hymns
of Praise. This is that Presence of God which some of the Divines call
his Glorious, and others his Majestatick Presence. He is indeed as
essentially present in all other Places as in this, but it is here
where he resides in a sensible Magnificence, and in the midst of those
Splendors which can affect the Imagination of created Beings.
'It is very remarkable that this Opinion of God Almighty's Presence in
Heaven, whether discovered by the Light of Nature, or by a general
Tradition from our first Parents, prevails among all the Nations of
the World, whatsoever different Notions they entertain of the Godhead.
If you look into _Homer_, that is, the most ancient of the _Greek_
Writers, you see the supreme Powers seated in the Heavens, and
encompassed with inferior Deities, among whom the Muses are
represented as singing incessantly about his Throne. Who does not here
see the main Strokes and Outlines of this great Truth we are speaking
of? The same Doctrine is shadowed out in many other Heathen Authors,
tho' at the same time, like several other revealed Truths, dashed and
adulterated with a mixture of Fables and human Inventions. But to pass
over the Notions of the _Greeks_ and _Romans_, those more enlightened
Parts of the Pagan World, we find there is scarce a People among the
late discovered Nations who are not trained up in an Opinion, that
Heaven is the Habitation of the Divinity whom they worship.
As in _Solomon's_ Temple there was the _Sanctum Sanctorum_, in which a
visible Glory appeared among the Figures of the Cherubims, and into
which none but the High Priest himself was permitted to enter, after
having made an Atonement for the Sins of the People; so if we consider
the whole Creation as one great Temple, there is in it this Holy of
Holies, into which the High-Priest of our Salvation entered, and took
his Place among Angels and Archangels, after having made a Propitiation
for the Sins of Mankind.
'With how much Skill must the Throne of God be erected? With what
glorious Designs is that Habitation beautified, which is contrived and
built by him who inspired _Hyram_ with Wisdom? How great must be the
Majesty of that Place, where the whole Art of Creation has been
employed, and where God has chosen to show himself in the most
magnificent manner? What must be the Architecture of Infinite Power
under the Direction of Infinite Wisdom? A Spirit cannot but be
transported, after an ineffable manner, with the sight of those Objects,
which were made to affect him by that Being who knows the inward Frame
of a Soul, and how to please and ravish it in all its most secret Powers
and Faculties. It is to this Majestic Presence of God, we may apply
those beautiful Expressions in holy Writ: _Behold even to the Moon, and
it shineth not; yea the Stars are not pure in his sight._ The Light of
the Sun, and all the Glories of the World in which we live, are but as
weak and sickly Glimmerings, or rather Darkness itself, in Comparison of
those Splendors which encompass the Throne of God.
'As the _Glory_ of this Place is transcendent beyond Imagination, so
probably is the _Extent_ of it. There is Light behind Light, and Glory
within Glory. How far that Space may reach, in which God thus appears in
perfect Majesty, we cannot possibly conceive. Tho' it is not infinite,
it may be indefinite; and though not immeasurable in its self, it may be
so with regard to any created Eye or Imagination. If he has made these
lower Regions of Matter so inconceivably wide and magnificent for the
Habitation of mortal and perishable Beings, how great may we suppose the
Courts of his House to be, where he makes his Residence in a more
especial manner, and displays himself in the Fulness of his Glory, among
an innumerable Company of Angels, and Spirits of just Men made perfect?
'This is certain, that our Imaginations cannot be raised too high, when
we think on a Place where Omnipotence and Omniscience have so signally
exerted themselves, because that they are able to produce a Scene
infinitely more great and glorious than what we are able to imagine. It
is not impossible but at the Consummation of all Things, these outward
Apartments of Nature, which are now suited to those Beings who inhabit
them, may be taken in and added to that glorious Place of which I am
here speaking; and by that means made a proper Habitation for Beings who
are exempt from Mortality, and cleared of their Imperfections: For so
the Scripture seems to intimate when it speaks of new Heavens and of a
new Earth, wherein dwelleth Righteousness.
'I have only considered this Glorious Place, with Regard to the Sight
and Imagination, though it is highly probable that our other Senses may
here likewise enjoy their highest Gratifications. There is nothing which
more ravishes and transports the Soul, than Harmony; and we have great
Reason to believe, from the Descriptions of this Place in Holy
Scripture, that this is one of the Entertainments of it. And if the Soul
of Man can be so wonderfully affected with those Strains of Musick,
which Human Art is capable of producing, how much more will it be raised
and elevated by those, in which is exerted the whole Power of Harmony!
The Senses are Faculties of the Human Soul, though they cannot be
employed, during this our vital Union, without proper Instruments in the
Body. Why therefore should we exclude the Satisfaction of these
Faculties, which we find by Experience are Inlets of great Pleasure to
the Soul, from among those Entertainments which are to make up our
Happiness hereafter? Why should we suppose that our Hearing and Seeing
will not be gratify'd with those Objects which are most agreeable to
them, and which they cannot meet with in these lower Regions of Nature;
Objects, _which neither Eye hath seen, nor Ear heard, nor can it enter
into the Heart of Man to conceive? I knew a Man in Christ_ (says St
Paul, speaking of himself) _above fourteen Years ago (whether in the
Body, I cannot tell, or whether out of the Body, I cannot tell: God
knoweth) such a one caught up to the third Heaven. And I knew such a
Man, (whether in the Body, or out of the Body, I cannot tell: God
knoweth,) how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable
Words, which it is not possible for a Man to utter._ By this is meant,
that what he heard was so infinitely different from any thing which he
had heard in this World, that it was impossible to express it in such
Words as might convey a Notion of it to his Hearers.
'It is very natural for us to take Delight in Enquiries concerning any
Foreign Country, where we are some Time or other to make our Abode; and
as we all hope to be admitted into this Glorious Place, it is both a
laudable and useful Curiosity, to get what Informations we can of it,
whilst we make Use of Revelation for our Guide. When these everlasting
Doors shall be open to us, we may be sure that the Pleasures and
Beauties of this Place will infinitely transcend our present Hopes and
Expectations, and that the glorious Appearance of the Throne of God,
will rise infinitely beyond whatever we are able to conceive of it. We
might here entertain our selves with many other Speculations on this
Subject, from those several Hints which we find of it in the Holy
Scriptures; as whether there may not be different Mansions and
Apartments of Glory, to Beings of different Natures; whether as they
excel one another in Perfection, they are not admitted nearer to the
Throne of the Almighty, and enjoy greater Manifestations of his
Presence; whether there are not solemn Times and Occasions, when all the
Multitude of Heaven celebrate the Presence of their Maker in more
extraordinary Forms of Praise and Adoration; as _Adam_, though he had
continued in a State of Innocence, would, in the Opinion of our Divines,
have kept Holy the Sabbath-Day, in a more particular Manner than any
other of the Seven. These, and the like Speculations, we may very
innocently indulge, so long as we make use of them to inspire us with a
Desire of becoming Inhabitants of this delightful Place.
