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

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do very much apprehend, by some of the last Winter's Productions, which
had their Sets of Admirers, that our Posterity will in a few Years
degenerate into a Race of Punnsters: At least, a Man may be very
excusable for any Apprehensions of this kind, that has seen _Acrosticks_
handed about the Town with great Secrecy and Applause; to which I must
also add a little Epigram called the _Witches Prayer_, that fell into
Verse when it was read either backward or forward, excepting only that
it Cursed one way and Blessed the other. When one sees there are
actually such Pains-takers among our _British _Wits, who can tell what
it may end in? If we must Lash one another, let it be with the manly
Strokes of Wit and Satyr; for I am of the old Philosopher's Opinion,
That if I must suffer from one or the other, I would rather it should be
from the Paw of a Lion, than the Hoof of an Ass. I do not speak this out
of any Spirit of Party. There is a most crying Dulness on both Sides. I
have seen Tory _Acrosticks_ and Whig _Anagrams_, and do not quarrel with
either of them, because they are _Whigs_ or _Tories_, but because they
are _Anagrams_ and _Acrosticks_.

But to return to Punning. Having pursued the History of a Punn, from its
Original to its Downfal, I shall here define it to be a Conceit arising
from the use of two Words that agree in the Sound, but differ in the
Sense. The only way therefore to try a Piece of Wit, is to translate it
into a different Language: If it bears the Test, you may pronounce it
true; but if it vanishes in the Experiment, you may conclude it to have
been a Punn. In short, one may say of a Punn, as the Countryman
described his Nightingale, that it is _vox et praeterea nihil,_ a Sound,
and nothing but a Sound. On the contrary, one may represent true Wit by
the Description which _Aristinetus_ makes of a fine Woman; when she is
_dressed_ she is Beautiful, when she is _undressed_ she is Beautiful; or
as _Mercerus_ has translated it [more Emphatically]

_Induitur, formosa est: Exuitur, ipsa forma est._


[Footnote 1: fine]

* * * * *

No. 62. Friday, May 11, 1711. Addison.

'Scribendi recte sapere est et principium et fons.'


Mr. _Lock_ has an admirable Reflexion upon the Difference of Wit and
Judgment, whereby he endeavours to shew the Reason why they are not
always the Talents of the same Person. His Words are as follows:

_And hence, perhaps, may be given some Reason of that common
Observation, That Men who have a great deal of Wit and prompt
Memories, have not always the clearest Judgment, or deepest Reason.
For Wit lying most in the Assemblage of Ideas, and putting those
together with Quickness and Variety, wherein can be found any
Resemblance or Congruity, thereby to make up pleasant Pictures and
agreeable Visions in the Fancy; Judgment, on the contrary, lies quite
on the other Side, In separating carefully one from another, Ideas
wherein can be found the least Difference, thereby to avoid being
misled by Similitude, and by Affinity to take one thing for another.
This is a way of proceeding quite contrary to Metaphor and Allusion;
wherein, for the most part, lies that Entertainment and Pleasantry of
Wit which strikes so lively on the Fancy, and is therefore so
acceptable to all People._ [1]

This is, I think, the best and most Philosophical Account that I have
ever met with of Wit, which generally, though not always, consists in
such a Resemblance and Congruity of Ideas as this Author mentions. I
shall only add to it, by way of Explanation, That every Resemblance of
Ideas is not that which we call Wit, unless it be such an one that gives
_Delight_ and _Surprise_ to the Reader: These two Properties seem
essential to Wit, more particularly the last of them. In order therefore
that the Resemblance in the Ideas be Wit, it is necessary that the Ideas
should not lie too near one another in the Nature of things; for where
the Likeness is obvious, it gives no Surprize. To compare one Man's
Singing to that of another, or to represent the Whiteness of any Object
by that of Milk and Snow, or the Variety of its Colours by those of the
Rainbow, cannot be called Wit, unless besides this obvious Resemblance,
there be some further Congruity discovered in the two Ideas that is
capable of giving the Reader some Surprize. Thus when a Poet tells us,
the Bosom of his Mistress is as white as Snow, there is no Wit in the
Comparison; but when he adds, with a Sigh, that it is as cold too, it
then grows into Wit. Every Reader's Memory may supply him with
innumerable Instances of the same Nature. For this Reason, the
Similitudes in Heroick Poets, who endeavour rather to fill the Mind with
great Conceptions, than to divert it with such as are new and
surprizing, have seldom any thing in them that can be called Wit. Mr.
_Lock's_ Account of Wit, with this short Explanation, comprehends most
of the Species of Wit, as Metaphors, Similitudes, Allegories, AEnigmas,
Mottos, Parables, Fables, Dreams, Visions, dramatick Writings,
Burlesque, and all the Methods of Allusion: As there are many other
Pieces of Wit, (how remote soever they may appear at first sight, from
the foregoing Description) which upon Examination will be found to agree
with it.

As _true Wit_ generally consists in this Resemblance and Congruity of
Ideas, _false Wit_ chiefly consists in the Resemblance and Congruity
sometimes of single Letters, as in Anagrams, Chronograms, Lipograms, and
Acrosticks: Sometimes of Syllables, as in Ecchos and Doggerel Rhymes:
Sometimes of Words, as in Punns and Quibbles; and sometimes of whole
Sentences or Poems, cast into the Figures of _Eggs, Axes_, or _Altars_:
Nay, some carry the Notion of Wit so far, as to ascribe it even to
external Mimickry; and to look upon a Man as an ingenious Person, that
can resemble the Tone, Posture, or Face of another.

As _true Wit_ consists in the Resemblance of Ideas, and _false Wit_ in
the Resemblance of Words, according to the foregoing Instances; there is
another kind of Wit which consists partly in the Resemblance of Ideas,
and partly in the Resemblance of Words; which for Distinction Sake I
shall call _mixt Wit_. This kind of Wit is that which abounds in
_Cowley_, more than in any Author that ever wrote. Mr. _Waller_ has
likewise a great deal of it. Mr. _Dryden_ is very sparing in it.
_Milton_ had a Genius much above it. _Spencer_ is in the same Class with
_Milton_. The _Italians_, even in their Epic Poetry, are full of it.
Monsieur _Boileau_, who formed himself upon the Ancient Poets, has
every where rejected it with Scorn. If we look after mixt Wit among the
_Greek_ Writers, we shall find it no where but in the Epigrammatists.
There are indeed some Strokes of it in the little Poem ascribed to
Musoeus, which by that, as well as many other Marks, betrays it self to
be a modern Composition. If we look into the _Latin_ Writers, we find
none of this mixt Wit in _Virgil, Lucretius_, or _Catullus_; very little
in _Horace_, but a great deal of it in _Ovid_, and scarce any thing else
in _Martial_.

Out of the innumerable Branches of _mixt Wit_, I shall choose one
Instance which may be met with in all the Writers of this Class. The
Passion of Love in its Nature has been thought to resemble Fire; for
which Reason the Words Fire and Flame are made use of to signify Love.
The witty Poets therefore have taken an Advantage from the doubtful
Meaning of the Word Fire, to make an infinite Number of Witticisms.
_Cowley_ observing the cold Regard of his Mistress's Eyes, and at the
same Time their Power of producing Love in him, considers them as
Burning-Glasses made of Ice; and finding himself able to live in the
greatest Extremities of Love, concludes the Torrid Zone to be habitable.
When his Mistress has read his Letter written in Juice of Lemmon by
holding it to the Fire, he desires her to read it over a second time by
Love's Flames. When she weeps, he wishes it were inward Heat that
distilled those Drops from the Limbeck. When she is absent he is beyond
eighty, that is, thirty Degrees nearer the Pole than when she is with
him. His ambitious Love is a Fire that naturally mounts upwards; his
happy Love is the Beams of Heaven, and his unhappy Love Flames of Hell.
When it does not let him sleep, it is a Flame that sends up no Smoak;
when it is opposed by Counsel and Advice, it is a Fire that rages the
more by the Wind's blowing upon it. Upon the dying of a Tree in which he
had cut his Loves, he observes that his written Flames had burnt up and
withered the Tree. When he resolves to give over his Passion, he tells
us that one burnt like him for ever dreads the Fire. His Heart is an
_AEtna_, that instead of _Vulcan's_ Shop incloses _Cupid's_ Forge in it.
His endeavouring to drown his Love in Wine, is throwing Oil upon the
Fire. He would insinuate to his Mistress, that the Fire of Love, like
that of the Sun (which produces so many living Creatures) should not
only warm but beget. Love in another Place cooks Pleasure at his Fire.
Sometimes the Poet's Heart is frozen in every Breast, and sometimes
scorched in every Eye. Sometimes he is drowned in Tears, and burnt in
Love, like a Ship set on Fire in the Middle of the Sea.

The Reader may observe in every one of these Instances, that the Poet
mixes the Qualities of Fire with those of Love; and in the same Sentence
speaking of it both as a Passion and as real Fire, surprizes the Reader
with those seeming Resemblances or Contradictions that make up all the
Wit in this kind of Writing. Mixt Wit therefore is a Composition of Punn
and true Wit, and is more or less perfect as the Resemblance lies in the
Ideas or in the Words: Its Foundations are laid partly in Falsehood and
partly in Truth: Reason puts in her Claim for one Half of it, and
Extravagance for the other. The only Province therefore for this kind of
Wit, is Epigram, or those little occasional Poems that in their own
Nature are nothing else but a Tissue of Epigrams. I cannot conclude this
Head of _mixt Wit_, without owning that the admirable Poet out of whom I
have taken the Examples of it, had as much true Wit as any Author that
ever writ; and indeed all other Talents of an extraordinary Genius.

It may be expected, since I am upon this Subject, that I should take
notice of Mr. _Dryden's_ Definition of Wit; which, with all the
Deference that is due to the Judgment of so great a Man, is not so
properly a Definition of Wit, as of good writing in general. Wit, as he
defines it, is 'a Propriety of Words and Thoughts adapted to the
Subject.' [2] If this be a true Definition of Wit, I am apt to think
that _Euclid_ [was [3]] the greatest Wit that ever set Pen to Paper: It
is certain that never was a greater Propriety of Words and Thoughts
adapted to the Subject, than what that Author has made use of in his
Elements. I shall only appeal to my Reader, if this Definition agrees
with any Notion he has of Wit: If it be a true one I am sure Mr.
_Dryden_ was not only a better Poet, but a greater Wit than Mr.
_Cowley_; and _Virgil_ a much more facetious Man than either _Ovid_ or

_Bouhours_, whom I look upon to be the most penetrating of all the
_French_ Criticks, has taken pains to shew, that it is impossible for
any Thought to be beautiful which is not just, and has not its
Foundation in the Nature of things: That the Basis of all Wit is Truth;
and that no Thought can be valuable, of which good Sense is not the
Ground-work. [4] _Boileau_ has endeavoured to inculcate the same Notions
in several Parts of his Writings, both in Prose and Verse. [5] This is
that natural Way of Writing, that beautiful Simplicity, which we so much
admire in the Compositions of the Ancients; and which no Body deviates
from, but those who want Strength of Genius to make a Thought shine in
its own natural Beauties. Poets who want this Strength of Genius to give
that Majestick Simplicity to Nature, which we so much admire in the
Works of the Ancients, are forced to hunt after foreign Ornaments, and
not to let any Piece of Wit of what kind soever escape them. I look upon
these writers as _Goths_ in Poetry, who, like those in Architecture, not
being able to come up to the beautiful Simplicity of the old _Greeks and
Romans_, have endeavoured to supply its place with all the
Extravagancies of an irregular Fancy. Mr. _Dryden_ makes a very handsome
Observation, on _Ovid_'s writing a Letter from _Dido_ to _AEneas_, in the
following Words. [6]

'_Ovid_' says he, (speaking of _Virgil's_ Fiction of _Dido_ and
_AEneas_) 'takes it up after him, even in the same Age, and makes an
Ancient Heroine of _Virgil's_ new-created _Dido_; dictates a Letter
for her just before her Death to the ungrateful Fugitive; and, very
unluckily for himself, is for measuring a Sword with a Man so much
superior in Force to him on the same Subject. I think I may be Judge
of this, because I have translated both. The famous Author of the Art
of Love has nothing of his own; he borrows all from a greater Master
in his own Profession, and, which is worse, improves nothing which he
finds: Nature fails him, and being forced to his old Shift, he has
Recourse to Witticism. This passes indeed with his soft Admirers, and
gives him the Preference to _Virgil_ in their Esteem.'

