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The Spectator, Volume 1 by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

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talking to himself. Instead of Snuff-boxes and Canes, which are the
usual Helps to Discourse with other young Fellows, these have each some
Piece of Ribbon, a broken Fan, or an old Girdle, which they play with
while they talk of the fair Person remember'd by each respective Token.
According to the Representation of the Matter from my Letters, the
Company appear like so many Players rehearsing behind the Scenes; one is
sighing and lamenting his Destiny in beseeching Terms, another declaring
he will break his Chain, and another in dumb-Show, striving to express
his Passion by his Gesture. It is very ordinary in the Assembly for one
of a sudden to rise and make a Discourse concerning his Passion in
general, and describe the Temper of his Mind in such a Manner, as that
the whole Company shall join in the Description, and feel the Force of
it. In this Case, if any Man has declared the Violence of his Flame in
more pathetick Terms, he is made President for that Night, out of
respect to his superior Passion.

We had some Years ago in this Town a Set of People who met and dressed
like Lovers, and were distinguished by the Name of the _Fringe-Glove
Club_; but they were Persons of such moderate Intellects even before
they were impaired by their Passion, that their Irregularities could not
furnish sufficient Variety of Folly to afford daily new Impertinencies;
by which Means that Institution dropp'd. These Fellows could express
their Passion in nothing but their Dress; but the _Oxonians_ are
Fantastical now they are Lovers, in proportion to their Learning and
Understanding before they became such. The Thoughts of the ancient Poets
on this agreeable Phrenzy, are translated in honour of some modern
Beauty; and _Chloris_ is won to Day, by the same Compliment that was
made to _Lesbia_ a thousand Years ago. But as far as I can learn, the
Patron of the Club is the renowned Don _Quixote_. The Adventures of that
gentle Knight are frequently mention'd in the Society, under the colour
of Laughing at the Passion and themselves: But at the same Time, tho'
they are sensible of the Extravagancies of that unhappy Warrior, they do
not observe, that to turn all the Reading of the best and wisest
Writings into Rhapsodies of Love, is a Phrenzy no less diverting than
that of the aforesaid accomplish'd _Spaniard_. A Gentleman who, I hope,
will continue his Correspondence, is lately admitted into the
Fraternity, and sent me the following Letter.


'Since I find you take Notice of Clubs, I beg Leave to give you an
Account of one in _Oxford_, which you have no where mention'd, and
perhaps never heard of. We distinguish our selves by the Title of the
_Amorous Club_, are all Votaries of _Cupid_, and Admirers of the Fair
Sex. The Reason that we are so little known in the World, is the
Secrecy which we are obliged to live under in the University. Our
Constitution runs counter to that of the Place wherein we live: For in
Love there are no Doctors, and we all profess so high Passion, that we
admit of no Graduates in it. Our Presidentship is bestow'd according
to the Dignity of Passion; our Number is unlimited; and our Statutes
are like those of the Druids, recorded in our own Breasts only, and
explained by the Majority of the Company. A Mistress, and a Poem in
her Praise, will introduce any Candidate: Without the latter no one
can be admitted; for he that is not in love enough to rhime, is
unqualified for our Society. To speak disrespectfully of any Woman, is
Expulsion from our gentle Society. As we are at present all of us
Gown-men, instead of duelling when we are Rivals, we drink together
the Health of our Mistress. The Manner of doing this sometimes indeed
creates Debates; on such Occasions we have Recourse to the Rules of
Love among the Antients.

'Naevia sex Cyathis, septem Justina bibatur.'

This Method of a Glass to every Letter of her Name, occasioned the
other Night a Dispute of some Warmth. A young Student, who is in Love
with Mrs. _Elizabeth Dimple_, was so unreasonable as to begin her
Health under the Name of _Elizabetha_; which so exasperated the Club,
that by common Consent we retrenched it to _Betty_. We look upon a Man
as no Company, that does not sigh five times in a Quarter of an Hour;
and look upon a Member as very absurd, that is so much himself as to
make a direct Answer to a Question. In fine, the whole Assembly is
made up of absent Men, that is, of such Persons as have lost their
Locality, and whose Minds and Bodies never keep Company with one
another. As I am an unfortunate Member of this distracted Society, you
cannot expect a very regular Account of it; for which Reason, I hope
you will pardon me that I so abruptly subscribe my self,


Your most obedient,

humble Servant,

T. B.

I forgot to tell you, that _Albina_, who has six Votaries in this
Club, is one of your Readers.'


[Footnote 1: To this number of the Spectator was added in the original
daily issue an announcement of six places at which were to be sold
'Compleat Setts of this Paper for the Month of March.']

* * * * *

No. 31. Thursday, April 5, 1711. Addison.

'Sit mihi fas audita loqui!'


Last Night, upon my going into a Coffee-House not far from the
_Hay-Market_ Theatre, I diverted my self for above half an Hour with
overhearing the Discourse of one, who, by the Shabbiness of his Dress,
the Extravagance of his Conceptions, and the Hurry of his Speech, I
discovered to be of that Species who are generally distinguished by the
Title of Projectors. This Gentleman, for I found he was treated as such
by his Audience, was entertaining a whole Table of Listners with the
Project of an Opera, which he told us had not cost him above two or
three Mornings in the Contrivance, and which he was ready to put in
Execution, provided he might find his Account in it. He said, that he
had observed the great Trouble and Inconvenience which Ladies were at,
in travelling up and down to the several Shows that are exhibited in
different Quarters of the Town. The dancing Monkies are in one place;
the Puppet-Show in another; the Opera in a third; not to mention the
Lions, that are almost a whole Day's Journey from the Politer Part of
the Town. By this means People of Figure are forced to lose half the
Winter after their coming to Town, before they have seen all the strange
Sights about it. In order to remedy this great Inconvenience, our
Projector drew out of his Pocket the Scheme of an Opera, Entitled, _The
Expedition of Alexander the Great_; in which he had disposed of all the
remarkable Shows about Town, among the Scenes and Decorations of his
Piece. The Thought, he confessed, was not originally his own, but that
he had taken the Hint of it from several Performances which he had seen
upon our Stage: In one of which there was a Rary-Show; in another, a
Ladder-dance; and in others a Posture-man, a moving Picture, with many
Curiosities of the like nature.