'I have in this, and in two foregoing Letters, treated on the most
serious Subject that can employ the Mind of Man, the Omnipresence of the
Deity; a Subject which, if possible, should never depart from our
Meditations. We have considered the Divine Being, as he inhabits
Infinitude, as he dwells among his Work, as he is present to the Mind of
Man, and as he discovers himself in a more glorious Manner among the
Regions of the Blest. Such a Consideration should be kept awake in us at
all Times, and in all Places, and possess our Minds with a perpetual Awe
and Reverence. It should be interwoven with all our Thoughts and
Perceptions, and become one with the Consciousness of our own Being. It
is not to be reflected on in the Coldness of Philosophy, but ought to
sink us into the lowest Prostration before him, who is so astonishingly
Great, Wonderful, and Holy.'
[Footnote 1: See Nos. 565, 571, 590, and 628.]
* * * * *
No. 581. Monday, August 16, 1714. Addison.
'Sunt bona, sunt quaedam mediocria, sunt mala plura
I am at present sitting with a Heap of Letters before me, which I have
received under the Character of SPECTATOR; I have Complaints from
Lovers, Schemes from Projectors, Scandal from Ladies, Congratulations,
Compliments, and Advice in abundance.
I have not been thus long an Author, to be insensible of the natural
Fondness every Person must have for their own Productions; and I begin
to think I have treated my Correspondents a little too uncivilly in
Stringing them all together on a File, and letting them lye so long
unregarded. I shall therefore, for the future, think my self at least
obliged to take some Notice of such Letters as I receive, and may
possibly do it at the end of every Month.
In the mean time, I intend my present Paper as a short Answer to most of
those which have been already sent me.
The Publick however is not to expect I should let them into all my
Secrets; and though I appear abstruse to most People, it is sufficient
if I am understood by my particular Correspondents.
My Well-wisher _Van Nath_ is very arch, but not quite enough so to
appear in Print.
_Philadelphus_ will, in a little time, see his Query fully answered by a
Treatise which is now in the Press.
It was very improper at that time to comply with Mr. _G_.
Miss _Kitty_ must excuse me.
The Gentleman who sent me a Copy of Verses on his Mistress's Dancing, is
I believe too thoroughly in Love to compose correctly.
I have too great a Respect for both the Universities to praise one at
the Expence of the other.
_Tom Nimble_ is a very honest Fellow, and I desire him to present my
humble Service to his Cousin _Fill Bumper_.
I am obliged for the Letter upon Prejudice.
I may in due time animadvert on the Case of _Grace Grumble_.
The Petition of _P. S. granted_.
That of _Sarah Loveit, refused_.
The Papers of _A. S._ are returned.
I thank _Aristippus_ for his kind Invitation.
My Friend at _Woodstock_ is a bold Man, to undertake for all within Ten
Miles of him.
I am afraid the Entertainment of _Tom Turnover_ will hardly be relished
by the good Cities of _London_ and _Westminster_.
I must consider further of it, before I indulge _W. F._ in those
Freedoms he takes with the Ladies Stockings.
I am obliged to the ingenious Gentleman, who sent me an Ode on the
Subject of a late SPECTATOR, and shall take particular Notice of his
When the Lady who wrote me a Letter, dated _July_ the 20th, in relation
to some Passages in a _Lover_, will be more particular in her
Directions, I shall be so in my Answer.
The poor Gentleman, who fancies my Writings could reclaim an Husband who
can abuse such a Wife as he describes, has I am afraid too great an
Opinion of my Skill.
_Philanthropos_ is, I dare say, a very well-meaning Man, but a little
too prolix in his Compositions.
_Constantius_ himself must be the best Judge in the Affair he mentions.
The Letter dated from _Lincoln_ is received.
_Arethusa_ and her Friend may hear further from me.
_Celia_ is a little too hasty.
_Harriot_ is a good Girl, but must not Curtsie to Folks she does not
I must ingeniously confess my Friend _Sampson Bentstaff_ has quite
puzzled me, and writ me a long Letter which I cannot comprehend one Word
_Collidan_ must also explain what he means by his _Drigelling_.
I think it beneath my _Spectatorial_ Dignity, to concern my self in the
Affair of the boiled Dumpling.
I shall consult some _Litterati_ on the Project sent me for the
Discovery of the Longitude.
I know not how to conclude this Paper better, than by inserting a Couple
of Letters which are really genuine, and which I look upon to be two of
the smartest Pieces I have received from my Correspondents of either Sex.
'While you are surveying every Object that falls in your way, I am
wholly taken up with one. Had that Sage, who demanded what Beauty was,
lived to see the dear Angel I love, he would not have asked such a
Question. Had another seen her, he would himself have loved the Person
in whom Heaven has made Virtue visible; and were you your self to be
in her ompany, you could never, with all your Loquacity, say enough of
her good Humour and Sense. I send you the Outlines of a Picture, which
I can no more finish than I can sufficiently admire the dear Original.
_Your most Affectionate Brother,_
_Good Mr._ Pert,
'I will allow you nothing till you resolve me the following Question.
Pray what's the Reason that while you only talk now upon _Wednesdays_,
_Fridays_, and _Mondays_, you pretend to be a greater Tatler, than
when you spoke every Day as you formerly used to do? If this be your
plunging out of your Taciturnity, pray let the Length of your Speeches
compensate for the Scarceness of them.
_Good Mr_. Pert,
_Your Admirer, if you will be long enough for Me_,
* * * * *
No. 582. Wednesday, August 18, 1714.
'--Tenet insanabile multos
There is a certain Distemper, which is mentioned neither by _Galen_ nor
_Hippocrates_, nor to be met with in the _London Dispensary_. _Juvenal_,
in the Motto of my Paper, terms it a _Cacoethes_; which is a hard Word
for a Disease called in plain _English_, the _Itch of Writing_. This
_Cacoethes_ is as Epidemical as the Small-Pox, there being very few who
are not seized with it some time or other in their Lives. There is,
however, this Difference in these two Distempers, that the first, after
having indisposed you for a time, never returns again; whereas this I am
speaking of, when it is once got into the Blood, seldom comes out of it.
The _British_ Nation is very much afflicted with this Malady, and tho'
very many Remedies have been applied to Persons infected with it, few of
them have ever proved successful. Some have been cauterized with Satyrs
and Lampoons, but have received little or no Benefit from them; others
have had their Heads fastned for an Hour together between a Cleft Board,
which is made use of as a Cure for the Disease when it appears in its
greatest Malignity.  There is indeed one kind of this Malady which
has been sometimes removed, like the Biting of a _Tarantula_, with the
sound of a musical Instrument, which is commonly known by the Name of a
Cat-Call. But if you have a Patient of this kind under your Care, you
may assure your self there is no other way of recovering him
effectually, but by forbidding him the use of Pen, Ink and Paper.
But to drop the Allegory before I have tired it out, there is no Species
of Scriblers more offensive, and more incurable, than your Periodical
Writers, whose Works return upon the Publick on certain Days and at
stated Times. We have not the Consolation in the Perusal of these
Authors, which we find at the reading of all others, (namely) that we
are sure if we have but Patience, we may come to the End of their
Labours. I have often admired a humorous Saying of _Diogenes_, who
reading a dull Author to several of his Friends, when every one began to
be tired, finding he was almost come to a blank leaf at the End of it,
cried, _Courage, Lads, I see Land_. On the contrary, our Progress
through that kind of Writers I am now speaking of is never at an End.