Were not I supported by so great an Authority as that of Mr. _Dryden_, I
should not venture to observe, That the Taste of most of our _English_
Poets, as well as Readers, is extremely _Gothick_. He quotes Monsieur
_Segrais_ [7] for a threefold Distinction of the Readers of Poetry: In
the first of which he comprehends the Rabble of Readers, whom he does
not treat as such with regard to their Quality, but to their Numbers and
Coarseness of their Taste. His Words are as follow:

'_Segrais_ has distinguished the Readers of Poetry, according to their
Capacity of judging, into three Classes. [He might have said the same
of Writers too, if he had pleased.] In the lowest Form he places those
whom he calls _Les Petits Esprits_, such thingsas are our
Upper-Gallery Audience in a Play-house; who like nothing but the Husk
and Rind of Wit, prefer a Quibble, a Conceit, an Epigram, before solid
Sense and elegant Expression: These are Mob Readers. If _Virgil_ and
_Martial_ stood for Parliament-Men, we know already who would carry
it. But though they make the greatest Appearance in the Field, and cry
the loudest, the best on't is they are but a sort of _French_
Huguenots, or _Dutch_ Boors, brought over in Herds, but not
Naturalized; who have not Lands of two Pounds _per Annum_ in
_Parnassus_, and therefore are not privileged to poll. Their Authors
are of the same Level, fit to represent them on a Mountebank's Stage,
or to be Masters of the Ceremonies in a Bear-garden: Yet these are
they who have the most Admirers. But it often happens, to their
Mortification, that as their Readers improve their Stock of Sense, (as
they may by reading better Books, and by Conversation with Men of
Judgment) they soon forsake them.'

I [must not dismiss this Subject without [8]] observing that as Mr.
_Lock_ in the Passage above-mentioned has discovered the most fruitful
Source of Wit, so there is another of a quite contrary Nature to it,
which does likewise branch it self out into several kinds. For not only
the _Resemblance_, but the _Opposition_ of Ideas, does very often
produce Wit; as I could shew in several little Points, Turns and
Antitheses, that I may possibly enlarge upon in some future Speculation.


[Footnote 1: 'Essay concerning Human Understanding', Bk II. ch. II (p.
68 of ed. 1690; the first).]

[Footonote 2:

'If Wit has truly been defined as a Propriety of Thoughts and Words,
then that definition will extend to all sorts of Poetry... Propriety
of Thought is that Fancy which arises naturally from the Subject, or
which the Poet adapts to it. Propriety of Words is the cloathing of
these Thoughts with such Expressions as are naturally proper to them.'

Dryden's Preface to 'Albion and Albanius'.]

[Footnote 3: is]

[Footnote 4: Dominique Bouhours, a learned and accomplished Jesuit, who
died in 1702, aged 75, was a Professor of the Humanities, in Paris, till
the headaches by which he was tormented until death compelled him to
resign his chair. He was afterwards tutor to the two young Princes of
Longueville, and to the son of the minister Colbert. His best book was
translated into English in 1705, as

'The Art of Criticism: or the Method of making a Right Judgment upon
Subjects of Wit and Learning. Translated from the best Edition of the
_French_, of the Famous Father Bouhours, by a Person of Quality. In
Four Dialogues.'

Here he says:

'Truth is the first Quality, and, as it were, the foundation of
Thought; the fairest is the faultiest, or, rather, those which pass
for the fairest, are not really so, if they want this Foundation ... I
do not understand your Doctrine, replies Philanthus, and I can scarce
persuade myself that a witty Thought should be always founded on
Truth: On the contrary, I am of the opinion of a famous Critic (i.e.
Vavassor in his book on Epigrams) that Falsehood gives it often all
its Grace, and is, as it were, the Soul of it,'

&c., pp, 6, 7, and the following.]

[Footnote 5: As in the lines

_Tout doit tendre au Bon Sens: mais pour y parvenir
Le chemin est glissant et penible a tenir._

'Art. Poetique', chant 1.

And again,

_Aux depens du Bon Sens gardez de plaisanter._

'Art. Poetique', chant 3.]

[Footnote 6: Dedication of his translation of the 'AEneid' to Lord
Normanby, near the middle; when speaking of the anachronism that made
Dido and AEneas contemporaries.]

[Footnote 7: Jean Regnauld de Segrais, b. 1624, d. 1701, was of Caen,
where he was trained by Jesuits for the Church, but took to Literature,
and sought thereby to support four brothers and two sisters, reduced to
want by the dissipations of his father. He wrote, as a youth, odes,
songs, a tragedy, and part of a romance. Attracting, at the age of 20,
the attention of a noble patron, he became, in 1647, and remained for
the next 24 years, attached to the household of Mlle. de Montpensier. He
was a favoured guest among the _Precieuses_ of the _Hotel Rambouillet_,
and was styled, for his acquired air of _bon ton_, the Voiture of Caen.
In 1671 he was received by Mlle. de La Fayette. In 1676 he married a
rich wife, at Caen, his native town, where he settled and revived the
local 'Academy.' Among his works were translations into French verse of
the 'AEneid' and 'Georgics'. In the dedication of his own translation of
the 'AEneid' by an elaborate essay to Lord Normanby, Dryden refers much,
and with high respect, to the dissertation prefixed by Segrais to his
French version, and towards the end (on p. 80 where the essay occupies
100 pages), writes as above quoted. The first parenthesis is part of the

[Footnote 8: "would not break the thread of this discourse without;" and
an ERRATUM appended to the next Number says, 'for _without_ read

* * * * *

No. 63. Saturday, May 12, 1711. Addison.

'Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam
Jungere si velit et varias inducere plumas
Undique collatis membris, ut turpiter atrum
Desinat in piscem mulier formosa superne;
Spectatum admissi risum teneatis amici?
Credite, Pisones, isti tabulae fore librum
Persimilem, cujus, velut aegri somnia, vanae
Finguntur species ...'


It is very hard for the Mind to disengage it self from a Subject in
which it has been long employed. The Thoughts will be rising of
themselves from time to time, tho' we give them no Encouragement; as the
Tossings and Fluctuations of the Sea continue several Hours after the
Winds are laid.

It is to this that I impute my last Night's Dream or Vision, which
formed into one continued Allegory the several Schemes of Wit, whether
False, Mixed, or True, that have been the Subject of my late Papers.

Methoughts I was transported into a Country that was filled with
Prodigies and Enchantments, governed by the Goddess of FALSEHOOD,
entitled _the Region of False Wit_. There is nothing in the Fields, the
Woods, and the Rivers, that appeared natural. Several of the Trees
blossomed in Leaf-Gold, some of them produced Bone-Lace, and some of
them precious Stones. The Fountains bubbled in an Opera Tune, and were
filled with Stags, Wild-Boars, and Mermaids, that lived among the
Waters; at the same time that Dolphins and several kinds of Fish played
upon the Banks or took their Pastime in the Meadows. The Birds had many
of them golden Beaks, and human Voices. The Flowers perfumed the Air
with Smells of Incense, Amber-greese, and Pulvillios; [1] and were so
interwoven with one another, that they grew up in Pieces of Embroidery.
The Winds were filled with Sighs and Messages of distant Lovers. As I
was walking to and fro in this enchanted Wilderness, I could not forbear
breaking out into Soliloquies upon the several Wonders which lay before
me, when, to my great Surprize, I found there were artificial Ecchoes in
every Walk, that by Repetitions of certain Words which I spoke, agreed
with me, or contradicted me, in every thing I said. In the midst of my
Conversation with these invisible Companions, I discovered in the Centre
of a very dark Grove a monstrous Fabrick built after the _Gothick_
manner, and covered with innumerable Devices in that barbarous kind of
Sculpture. I immediately went up to it, and found it to be a kind of
Heathen Temple consecrated to the God of _Dullness_. Upon my Entrance I
saw the Deity of the Place dressed in the Habit of a Monk, with a Book
in one Hand and a Rattle in the other. Upon his right Hand was
_Industry_, with a Lamp burning before her; and on his left _Caprice_,
with a Monkey sitting on her Shoulder. Before his Feet there stood an
_Altar_ of a very odd Make, which, as I afterwards found, was shaped in
that manner to comply with the Inscription that surrounded it. Upon the
Altar there lay several Offerings of _Axes, Wings_, and _Eggs_, cut in
Paper, and inscribed with Verses. The Temple was filled with Votaries,
who applied themselves to different Diversions, as their Fancies
directed them. In one part of it I saw a Regiment of _Anagrams_, who
were continually in motion, turning to the Right or to the Left, facing
about, doubling their Ranks, shifting their Stations, and throwing
themselves into all the Figures and Countermarches of the most
changeable and perplexed Exercise.

Not far from these was a Body of _Acrosticks_, made up of very
disproportioned Persons. It was disposed into three Columns, the
Officers planting themselves in a Line on the left Hand of each Column.
The Officers were all of them at least Six Foot high, and made three
Rows of very proper Men; but the Common Soldiers, who filled up the
Spaces between the Officers, were such Dwarfs, Cripples, and Scarecrows,
that one could hardly look upon them without laughing. There were behind
the _Acrosticks_ two or three Files of _Chronograms_, which differed
only from the former, as their Officers were equipped (like the Figure
of Time) with an Hour-glass in one Hand, and a Scythe in the other, and
took their Posts promiscuously among the private Men whom they

In the Body of the Temple, and before the very Face of the Deity,
methought I saw the Phantom of _Tryphiodorus_ the _Lipogrammatist_,
engaged in a Ball with four and twenty Persons, who pursued him by Turns
thro' all the Intricacies and Labyrinths of a Country Dance, without
being able to overtake him.