This _Expedition of Alexander_ opens with his consulting the oracle at
_Delphos_, in which the dumb Conjuror, who has been visited by so many
Persons of Quality of late Years, is to be introduced as telling him his
Fortune; At the same time _Clench_ of _Barnet_ is represented in another
Corner of the Temple, as ringing the Bells of _Delphos_, for joy of his
arrival. The Tent of _Darius_ is to be Peopled by the Ingenious Mrs.
_Salmon_, [1] where Alexander is to fall in Love with a Piece of
Wax-Work, that represents the beautiful _Statira_. When Alexander comes
into that Country, in which _Quintus Curtius_ tells us the Dogs were so
exceeding fierce that they would not loose their hold, tho' they were
cut to pieces Limb by Limb, and that they would hang upon their Prey by
their Teeth when they had nothing but a Mouth left, there is to be a
scene of _Hockley in the Hole_, [2] in which is to be represented all
the Diversions of that Place, the Bull-baiting only excepted, which
cannot possibly be exhibited in the Theatre, by Reason of the Lowness of
the Roof. The several Woods in _Asia_, which _Alexander_ must be
supposed to pass through, will give the Audience a Sight of Monkies
dancing upon Ropes, with many other Pleasantries of that ludicrous
Species. At the same time, if there chance to be any Strange Animals in
Town, whether Birds or Beasts, they may be either let loose among the
Woods, or driven across the Stage by some of the Country People of
_Asia_. In the last great Battel, Pinkethman [3] is to personate King
_Porus_ upon an _Elephant_, and is to be encountered by _Powell_ [4]
representing _Alexander_ the Great upon a Dromedary, which nevertheless
Mr. _Powell_ is desired to call by the Name of _Bucephalus_. Upon the
Close of this great decisive Battel, when the two Kings are thoroughly
reconciled, to shew the mutual Friendship and good Correspondence that
reigns between them, they both of them go together to a Puppet-Show, in
which the ingenious Mr. _Powell, junior_ [5] may have an Opportunity of
displaying his whole Art of Machinery, for the Diversion of the two
Monarchs. Some at the Table urged that a Puppet-Show was not a suitable
Entertainment for _Alexander_ the Great; and that it might be introduced
more properly, if we suppose the Conqueror touched upon that part of
_India_ which is said to be inhabited by the Pigmies. But this Objection
was looked upon as frivolous, and the Proposal immediately over-ruled.
Our Projector further added, that after the Reconciliation of these two
Kings they might invite one another to Dinner, and either of them
entertain his Guest with the _German Artist_, Mr. _Pinkethman's_ Heathen
Gods, [6] or any of the like Diversions, which shall then chance to be
in vogue.

This Project was receiv'd with very great Applause by the whole Table.
Upon which the Undertaker told us, that he had not yet communicated to
us above half his Design; for that _Alexander_ being a _Greek_, it was
his Intention that the whole Opera should be acted in that Language,
which was a Tongue he was sure would wonderfully please the Ladies,
especially when it was a little raised and rounded by the _Ionick_
Dialect; and could not but be [acceptable [8]] to the whole Audience,
because there are fewer of them who understand _Greek_ than _Italian_.
The only Difficulty that remained, was, how to get Performers, unless we
could persuade some Gentlemen of the Universities to learn to sing, in
order to qualify themselves for the Stage; but this Objection soon
vanished, when the Projector informed us that the _Greeks_ were at
present the only Musicians in the _Turkish_ Empire, and that it would be
very easy for our Factory at _Smyrna_ to furnish us every Year with a
Colony of Musicians, by the Opportunity of the _Turkey_ Fleet; besides,
says he, if we want any single Voice for any lower Part in the Opera,
_Lawrence_ can learn to speak _Greek_, as well as he does _Italian_, in
a Fortnight's time.

The Projector having thus settled Matters, to the good liking of all
that heard him, he left his Seat at the Table, and planted himself
before the Fire, where I had unluckily taken my Stand for the
Convenience of over-hearing what he said. Whether he had observed me to
be more attentive than ordinary, I cannot tell, but he had not stood by
me above a Quarter of a Minute, but he turned short upon me on a sudden,
and catching me by a Button of my Coat, attacked me very abruptly after
the following manner.

Besides, Sir, I have heard of a very extraordinary Genius for Musick
that lives in _Switzerland_, who has so strong a Spring in his
Fingers, that he can make the Board of an Organ sound like a Drum, and
if I could but procure a Subscription of about Ten Thousand Pound
every Winter, I would undertake to fetch him over, and oblige him by
Articles to set every thing that should be sung upon the _English_

After this he looked full in my Face, expecting I would make an Answer,
when by good Luck, a Gentleman that had entered the Coffee-house since
the Projector applied himself to me, hearing him talk of his _Swiss_
Compositions, cry'd out with a kind of Laugh,

Is our Musick then to receive further Improvements from _Switzerland!_

This alarmed the Projector, who immediately let go my Button, and turned
about to answer him. I took the Opportunity of the Diversion, which
seemed to be made in favour of me, and laying down my Penny upon the
Bar, retired with some Precipitation.


[Footnote 1: An advertisement of Mrs. Salmon's wax-work in the 'Tatler'
for Nov. 30, 1710, specifies among other attractions the Turkish
Seraglio in wax-work, the Fatal Sisters that spin, reel, and cut the
thread of man's life, 'an Old Woman flying from Time, who shakes his
head and hour-glass with sorrow at seeing age so unwilling to die.
Nothing but life can exceed the motions of the heads, hands, eyes, &c.,
of these figures, &c.']