One Day makes Work for another, we do not know when to promise our
It is a melancholy thing to consider, that the Art of Printing, which
might be the greatest Blessing to Mankind, should prove detrimental to
us, and that it should be made use of to scatter Prejudice and Ignorance
through a People, instead of conveying to them Truth and Knowledge.
I was lately reading a very whimsical Treatise, entitled, _William
Ramsey's_ Vindication of Astrology. This profound Author, among many
mystical Passages, has the following one:
'The Absence of the Sun is not the Cause of Night, forasmuch as his
Light is so great that it may illuminate the Earth all over at once as
clear as broad Day, but there are tenebrificous and dark Stars, by
whose Influence Night is brought on, and which do ray out Darkness and
Obscurity upon the Earth, as the Sun does Light.'
I consider Writers in the same View this sage Astrologer does the
Heavenly Bodies. Some of them are Stars that scatter Light as others do
Darkness. I could mention several Authors who are tenebrificous Stars of
the first Magnitude, and point out a Knot of Gentlemen, who have been
dull in Consort, and may be looked upon as a dark Constellation. The
Nation has been a great while benighted with several of these
Antiluminaries. I suffered them to ray out their Darkness as long as I
was able to endure it, till at length I came to a Resolution of rising
upon them, and hope in a little time to drive them quite out of the
[Footnote 1: Put in the Pillory.]
* * * * *
No. 583. Friday, August 20, 1714. Addison.
'Ipse thymum pinosque ferens de montibus altis,
Tecta serat late circum, cui talia Curae:
Ipse labore manum duro terat, ipse feraces
Figat humo plantas, et amicos irriget Imbres.'
Every Station of Life has Duties which are proper to it. Those who are
determined by Choice to any particular kind of Business, are indeed more
happy than those who are determined by Necessity, but both are under an
equal Obligation of fixing on Employments, which may be either useful to
themselves or beneficial to others. No one of the Sons of _Adam_ ought
to think himself exempt from that Labour and Industry which were
denounced to our first Parent, and in him to all his Posterity. Those to
whom Birth or Fortune may seem to make such an Application unnecessary,
ought to find out some Calling or Profession for themselves, that they
may not lie as a Burden on the Species, and be the only useless Parts of
Many of our Country Gentlemen in their busie Hours apply themselves
wholly to the Chase, or to some other Diversion which they find in the
Fields and Woods. This gave occasion to one of our most eminent
_English_ Writers to represent every one of them as lying under a kind
of Curse pronounced to them in the Words of _Goliah, I will give thee to
the Fowls of the Air, and to the Beasts of the Field_.
Tho' Exercises of this kind, when indulged with Moderation, may have a
good Influence both on the Mind and Body, the Country affords many other
Amusements of a more noble kind.
Among these I know none more delightful in itself, and beneficial to the
Publick, than that of _PLANTING_. I could mention a Nobleman whose
Fortune has placed him in several Parts of _England_, and who has always
left these visible Marks behind him, which show he has been there: He
never hired a House in his Life, without leaving all about it the Seeds
of Wealth, and bestowing Legacies on the Posterity of the Owner. Had all
the Gentlemen of _England_ made the same Improvements upon their
Estates, our whole Country would have been at this time as one great
Garden. Nor ought such an Employment to be looked upon as too inglorious
for Men of the highest Rank. There have been Heroes in this Art, as well
as in others. We are told in particular of _Cyrus_ the Great, that he
planted all the Lesser _Asia_. There is indeed something truly
magnificent in this kind of Amusement: It gives a nobler Air to several
Parts of Nature; it fills the Earth with a Variety of beautiful Scenes,
and has something in it like Creation. For this Reason the Pleasure of
one who Plants is something like that of a Poet, who, as _Aristotle_
observes, is more delighted with his Productions than any other Writer
or Artist whatsoever.
Plantations have one Advantage in them which is not to be found in most
other Works, as they give a Pleasure of a more lasting Date, and
continually improve in the Eye of the Planter, When you have finished a
Building or any other Undertaking of the like Nature, it immediately
decays upon your Hands; you see it brought to its utmost Point of
Perfection, and from that time hastening to its Ruin. On the contrary,
when you have finished your Plantations, they are still arriving at
greater Degrees of Perfection as long as you live, and appear more
delightful in every succeeding Year than they did in the foregoing.
But I do not only recommend this Art to Men of Estates as a pleasing
Amusement, but as it is a kind of Virtuous Employment, and may therefore
be inculcated by moral Motives; particularly from the Love which we
ought to have for our Country, and the Regard which we ought to bear to
our Posterity. As for the first, I need only mention what is frequently
observed by others, that the Increase of Forest-Trees does by no Means
bear a Proportion to the Destruction of them, insomuch that in a few
Ages the Nation may be at a Loss to supply it self with Timber
sufficient for the Fleets of _England_. I know when a Man talks of
Posterity in Matters of this Nature, he is looked upon with an Eye of
Ridicule by the cunning and selfish part of Mankind. Most People are of
the Humour of an old Fellow of a College, who, when he was pressed by
the Society to come into something that might redound to the good of
their Successors, grew very peevish, _We are always doing_, says he,
_something for Posterity, but I would fain see Posterity do something
But I think Men are inexcusable, who fail in a Duty of this Nature,
since it is so easily discharged. When a Man considers that the putting
a few Twigs into the Ground, is doing good to one who will make his
appearance in the World about Fifty Years hence, or that he is perhaps
making one of his own Descendants easy or rich, by so inconsiderable an
Expence, if he finds himself averse to it, he must conclude that he has
a poor and base Heart, void of all generous Principles and Love to
There is one Consideration, which may very much enforce what I have here
said. Many honest Minds that are naturally disposed to do good in the
World, and become Beneficial to Mankind, complain within themselves that
they have not Talents for it. This therefore is a good Office, which is
suited to the meanest Capacities, and which may be performed by
Multitudes, who have not Abilities sufficient to deserve well of their
Country and to recommend themselves to their Posterity, by any other
Method. It is the Phrase of a Friend of mine, when any useful Country
Neighbour dies, that _you may trace him:_ which I look upon as a good
Funeral Oration, at the Death of an honest Husbandman, who hath left the
Impressions of his Industry behind him, in the Place where he has lived.