Observing several to be very busie at the Western End of the _Temple_, I
inquired into what they were doing, and found there was in that Quarter
the great Magazine of _Rebus's_. These were several Things of the most
different Natures tied up in Bundles, and thrown upon one another in
heaps like Faggots. You might behold an Anchor, a Night-rail, and a
Hobby-horse bound up together. One of the Workmen seeing me very much
surprized, told me, there was an infinite deal of Wit in several of
those Bundles, and that he would explain them to me if I pleased; I
thanked him for his Civility, but told him I was in very great haste at
that time. As I was going out of the Temple, I observed in one Corner of
it a Cluster of Men and Women laughing very heartily, and diverting
themselves at a Game of _Crambo_. I heard several _Double Rhymes_ as I
passed by them, which raised a great deal of Mirth.

Not far from these was another Set of merry People engaged at a
Diversion, in which the whole Jest was to mistake one Person for
another. To give Occasion for these ludicrous Mistakes, they were
divided into Pairs, every Pair being covered from Head to Foot with the
same kind of Dress, though perhaps there was not the least Resemblance
in their Faces. By this means an old Man was sometimes mistaken for a
Boy, a Woman for a Man, and a Black-a-moor for an _European_, which very
often produced great Peals of Laughter. These I guessed to be a Party of
_Punns_. But being very desirous to get out of this World of Magick,
which had almost turned my Brain, I left the Temple, and crossed over
the Fields that lay about it with all the Speed I could make. I was not
gone far before I heard the Sound of Trumpets and Alarms, which seemed
to proclaim the March of an Enemy; and, as I afterwards found, was in
reality what I apprehended it. There appeared at a great Distance a very
shining Light, and, in the midst of it, a Person of a most beautiful
Aspect; her Name was TRUTH. On her right Hand there marched a Male
Deity, who bore several Quivers on his Shoulders,--and grasped several
Arrows in his Hand. His Name was _Wit_. The Approach of these two
Enemies filled all the Territories of _False Wit_ with an unspeakable
Consternation, insomuch that the Goddess of those Regions appeared in
Person upon her Frontiers, with the several inferior Deities, and the
different Bodies of Forces which I had before seen in the Temple, who
were now drawn up in Array, and prepared to give their Foes a warm
Reception. As the March of the Enemy was very slow, it gave time to the
several Inhabitants who bordered upon the _Regions_ of FALSEHOOD to draw
their Forces into a Body, with a Design to stand upon their Guard as
Neuters, and attend the Issue of the Combat.

I must here inform my Reader, that the Frontiers of the Enchanted
Region, which I have before described, were inhabited by the Species of
MIXED WIT, who made a very odd Appearance when they were mustered
together in an Army. There were Men whose Bodies were stuck full of
Darts, and Women whose Eyes were Burning-glasses: Men that had Hearts of
Fire, and Women that had Breasts of Snow. It would be endless to
describe several Monsters of the like Nature, that composed this great
Army; which immediately fell asunder and divided itself into two Parts,
the one half throwing themselves behind the Banners of TRUTH, and the
others behind those of FALSEHOOD.

The Goddess of FALSEHOOD was of a Gigantick Stature, and advanced some
Paces before the Front of her Army: but as the dazling Light, which
flowed from TRUTH, began to shine upon her, she faded insensibly;
insomuch that in a little Space she looked rather like an huge Phantom,
than a real Substance. At length, as the Goddess of TRUTH approached
still nearer to her, she fell away entirely, and vanished amidst the
Brightness of her Presence; so that there did not remain the least Trace
or Impression of her Figure in the Place where she had been seen.

As at the rising of the Sun the Constellations grow thin, and the Stars
go out one after another, till the whole Hemisphere is extinguished;
such was the vanishing of the Goddess: And not only of the Goddess her
self, but of the whole Army that attended her, which sympathized with
their Leader, and shrunk into Nothing, in proportion as the Goddess
disappeared. At the same time the whole Temple sunk, the Fish betook
themselves to the Streams, and the wild Beasts to the Woods: The
Fountains recovered their Murmurs, the Birds their Voices, the Trees
their Leaves, the Flowers their Scents, and the whole Face of Nature its
true and genuine Appearance. Tho' I still continued asleep, I fancied my
self as it were awakened out of a Dream, when I saw this Region of
Prodigies restored to Woods and Rivers, Fields and Meadows.

Upon the removal of that wild Scene of Wonders, which had very much
disturbed my Imagination, I took a full Survey of the Persons of WIT and
TRUTH; for indeed it was impossible to look upon the first, without
seeing the other at the same time. There was behind them a strong and
compact Body of Figures. The Genius of _Heroic Poetry_ appeared with a
Sword in her Hand, and a Lawrel on her Head. _Tragedy_ was crowned with
Cypress, and covered with Robes dipped in Blood. _Satyr_ had Smiles in
her Look, and a Dagger under her Garment. _Rhetorick_ was known by her
Thunderbolt; and _Comedy_ by her Mask. After several other Figures,
_Epigram_ marched up in the Rear, who had been posted there at the
Beginning of the Expedition, that he might not revolt to the Enemy, whom
he was suspected to favour in his Heart. I was very much awed and
delighted with the Appearance of the God of _Wit_; there was something
so amiable and yet so piercing in his Looks, as inspired me at once with
Love and Terror. As I was gazing on him, to my unspeakable Joy, he took
a Quiver of Arrows from his Shoulder, in order to make me a Present of
it; but as I was reaching out my Hand to receive it of him, I knocked it
against a Chair, and by that means awaked.


[Footnote 1: Scent bags. Ital. Polviglio; from Pulvillus, a little

* * * * *

No. 64. Monday, May 14, 1711. Steele.

'... Hic vivimus Ambitiosa
Paupertate omnes ...'


The most improper things we commit in the Conduct of our Lives, we are
led into by the Force of Fashion. Instances might be given, in which a
prevailing Custom makes us act against the Rules of Nature, Law and
common Sense: but at present I shall confine my Consideration of the
Effect it has upon Men's Minds, by looking into our Behaviour when it is
the Fashion to go into Mourning. The Custom of representing the Grief we
have for the Loss of the Dead by our Habits, certainly had its Rise from
the real Sorrow of such as were too much distressed to take the proper
Care they ought of their Dress. By Degrees it prevailed, that such as
had this inward Oppression upon their Minds, made an Apology for not
joining with the rest of the World in their ordinary Diversions, by a
Dress suited to their Condition. This therefore was at first assumed by
such only as were under real Distress; to whom it was a Relief that they
had nothing about them so light and gay as to be irksome to the Gloom
and Melancholy of their inward Reflections, or that might misrepresent
them to others. In process of Time this laudable Distinction of the
Sorrowful was lost, and Mourning is now worn by Heirs and Widows. You
see nothing but Magnificence and Solemnity in the Equipage of the
Relict, and an Air [of [1]] Release from Servitude in the Pomp of a Son
who has lost a wealthy Father. This Fashion of Sorrow is now become a
generous Part of the Ceremonial between Princes and Sovereigns, who in
the Language of all Nations are stiled Brothers to each other, and put
on the Purple upon the Death of any Potentate with whom they live in
Amity. Courtiers, and all who wish themselves such, are immediately
seized with Grief from Head to Foot upon this Disaster to their Prince;
so that one may know by the very Buckles of a Gentleman-Usher, what
Degree of Friendship any deceased Monarch maintained with the Court to
which he belongs. A good Courtier's Habit and Behaviour is
hieroglyphical on these Occasions: He deals much in Whispers, and you
may see he dresses according to the best Intelligence.

The general Affectation among Men, of appearing greater than they are,
makes the whole World run into the Habit of the Court. You see the Lady,
who the Day before was as various as a Rainbow, upon the Time appointed
for beginning to mourn, as dark as a Cloud. This Humour does not prevail
only on those whose Fortunes can support any Change in their Equipage,
not on those only whose Incomes demand the Wantonness of new
Appearances; but on such also who have just enough to cloath them. An
old Acquaintance of mine, of Ninety Pounds a Year, who has naturally the
Vanity of being a Man of Fashion deep at his Heart, is very much put to
it to bear the Mortality of Princes. He made a new black Suit upon the
Death of the King of _Spain_, he turned it for the King of _Portugal_,
and he now keeps his Chamber while it is scouring for the Emperor. [2]
He is a good Oeconomist in his Extravagance, and makes only a fresh
black Button upon his Iron-gray Suit for any Potentate of small
Territories; he indeed adds his Crape Hatband for a Prince whose
Exploits he has admired in the _Gazette_. But whatever Compliments may
be made on these Occasions, the true Mourners are the Mercers, Silkmen,
Lacemen and Milliners. A Prince of merciful and royal Disposition would
reflect with great Anxiety upon the Prospect of his Death, if he
considered what Numbers would be reduced to Misery by that Accident
only: He would think it of Moment enough to direct, that in the
Notification of his Departure, the Honour done to him might be
restrained to those of the Houshold of the Prince to whom it should be
signified. He would think a general Mourning to be in a less Degree the
same Ceremony which is practised in barbarous Nations, of killing their
Slaves to attend the Obsequies of their Kings.

I had been wonderfully at a Loss for many Months together, to guess at
the Character of a Man who came now and then to our Coffee-house: He
ever ended a News-paper with this Reflection, _Well, I see all the
Foreign Princes are in good Health_. If you asked, Pray, Sir, what says
the _Postman_ from _Vienna_? he answered, _Make us thankful, the_ German
_Princes are all well_: What does he say from _Barcelona_? _He does not
speak but that the Country agrees very well with the new Queen_. After
very much Enquiry, I found this Man of universal Loyalty was a wholesale
Dealer in Silks and Ribbons: His Way is, it seems, if he hires a Weaver,
or Workman, to have it inserted in his Articles,

'That all this shall be well and truly performed, provided no foreign
Potentate shall depart this Life within the Time above-mentioned.'

It happens in all publick Mournings, that the many Trades which depend
upon our Habits, are during that Folly either pinched with present Want,
or terrified with the apparent Approach of it. All the Atonement which
Men can make for wanton Expences (which is a sort of insulting the
Scarcity under which others labour) is, that the Superfluities of the
Wealthy give Supplies to the Necessities of the Poor: but instead of any
other Good arising from the Affectation of being in courtly Habits of
Mourning, all Order seems to be destroyed by it; and the true Honour
which one Court does to another on that Occasion, loses its Force and
Efficacy. When a foreign Minister beholds the Court of a Nation (which
flourishes in Riches and Plenty) lay aside, upon the Loss of his Master,
all Marks of Splendor and Magnificence, though the Head of such a joyful
People, he will conceive greater Idea of the Honour done his Master,
than when he sees the Generality of the People in the same Habit. When
one is afraid to ask the Wife of a Tradesman whom she has lost of her
Family; and after some Preparation endeavours to know whom she mourns
for; how ridiculous is it to hear her explain her self, That we have
lost one of the House of _Austria_! Princes are elevated so highly above
the rest of Mankind, that it is a presumptuous Distinction to take a
Part in Honours done to their Memories, except we have Authority for it,
by being related in a particular Manner to the Court which pays that
Veneration to their Friendship, and seems to express on such an Occasion
the Sense of the Uncertainty of human Life in general, by assuming the
Habit of Sorrow though in the full possession of Triumph and Royalty.