[Footnote 2: Hockley-in-the-Hole, memorable for its Bear Garden, was on
the outskirt of the town, by Clerkenwell Green; with Mutton Lane on the
East and the fields on the West. By Town's End Lane (called Coppice Row
since the levelling of the coppice-crowned knoll over which it ran)
through Pickled-Egg Walk (now Crawford's Passage) one came to
Hockley-in-the-Hole or Hockley Hole, now Ray Street. The leveller has
been at work upon the eminences that surrounded it. In Hockley Hole,
dealers in rags and old iron congregated. This gave it the name of Rag
Street, euphonized into Ray Street since 1774. In the _Spectator's_
time its Bear Garden, upon the site of which there are now metal works,
was a famous resort of the lowest classes. 'You must go to
Hockley-in-the-Hole, child, to learn valour,' says Mr. Peachum to Filch
in the _Beggar's Opera_.]

[Footnote 3: William Penkethman was a low comedian dear to the gallery
at Drury Lane as 'Pinkey,' very popular also as a Booth Manager at
Bartholomew Fair. Though a sour critic described him as 'the Flower of
Bartholomew Fair and the Idol of the Rabble; a Fellow that overdoes
everything, and spoils many a Part with his own Stuff,' the _Spectator_
has in another paper given honourable fame to his skill as a comedian.
Here there is but the whimsical suggestion of a favourite showman and
low comedian mounted on an elephant to play King Porus.]

[Footnote 4: George Powell, who in 1711 and 1712 appeared in such
characters as Falstaff, Lear, and Cortez in 'the Indian Emperor,' now
and then also played the part of the favourite stage hero, Alexander the
Great in Lee's _Rival Queens_. He was a good actor, spoilt by
intemperance, who came on the stage sometimes warm with Nantz brandy,
and courted his heroines so furiously that Sir John Vanbrugh said they
were almost in danger of being conquered on the spot. His last new part
of any note was in 1713, Portius in Addison's Cato. He lived on for a
few wretched years, lost to the public, but much sought by sheriff's

[Footnote 5: 'Powell junior' of the Puppet Show (see note [Footnote 2 of
No. 14], p. 59, _ante_) was a more prosperous man than his namesake of
Drury Lane. In De Foe's 'Groans of Great Britain,' published in 1813, we

'I was the other Day at a Coffee-House when the following
Advertisement was thrown in.--_At_ Punch's _Theatre in the Little
Piazza, Covent-Garden, this present Evening will be performed an
Entertainment, called,_ The History of Sir Richard Whittington,
_shewing his Rise from a Scullion to be Lord-Mayor of London, with the
Comical Humours of Old Madge, the jolly Chamber-Maid, and the
Representation of the Sea, and the Court of Great Britain, concluding
with the Court of Aldermen, and_ Whittington _Lord-Mayor, honoured
with the Presence of K. Hen. VIII. and his Queen Anna Bullen, with
other diverting Decorations proper to the Play, beginning at 6
o'clock_. Note, _No money to be returned after the Entertainment is
begun._ Boxes, 2s. Pit, 1s. _Vivat Regina_.

On enquiring into the Matter, I find this has long been a noble
Diversion of our Quality and Gentry; and that Mr. Powell, by
Subscriptions and full Houses, has gathered such Wealth as is ten
times sufficient to buy all the Poets in England; that he seldom goes
out without his Chair, and thrives on this incredible Folly to that
degree, that, were he a Freeman, he might hope that some future
Puppet-Show might celebrate his being Lord Mayor, as he has done Sir
R. Whittington.']

[Footnote 6:

'Mr. Penkethman's Wonderful Invention call'd the Pantheon: or, the
Temple of the Heathen Gods. The Work of several Years, and great
Expense, is now perfected; being a most surprising and magnificent
Machine, consisting of 5 several curious Pictures, the Painting and
contrivance whereof is beyond Expression Admirable. The Figures, which
are above 100, and move their Heads, Legs, Arms, and Fingers, so
exactly to what they perform, and setting one Foot before another,
like living Creatures, that it justly deserves to be esteem'd the
greatest Wonder of the Age. To be seen from 10 in the Morning till 10
at Night, in the Little Piazza, Covent Garden, in the same House where
Punch's Opera is. Price 1s. 6d., 1s., and the lowest, 6d.'

This Advertisement was published in 46 and a few following numbers of
the _Spectator_.]

[Footnote 7: wonderfully acceptable]

[Footnote 8: The satire is against Heidegger. See note [Footnote 1 of
No. 14], p. 56, _ante_.]

* * * * *

No. 32. Friday, April 6, 1711. Steele.

'Nil illi larva aut tragicis opus esse Cothurnis.'


The late Discourse concerning the Statutes of the _Ugly-Club_,
having been so well received at _Oxford_, that, contrary to the
strict Rules of the Society, they have been so partial as to take my own
Testimonial, and admit me into that select Body; I could not restrain
the Vanity of publishing to the World the Honour which is done me. It is
no small Satisfaction, that I have given Occasion for the President's
shewing both his Invention and Reading to such Advantage as my
Correspondent reports he did: But it is not to be doubted there were
many very proper Hums and Pauses in his Harangue, which lose their
Ugliness in the Narration, and which my Correspondent (begging his
Pardon) has no very good Talent at representing. I very much approve of
the Contempt the Society has of Beauty: Nothing ought to be laudable in
a Man, in which his Will is not concerned; therefore our Society can
follow Nature, and where she has thought fit, as it were, to mock
herself, we can do so too, and be merry upon the Occasion.


'Your making publick the late Trouble I gave you, you will find to
have been the Occasion of this: Who should I meet at the Coffee-house
Door t'other Night, but my old Friend Mr. President? I saw somewhat
had pleased him; and as soon as he had cast his Eye upon me,

"Oho, Doctor, rare News from _London_, (says he); the SPECTATOR has
made honourable Mention of the Club (Man) and published to the World
his sincere Desire to be a Member, with a recommendatory Description
of his Phiz: And tho' our Constitution has made no particular
Provision for short Faces, yet, his being an extraordinary Case, I
believe we shall find an Hole for him to creep in at; for I assure
you he is not against the Canon; and if his Sides are as compact as
his Joles, he need not disguise himself to make one of us."