Upon the foregoing Considerations, I can scarce forbear representing the
Subject of this Paper as a kind of Moral Virtue: Which, as I have
already shown, recommends it self likewise by the Pleasure that attends
it. It must be confessed, that this is none of those turbulent Pleasures
which is apt to gratifie a Man in the Heats of Youth; but if it be not
so Tumultuous, it is more lasting. Nothing can be more delightful than
to entertain ourselves with Prospects of our own making, and to walk
under those Shades which our own Industry has raised. Amusements of this
Nature compose the Mind, and lay at Rest all those Passions which are
uneasie to the Soul of Man, besides that they naturally engender good
Thoughts, and dispose us to laudable Contemplations. Many of the old
Philosophers passed away the greatest Parts of their Lives among their
Gardens. _Epicurus_ himself could not think sensual Pleasure attainable
in any other Scene. Every Reader who is acquainted with _Homer_,
_Virgil_ and _Horace_, the greatest Genius's of all Antiquity, knows
very well with how much Rapture they have spoken on this Subject; and
that _Virgil_ in particular has written a whole Book on the Art of
This Art seems to have been more especially adapted to the Nature of Man
in his Primaeval State, when he had Life enough to see his Productions
flourish in their utmost Beauty, and gradually decay with him. One who
lived before the Flood might have seen a Wood of the tallest Oakes in
the Accorn. But I only mention this Particular, in order to introduce in
my next Paper, a History which I have found among the Accounts of
_China_, and which may be looked upon as an Antediluvian Novel.
* * * * *
No. 584. Monday, August 23, 1714. Addison.
'Hec gelidi fontes, hic mollia prata, Lycori,
Hic Nemus, hic toto tecum consumerer aevo.'
Hilpa was one of the 150 Daughters of _Zilpah_, of the Race of _Cohu_,
by whom some of the Learned think is meant _Cain_. She was exceedingly
beautiful, and when she was but a Girl of threescore and ten Years of
Age, received the Addresses of several who made Love to her. Among these
were two Brothers, _Harpath_ and _Shalum_; _Harpath_, being the
First-born, was Master of that fruitful Region which lies at the Foot of
Mount _Tirzah_, in the Southern Parts of _China_. _Shalum_ (which is to
say the Planter in the _Chinese_ Language) possessed all the
neighbouring Hills, and that great Range of Mountains which goes under
the Name of _Tirzah_. _Harpath_ was of a haughty contemptuous Spirit;
_Shalum_ was of a gentle Disposition, beloved both by God and Man.
It is said that, among the Antediluvian Women, the Daughters of _Cohu_
had their Minds wholly set upon Riches; for which Reason the beautiful
_Hilpa_ preferr'd _Harpath_ to _Shalum_, because of his numerous Flocks
and Herds, that covered all the low Country which runs along the Foot of
Mount _Tirzah_, and is watered by several Fountains and Streams breaking
out of the Sides of that Mountain.
_Harpath_ made so quick a Dispatch of his Courtship, that he married
_Hilpa_ in the hundredth Year of her Age; and being of an insolent
Temper, laughed to Scorn his Brother _Shalum_ for having pretended to
the beautiful _Hilpa_, when he was Master of nothing but a long Chain of
Rocks and Mountains. This so much provoked _Shalum_, that he is said to
have cursed his Brother in the Bitterness of his Heart, and to have
prayed that one of his Mountains might fall upon his Head if ever he
came within the Shadow of it.
From this Time forward _Harpath_ would never venture out of the Vallies,
but came to an untimely End in the 250th Year of his Age, being drowned
in a River as he attempted to cross it This River is called to this Day,
from his Name who perished in it, the River _Harpath_, and, what is very
remarkable, issues out of one of those Mountains which _Shalum_ wished
might fall upon his Brother, when he cursed him in the Bitterness of his
_Hilpa_ was in the 160th Year of her Age at the Death of her Husband,
having brought him but 50 Children, before he was snatched away, as has
been already related. Many of the Antediluvians made Love to the young
Widow, tho' no one was thought so likely to succeed in her Affections as
her first Lover _Shalum_, who renewed his Court to her about ten Years
after the Death of _Harpath_; for it was not thought decent in those
Days that a Widow should be seen by a Man within ten Years after the
Decease of her Husband.
_Shalum_ falling into a deep Melancholy, and resolving to take away that
Objection which had been raised against him when he made his first
Addresses to _Hilpa_, began immediately, after her Marriage with
_Harpath_, to plant all that mountainous Region which fell to his Lot in
the Division of this Country. He knew how to adapt every Plant to its
proper Soil, and is thought to have inherited many traditional Secrets
of that Art from the first Man. This Employment turn'd at length to his
Profit as well as to his Amusement: His Mountains were in a few Years
shaded with young Trees, that gradually shot up into Groves, Woods, and
Forests, intermixed with Walks, and Launs, and Gardens; insomuch that
the whole Region, from a naked and desolate Prospect, began now to look
like a second Paradise. The Pleasantness of the Place, and the agreeable
Disposition of _Shalum_, who was reckoned one of the mildest and wisest
of all who lived before the Flood, drew into it Multitudes of People,
who were perpetually employed in the sinking of Wells, the digging of
Trenches, and the hollowing of Trees, for the better Distribution of
Water through every Part of this spacious Plantation.
The Habitations of _Shalum_ looked every Year more beautiful in the Eyes
of _Hilpa_, who, after the Space of 70 Autumns, was wonderfully pleased
with the distant Prospect of _Shalum_'s Hills, which were then covered
with innumerable Tufts of Trees and gloomy Scenes that gave a
Magnificence to the Place, and converted it into one of the finest
Landskips the Eye of Man could behold.
The _Chinese_ record a Letter which _Shalum_ is said to have written to
_Hilpa_, in the Eleventh Year of her Widowhood. I shall here translate
it, without departing from that noble Simplicity of Sentiments, and
Plainness of Manners which appears in the Original.
_Shalum_ was at this Time 180 Years old, and _Hilpa_ 170.
Shalum, _Master of Mount_ Tirzah, _to_ Hilpa, _Mistress of the
_In the 788th Year of the Creation._
'What have I not suffered, O thou Daughter of _Zilpah_, since thou
gavest thy self away in Marriage to my Rival? I grew weary of the
Light of the Sun, and have been ever since covering my self with Woods
and Forests. These threescore and ten Years have I bewailed the Loss
of thee on the Tops of Mount _Tirzah_, and soothed my Melancholy among
a thousand gloomy Shades of my own raising. My Dwellings are at
present as the Garden of God; every Part of them is filled with
Fruits, and Flowers, and Fountains. The whole Mountain is perfumed for
thy Reception. Come up into it, O my Beloved, and let us People this
Spot of the new World with a beautiful Race of Mortals; let us
multiply exceedingly among these delightful Shades, and fill every
Quarter of them with Sons and Daughters. Remember, O thou Daughter of
_Zilpah,_ that the Age of Man is but a thousand Years; that Beauty is
the Admiration but of a few Centuries. It flourishes as a Mountain
Oak, or as a Cedar on the Top of _Tirzah_, which in three or four
hundred Years will fade away, and never be thought of by Posterity,
unless a young Wood springs from its Roots. Think well on this, and
remember thy Neighbour in the Mountains.
Having here inserted this Letter, which I look upon as the only
Antediluvian _Billet-doux_ now extant, I shall in my next Paper give the
Answer to it, and the Sequel of this Story.
* * * * *
No. 585. Wednesday, August 25, 1714. Addison.
'Ipsi laetitia voces ad sidera jactant
Intonsi montes: ipsae jam carmina rupes,
Ipsae sonant arbusta--'
_The Sequel of the Story of_ Shalum _and_ Hilpa.