[Footnote 1: of a]

[Footnote 2: The death of Charles II of Spain, which gave occasion for
the general war of the Spanish succession, took place in 1700. John V,
King of Portugal, died in 1706, and the Emperor Joseph I died on the
17th of April, 1711, less than a month before this paper was written.
The black suit that was now 'scouring for the Emperor' was, therefore,
more than ten years old, and had been turned five years ago.]

* * * * *

No. 65. Tuesday, May 15, 1711. Steele.

'... Demetri teque Tigelli
Discipularum inter jubeo plorare cathedras.'


After having at large explained what Wit is, and described the false
Appearances of it, all that Labour seems but an useless Enquiry, without
some Time be spent in considering the Application of it. The Seat of
Wit, when one speaks as a Man of the Town and the World, is the
Play-house; I shall therefore fill this Paper with Reflections upon the
Use of it in that Place. The Application of Wit in the Theatre has as
strong an Effect upon the Manners of our Gentlemen, as the Taste of it
has upon the Writings of our Authors. It may, perhaps, look like a very
presumptuous Work, though not Foreign from the Duty of a SPECTATOR, to
tax the Writings of such as have long had the general Applause of a
Nation; But I shall always make Reason, Truth, and Nature the Measures
of Praise and Dispraise; if those are for me, the Generality of Opinion
is of no Consequence against me; if they are against me, the general
Opinion cannot long support me.

Without further Preface, I am going to look into some of our most
applauded Plays, and see whether they deserve the Figure they at present
bear in the Imagination of Men, or not.

In reflecting upon these Works, I shall chiefly dwell upon that for
which each respective Play is most celebrated. The present Paper shall
be employed upon Sir _Fopling Flutter_. [1] The received Character of
this Play is, That it is the Pattern of Genteel Comedy. _Dorimant_ and
_Harriot_ are the Characters of greatest Consequence, and if these are
Low and Mean, the Reputation of the Play is very Unjust.

I will take for granted, that a fine Gentleman should be honest in his
Actions, and refined in his Language. Instead of this, our Hero in this
Piece is a direct Knave in his Designs, and a Clown in his Language.
_Bellair_ is his Admirer and Friend; in return for which, because he is
forsooth a greater Wit than his said Friend, he thinks it reasonable to
persuade him to marry a young Lady, whose Virtue, he thinks, will last
no longer than till she is a Wife, and then she cannot but fall to his
Share, as he is an irresistible fine Gentleman. The Falshood to Mrs.
_Loveit_, and the Barbarity of Triumphing over her Anguish for losing
him, is another Instance of his Honesty, as well as his Good-nature. As
to his fine Language; he calls the Orange-Woman, who, it seems, is
inclined to grow Fat, _An Over-grown Jade, with a Flasket of Guts before
her_; and salutes her with a pretty Phrase of _How now, Double Tripe_?
Upon the mention of a Country Gentlewoman, whom he knows nothing of, (no
one can imagine why) he _will lay his Life she is some awkward
ill-fashioned Country Toad, who not having above four Dozen of Hairs on
her Head, has adorned her Baldness with a large white Fruz, that she may
look Sparkishly in the Forefront of the King's Box at an old Play_.
Unnatural Mixture of senseless Common-Place!

As to the Generosity of his Temper, he tells his poor Footman, _If he
did not wait better_--he would turn him away, in the insolent Phrase of,
_I'll uncase you_.

Now for Mrs. _Harriot_: She laughs at Obedience to an absent Mother,
whose Tenderness _Busie_ describes to be very exquisite, for _that she
is so pleased with finding_ Harriot _again, that she cannot chide her
for being out of the way_. This Witty Daughter, and fine Lady, has so
little Respect for this good Woman, that she Ridicules her Air in taking
Leave, and cries, _In what Struggle is my poor Mother yonder? See, see,
her Head tottering, her Eyes staring, and her under Lip trembling_. But
all this is atoned for, because _she has more Wit than is usual in her
Sex, and as much Malice, tho' she is as Wild as you would wish her and
has a Demureness in her Looks that makes it so surprising!_ Then to
recommend her as a fit Spouse for his Hero, the Poet makes her speak her
Sense of Marriage very ingeniously: _I think_, says she, _I might be
brought to endure him, and that is all a reasonable Woman should expect
in an Husband_. It is, methinks, unnatural that we are not made to
understand how she that was bred under a silly pious old Mother, that
would never trust her out of her sight, came to be so Polite.

It cannot be denied, but that the Negligence of every thing, which
engages the Attention of the sober and valuable Part of Mankind, appears
very well drawn in this Piece: But it is denied, that it is necessary to
the Character of a Fine Gentleman, that he should in that manner trample
upon all Order and Decency. As for the Character of _Dorimant_, it is
more of a Coxcomb than that of _Fopling_. He says of one of his
Companions, that a good Correspondence between them is their mutual
Interest. Speaking of that Friend, he declares, their being much
together _makes the Women think the better of his Understanding, and
judge more favourably of my Reputation. It makes him pass upon some for
a Man of very good Sense, and me upon others for a very civil Person_.

This whole celebrated Piece is a perfect Contradiction to good Manners,
good Sense, and common Honesty; and as there is nothing in it but what
is built upon the Ruin of Virtue and Innocence, according to the Notion
of Merit in this Comedy, I take the Shoemaker to be, in reality, the
Fine Gentleman of the Play: For it seems he is an Atheist, if we may
depend upon his Character as given by the Orange-Woman, who is her self
far from being the lowest in the Play. She says of a Fine Man who is
_Dorimant's_ Companion, There _is not such another Heathen in the Town,
except the Shoemaker_. His Pretension to be the Hero of the _Drama_
appears still more in his own Description of his way of Living with his
Lady. _There is_, says he, _never a Man in Town lives more like a
Gentleman with his Wife than I do; I never mind her Motions; she never
enquires into mine. We speak to one another civilly, hate one another
heartily; and because it is Vulgar to Lye and Soak together, we have
each of us our several Settle-Bed_. That of _Soaking together_ is as
good as if _Dorimant_ had spoken it himself; and, I think, since he puts
Human Nature in as ugly a Form as the Circumstances will bear, and is a
staunch Unbeliever, he is very much Wronged in having no part of the
good Fortune bestowed in the last Act.

To speak plainly of this whole Work, I think nothing but being lost to a
sense of Innocence and Virtue can make any one see this Comedy, without
observing more frequent Occasion to move Sorrow and Indignation, than
Mirth and Laughter. At the same time I allow it to be Nature, but it is
Nature in its utmost Corruption and Degeneracy. [2]


[Footnote 1: 'The Man of Mode', or 'Sir Fopling Flutter', by Sir George
Etherege, produced in 1676. Etherege painted accurately the life and
morals of the Restoration, and is said to have represented himself in
Bellair; Beau Hewit, the son of a Herefordshire Baronet, in Sir Fopling;
and to have formed Dorimant upon the model of the Earl of Rochester.]

[Footnote 2: To this number of the Spectator is appended the first
advertisement of Pope's 'Essay on Criticism'.

This Day is publish'd An ESSAY on CRITICISM.

Printed for W. Lewis in Russell street Covent-Garden;
and Sold by W. Taylor, at the Ship in Pater Noster Row;
T. Osborn, in Gray's Inn near the Walks;
T. Graves, in St. James's Street;
and T. Morphew, near Stationers-Hall.

Price 1s.]

* * * * *

No. 66. Wednesday, May 16, 1711. Steele.

'Motus doceri gaudet Ionicos
Matura Virgo, et fingitur artubus
Jam nunc, et incestos amores
De Tenero meditatur Ungui.'


The two following Letters are upon a Subject of very great Importance,
tho' expressed without an Air of Gravity.


SIR, I Take the Freedom of asking your Advice in behalf of a Young
Country Kinswoman of mine who is lately come to Town, and under my
Care for her Education. She is very pretty, but you can't imagine how
unformed a Creature it is. She comes to my Hands just as Nature left
her, half-finished, and without any acquired Improvements. When I look
on her I often think of the _Belle Sauvage_ mentioned in one of your
Papers. Dear _Mr_. SPECTATOR, help me to make her comprehend the
visible Graces of Speech, and the dumb Eloquence of Motion; for she is
at present a perfect Stranger to both. She knows no Way to express her
self but by her Tongue, and that always to signify her Meaning. Her
Eyes serve her yet only to see with, and she is utterly a Foreigner to
the Language of Looks and Glances. In this I fancy you could help her
better than any Body. I have bestowed two Months in teaching her to
Sigh when she is not concerned, and to Smile when she is not pleased;
and am ashamed to own she makes little or no Improvement. Then she is
no more able now to walk, than she was to go at a Year old. By Walking
you will easily know I mean that regular but easy Motion, which gives
our Persons so irresistible a Grace as if we moved to Musick, and is a
kind of disengaged Figure, or, if I may so speak, recitative Dancing.
But the want of this I cannot blame in her, for I find she has no Ear,
and means nothing by Walking but to change her Place. I could pardon
too her Blushing, if she knew how to carry her self in it, and if it
did not manifestly injure her Complexion.

They tell me you are a Person who have seen the World, and are a Judge
of fine Breeding; which makes me ambitious of some Instructions from
you for her Improvement: Which when you have favoured me with, I shall
further advise with you about the Disposal of this fair Forrester in
Marriage; for I will make it no Secret to you, that her Person and
Education are to be her Fortune.
I am, SIR,
Your very humble Servant

SIR, Being employed by _Celimene_ to make up and send to you her
Letter, I make bold to recommend the Case therein mentioned to your
Consideration, because she and I happen to differ a little in our
Notions. I, who am a rough Man, am afraid the young Girl is in a fair
Way to be spoiled: Therefore pray, Mr. SPECTATOR, let us have your
Opinion of this fine thing called _Fine Breeding_; for I am afraid it
differs too much from that plain thing called _Good Breeding_.
_Your most humble Servant_. [1]

The general Mistake among us in the Educating our Children, is, That in
our Daughters we take care of their Persons and neglect their Minds: in
our Sons we are so intent upon adorning their Minds, that we wholly
neglect their Bodies. It is from this that you shall see a young Lady
celebrated and admired in all the Assemblies about Town, when her elder
Brother is afraid to come into a Room. From this ill Management it
arises, That we frequently observe a Man's Life is half spent before he
is taken notice of; and a Woman in the Prime of her Years is out of
Fashion and neglected. The Boy I shall consider upon some other
Occasion, and at present stick to the Girl: And I am the more inclined
to this, because I have several Letters which complain to me that my
Female Readers have not understood me for some Days last past, and take
themselves to be unconcerned in the present Turn of my Writings. When a
Girl is safely brought from her Nurse, before she is capable of forming
one simple Notion of any thing in Life, she is delivered to the Hands of
her Dancing-Master; and with a Collar round her Neck, the pretty wild
Thing is taught a fantastical Gravity of Behaviour, and forced to a
particular Way of holding her Head, heaving her Breast, and moving with
her whole Body; and all this under Pain of never having an Husband, if
she steps, looks, or moves awry. This gives the young Lady wonderful
Workings of Imagination, what is to pass between her and this Husband
that she is every Moment told of, and for whom she seems to be educated.
Thus her Fancy is engaged to turn all her Endeavours to the Ornament of
her Person, as what must determine her Good and Ill in this Life; and
she naturally thinks, if she is tall enough, she is wise enough for any
thing for which her Education makes her think she is designed. To make
her an agreeable Person is the main Purpose of her Parents; to that is
all their Cost, to that all their Care directed; and from this general
Folly of Parents we owe our present numerous Race of Coquets. These
Reflections puzzle me, when I think of giving my advice on the Subject
of managing the wild Thing mentioned in the Letter of my Correspondent.
But sure there is a middle Way to be followed; the Management of a young
Lady's Person is not to be overlooked, but the Erudition of her Mind is
much more to be regarded. According as this is managed, you will see the
Mind follow the Appetites of the Body, or the Body express the Virtues
of the Mind.