I presently called for the Paper to see how you looked in Print; and
after we had regaled our selves a while upon the pleasant Image of our
Proselite, Mr. President told me I should be his Stranger at the next
Night's Club: Where we were no sooner come, and Pipes brought, but Mr.
President began an Harangue upon your Introduction to my Epistle;
setting forth with no less Volubility of Speech than Strength of
Reason, "That a Speculation of this Nature was what had been long and
much wanted; and that he doubted not but it would be of inestimable
Value to the Publick, in reconciling even of Bodies and Souls; in
composing and quieting the Minds of Men under all corporal
Redundancies, Deficiencies, and Irregularities whatsoever; and making
every one sit down content in his own Carcase, though it were not
perhaps so mathematically put together as he could wish." And again,
"How that for want of a due Consideration of what you first advance,
_viz._ that our Faces are not of our own choosing, People had been
transported beyond all good Breeding, and hurried themselves into
unaccountable and fatal Extravagancies: As, how many impartial
Looking-Glasses had been censured and calumniated, nay, and sometimes
shivered into ten thousand Splinters, only for a fair Representation
of the Truth? How many Headstrings and Garters had been made
accessory, and actually forfeited, only because Folks must needs
quarrel with their own Shadows? And who (continues he) but is deeply
sensible, that one great Source of the Uneasiness and Misery of human
Life, especially amongst those of Distinction, arises from nothing in
the World else, but too severe a Contemplation of an indefeasible
Contexture of our external Parts, or certain natural and invincible
Disposition to be fat or lean? When a little more of Mr. SPECTATOR'S
Philosophy would take off all this; and in the mean time let them
observe, that there's not one of their Grievances of this Sort, but
perhaps in some Ages of the World has been highly in vogue; and may be
so again, nay, in some Country or other ten to one is so at this Day.
My Lady _Ample_ is the most miserable Woman in the World, purely of
her own making: She even grudges her self Meat and Drink, for fear she
should thrive by them; and is constantly crying out, In a Quarter of a
Year more I shall be quite out of all manner of Shape! Now [the[1]]
Lady's Misfortune seems to be only this, that she is planted in a
wrong Soil; for, go but t'other Side of the Water, it's a Jest at
_Harlem_ to talk of a Shape under eighteen Stone. These wise Traders
regulate their Beauties as they do their Butter, by the Pound; and
Miss _Cross_, when she first arrived in the _Low-Countries_, was not
computed to be so handsom as Madam _Van Brisket_ by near half a Tun.
On the other hand, there's 'Squire _Lath_, a proper Gentleman of
Fifteen hundred Pound _per Annum_, as well as of an unblameable Life
and Conversation; yet would not I be the Esquire for half his Estate;
for if it was as much more, he'd freely pare with it all for a pair of
Legs to his Mind: Whereas in the Reign of our first King _Edward_ of
glorious Memory, nothing more modish than a Brace of your fine taper
Supporters; and his Majesty without an Inch of Calf, managed Affairs
in Peace and War as laudably as the bravest and most politick of his
Ancestors; and was as terrible to his Neighbours under the Royal Name
of _Long-shanks_, as _Coeur de Lion_ to the _Saracens_ before him. If
we look farther back into History we shall find, that _Alexander_ the
Great wore his Head a little over the left Shoulder; and then not a
Soul stirred out 'till he had adjusted his Neck-bone; the whole
Nobility addressed the Prince and each other obliquely, and all
Matters of Importance were concerted and carried on in the
_Macedonian_ Court with their Polls on one Side. For about the first
Century nothing made more Noise in the World than _Roman_ Noses, and
then not a Word of them till they revived again in Eighty eight. [2]
Nor is it so very long since _Richard_ the Third set up half the Backs
of the Nation; and high Shoulders, as well as high Noses, were the Top
of the Fashion. But to come to our selves, Gentlemen, tho' I find by
my quinquennial Observations that we shall never get Ladies enough to
make a Party in our own Country, yet might we meet with better Success
among some of our Allies. And what think you if our Board sate for a
_Dutch_ Piece? Truly I am of Opinion, that as odd as we appear in
Flesh and Blood, we should be no such strange Things in Metzo-Tinto.
But this Project may rest 'till our Number is compleat; and this being
our Election Night, give me leave to propose Mr. SPECTATOR: You see
his Inclinations, and perhaps we may not have his Fellow."

I found most of them (as it is usual in all such Cases) were prepared;
but one of the Seniors (whom by the by Mr. President had taken all
this Pains to bring over) sate still, and cocking his Chin, which
seemed only to be levelled at his Nose, very gravely declared,

"That in case he had had sufficient Knowledge of you, no Man should
have been more willing to have served you; but that he, for his
part, had always had regard to his own Conscience, as well as other
Peoples Merit; and he did not know but that you might be a handsome
Fellow; for as for your own Certificate, it was every Body's
Business to speak for themselves."

Mr. President immediately retorted,

"A handsome Fellow! why he is a Wit (Sir) and you know the Proverb;"

and to ease the old Gentleman of his Scruples, cried,

"That for Matter of Merit it was all one, you might wear a Mask."

This threw him into a Pause, and he looked, desirous of three Days to
consider on it; but Mr. President improved the Thought, and followed
him up with an old Story,

"That Wits were privileged to wear what Masks they pleased in all
Ages; and that a Vizard had been the constant Crown of their
Labours, which was generally presented them by the Hand of some
Satyr, and sometimes of _Apollo_ himself:"

For the Truth of which he appealed to the Frontispiece of several
Books, and particularly to the _English Juvenal_, [3] to which he
referred him; and only added,

"That such Authors were the _Larvati_ [4] or _Larva donati_ of the

This cleared up all, and in the Conclusion you were chose Probationer;
and Mr. President put round your Health as such, protesting,

"That tho' indeed he talked of a Vizard, he did not believe all the
while you had any more Occasion for it than the Cat-a-mountain;"

so that all you have to do now is to pay your Fees, which here are
very reasonable if you are not imposed upon; and you may stile your
self _Informis Societatis Socius_: Which I am desired to acquaint you
with; and upon the same I beg you to accept of the Congratulation of,


Your oblig'd humble Servant,

R. A. C.

Oxford March 21.