The Letter inserted in my last had so good an Effect upon _Hilpa,_ that
she answered it in less than a Twelvemonth, after the following Manner.
Hilpa, _Mistress of the Vallies, to_ Shalum, _Master of Mount_ Tirzah.
_In the 789th Year of the Creation._
'What have I to do with thee, O _Shalum?_ Thou praisest _Hilpa_'s
Beauty, but art thou not secretly enamoured with the Verdure of her
Meadows? Art thou not more affected with the Prospect of her green
Vallies, than thou wouldest be with the Sight of her Person? The
Lowings of my Herds, and the Bleatings of my Flocks, make a pleasant
Eccho in thy Mountains, and sound sweetly in thy Ears. What tho' I am
delighted with the Wavings of thy Forests, and those Breezes of
Perfumes which flow from the Top of _Tirzah:_ Are these like the
Riches of the Valley?
'I know thee, O _Shalum;_ thou art more wise and happy than any of the
Sons of Men. Thy Dwellings are among the Cedars; thou searchest out
the Diversity of Soils, thou understandest the Influences of the
Stars, and markest the Change of Seasons. Can a Woman appear lovely in
the Eyes of such a one? Disquiet me not, O _Shalum;_ let me alone,
that I may enjoy those goodly Possessions which are fallen to my Lot.
Win me not by thy enticing Words. May thy Trees increase and multiply;
mayest thou add Wood to Wood, and Shade to Shade; but tempt not
_Hilpa_ to destroy thy Solitude, and make thy Retirement populous.
The _Chinese_ say, that a little time afterwards she accepted of a Treat
in one of the neighbouring Hills to which _Shalum_ had invited her. This
Treat lasted for two Years, and is said to have cost _Shalum_ five
hundred Antelopes, two thousand Ostriches, and a thousand Tun of Milk;
but what most of all recommended it, was that Variety of delicious
Fruits and Pot-herbs, in which no Person then living could any way equal
He treated her in the Bower which he had planted amidst the Wood of
Nightingales. This Wood was made up of such Fruit-Trees and Plants as
are most agreeable to the several Kinds of Singing Birds; so that it had
drawn into it all the Musick of the Country, and was filled from one End
of the Year to the other with the most agreeable Consort in Season.
He shewed her every Day some beautiful and surprising Scene in this new
Region of Woodlands; and as by this Means he had all the Opportunities
he could wish for of opening his Mind to her, he succeeded so well, that
upon her Departure she made him a kind of Promise, and gave him her Word
to return him a positive Answer in less than fifty Years.
She had not been long among her own People in the Vallies, when she
received new Overtures, and at the same Time a most splendid Visit from
_Mishpach_, who was a mighty Man of old, and had built a great City,
which he called after his own Name. Every House was made for at least a
thousand Years, nay there were some that were leased out for three
Lives; so that the Quantity of Stone and Timber consumed in this
Building is scarce to be imagined by those who live in the present Age
of the World. This great Man entertained her with the Voice of musical
Instruments which had been lately invented, and danced before her to the
Sound of the Timbrel. He also presented her with several domestick
Utensils wrought in Brass and Iron, which had been newly found out for
the Conveniency of Life. In the mean time _Shalum_ grew very uneasie
with himself, and was sorely displeased at _Hilpa_ for the Reception
which she had given to _Mishpach_, insomuch that he never wrote to her
or spoke of her during a whole Revolution of _Saturn_; but finding that
this Intercourse went no further than a Visit, he again renewed his
Addresses to her, who during his long Silence is said very often to have
cast a wishing Eye upon Mount _Tirzah_.
Her Mind continued wavering about twenty Years longer between _Shalum_
and _Mishpach_; for tho' her Inclinations favoured the former, her
Interest pleaded very powerfully for the other. While her Heart was in
this unsettled Condition, the following Accident happened which
determined her Choice. A high Tower of Wood that stood in the City of
_Mishpach_ having caught Fire by a Flash of Lightning, in a few Days
reduced the whole Town to Ashes. _Mishpach_ resolved to rebuild the
Place whatever it should cost him; and having already destroyed all the
Timber of the Country, he was forced to have Recourse to _Shalum_, whose
Forests were now two hundred Years old. He purchased these Woods with so
many Herds of Cattle and Flocks of Sheep, and with such a vast Extent of
Fields and Pastures, that _Shalum_ was now grown more wealthy than
_Mishpach_; and therefore appeared so charming in the Eyes of _Zilpah's_
Daughter, that she no longer refused him in Marriage. On the Day in
which he brought her up into the Mountains he raised a most prodigious
Pile of Cedar and of every sweet smelling Wood, which reached above 300
Cubits in Height; He also cast into the Pile Bundles of Myrrh and
Sheaves of Spikenard, enriching it with every spicy Shrub, and making it
fat with the Gums of his Plantations. This was the Burnt-Offering which
_Shalum_ offered in the Day of his Espousals: The Smoke of it ascended
up to Heaven, and filled the whole Country with Incense and Perfume.
* * * * *
No. 586. Friday, August 27, 1714. John Byrom 
'--Quae in vita usurpant homines, cogitant, curant, vident, Quaeque
agunt vigilantes, agitantque, ea cuique in somno accidunt.'
Cic. de Div.
By the last Post I received the following Letter, which is built upon a
Thought that is new, and very well carried on; for which Reasons I shall
give it to the Publick without Alteration, Addition, or Amendment.
'It was a good Piece of Advice which _Pythagoras_ gave to his
Scholars, That every Night before they slept they should examine what
they had been a doing that Day, and so discover what Actions were
worthy of Pursuit to-morrow, and what little Vices were to be
prevented from slipping unawares into a Habit. If I might second the
Philosopher's Advice, it should be mine, That in a Morning before my
Scholar rose, he should consider what he had been about that Night,
and with the same Strictness, as if the Condition he has believed
himself to be in, was real. Such a Scrutiny into the Actions of his
Fancy must be of considerable Advantage, for this Reason, because the
Circumstances which a Man imagines himself in during Sleep, are
generally such as entirely favour his Inclinations good or bad, and
give him imaginary Opportunities of pursuing them to the utmost; so
that his Temper will lye fairly open to his View, while he considers
how it is moved when free from those Constraints which the Accidents
of real Life put it under. Dreams are certainly the Result of our
waking Thoughts, and our daily Hopes and Fears are what give the Mind
such nimble Relishes of Pleasure, and such severe Touches of Pain, in
its Midnight Rambles. A Man that murders his Enemy, or deserts his
Friend in a Dream, had need to guard his Temper against Revenge and
Ingratitude, and take heed that he be not tempted to do a vile thing
in the Pursuit of false, or the Neglect of true Honour. For my Part, I
seldom receive a Benefit, but in a Night or two's Time I make most
noble Returns for it; which tho' my Benefactor is not a whit the
better for, yet it pleases me to think that it was from a Principle of
Gratitude in me, that my Mind was susceptible of such generous
Transport while I thought my self repaying the Kindness of my Friend:
And I have often been ready to beg Pardon, instead of returning an
Injury, after considering, that when the Offender was in my Power I
had carried my Resentments much too far.