_Cleomira_ dances with all the Elegance of Motion imaginable; but her
Eyes are so chastised with the Simplicity and Innocence of her Thoughts,
that she raises in her Beholders Admiration and good Will, but no loose
Hope or wild Imagination. The true Art in this Case is, To make the Mind
and Body improve together; and if possible, to make Gesture follow
Thought, and not let Thought be employed upon Gesture.


[Footnote 1: John Hughes is the author of these two letters, and,
Chalmers thinks, also of the letters signed R. B. in Nos. 33 and 53. He
was in 1711 thirty-two years old. John Hughes, the son of a citizen of
London, was born at Marlborough, educated at the private school of a
Dissenting minister, where he had Isaac Watts for schoolfellow, delicate
of health, zealous for poetry and music, and provided for by having
obtained, early in life, a situation in the Ordnance Office. He died of
consumption at the age of 40, February 17, 1719-20, on the night of the
first production of his Tragedy of 'The Siege of Damascus'. Verse of his
was in his lifetime set to music by Purcell and Handel. In 1712 an opera
of 'Calypso and Telemachus', to which Hughes wrote the words, was
produced with success at the Haymarket. In translations, in original
verse, and especially in prose, he merited the pleasant little
reputation that he earned; but his means were small until, not two years
before his death, Lord Cowper gave him the well-paid office of Secretary
to the Commissioners of the Peace. Steele has drawn the character of his
friend Hughes as that of a religious man exempt from every sensual vice,
an invalid who could take pleasure in seeing the innocent happiness of
the healthy, who was never peevish or sour, and who employed his
intervals of ease in drawing and designing, or in music and poetry.]

* * * * *

No. 67. Thursday, May 17, 1711. Budgell. [1]

'Saltare elegantius quam necesse est probae.'


Lucian, in one of his Dialogues, introduces a Philosopher chiding his
Friend for his being a Lover of Dancing, and a Frequenter of Balls. [2]
The other undertakes the Defence of his Favourite Diversion, which, he
says, was at first invented by the Goddess _Rhea_, and preserved the
Life of _Jupiter_ himself, from the Cruelty of his Father _Saturn._ He
proceeds to shew, that it had been Approved by the greatest Men in all
Ages; that _Homer_ calls _Merion_ a _Fine Dancer;_ and says, That the
graceful Mien and great Agility which he had acquired by that Exercise,
distinguished him above the rest in the Armies, both of _Greeks_ and

He adds, that _Pyrrhus_ gained more Reputation by Inventing the Dance
which is called after his Name, than by all his other Actions: That the
_Lacedaemonians_, who were the bravest People in _Greece_, gave great
Encouragement to this Diversion, and made their _Hormus_ (a Dance much
resembling the _French Brawl_) famous over all _Asia_: That there were
still extant some _Thessalian_ Statues erected to the Honour of their
best Dancers: And that he wondered how his Brother Philosopher could
declare himself against the Opinions of those two Persons, whom he
professed so much to admire, _Homer_ and _Hesiod_; the latter of which
compares Valour and Dancing together; and says, That _the Gods have
bestowed Fortitude on some Men, and on others a Disposition for

Lastly, he puts him in mind that _Socrates_, (who, in the Judgment of
_Apollo_, was the wisest of Men) was not only a professed Admirer of
this Exercise in others, but learned it himself when he was an old Man.

The Morose Philosopher is so much affected by these, and some other
Authorities, that he becomes a Convert to his Friend, and desires he
would take him with him when he went to his next Ball.

I love to shelter my self under the Examples of Great Men; and, I think,
I have sufficiently shewed that it is not below the Dignity of these my
Speculations to take notice of the following Letter, which, I suppose,
is sent me by some substantial Tradesman about _Change_.


'I am a Man in Years, and by an honest Industry in the World have
acquired enough to give my Children a liberal Education, tho' I was an
utter Stranger to it my self. My eldest Daughter, a Girl of Sixteen,
has for some time been under the Tuition of Monsieur _Rigadoon_, a
Dancing-Master in the City; and I was prevailed upon by her and her
Mother to go last Night to one of his Balls. I must own to you, Sir,
that having never been at any such Place before, I was very much
pleased and surprized with that Part of his Entertainment which he
called _French Dancing_. There were several young Men and Women, whose
Limbs seemed to have no other Motion, but purely what the Musick gave
them. After this Part was over, they began a Diversion which they call
_Country Dancing_, and wherein there were also some things not
disagreeable, and divers _Emblematical Figures_, Compos'd, as I guess,
by Wise Men, for the Instruction of Youth.

Among the rest, I observed one, which, I think, they call _Hunt the
Squirrel_, in which while the Woman flies the Man pursues her; but as
soon as she turns, he runs away, and she is obliged to follow.

The Moral of this Dance does, I think, very aptly recommend Modesty
and Discretion to the Female Sex.

But as the best Institutions are liable to Corruptions, so, Sir, I
must acquaint you, that very great Abuses are crept into this
Entertainment. I was amazed to see my Girl handed by, and handing
young Fellows with so much Familiarity; and I could not have thought
it had been in the Child. They very often made use of a most impudent
and lascivious Step called _Setting_, which I know not how to describe
to you, but by telling you that it is the very reverse of _Back to
Back_. At last an impudent young Dog bid the Fidlers play a Dance
called _Mol Patley_,[1] and after having made two or three Capers, ran
to his Partner, locked his Arms in hers, and whisked her round
cleverly above Ground in such manner, that I, who sat upon one of the
lowest Benches, saw further above her Shoe than I can think fit to
acquaint you with. I could no longer endure these Enormities;
wherefore just as my Girl was going to be made a Whirligig, I ran in,
seized on the Child, and carried her home.

Sir, I am not yet old enough to be a Fool. I suppose this Diversion
might be at first invented to keep up a good Understanding between
young Men and Women, and so far I am not against it; but I shall never
allow of these things. I know not what you will say to this Case at
present, but am sure that had you been with me you would have seen
matter of great Speculation.

I am

_Yours, &c._

I must confess I am afraid that my Correspondent had too much Reason to
be a little out of Humour at the Treatment of his Daughter, but I
conclude that he would have been much more so, had he seen one of those
_kissing Dances_ in which WILL. HONEYCOMB assures me they are obliged to
dwell almost a Minute on the Fair One's Lips, or they will be too quick
for the Musick, and dance quite out of Time.

I am not able however to give my final Sentence against this Diversion;
and am of Mr. _Cowley's_ Opinion, [4] that so much of Dancing at least
as belongs to the Behaviour and an handsome Carriage of the Body, is
extreamly useful, if not absolutely necessary.

We generally form such Ideas of People at first Sight, as we are hardly
ever persuaded to lay aside afterwards: For this Reason, a Man would
wish to have nothing disagreeable or uncomely in his Approaches, and to
be able to enter a Room with a good Grace.

I might add, that a moderate Knowledge in the little Rules of
Good-breeding gives a Man some Assurance, and makes him easie in all
Companies. For want of this, I have seen a Professor of a Liberal
Science at a Loss to salute a Lady; and a most excellent Mathematician
not able to determine whether he should stand or sit while my Lord drank
to him.

It is the proper Business of a Dancing-Master to regulate these Matters;
tho' I take it to be a just Observation, that unless you add something
of your own to what these fine Gentlemen teach you, and which they are
wholly ignorant of themselves, you will much sooner get the Character of
an Affected Fop, than of a Well-bred Man.

As for _Country Dancing_, it must indeed be confessed, that the great
Familiarities between the two Sexes on this Occasion may sometimes
produce very dangerous Consequences; and I have often thought that few
Ladies Hearts are so obdurate as not to be melted by the Charms of
Musick, the Force of Motion, and an handsome young Fellow who is
continually playing before their Eyes, and convincing them that he has
the perfect Use of all his Limbs.

But as this kind of Dance is the particular Invention of our own
Country, and as every one is more or less a Proficient in it, I would
not Discountenance it; but rather suppose it may be practised innocently
by others, as well as myself, who am often Partner to my Landlady's
Eldest Daughter.


Having heard a good Character of the Collection of Pictures which is to
be Exposed to Sale on _Friday_ next; and concluding from the following
Letter, that the Person who Collected them is a Man of no unelegant
Taste, I will be so much his Friend as to Publish it, provided the
Reader will only look upon it as filling up the Place of an

From _the three Chairs in the Piazza_, Covent-Garden.

_SIR_, _May_ 16, 1711.

'As you are SPECTATOR, I think we, who make it our Business to exhibit
any thing to publick View, ought to apply our selves to you for your
Approbation. I have travelled Europe to furnish out a Show for you,
and have brought with me what has been admired in every Country
through which I passed. You have declared in many Papers, that your
greatest Delights are those of the Eye, which I do not doubt but I
shall gratifie with as Beautiful Objects as yours ever beheld. If
Castles, Forests, Ruins, Fine Women, and Graceful Men, can please you,
I dare promise you much Satisfaction, if you will Appear at my Auction
on _Friday_ next. A Sight is, I suppose, as grateful to a SPECTATOR,
as a Treat to another Person, and therefore I hope you will pardon
this Invitation from,


Your most Obedient
Humble Servant,


[Footnote 1: Eustace Budgell, the contributor of this and of about three
dozen other papers to the _Spectator_, was, in 1711, twenty-six years
old, and by the death of his father, Gilbert Budgell, D.D., obtained, in
this year, encumbered by some debt, an income of L950. He was first
cousin to Addison, their mothers being two daughters of Dr. Nathaniel
Gulstone, and sisters to Dr. Gulstone, bishop of Bristol. He had been
sent in 1700 to Christ Church, Oxford, where he spent several years.
When, in 1709, Addison went to Dublin as secretary to Lord Wharton, in
his Irish administration, he took with him his cousin Budgell as a
private secretary. During Addison's first stay in Ireland Budgell lived
with him, and paid careful attention to his duties. To this relationship
and friendship Budgell was indebted for the insertion of papers of his
in the _Spectator_. Addison not only gratified his literary ambition,
but helped him to advancement in his service of the government. On the
accession of George I, Budgell was appointed Secretary to the Lords
Justices of Ireland and Deputy Clerk of the Council; was chosen also
Honorary Bencher of the Dublin Inns of Court and obtained a seat in the
Irish Parliament. In 1717, when Addison became Secretary of State for
Ireland, he appointed Eustace Budgell to the post of Accountant and
Comptroller-General of the Irish Revenue, which was worth nearly L400
a-year. In 1718, anger at being passed over in an appointment caused
Budgell to charge the Duke of Bolton, the newly-arrived Lord-Lieutenant,
with folly and imbecility. For this he was removed from his Irish
appointments. He then ruined his hope of patronage in England, lost
three-fourths of his fortune in the South Sea Bubble, and spent the
other fourth in a fruitless attempt to get into Parliament. While
struggling to earn bread as a writer, he took part in the publication of
Dr. Matthew Tindal's _Christianity as Old as the Creation_, and when, in
1733, Tindal died, a Will was found which, to the exclusion of a
favourite nephew, left L2100 (nearly all the property) to Budgell. The
authenticity of the Will was successfully contested, and thereby Budgell
disgraced. He retorted on Pope for some criticism upon this which he
attributed to him, and Pope wrote in the prologue to his Satires,

_Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on my quill,
And write whate'er he please,--except my Will._

At last, in May, 1737, Eustace Budgell filled his pockets with stones,
hired a boat, and drowned himself by jumping from it as it passed under
London Bridge. There was left on his writing-table at home a slip of
paper upon which he had written,

'What Cato did, and Addison approved, cannot be wrong.']