[Footnote 1: this]

[Footnote 2: At the coming of William III.]

[Footnote 3: The third edition of Dryden's Satires of Juvenal and
Persius, published in 1702, was the first 'adorn'd with Sculptures.' The
Frontispiece represents at full length Juvenal receiving a mask of Satyr
from Apollo's hand, and hovered over by a Cupid who will bind the Head
to its Vizard with a Laurel Crown.]

[Footnote 4: Larvati were bewitched persons; from Larva, of which the
original meaning is a ghost or spectre; the derived meanings are, a Mask
and a Skeleton.]

* * * * *

No. 33 Saturday, April 7, 1711. Steele.

'Fervidus tecum Puer, et solutis
Gratiae zonis, properentque Nymphae,
Et parum comis sine te Juventas,

Hor. 'ad Venerem.'

A friend of mine has two Daughters, whom I will call _Laetitia_ and
_Daphne_; The Former is one of the Greatest Beauties of the Age in which
she lives, the Latter no way remarkable for any Charms in her Person.
Upon this one Circumstance of their Outward Form, the Good and Ill of
their Life seems to turn. _Laetitia_ has not, from her very Childhood,
heard any thing else but Commendations of her Features and Complexion,
by which means she is no other than Nature made her, a very beautiful
Outside. The Consciousness of her Charms has rendered her insupportably
Vain and Insolent, towards all who have to do with her. _Daphne_, who
was almost Twenty before one civil Thing had ever been said to her,
found her self obliged to acquire some Accomplishments to make up for
the want of those Attractions which she saw in her Sister. Poor _Daphne_
was seldom submitted to in a Debate wherein she was concerned; her
Discourse had nothing to recommend it but the good Sense of it, and she
was always under a Necessity to have very well considered what she was
to say before she uttered it; while _Laetitia_ was listened to with
Partiality, and Approbation sate in the Countenances of those she
conversed with, before she communicated what she had to say. These
Causes have produced suitable Effects, and _Laetitia_ is as insipid a
Companion, as _Daphne_ is an agreeable one. _Laetitia_, confident of
Favour, has studied no Arts to please; _Daphne_, despairing of any
Inclination towards her Person, has depended only on her Merit.
_Laetitia_ has always something in her Air that is sullen, grave and
disconsolate. _Daphne_ has a Countenance that appears chearful, open and
unconcerned. A young Gentleman saw _Laetitia_ this Winter at a Play, and
became her Captive. His Fortune was such, that he wanted very little
Introduction to speak his Sentiments to her Father. The Lover was
admitted with the utmost Freedom into the Family, where a constrained
Behaviour, severe Looks, and distant Civilities, were the highest
Favours he could obtain of _Laetitia_; while _Daphne_ used him with the
good Humour, Familiarity, and Innocence of a Sister: Insomuch that he
would often say to her, _Dear_ Daphne; _wert thou but as Handsome as
Laetitia!_--She received such Language with that ingenuous and pleasing
Mirth, which is natural to a Woman without Design. He still Sighed in
vain for _Laetitia_, but found certain Relief in the agreeable
Conversation of _Daphne_. At length, heartily tired with the haughty
Impertinence of _Laetitia_, and charmed with repeated Instances of good
Humour he had observed in _Daphne_, he one Day told the latter, that he
had something to say to her he hoped she would be pleased with.--_Faith
Daphne,_ continued he, _I am in Love with thee, and despise thy Sister
sincerely_. The Manner of his declaring himself gave his Mistress
occasion for a very hearty Laughter.--_Nay,_ says he, _I knew you would
Laugh at me, but I'll ask your Father._ He did so; the Father received
his Intelligence with no less Joy than Surprize, and was very glad he
had now no Care left but for his _Beauty_, which he thought he could
carry to Market at his Leisure. I do not know any thing that has pleased
me so much a great while, as this Conquest of my Friend _Daphne's_. All
her Acquaintance congratulate her upon her Chance. Medley, and laugh at
that premeditating Murderer her Sister. As it is an Argument of a light
Mind, to think the worse of our selves for the Imperfections of our
Persons, it is equally below us to value our selves upon the Advantages
of them. The Female World seem to be almost incorrigibly gone astray in
this Particular; for which Reason, I shall recommend the following
Extract out of a Friend's Letter to the Profess'd Beauties, who are a
People almost as unsufferable as the Profess'd Wits.

Monsieur St. _Evremont_ [1] has concluded one of his Essays, with
affirming that the last Sighs of a Handsome Woman are not so much for
the loss of her Life, as of her Beauty. Perhaps this Raillery is
pursued too far, yet it is turn'd upon a very obvious Remark, that
Woman's strongest Passion is for her own Beauty, and that she values
it as her Favourite Distinction. From hence it is that all Arts, which
pretend to improve or preserve it, meet with so general a Reception
among the Sex. To say nothing of many False Helps and Contraband Wares
of Beauty, which are daily vended in this great Mart, there is not a
Maiden-Gentlewoman, of a good Family in any County of _South-Britain_,
who has not heard of the Virtues of _May_-Dew, or is unfurnished with
some Receipt or other in Favour of her Complexion; and I have known a
Physician of Learning and Sense, after Eight Years Study in the
University, and a Course of Travels into most Countries of _Europe_,
owe the first raising of his Fortunes to a Cosmetick Wash.

This has given me Occasion to consider how so Universal a Disposition
in Womankind, which springs from a laudable Motive, the Desire of
Pleasing, and proceeds upon an Opinion, not altogether groundless,
that Nature may be helped by Art, may be turn'd to their Advantage.
And, methinks, it would be an acceptable Service to take them out of
the Hands of Quacks and Pretenders, and to prevent their imposing upon
themselves, by discovering to them the true Secret and Art of
improving Beauty.