'I think it has been observed in the Course of your Papers, how much
one's Happiness or Misery may depend upon the Imagination: Of which
Truth those strange Workings of Fancy in Sleep are no inconsiderable
Instances; so that not only the Advantage a Man has of making
Discoveries of himself, but a Regard to his own Ease or Disquiet, may
induce him to accept of my Advice. Such as are willing to comply with
it, I shall put into a way of doing it with pleasure, by observing
only one Maxim which I shall give them, _viz. To go to Bed with a Mind
entirely free from Passion, and a Body clear of the least
'They indeed who can sink into Sleep with their Thoughts less calm or
innocent than they should be, do but plunge themselves into Scenes of
Guilt and Misery; or they who are willing to purchase any Midnight
Disquietudes for the Satisfaction of a full Meal, or a Skin full of
Wine; these I have nothing to say to, as not knowing how to invite
them to Reflections full of Shame and Horror: But those that will
observe this Rule, I promise them they shall awake into Health and
Cheerfulness, and be capable of recounting with Delight those glorious
Moments wherein the Mind has been indulging it self in such Luxury of
Thought, such noble Hurry of Imagination. Suppose a Man's going
supperless to Bed should introduce him to the Table of some great
Prince or other, where he shall be entertained with the noblest Marks
of Honour and Plenty, and do so much Business after, that he shall
rise with as good a Stomach to his Breakfast as if he had fasted all
Night long; or suppose he should see his dearest Friends remain all
Night in great Distresses, which he could instantly have disengaged
them from, could he have been content to have gone to Bed without
t'other Bottle: Believe me, these Effects of Fancy are no contemptible
Consequences of commanding or indulging one's Appetite.
'I forbear recommending my Advice upon many other Accounts, till I
hear how you and your Readers relish what I have already said, among
whom if there be any that may pretend it is useless to them, because
they never dream at all, there may be others, perhaps, who do little
else all Day long. Were every one as sensible as I am what happens to
him in his Sleep, it would be no Dispute whether we past so
considerable a Portion of our Time in the Condition of Stocks and
Stones, or whether the Soul were not perpetually at Work upon the
Principle of Thought. However, 'tis an honest Endeavour of mine to
perswade my Countrymen to reap some Advantage from so many unregarded
Hours, and as such you will encourage it.
'I shall conclude with giving you a Sketch or two of my Way of
'If I have any Business of consequence to do to-morrow, I am scarce
dropt asleep to-night but I am in the midst of it, and when awake I
consider the whole Procession of the Affair, and get the Advantage of
the next Day's Experience before the Sun has risen upon it.
'There is scarce a great Post but what I have some Time or other been
in; but my Behaviour while I was Master of a College, pleases me so
well, that whenever there is a Province of that Nature vacant, I
intend to step in as soon as I can.
'I have done many Things that would not pass Examination, when I have
had the Art of Flying, or being invisible; for which Reason I am glad
I am not possessed of those extra-ordinary Qualities.
'Lastly, Mr. SPECTATOR, I have been a great Correspondent of yours,
and have read many of my Letters in your Paper which I never wrote
you. If you have a Mind I should really be so, I have got a Parcel of
Visions and other Miscellanies in my Noctuary, which I shall send you
to enrich your Paper with on proper Occasions.
_I am_, &c.
_Oxford, Aug_. 20.
[Footnote 1: John Byrom, born at Manchester, in 1691, was quarrelled
with by his family for marrying a young lady without fortune, and lived
by an ingenious way of teaching short-hand, till the death of an elder
brother gave him the family estate. He died in 1763. In 1714 he had just
been elected Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1723 he was
admitted a Fellow of the Royal Society, and contributed to its
Transactions a paper upon his own System of short-hand. In his later
years he wrote much rhyme.]
* * * * *
No. 587. Monday, August 30, 1714. John Byrom.
'--Intus, et in Cute novi--'
Tho' the Author of the following Vision is unknown to me, I am apt to
think it may be the Work of that ingenious Gentleman, who promised me,
in the last Paper, some Extracts out of his Noctuary.
'I was the other Day reading the Life of _Mahomet_. Among many other
Extravagancies, I find it recorded of that Impostor, that in the
fourth Year of his Age the Angel _Gabriel_ caught him up, while he was
among his Play-fellows, and, carrying him aside, cut open his Breast,
plucked out his Heart, and wrung out of it that black Drop of Blood,
in which, say the _Turkish_ Divines, is contained the _Fomes Peccati_,
so that he was free from Sin ever after. I immediately said to my
self, tho' this Story be a Fiction, a very good Moral may be drawn
from it, would every Man but apply it to himself, and endeavour to
squeeze out of his Heart whatever Sins or ill Qualities he finds in
'While my Mind was wholly taken up with this Contemplation, I
insensibly fell into a most pleasing Slumber, when methought two
Porters entered my Chamber, carrying a large Chest between them. After
having set it down in the middle of the Room they departed. I
immediately endeavour'd to open what was sent me, when a Shape, like
that in which we paint our Angels, appeared before me, and forbad me.
Enclosed, said he, are the Hearts of several of your Friends and
Acquaintance; but before you can be qualified to see and animadvert on
the Failings of others, you must be pure your self; whereupon he drew
out his Incision Knife, cut me open, took out my Heart, and began to
squeeze it. I was in a great Confusion, to see how many things, which
I had always cherished as Virtues, issued out of my Heart on this
Occasion. In short, after it had been thoroughly squeezed, it looked
like an empty Bladder, when the Phantome, breathing a fresh Particle
of Divine Air into it, restored it safe to its former Repository: and
having sewed me up, we began to examine the Chest.
'The Hearts were all enclosed in transparent Phials, and preserved in
a Liquor which looked like Spirits of Wine. The first which I cast my
Eye upon, I was afraid would have broke the Glass which contained it.
It shot up and down, with incredible Swiftness, thro' the Liquor in
which it swam, and very frequently bounced against the Side of the
Phial. The _Fomes_, or Spot in the Middle of it, was not large, but of
a red fiery Colour, and seemed to be the Cause of these violent
Agitations. That, says my Instructor, is the Heart of _Tom_.
_Dread-Nought_, who behaved himself well in the late Wars, but has for
these Ten Years last past been aiming at some Post of Honour to no
Purpose. He is lately retired into the Country, where, quite choaked
up with Spleen and Choler, he rails at better Men than himself, and
will be for ever uneasie, because it is impossible he should think his
Merit sufficiently rewarded. The next Heart that I examined was
remarkable for its Smallness; it lay still at the Bottom of the Phial,
and I could hardly perceive that it beat at all. The _Fomes_ was quite
black, and had almost diffused it self over the whole Heart. This,
says my Interpreter, is the Heart of _Dick Gloomy_, who never thirsted
after any thing but Money. Notwithstanding all his Endeavours, he is
still poor. This has flung him into a most deplorable State of
Melancholy and Despair. He is a Composition of Envy and Idleness,
hates Mankind, but gives them their Revenge by being more uneasie to
himself, than to any one else.