[Footnote 2: The Dialogue 'Of Dancing' between Lucian and Crato is here
quoted from a translation then just published in four volumes,

'of the Works of Lucian, translated from the Greek by several Eminent
Hands, 1711.'

The dialogue is in Vol. III, pp. 402--432, translated 'by Mr. Savage of
the Middle Temple.']

[Footnote 3: 'Moll Peatley' was a popular and vigorous dance, dating, at
least, from 1622.]

[Footnote 4: In his scheme of a College and School, published in 1661,
as 'a Proposition for the Advancement of Experimental Philosophy,' among
the ideas for training boys in the school is this, that

'in foul weather it would not be amiss for them to learn to Dance,
that is, to learn just so much (for all beyond is superfluous, if not
worse) as may give them a graceful comportment of their bodies.']

* * * * *

No. 68. Friday, May 18, 1711. Addison.

'Nos duo turba sumus ...'


One would think that the larger the Company is, in which we are engaged,
the greater Variety of Thoughts and Subjects would be started in
Discourse; but instead of this, we find that Conversation is never so
much straightened and confined as in numerous Assemblies. When a
Multitude meet together upon any Subject of Discourse, their Debates are
taken up chiefly with Forms and general Positions; nay, if we come into
a more contracted Assembly of Men and Women, the Talk generally runs
upon the Weather, Fashions, News, and the like publick Topicks. In
Proportion as Conversation gets into Clubs and Knots of Friends, it
descends into Particulars, and grows more free and communicative: But
the most open, instructive, and unreserved Discourse, is that which
passes between two Persons who are familiar and intimate Friends. On
these Occasions, a Man gives a Loose to every Passion and every Thought
that is uppermost, discovers his most retired Opinions of Persons and
Things, tries the Beauty and Strength of his Sentiments, and exposes his
whole Soul to the Examination of his Friend.

_Tully_ was the first who observed, that Friendship improves Happiness
and abates Misery, by the doubling of our Joy and dividing of our Grief;
a Thought in which he hath been followed by all the Essayers upon
Friendship, that have written since his Time. Sir _Francis Bacon_ has
finely described other Advantages, or, as he calls them, Fruits of
Friendship; and indeed there is no Subject of Morality which has been
better handled and more exhausted than this. Among the several fine
things which have been spoken of it, I shall beg leave to quote some out
of a very ancient Author, whose Book would be regarded by our Modern
Wits as one of the most shining Tracts of Morality that is extant, if it
appeared under the Name of a _Confucius_, or of any celebrated _Grecian_
Philosopher: I mean the little Apocryphal Treatise entitled, _The Wisdom
of the Son of_ Sirach. How finely has he described the Art of making
Friends, by an obliging and affable Behaviour? And laid down that
Precept which a late excellent Author has delivered as his own,

'That we should have many Well-wishers, but few 'Friends.'

_Sweet Language will multiply Friends; and a fair-speaking Tongue will
increase kind Greetings. Be in Peace with many, nevertheless have but
one Counsellor of a thousand_. [1]

With what Prudence does he caution us in the Choice of our Friends? And
with what Strokes of Nature (I could almost say of Humour) has he
described the Behaviour of a treacherous and self-interested Friend?

_If thou wouldst get a Friend, prove him first, and be not hasty to
credit him: For some Man is a Friend for his own Occasion, and will
not abide in the Day of thy Trouble. And there is a Friend, who being
turned to Enmity and Strife will discover thy Reproach_.


_Some Friend is a Companion at the Table, and will not continue in the
Day of thy Affliction: But in thy Prosperity he will be as thy self,
and will be bold over thy Servants. If thou be brought low he will be
against thee, and hide himself from thy Face._ [2]

What can be more strong and pointed than the following Verse?

_Separate thy self from thine Enemies, and take heed of thy Friends._

In the next Words he particularizes one of those Fruits of Friendship
which is described at length by the two famous Authors above-mentioned,
and falls into a general Elogium of Friendship, which is very just as
well as very sublime.

_A faithful Friend is a strong Defence; and he that hath found such an
one, hath found a Treasure. Nothing doth countervail a faithful
Friend, and his Excellency is unvaluable. A faithful Friend is the
Medicine of Life; and they that fear the Lord shall find him. Whoso
feareth the Lord shall direct his Friendship aright; for as he is, so
shall his Neighbour_ (that is, his Friend) _be also._ [3]

I do not remember to have met with any Saying that has pleased me more
than that of a Friend's being the Medicine of Life, to express the
Efficacy of Friendship in healing the Pains and Anguish which naturally
cleave to our Existence in this World; and am Wonderfully pleased with
the Turn in the last Sentence, That a virtuous Man shall as a Blessing
meet with a Friend who is as virtuous as himself. There is another
Saying in the same Author, which would have been very much admired in an
Heathen Writer;

_Forsake not an old Friend, for the new is not comparable to him: A
new Friend is as new Wine; When it is old thou shalt drink it with
Pleasure._ [4]

With what Strength of Allusion and Force of Thought, has he described
the Breaches and Violations of Friendship?

_Whoso casteth a Stone at the Birds frayeth them away; and he that
upbraideth his Friend, breaketh Friendship. Tho' thou drawest a Sword
at a Friend yet despair not, for there may be a returning to Favour:
If thou hast opened thy Mouth against thy Friend fear not, for there
may be a Reconciliation; except for Upbraiding, or Pride, or
disclosing of Secrets, or a treacherous Wound; for, for these things
every Friend will depart._ [5]

We may observe in this and several other Precepts in this Author, those
little familiar Instances and Illustrations, which are so much admired
in the moral Writings of _Horace_ and _Epictetus_. There are very
beautiful Instances of this Nature in the following Passages, which are
likewise written upon the same Subject:

_Whoso discovereth Secrets, loseth his Credit, and shall never find a
Friend to his Mind. Love thy Friend, and be faithful unto him; but if
thou bewrayest his Secrets, follow no more after him: For as a Man
hath destroyed his Enemy, so hast thou lost the Love of thy Friend; as
one that letteth a Bird go out of his Hand, so hast thou let thy
Friend go, and shalt not get him again: Follow after him no mere, for
he is too far off; he is as a Roe escaped out of the Snare. As for a
Wound it may be bound up, and after reviling there may be
Reconciliation; but he that bewrayeth Secrets, is without Hope._ [6]

Among the several Qualifications of a good Friend, this wise Man has
very justly singled out Constancy and Faithfulness as the principal: To
these, others have added Virtue, Knowledge, Discretion, Equality in Age
and Fortune, and as _Cicero_ calls it, _Morum Comitas_, a Pleasantness
of Temper. [7] If I were to give my Opinion upon such an exhausted
Subject, I should join to these other Qualifications a certain
AEquability or Evenness of Behaviour. A Man often contracts a Friendship
with one whom perhaps he does not find out till after a Year's
Conversation; when on a sudden some latent ill Humour breaks out upon
him, which he never discovered or suspected at his first entering into
an Intimacy with him. There are several Persons who in some certain
Periods of their Lives are inexpressibly agreeable, and in others as
odious and detestable. _Martial_ has given us a very pretty Picture of
one of this Species in the following Epigram:

Difficilis, facilis, jucundus, acerbus es idem,
Nec tecum possum vivere, nec sine te.

In all thy Humours, whether grave or mellow,
Thou'rt such a touchy, testy, pleasant Fellow;
Hast so much Wit, and Mirth, and Spleen about thee,
There is no living with thee, nor without thee.

It is very unlucky for a Man to be entangled in a Friendship with one,
who by these Changes and Vicissitudes of Humour is sometimes amiable and
sometimes odious: And as most Men are at some Times in an admirable
Frame and Disposition of Mind, it should be one of the greatest Tasks of
Wisdom to keep our selves well when we are so, and never to go out of
that which is the agreeable Part of our Character.


[Footnote 1: Ecclesiasticus vii. 5, 6.]

[Footnote 2: Eccles. vi. 7, and following verses.]

[Footnote 3: Eccles. vi. 15-18.]

[Footnote 4: Eccles. ix. 10.]

[Footnote 5: Eccles. ix, 20-22.]

[Footnote 6: Eccles. xxvii. 16, &c.]

[Footnote 7: Cicero 'de Amicitia', and in the 'De Officiis' he says
(Bk. II.),

'difficile dicta est, quantopere conciliet animos hominum comitas,
affabilitasque sermonia.']

* * * * *

No. 69. Saturday, May 19, 1711. Addison.

'Hic segetes, illic veniunt felicius uvae:
Arborei foetus alibi, atque injussa virescunt
Gramina. Nonne vides, croceos ut Tmolus odores,
India mittit ebur, molles sua thura Sabaei?
At Chalybes nudi ferrum, virosaque Pontus
Castorea, Eliadum palmas Epirus equarum?
Continuo has leges aeternaque foedera certis
Imposuit Natura locis ...'