In order to this, before I touch upon it directly, it will be
necessary to lay down a few Preliminary Maxims, _viz_.

That no Woman can be Handsome by the Force of Features alone, any
more than she can be Witty only by the Help of Speech.

That Pride destroys all Symmetry and Grace, and Affectation is a
more terrible Enemy to fine Faces than the Small-Pox.

That no Woman is capable of being Beautiful, who is not incapable of
being False.

And, That what would be Odious in a Friend, is Deformity in a

From these few Principles, thus laid down, it will be easie to prove,
that the true Art of assisting Beauty consists in Embellishing the
whole Person by the proper Ornaments of virtuous and commendable
Qualities. By this Help alone it is that those who are the Favourite
Work of Nature, or, as Mr. _Dryden_ expresses it, the Porcelain Clay
of human Kind [2], become animated, and are in a Capacity of exerting
their Charms: And those who seem to have been neglected by her, like
Models wrought in haste, are capable, in a great measure, of finishing
what She has left imperfect.

It is, methinks, a low and degrading Idea of that Sex, which was
created to refine the Joys, and soften the Cares of Humanity, by the
most agreeable Participation, to consider them meerly as Objects of
Sight. This is abridging them of their natural Extent of Power, to put
them upon a Level with their Pictures at _Kneller's_. How much nobler
is the Contemplation of Beauty heighten'd by Virtue, and commanding
our Esteem and Love, while it draws our Observation? How faint and
spiritless are the Charms of a Coquet, when compar'd with the real
Loveliness of _Sophronia's_ Innocence, Piety, good Humour and Truth;
Virtues which add a new Softness to her Sex, and even beautify her
Beauty! That Agreeableness, which must otherwise have appeared no
longer in the modest Virgin, is now preserv'd in the tender Mother,
the prudent Friend, and the faithful Wife. Colours, artfully spread
upon Canvas, may entertain the Eye, but not affect the Heart; and she,
who takes no care to add to the natural Graces of her Person any
excelling Qualities, may be allowed still to amuse, as a Picture, but
not to triumph as a Beauty.

When _Adam_ is introduced by _Milton_ describing _Eve_ in Paradise,
and relating to the Angel the Impressions he felt upon seeing her at
her first Creation, he does not represent her like a _Grecian Venus_
by her Shape or Features, but by the Lustre of her Mind which shone in
them, and gave them their Power of charming.

_Grace was in all her Steps, Heaven in her Eye,
In all her Gestures Dignity and Love._

Without this irradiating Power the proudest Fair One ought to know,
whatever her Glass may tell her to the contrary, that her most perfect
Features are Uninform'd and Dead.

I cannot better close this Moral, than by a short Epitaph written by
_Ben Johnson_, with a Spirit which nothing could inspire but such an
Object as I have been describing.

Underneath this Stone doth lie
As much Virtue as cou'd die,
Which when alive did Vigour give
To as much Beauty as cou'd live. [3]

I am, Sir,
Your most humble Servant,
R. B.


[Footnote 1: Charles de St. Denis, Sieur de St. Evremond, died in 1703,
aged 95, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His military and
diplomatic career in France was closed in 1661, when his condemnations
of Mazarin, although the Cardinal was then dead, obliged him to fly from
the wrath of the French Court to Holland and afterwards to England,
where Charles II granted him a pension of L300 a-year. At Charles's
death the pension lapsed, and St. Evremond declined the post of cabinet
secretary to James II. After the Revolution he had William III for
friend, and when, at last, he was invited back, in his old age, to
France, he chose to stay and die among his English friends. In a second
volume of 'Miscellany Essays by Monsieur de St. Evremont,' done into
English by Mr. Brown (1694), an Essay 'Of the Pleasure that Women take
in their Beauty' ends (p. 135) with the thought quoted by Steele.]

[Footnote 2: In 'Don Sebastian, King of Portugal,' act I, says Muley
Moloch, Emperor of Barbary,

Ay; There look like the Workmanship of Heav'n:
This is the Porcelain Clay of Human Kind.]

[Footnote 3: The lines are in the Epitaph 'on Elizabeth L.H.'

'One name was Elizabeth,
The other, let it sleep in death.'

But Steele, quoting from memory, altered the words to his purpose. Ben
Johnson's lines were:

'Underneath this stone doth lie,
As much Beauty as could die,
Which in Life did Harbour give
To more Virture than doth live.']

* * * * *

No. 34. Monday, April 9, 1711 Addison.

'... parcit
Cognatis maculis similis fera ...'


The Club of which I am a Member, is very luckily composed of such
persons as are engaged in different Ways of Life, and disputed as it
were out of the most conspicuous Classes of Mankind: By this Means I am
furnished with the greatest Variety of Hints and Materials, and know
every thing that passes in the different Quarters and Divisions, not
only of this great City, but of the whole Kingdom. My Readers too have
the Satisfaction to find, that there is no Rank or Degree among them who
have not their Representative in this Club, and that there is always
some Body present who will take Care of their respective Interests, that
nothing may be written or published to the Prejudice or Infringement of
their just Rights and Privileges.

I last Night sat very late in company with this select Body of Friends,
who entertain'd me with several Remarks which they and others had made
upon these my Speculations, as also with the various Success which they
had met with among their several Ranks and Degrees of Readers. WILL.
HONEYCOMB told me, in the softest Manner he could, That there were some
Ladies (but for your Comfort, says WILL., they are not those of the most
Wit) that were offended at the Liberties I had taken with the Opera and
the Puppet-Show: That some of them were likewise very much surpriz'd,
that I should think such serious Points as the Dress and Equipage of
Persons of Quality, proper Subjects for Raillery.