'The Phial I looked upon next contained a large fair Heart, which beat
very strongly. The _Fomes_ or Spot in it was exceeding small; but I
could not help observing, that which way soever I turned the Phial it
always appeared uppermost and in the strongest Point of Light. The
Heart you are examining, says my Companion, belongs to _Will. Worthy_.
He has, indeed, a most noble Soul, and is possessed of a thousand good
Qualities. The Speck which you discover is _Vanity_.
'Here, says the Angel, is the Heart of _Freelove_, your intimate
Friend. _Freelove_ and I, said I, are at present very cold to one
another, and I do not care for looking on the Heart of a Man, which I
fear is overcast with Rancour. My Teacher commanded me to look upon
it; I did so, and to my unspeakable Surprize, found that a small
swelling Spot, which I at first took to be _Ill-Will_ towards me, was
only _Passion_, and that upon my nearer Inspection it wholly
disappeared; upon which the Phantome told me _Freelove_ was one of the
best-natured Men alive.
'This, says my Teacher, is a Female Heart of your Acquaintance. I
found the _Fomes_ in it of the largest Size, and of a hundred
different Colours, which were still varying every Moment. Upon my
asking to whom it belonged, I was informed that it was the Heart of
'I set it down, and drew out another, in which I took the _Fomes_ at
first Sight to be very small, but was amazed to find, that as I looked
stedfastly upon it, it grew still larger. It was the Heart of
_Melissa_, a noted Prude who lives the next Door to me.
'I show you this, says the Phantome, because it is indeed a Rarity,
and you have the Happiness to know the Person to whom it belongs. He
then put into my Hands a large Chrystal Glass, that enclosed an Heart,
in which, though I examined it with the utmost Nicety, I could not
perceive any Blemish. I made no Scruple to affirm that it must be the
Heart of _Seraphina_, and was glad, but not surprized, to find that it
was so. She is, indeed, continued my Guide, the Ornament, as well as
the Envy, of her Sex; at these last Words, he pointed to the Hearts of
several of her Female Acquaintance which lay in different Phials, and
had very large Spots in them, all of a deep _Blue_. You are not to
wonder, says he, that you see no Spot in an Heart, whose Innocence has
been Proof against all the Corruptions of a depraved Age. If it has
any Blemish, it is too small to be discovered by Human Eyes.
'I laid it down, and took up the Hearts of other Females, in all of
which the _Fomes_ ran in several Veins, which were twisted together,
and made a very perplexed Figure. I asked the Meaning of it, and was
told it represented _Deceit_.
'I should have been glad to have examined the Hearts of several of my
Acquaintance, whom I knew to be particularly addicted to Drinking,
Gaming, Intreaguing, &c., but my Interpreter told me I must let that
alone till another Opportunity, and flung down the Cover of the Chest
with so much violence, as immediately awoke me.
* * * * *
No. 588. Wednesday, September 1, 1714. H. Grove. 
'Dicitis, omnis in Imbecillitate est et Gratia, et Caritas.'
Cicero de Nat. Deor. L.
Man may be considered in two Views, as a Reasonable, and as a Sociable
Being; capable of becoming himself either happy or miserable, and of
contributing to the Happiness or Misery of his Fellow Creatures.
Suitably to this double Capacity, the Contriver of Human Nature hath
wisely furnished it with two Principles of Action, Self-love and
Benevolence; designed one of them to render Man wakeful to his own
personal Interest, the other to dispose him for giving his utmost
Assistance to all engaged in the same Pursuit. This is such an Account
of our Frame, so agreeable to Reason, so much for the Honour of our
Maker, and the Credit of our Species, that it may appear somewhat
unaccountable what should induce Men to represent human Nature as they
do under Characters of Disadvantage, or, having drawn it with a little
and sordid Aspect, what Pleasure they can possibly take in such a
Picture. Do they reflect that 'tis their Own, and, if we will believe
themselves, is not more odious than the Original?
One of the first that talked in this lofty Strain of our Nature was
_Epicurus_. Beneficence, would his Followers say, is all founded in
Weakness; and, whatever be pretended, the Kindness that passeth between
Men and Men is by every Man directed to himself. This, it must be
confessed, is of a Piece with the rest of that hopeful Philosophy, which
having patch'd Man up out of the four Elements, attributes his Being to
Chance, and derives all his Actions from an unintelligible Declination
of Atoms. And for these glorious Discoveries the Poet is beyond Measure
transported in the Praises of his Hero, as if he must needs be something
more than Man, only for an Endeavour to prove that Man is in nothing
superior to Beasts.
In this School was Mr. _Hobs_ instructed to speak after the same Manner,
if he did not rather draw his Knowledge from an Observation of his own
Temper; for he somewhere unluckily lays down this as a Rule,
'That from the Similitudes of Thoughts and Passions of one Man to the
Thoughts and Passions of another, whosoever looks into himself and
considers what he doth when he thinks, hopes, fears, &c., and upon
what Grounds; he shall hereby read and know what are the Thoughts and
Passions of all other Men upon the like Occasions.'
Now we will allow Mr. _Hobs_ to know best how he was inclined; But in
earnest, I should be heartily out of Conceit with my self, if I thought
my self of this unamiable Temper, as he affirms, and should have as
little Kindness for my self as for any Body in the World. Hitherto I
always imagined that kind and benevolent Propensions were the original
Growth of the Heart of Man, and, however checked and over-topped by
counter Inclinations that have since sprung up within us, have still
some Force in the worst of Tempers, and a considerable Influence on the
best. And, methinks, it's a fair Step towards the Proof of this, that
the most beneficent of all Beings is He who hath an absolute Fulness of
Perfection in Himself, who gave Existence to the Universe, and so cannot
be supposed to want that which He communicated, without diminishing from
the Plenitude of his own Power and Happiness. The Philosophers before
mentioned have indeed done all that in them lay to invalidate this
Argument; for, placing the Gods in a State of the most elevated
Blessedness, they describe them as Selfish as we poor miserable Mortals
can be, and shut them out from all Concern for Mankind, upon the Score
of their having no Need of us.
But if He that sitteth in the Heavens wants not us, we stand in
continual Need of Him; and surely, next to the Survey of the immense
Treasures of his own Mind, the most exalted Pleasure He receives is from
beholding Millions of Creatures, lately drawn out of the Gulph of
Non-existence, rejoycing in the various Degrees of Being and Happiness
imparted to them. And as this is the true, the glorious Character of the
Deity, so in forming a reasonable Creature He would not, if possible,
suffer his Image to pass out of his Hands unadorned with a Resemblance
of Himself in this most lovely Part of his Nature. For what Complacency
could a Mind, whose Love is as unbounded as his Knowledge, have in a
Work so unlike Himself? a Creature that should be capable of knowing and
conversing with a vast Circle of Objects, and love none but Himself?
What Proportion would there be between the Head and the Heart of such a
Creature, its Affections, and its Understandings? Or could a Society of
such Creatures, with no other Bottom but Self-Love on which to maintain
a Commerce, ever flourish? Reason, 'tis certain, would oblige every Man
to pursue the general Happiness, as the Means to procure and establish
his own; and yet if, besides this Consideration, there were not a
natural Instinct, prompting Men to desire the Welfare and Satisfaction
of others, Self-Love, in Defiance of the Admonitions of Reason, would
quickly run all Things into a State of War and Confusion.