There is no Place in the Town which I so much love to frequent as the
_Royal-Exchange_. It gives me a secret Satisfaction, and in some
measure, gratifies my Vanity, as I am an _Englishman_, to see so rich an
Assembly of Countrymen and Foreigners consulting together upon the
private Business of Mankind, and making this Metropolis a kind of
_Emporium_ for the whole Earth. I must confess I look upon High-Change
to be a great Council, in which all considerable Nations have their
Representatives. Factors in the Trading World are what Ambassadors are
in the Politick World; they negotiate Affairs, conclude Treaties, and
maintain a good Correspondence between those wealthy Societies of Men
that are divided from one another by Seas and Oceans, or live on the
different Extremities of a Continent. I have often been pleased to hear
Disputes adjusted between an Inhabitant of _Japan_ and an Alderman of
_London_, or to see a Subject of the _Great Mogul_ entering into a
League with one of the _Czar of Muscovy_. I am infinitely delighted in
mixing with these several Ministers of Commerce, as they are
distinguished by their different Walks and different Languages:
Sometimes I am justled among a Body of _Armenians_; Sometimes I am lost
in a Crowd of _Jews_; and sometimes make one in a Groupe of _Dutchmen_.
I am a _Dane_, _Swede_, or _Frenchman_ at different times; or rather
fancy my self like the old Philosopher, who upon being asked what
Countryman he was, replied, That he was a Citizen of the World.

Though I very frequently visit this busie Multitude of People, I am
known to no Body there but my Friend, Sir ANDREW, who often smiles upon
me as he sees me bustling in the Crowd, but at the same time connives at
my Presence without taking any further Notice of me. There is indeed a
Merchant of _Egypt_, who just knows me by sight, having formerly
remitted me some Mony to _Grand Cairo_; [1] but as I am not versed in
the Modern _Coptick_, our Conferences go no further than a Bow and a

This grand Scene of Business gives me an infinite Variety of solid and
substantial Entertainments. As I am a great Lover of Mankind, my Heart
naturally overflows with Pleasure at the sight of a prosperous and happy
Multitude, insomuch that at many publick Solemnities I cannot forbear
expressing my Joy with Tears that have stolen down my Cheeks. For this
Reason I am wonderfully delighted to see such a Body of Men thriving in
their own private Fortunes, and at the same time promoting the Publick
Stock; or in other Words, raising Estates for their own Families, by
bringing into their Country whatever is wanting, and carrying out of it
whatever is superfluous.

Nature seems to have taken a particular Care to disseminate her
Blessings among the different Regions of the World, with an Eye to this
mutual Intercourse and Traffick among Mankind, that the Natives of the
several Parts of the Globe might have a kind of Dependance upon one
another, and be united together by their common Interest. Almost every
_Degree_ produces something peculiar to it. The Food often grows in one
Country, and the Sauce in another. The Fruits of _Portugal_ are
corrected by the Products of _Barbadoes:_ The Infusion of a _China_
Plant sweetned with the Pith of an _Indian_ Cane. The _Philippick_
Islands give a Flavour to our _European_ Bowls. The single Dress of a
Woman of Quality is often the Product of a hundred Climates. The Muff
and the Fan come together from the different Ends of the Earth. The
Scarf is sent from the Torrid Zone, and the Tippet from beneath the
Pole. The Brocade Petticoat rises out of the Mines of _Peru_, and the
Diamond Necklace out of the Bowels of _Indostan_.

If we consider our own Country in its natural Prospect, without any of
the Benefits and Advantages of Commerce, what a barren uncomfortable
Spot of Earth falls to our Share! Natural Historians tell us, that no
Fruit grows Originally among us, besides Hips and Haws, Acorns and
Pig-Nutts, with other Delicates of the like Nature; That our Climate of
itself, and without the Assistances of Art, can make no further Advances
towards a Plumb than to a Sloe, and carries an Apple to no greater a
Perfection than a Crab: That [our [2]] Melons, our Peaches, our Figs,
our Apricots, and Cherries, are Strangers among us, imported in
different Ages, and naturalized in our _English_ Gardens; and that they
would all degenerate and fall away into the Trash of our own Country, if
they were wholly neglected by the Planter, and left to the Mercy of our
Sun and Soil. Nor has Traffick more enriched our Vegetable World, than
it has improved the whole Face of Nature among us. Our Ships are laden
with the Harvest of every Climate: Our Tables are stored with Spices,
and Oils, and Wines: Our Rooms are filled with Pyramids of _China_, and
adorned with the Workmanship of _Japan_: Our Morning's Draught comes to
us from the remotest Corners of the Earth: We repair our Bodies by the
Drugs of _America_, and repose ourselves under _Indian_ Canopies. My
Friend Sir ANDREW calls the Vineyards of _France_ our Gardens; the
Spice-Islands our Hot-beds; the _Persians_ our Silk-Weavers, and the
_Chinese_ our Potters. Nature indeed furnishes us with the bare
Necessaries of Life, but Traffick gives us greater Variety of what is
Useful, and at the same time supplies us with every thing that is
Convenient and Ornamental. Nor is it the least Part of this our
Happiness, that whilst we enjoy the remotest Products of the North and
South, we are free from those Extremities of Weather [which [3]] give
them Birth; That our Eyes are refreshed with the green Fields of
_Britain_, at the same time that our Palates are feasted with Fruits
that rise between the Tropicks.

For these Reasons there are no more useful Members in a Commonwealth
than Merchants. They knit Mankind together in a mutual Intercourse of
good Offices, distribute the Gifts of Nature, find Work for the Poor,
add Wealth to the Rich, and Magnificence to the Great. Our _English_
Merchant converts the Tin of his own Country into Gold, and exchanges
his Wool for Rubies. The _Mahometans_ are clothed in our _British_
Manufacture, and the Inhabitants of the frozen Zone warmed with the
Fleeces of our Sheep.

When I have been upon the _'Change_, I have often fancied one of our old
Kings standing in Person, where he is represented in Effigy, and looking
down upon the wealthy Concourse of People with which that Place is every
Day filled. In this Case, how would he be surprized to hear all the
Languages of _Europe_ spoken in this little Spot of his former
Dominions, and to see so many private Men, who in his Time would have
been the Vassals of some powerful Baron, negotiating like Princes for
greater Sums of Mony than were formerly to be met with in the Royal
Treasury! Trade, without enlarging the _British_ Territories, has given
us a kind of additional Empire: It has multiplied the Number of the
Rich, made our Landed Estates infinitely more Valuable than they were
formerly, and added to them an Accession of other Estates as Valuable as
the Lands themselves.


[Footnote 1: A reference to the Spectator's voyage to Grand Cairo
mentioned in No. 1.]

[Footnote 2: "these Fruits, in their present State, as well as our"]

[Footnote 3: that]

* * * * *

No. 70. Monday, May 21, 1711. Addison.

'Interdum vulgus rectum videt.'


When I travelled, I took a particular Delight in hearing the Songs and
Fables that are come from Father to Son, and are most in Vogue among the
common People of the Countries through which I passed; for it is
impossible that any thing should be universally tasted and approved by a
Multitude, tho' they are only the Rabble of a Nation, which hath not in
it some peculiar Aptness to please and gratify the Mind of Man. Human
Nature is the same in all reasonable Creatures; and whatever falls in
with it, will meet with Admirers amongst Readers of all Qualities and
Conditions. _Moliere_, as we are told by Monsieur _Boileau_, used to
read all his Comedies to [an [1]] old Woman [who [2]] was his
Housekeeper, as she sat with him at her Work by the Chimney-Corner; and
could foretel the Success of his Play in the Theatre, from the Reception
it met at his Fire-side: For he tells us the Audience always followed
the old Woman, and never failed to laugh in the same Place. [3]

I know nothing which more shews the essential and inherent Perfection of
Simplicity of Thought, above that which I call the Gothick Manner in
Writing, than this, that the first pleases all Kinds of Palates, and the
latter only such as have formed to themselves a wrong artificial Taste
upon little fanciful Authors and Writers of Epigram. _Homer_, _Virgil_,
or _Milton_, so far as the Language of their Poems is understood, will
please a Reader of plain common Sense, who would neither relish nor
comprehend an Epigram of _Martial_, or a Poem of _Cowley_: So, on the
contrary, an ordinary Song or Ballad that is the Delight of the common
People, cannot fail to please all such Readers as are not unqualified
for the Entertainment by their Affectation or Ignorance; and the Reason
is plain, because the same Paintings of Nature which recommend it to the
most ordinary Reader, will appear Beautiful to the most refined.

The old Song of _Chevey Chase_ is the favourite Ballad of the common
People of _England_; and _Ben Johnson_ used to say he had rather have
been the Author of it than of all his Works. Sir _Philip Sidney_ in his
'Discourse of Poetry' [4] speaks of it in the following Words;

_I never heard the old Song of_ Piercy _and_ Douglas, _that I found
not my Heart more moved than with a Trumpet; and yet it is sung by
some blind Crowder with no rougher Voice than rude Stile; which being
so evil apparelled in the Dust and Cobweb of that uncivil Age, what
would it work trimmed in the gorgeous Eloquence of_ Pindar?

For my own part I am so professed an Admirer of this antiquated Song,
that I shall give my Reader a Critick upon it, without any further
Apology for so doing.

The greatest Modern Criticks have laid it down as a Rule, that an
Heroick Poem should be founded upon some important Precept of Morality,
adapted to the Constitution of the Country in which the Poet writes.
_Homer_ and _Virgil_ have formed their Plans in this View. As _Greece_
was a Collection of many Governments, who suffered very much among
themselves, and gave the _Persian_ Emperor, who was their common Enemy,
many Advantages over them by their mutual Jealousies and Animosities,
_Homer_, in order to establish among them an Union, which was so
necessary for their Safety, grounds his Poem upon the Discords of the
several _Grecian_ Princes who were engaged in a Confederacy against an
_Asiatick_ Prince, and the several Advantages which the Enemy gained by
such their Discords. At the Time the Poem we are now treating of was
written, the Dissentions of the Barons, who were then so many petty
Princes, ran very high, whether they quarrelled among themselves, or
with their Neighbours, and produced unspeakable Calamities to the
Country: [5] The Poet, to deter Men from such unnatural Contentions,
describes a bloody Battle and dreadful Scene of Death, occasioned by the
mutual Feuds which reigned in the Families of an _English_ and _Scotch_
Nobleman: That he designed this for the Instruction of his Poem, we may
learn from his four last Lines, in which, after the Example of the
modern Tragedians, he draws from it a Precept for the Benefit of his

_God save the King, and bless the Land
In Plenty, Joy, and Peace;
And grant henceforth that foul Debate
'Twixt Noblemen may cease._

The next Point observed by the greatest Heroic Poets, hath been to
celebrate Persons and Actions which do Honour to their Country: Thus
_Virgil's_ Hero was the Founder of _Rome_, _Homer's_ a Prince of
_Greece_; and for this Reason _Valerius Flaccus_ and _Statius_, who were
both _Romans_, might be justly derided for having chosen the Expedition
of the _Golden Fleece_, and the _Wars of Thebes_ for the Subjects of
their Epic Writings.

The Poet before us has not only found out an Hero in his own Country,
but raises the Reputation of it by several beautiful Incidents. The
_English_ are the first [who [6]] take the Field, and the last [who [7]]
quit it. The _English_ bring only Fifteen hundred to the Battle, the
_Scotch_ Two thousand. The _English_ keep the Field with Fifty three:
The _Scotch_ retire with Fifty five: All the rest on each side being
slain in Battle. But the most remarkable Circumstance of this kind, is
the different Manner in which the _Scotch_ and _English_ Kings [receive
[8]] the News of this Fight, and of the great Men's Deaths who commanded
in it.