He was going on, when Sir ANDREW FREEPORT took him up short, and told
him, That the Papers he hinted at had done great Good in the City, and
that all their Wives and Daughters were the better for them: And further
added, That the whole City thought themselves very much obliged to me
for declaring my generous Intentions to scourge Vice and Folly as they
appear in a Multitude, without condescending to be a Publisher of
particular Intrigues and Cuckoldoms. In short, says Sir ANDREW, if you
avoid that foolish beaten Road of falling upon Aldermen and Citizens,
and employ your Pen upon the Vanity and Luxury of Courts, your Paper
must needs be of general Use.

Upon this my Friend the TEMPLAR told Sir ANDREW, That he wondered to
hear a Man of his Sense talk after that Manner; that the City had always
been the Province for Satyr; and that the Wits of King _Charles's_ Time
jested upon nothing else during his whole Reign. He then shewed, by the
Examples of _Horace, Juvenal, Boileau_, and the best Writers of every
Age, that the Follies of the Stage and Court had never been accounted
too sacred for Ridicule, how great so-ever the Persons might be that
patronized them. But after all, says he, I think your Raillery has made
too great an Excursion, in attacking several Persons of the Inns of
Court; and I do not believe you can shew me any Precedent for your
Behaviour in that Particular.

My good Friend Sir ROGER DE COVERL[E]Y, who had said nothing all this
while, began his Speech with a Pish! and told us. That he wondered to
see so many Men of Sense so very serious upon Fooleries. Let our good
Friend, says he, attack every one that deserves it: I would only advise
you, Mr. SPECTATOR, applying himself to me, to take Care how you meddle
with Country Squires: They are the Ornaments of the _English_ Nation;
Men of good Heads and sound Bodies! and let me tell you, some of them
take it ill of you that you mention Fox-hunters with so little Respect.

Captain SENTRY spoke very sparingly on this Occasion. What he said was
only to commend my Prudence in not touching upon the Army, and advised
me to continue to act discreetly in that Point.

By this Time I found every subject of my Speculations was taken away
from me by one or other of the Club; and began to think my self in the
Condition of the good Man that had one Wife who took a Dislike to his
grey Hairs, and another to his black, till by their picking out what
each of them had an Aversion to, they left his Head altogether bald and

While I was thus musing with my self, my worthy Friend the Clergy-man,
who, very luckily for me, was at the Club that Night, undertook my
Cause. He told us, That he wondered any Order of Persons should think
themselves too considerable to be advis'd: That it was not Quality, but
Innocence which exempted Men from Reproof; That Vice and Folly ought to
be attacked where-ever they could be met with, and especially when they
were placed in high and conspicuous Stations of Life. He further added,
That my Paper would only serve to aggravate the Pains of Poverty, if it
chiefly expos'd those who are already depressed, and in some measure
turn'd into Ridicule, by the Meanness of their Conditions and
Circumstances. He afterwards proceeded to take Notice of the great Use
this Paper might be of to the Publick, by reprehending those Vices which
are too trivial for the Chastisement of the Law, and too fantastical for
the Cognizance of the Pulpit. He then advised me to prosecute my
Undertaking with Chearfulness; and assured me, that whoever might be
displeased with me, I should be approved by all those whose Praises do
Honour to the Persons on whom they are bestowed.

The whole Club pays a particular Deference to the Discourse of this
Gentleman, and are drawn into what he says as much by the candid and
ingenuous Manner with which he delivers himself, as by the Strength of
Argument and Force of Reason which he makes use of. WILL. HONEYCOMB
immediately agreed, that what he had said was right; and that for his
Part, he would not insist upon the Quarter which he had demanded for the
Ladies. Sir ANDREW gave up the City with the same Frankness. The TEMPLAR
would not stand out; and was followed by Sir ROGER and the CAPTAIN: Who
all agreed that I should be at Liberty to carry the War into what
Quarter I pleased; provided I continued to combat with Criminals in a
Body, and to assault the Vice without hurting the Person.

This Debate, which was held for the Good of Mankind, put me in Mind of
that which the _Roman_ Triumvirate were formerly engaged in, for their
Destruction. Every Man at first stood hard for his Friend, till they
found that by this Means they should spoil their Proscription: And at
length, making a Sacrifice of all their Acquaintance and Relations,
furnished out a very decent Execution.

Having thus taken my Resolution to march on boldly in the Cause of
Virtue and good Sense, and to annoy their Adversaries in whatever Degree
or Rank of Men they may be found: I shall be deaf for the future to all
the Remonstrances that shall be made to me on this Account. If _Punch_
grow extravagant, I shall reprimand him very freely: If the Stage
becomes a Nursery of Folly and Impertinence, I shall not be afraid to
animadvert upon it. In short, If I meet with any thing in City, Court,
or Country, that shocks Modesty or good Manners, I shall use my utmost
Endeavours to make an Example of it. I must however intreat every
particular Person, who does me the Honour to be a Reader of this Paper,
never to think himself, or any one of his Friends or Enemies, aimed at
in what is said: For I promise him, never to draw a faulty Character
which does not fit at least a Thousand People; or to publish a single
Paper, that is not written in the Spirit of Benevolence and with a Love
to Mankind.


* * * * *

No. 35. Tuesday, April 10, 1711. Addison.

'Risu inepto res ineptior milla est.'


Among all kinds of Writing, there is none in which Authors are more apt
to miscarry than in Works of Humour, as there is none in which they are
more ambitious to excell. It is not an Imagination that teems with
Monsters, an Head that is filled with extravagant Conceptions, which is
capable of furnishing the World with Diversions of this nature; and yet
if we look into the Productions of several Writers, who set up for Men
of Humour, what wild irregular Fancies, what unnatural Distortions of
Thought, do we meet with? If they speak Nonsense, they believe they are
talking Humour; and when they have drawn together a Scheme of absurd,
inconsistent Ideas, they are not able to read it over to themselves
without laughing. These poor Gentlemen endeavour to gain themselves the
Reputation of Wits and Humourists, by such monstrous Conceits as almost
qualify them for _Bedlam;_ not considering that Humour should always lye
under the Check of Reason, and that it requires the Direction of the
nicest Judgment, by so much the more as it indulges it self in the most
boundless Freedoms. There is a kind of Nature that is to be observed in
this sort of Compositions, as well as in all other, and a certain
Regularity of Thought [which [1]] must discover the Writer to be a Man
of Sense, at the same time that he appears altogether given up to
Caprice: For my part, when I read the delirious Mirth of an unskilful
Author, I cannot be so barbarous as to divert my self with it, but am
rather apt to pity the Man, than to laugh at any thing he writes.