As nearly interested as the Soul is in the Fate of the Body; our
provident Creator saw it necessary, by the constant Returns of Hunger
and Thirst, those importunate Appetites, to put it in Mind of its
Charge; knowing, that if we should eat and drink no oftner than cold
abstracted Speculation should put us upon these Exercises, and then
leave it to Reason to prescribe the Quantity, we should soon refine our
selves out of this bodily Life. And indeed, 'tis obvious to remark, that
we follow nothing heartily, unless carried to it by Inclinations which
anticipate our Reason, and, like a Biass, draw the Mind strongly towards
it. In order, therefore, to establish a perpetual Intercourse of
Benefits amongst Mankind, their Maker would not fail to give them this
generous Prepossession of Benevolence, if, as I have said, it were
possible. And from whence can we go about to argue its Impossibility? Is
it inconsistent with Self-Love? Are their Motions contrary? No more than
the diurnal Rotation of the Earth is opposed to its Annual; or its
Motion round its own Center, which may be improved as an Illustration of
Self-Love, to that which whirls it about the common Center of the World,
answering to universal Benevolence. Is the Force of Self-Love abated, or
its Interest prejudiced by Benevolence? So far from it, that
Benevolence, though a distinct Principle, is extreamly serviceable to
Self-Love, and then doth most Service when 'tis least designed.
But to descend from Reason to Matter of Fact; the Pity which arises on
Sight of Persons in Distress, and the Satisfaction of Mind which is the
Consequence of having removed them into a happier State, are instead of
a thousand Arguments to prove such a thing as a disinterested
Benevolence. Did Pity proceed from a Reflection we make upon our
Liableness to the same ill Accidents we see befall others, it were
nothing to the present Purpose; but this is assigning an artificial
Cause of a natural Passion, and can by no Means be admitted as a
tolerable Account of it, because Children and Persons most Thoughtless
about their own Condition, and incapable of entering into the Prospects
of Futurity, feel the most violent Touches of Compassion.
And then as to that charming Delight which immediately follows the
giving Joy to another, or relieving his Sorrow, and is, when the Objects
are numerous, and the kindness of Importance really inexpressible, what
can this be owing to but a Consciousness of a Man's having done some
thing Praise-worthy, and expressive of a great Soul? Whereas, if in all
this he only Sacrificed to Vanity and Self-Love, as there would be
nothing brave in Actions that make the most shining Appearance, so
Nature would not have rewarded them with this divine Pleasure; nor could
the Commendations, which a Person receives for Benefits done upon
selfish Views, be at all more Satisfactory, than when he is applauded
for what he doth without Design; because in both Cases the Ends of
Self-Love are equally answered.
The Conscience of approving ones self a Benefactor to Mankind is the
noblest Recompence for being so; doubtless it is, and the most
interested cannot propose anything so much to their own Advantage,
notwithstanding which, the Inclination is nevertheless unselfish. The
Pleasure which attends the Gratification of our Hunger and Thirst, is
not the Cause of these Appetites; they are previous to any such
Prospect; and so likewise is the Desire of doing Good; with this
Difference, that being seated in the intellectual Part, this last,
though Antecedent to Reason, may yet be improved and regulated by it,
and, I will add, is no otherwise a Virtue than as it is so.
Thus have I contended for the Dignity of that Nature I have the Honour
to partake of, and, after all the Evidence produced, think I have a
Right to conclude, against the Motto of this Paper, that there is such a
thing as Generosity in the World. Though if I were under a Mistake in
this, I should say as _Cicero_ in Relation to the Immortality of the
Soul, I willingly err, and should believe it very much for the Interest
of Mankind to lye under the same Delusion. For the contrary Notion
naturally tends to dispirit the Mind, and sinks it into a Meanness fatal
to the Godlike Zeal of doing good. As on the other hand, it teaches
People to be Ungrateful, by possessing them with a Perswasion concerning
their Benefactors, that they have no Regard to them in the Benefits they
bestow. Now he that banishes Gratitude from among Men, by so doing stops
up the Stream of Beneficence. For though in conferring Kindnesses, a
truly generous Man doth not aim at a Return, yet he looks to the
Qualities of the Person obliged, and as nothing renders a Person more
unworthy of a Benefit, than his being without all Resentment of it, he
will not be extreamly forward to Oblige such a Man.
[Footnote 1: The Rev. Henry Grove was a Presbyterian minister, who kept
school at Taunton. He was born there in 1683, became a teacher at the
age of 23 (already married), and worked for the next 18 years in the
Taunton Academy, his department Ethics and Pneumatology. He spent his
leisure in religious controversy, writing an 'Essay on the Terms of
Christian Communion,' a Discourse on Saving Faith, an Essay on the
Soul's Immortality, and miscellanies in prose and verse, including Nos.
588, 601, 626, and 635, of the _Spectator_. He received also L20 a year
for ministering to two small congregations in the neighbourhood of
Taunton. His wife died in 1736, and he in the year following. His works
appeared in 1740 in 4 vols. 8vo.]
* * * * *
No. 589. Friday, September 3, 1714.
'Persequitur scelus ille suum: labefactaque tandem
Ictibus innumeris adductaque funibus arbor
'I am so great an Admirer of Trees, that the Spot of Ground I have
chosen to build a small Seat upon, in the Country, is almost in the
midst of a large Wood. I was obliged, much against my Will, to cut
down several Trees, that I might have any such thing as a Walk in my
Gardens; but then I have taken Care to leave the Space, between every
Walk, as much a Wood as I found it. The Moment you turn either to the
Right or Left, you are in a Forest, where Nature presents you with a
much more beautiful Scene than could have been raised by Art.
'Instead of _Tulips_ or _Carnations_, I can shew you _Oakes_ in my
Gardens of four hundred Years standing, and a Knot of _Elms_ that
might shelter a Troop of Horse from the Rain.
'It is not without the utmost Indignation, that I observe several
prodigal young Heirs in the Neighbourhood, felling down the most
glorious Monuments of their Ancestors Industry, and ruining, in a Day,
the Product of Ages.
'I am mightily pleased with your Discourse upon Planting, which put me
upon looking into my Books to give you some Account of the Veneration
the Ancients had for Trees. There is an old Tradition, that _Abraham_
planted a _Cypress_, a _Pine_, and a _Cedar_, and that these three
incorporated into one Tree, which was cut down for the building of the
Temple of _Solomon_.
'_Isidorus_, who lived in the Reign of _Constantius_, assures us, that
he saw, even in his Time, that famous _Oak_ in the Plains of _MambrE_,
under which _Abraham_ is reported to have dwelt, and adds, that the
People looked upon it with a great Veneration, and preserved it as a
'The Heathens still went farther, and regarded it as the highest Piece
of Sacrilege to injure certain Trees which they took to be protected
by some Deity. The Story of _Erisicthon_, the Grove of _Dodona_, and
that at _Delphi_, are all Instances of this Kind.
'If we consider the Machine in _Virgil_, so much blamed by several
Criticks, in this Light, we shall hardly think it too violent.