_This News was brought to_ Edinburgh,
_Where_ Scotland's _King did reign,
That brave Earl_ Douglas _suddenly
Was with an Arrow slain.

O heavy News, King James did say,_
Scotland _can Witness be,
I have not any Captain more
Of such Account as he.

Like Tydings to King_ Henry _came
Within as short a Space,
That_ Piercy _of_ Northumberland
_Was slain in_ Chevy-Chase.

_Now God be with him, said our King,
Sith 'twill no better be,
I trust I have within my Realm
Five hundred as good as he.

Yet shall not_ Scot _nor_ Scotland _say
But I will Vengeance take,
And be revenged on them all
For brave Lord_ Piercy's _Sake.

This Vow full well the King performed
After on_ Humble-down,
_In one Day fifty Knights were slain,
With Lords of great Renown.

And of the rest of small Account
Did many Thousands dye,_ &c.

At the same time that our Poet shews a laudable Partiality to his
Countrymen, he represents the _Scots_ after a Manner not unbecoming so
bold and brave a People.

_Earl Douglas on a milk-white Steed,
Most like a Baron bold,
Rode foremost of the Company
Whose Armour shone like Gold_.

His Sentiments and Actions are every Way suitable to an Hero. One of us
two, says he, must dye: I am an Earl as well as your self, so that you
can have no Pretence for refusing the Combat: However, says he, 'tis
Pity, and indeed would be a Sin, that so many innocent Men should perish
for our sakes, rather let you and I end our Quarrel [in single Fight.

_Ere thus I will out-braved be,
One of us two shall dye;
I know thee well, an Earl thou art,
Lord Piercy, so am I.

But trust me_, Piercy, _Pity it were,
And great Offence, to kill
Any of these our harmless Men,
For they have done no Ill.

Let thou and I the Battle try,
And set our Men aside;
Accurst be he, Lord_ Piercy _said,
By whom this is deny'd_.

When these brave Men had distinguished themselves in the Battle and a
single Combat with each other, in the Midst of a generous Parly, full of
heroic Sentiments, the _Scotch_ Earl falls; and with his dying Words
encourages his Men to revenge his Death, representing to them, as the
most bitter Circumstance of it, that his Rival saw him fall.

_With that there came an Arrow keen
Out of an_ English _Bow,
Which struck Earl_ Douglas _to the Heart
A deep and deadly Blow.

Who never spoke more Words than these,
Fight on, my merry Men all,
For why, my Life is at an End,
Lord_ Piercy sees _my Fall.

_Merry Men_, in the Language of those Times, is no more than a cheerful
Word for Companions and Fellow-Soldiers. A Passage in the Eleventh Book
of _Virgil's AEneid_ is very much to be admired, where _Camilla_ in her
last Agonies instead of weeping over the Wound she had received, as one
might have expected from a Warrior of her Sex, considers only (like the
Hero of whom we are now speaking) how the Battle should be continued
after her Death.

_Tum sic exspirans_, &c.

_A gathering Mist overclouds her chearful Eyes;
And from her Cheeks the rosie Colour flies.
Then turns to her, whom, of her Female Train,
She trusted most, and thus she speaks with Pain.
Acca, 'tis past! He swims before my Sight,
Inexorable Death; and claims his Right.
Bear my last Words to Turnus, fly with Speed,
And bid him timely to my Charge succeed;
Repel the Trojans, and the Town relieve:
Farewel_ ...

_Turnus_ did not die in so heroic a Manner; tho' our Poet seems to
have had his Eye upon _Turnus's_ Speech in the last Verse,

_Lord Piercy sees my Fall.
... Vicisti, et victum tendere palmas
Ausonii videre_ ...

Earl _Piercy's_ Lamentation over his Enemy is generous, beautiful, and
passionate; I must only caution the Reader not to let the Simplicity of
the Stile, which one may well pardon in so old a Poet, prejudice him
against the Greatness of the Thought.

_Then leaving Life, Earl Piercy took
The dead Man by the Hand,
And said, Earl Douglas, for thy Life
Would I had lost my Land.

O Christ! my very heart doth bleed
With Sorrow for thy Sake;
For sure a more renowned Knight
Mischance did never take_.

That beautiful Line, _Taking the dead Man by the Hand_, will put the
Reader in mind of _AEneas's_ Behaviour towards _Lausus_, whom he himself
had slain as he came to the Rescue of his aged Father.

_At vero ut vultum vidit morientis, et ora,
Ora modis Anchisiades, pallentia miris;
Ingemuit, miserans graviter, dextramque tetendit, &c.

The pious Prince beheld young Lausus dead;
He grieved, he wept; then grasped his Hand, and said,
Poor hapless Youth! What Praises can be paid
To worth so great ..._

I shall take another Opportunity to consider the other Part of this old

[Footnote 1: a little]

[Footnote 2: that]

[Footnote 3: Besides the old woman, Moliere is said to have relied on
the children of the Comedians, read his pieces to them, and corrected
passages at which they did not show themselves to be amused.]

[Footnote 4: 'Defence of Poesy'.]

[Footnote 5: The author of Chevy Chase was not contemporary with the
dissensions of the Barons, even if the ballad of the 'Hunting of the
Cheviot' was a celebration of the Battle of Otterbourne, fought in 1388,
some 30 miles from Newcastle. The battle of Chevy Chase, between the
Percy and the Douglas, was fought in Teviotdale, and the ballad which
moved Philip Sidney's heart was written in the fifteenth century. It may
have referred to a Battle of Pepperden, fought near the Cheviot Hills,
between the Earl of Northumberland and Earl William Douglas of Angus, in
1436. The ballad quoted by Addison is not that of which Sidney spoke,
but a version of it, written after Sidney's death, and after the best
plays of Shakespeare had been written.]

[Footnote 6: that]

[Footnote 7: that]

[Footnote 8: received]

[Footnote 9: by a single Combat.]

* * * * *

No. 71. Tuesday, May 22, 1711. Steele.

'... Scribere jussit Amor.'


The entire Conquest of our Passions is so difficult a Work, that they
who despair of it should think of a less difficult Task, and only
attempt to Regulate them. But there is a third thing which may
contribute not only to the Ease, but also to the Pleasure of our Life;
and that is refining our Passions to a greater Elegance, than we receive
them from Nature. When the Passion is Love, this Work is performed in
innocent, though rude and uncultivated Minds, by the mere Force and
Dignity of the Object. There are Forms which naturally create Respect in
the Beholders, and at once Inflame and Chastise the Imagination. Such an
Impression as this gives an immediate Ambition to deserve, in order to
please. This Cause and Effect are beautifully described by Mr.
_Dryden_ in the Fable of _Cymon_ and _Iphigenia_. After
he has represented _Cymon_ so stupid, that

_He Whistled as he went, for want of Thought_,

he makes him fall into the following Scene, and shews its Influence upon
him so excellently, that it appears as Natural as Wonderful.

_It happen'd on a Summer's Holiday,
That to the Greenwood-shade he took his Way;
His Quarter-staff, which he cou'd ne'er forsake,
Hung half before, and half behind his Back.
He trudg'd along unknowing what he sought,
And whistled as he went, for want of Thought.

By Chance conducted, or by Thirst constrain'd,
The deep recesses of the Grove he gain'd;
Where in a Plain, defended by the Wood,
Crept thro' the matted Grass a Crystal Flood,
By which an Alabaster Fountain stood:
And on the Margin of the Fount was laid,
(Attended by her Slaves) a sleeping Maid,
Like_ Dian, _and her Nymphs, when, tir'd with Sport,
To rest by cool_ Eurotas _they resort:
The Dame herself the Goddess well expressed,
Not more distinguished by her Purple Vest,
Than by the charming Features of her Face,
And even in Slumber a superior Grace:
Her comely Limbs composed with decent Care,
Her Body shaded with a slight Cymarr;
Her Bosom to the View was only bare_:[1]


_The fanning Wind upon her Bosom blows,
To meet the fanning Wind the Bosom rose;
The fanning Wind and purling Streams continue her Repose.

The Fool of Nature stood with stupid Eyes
And gaping Mouth, that testify'd Surprize,
Fix'd on her Face, nor could remove his Sight,
New as he was to Love, and Novice in Delight:
Long mute he stood, and leaning on his Staff,
His Wonder witness'd with an Idiot Laugh;
Then would have spoke, but by his glimmering Sense
First found his want of Words, and fear'd Offence:
Doubted for what he was he should be known,
By his Clown-Accent, and his Country Tone_.

But lest this fine Description should be excepted against, as the
Creation of that great Master, Mr. _Dryden_, and not an Account of what
has really ever happened in the World; I shall give you, _verbatim_, the
Epistle of an enamoured Footman in the Country to his Mistress. [2]
Their Sirnames shall not be inserted, because their Passion demands a
greater Respect than is due to their Quality. _James_ is Servant in a
great Family, and Elizabeth waits upon the Daughter of one as numerous,
some Miles off of her Lover. _James_, before he beheld _Betty_, was vain
of his Strength, a rough Wrestler, and quarrelsome Cudgel-Player;
_Betty_ a Publick Dancer at Maypoles, a Romp at Stool-Ball: He always
following idle Women, she playing among the Peasants: He a Country
Bully, she a Country Coquet. But Love has made her constantly in her
Mistress's Chamber, where the young Lady gratifies a secret Passion of
her own, by making _Betty_ talk of _James_; and _James_ is become a
constant Waiter near his Master's Apartment, in reading, as well as he
can, Romances. I cannot learn who _Molly_ is, who it seems walked Ten
Mile to carry the angry Message, which gave Occasion to what follows.


_My Dear Betty_, May 14, 1711.

Remember your bleeding Lover,
who lies bleeding at the ...
_Where two beginning Paps were scarcely spy'd,
For yet their Places were but signify'd_.

Wounds _Cupid_ made with the Arrows he borrowed at the Eyes of _Venus_,
which is your sweet Person.

Nay more, with the Token you sent me for my Love and Service offered
to your sweet Person; which was your base Respects to my ill
Conditions; when alas! there is no ill Conditions in me, but quite
contrary; all Love and Purity, especially to your sweet Person; but
all this I take as a Jest.

But the sad and dismal News which _Molly_ brought me, struck me to the
Heart, which was, it seems, and is your ill Conditions for my Love and
Respects to you.

For she told me, if I came Forty times to you, you would not speak
with me, which Words I am sure is a great Grief to me.

Now, my Dear, if I may not be permitted to your sweet Company, and to
have the Happiness of speaking with your sweet Person, I beg the
Favour of you to accept of this my secret Mind and Thoughts, which
hath so long lodged in my Breast; the which if you do not accept, I
believe will go nigh to break my Heart.

For indeed, my Dear, I Love you above all the Beauties I ever saw in
all my Life.

The young Gentleman, and my Masters Daughter, the _Londoner_ that is
come down to marry her, sat in the Arbour most part of last Night. Oh!
dear _Betty_, must the Nightingales sing to those who marry for Mony,
and not to us true Lovers! Oh my dear _Betty_, that we could meet this
Night where we used to do in the Wood!

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