The deceased Mr. _Shadwell_, who had himself a great deal of the Talent,
which I am treating of, represents an empty Rake, in one of his Plays,
as very much surprized to hear one say that breaking of Windows was not
Humour;[2] and I question not but several _English_ Readers will be as
much startled to hear me affirm, that many of those raving incoherent
Pieces, which are often spread among us, under odd Chimerical Titles,
are rather the Offsprings of a Distempered Brain, than Works of Humour.

It is indeed much easier to describe what is not Humour, than what is;
and very difficult to define it otherwise than as _Cowley_ has done Wit,
by Negatives. Were I to give my own Notions of it, I would deliver them
after _Plato's_ manner, in a kind of Allegory, and by supposing Humour
to be a Person, deduce to him all his Qualifications, according to the
following Genealogy. TRUTH was the Founder of the Family, and the Father
of GOOD SENSE. GOOD SENSE was the Father of WIT, who married a Lady of a
Collateral Line called MIRTH, by whom he had Issue HUMOUR. HUMOUR
therefore being the youngest of this Illustrious Family, and descended
from Parents of such different Dispositions, is very various and unequal
in his Temper; sometimes you see him putting on grave Looks and a solemn
Habit, sometimes airy in his Behaviour and fantastick in his Dress:
Insomuch that at different times he appears as serious as a Judge, and
as jocular as a _Merry-Andrew_. But as he has a great deal of the Mother
in his Constitution, whatever Mood he is in, he never fails to make his
Company laugh.

But since there [is an Impostor [3]] abroad, who [takes upon him [4]]
the Name of this young Gentleman, and would willingly pass for him in
the World; to the end that well-meaning Persons may not be imposed upon
by [Cheats [5]], I would desire my Readers, when they meet with [this
Pretender [6]], to look into his Parentage, and to examine him strictly,
whether or no he be remotely allied to TRUTH, and lineally descended
from GOOD SENSE; if not, they may conclude him a Counterfeit. They may
likewise distinguish him by a loud and excessive Laughter, in which he
seldom gets his Company to join with him. For, as TRUE HUMOUR generally
looks serious, whilst every Body laughs [about him [7]]; FALSE HUMOUR is
always laughing, whilst every Body about him looks serious. I shall only
add, if he has not in him a Mixture of both Parents, that is, if he
would pass for the Offspring of WIT without MIRTH, or MIRTH without WIT,
you may conclude him to be altogether Spurious, and a Cheat.

The Impostor, of whom I am speaking, descends Originally from FALSEHOOD,
who was the Mother of NONSENSE, who was brought to Bed of a Son called
FRENZY, who Married one of the Daughters of FOLLY, commonly known by the
Name of LAUGHTER, on whom he begot that Monstrous Infant of which I have
been here speaking. I shall set down at length the Genealogical Table of
FALSE HUMOUR, and, at the same time, place under it the Genealogy of
TRUE HUMOUR, that the Reader may at one View behold their different
Pedigrees and Relations.

| |
| |
| |

I might extend the Allegory, by mentioning several of the Children of
FALSE HUMOUR, who are more in Number than the Sands of the Sea, and
might in particular enumerate the many Sons and Daughters which he has
begot in this Island. But as this would be a very invidious Task, I
shall only observe in general, that FALSE HUMOUR differs from the TRUE,
as a Monkey does from a Man.

_First_ of all, He is exceedingly given to little Apish Tricks and

_Secondly_, He so much delights in Mimickry, that it is all one to him
whether he exposes by it Vice and Folly, Luxury and Avarice; or, on
the contrary, Virtue and Wisdom, Pain and Poverty.

_Thirdly_, He is wonderfully unlucky, insomuch that he will bite the
Hand that feeds him, and endeavour to ridicule both Friends and Foes
indifferently. For having but small Talents, he must be merry where he
can, not where he _should_.

_Fourthly_, Being entirely void of Reason, he pursues no Point either
of Morality or Instruction, but is ludicrous only for the sake of
being so.

_Fifthly_, Being incapable of any thing but Mock-Representations, his
Ridicule is always Personal, and aimed at the Vicious Man, or the
Writer; not at the Vice, or at the Writing.

I have here only pointed at the whole Species of False Humourists; but
as one of my principal Designs in this Paper is to beat down that
malignant Spirit, which discovers it self in the Writings of the present
Age, I shall not scruple, for the future, to single out any of the small
Wits, that infest the World with such Compositions as are ill-natured,
immoral and absurd. This is the only Exception which I shall make to the
general Rule I have prescribed my self, of _attacking Multitudes_: Since
every honest Man ought to look upon himself as in a Natural State of War
with the Libeller and Lampooner, and to annoy them where-ever they fall
in his way. This is but retaliating upon them, and treating them as they
treat others.


[Footnote 1: that]

[Footnote 2: Wit, in the town sense, is talked of to satiety in
Shadwell's plays; and window-breaking by the street rioters called
'Scowrers,' who are the heroes of an entire play of his, named after
them, is represented to the life by a street scene in the third act of
his 'Woman Captain.']

[Footnote 3: are several Impostors]

[Footnote 4: take upon them]

[Footnote 5: Counterfeits]

[Footnote 6: any of these Pretenders]

[Footnote 7: that is about him]

* * * * *

No. 36. Wednesday, April 11, 1711. Steele.

'... Immania monstra
Perferimus ...'


I shall not put my self to any further Pains for this Day's
Entertainment, than barely to publish the Letters and Titles of
Petitions from the Play-house, with the Minutes I have made upon the
Latter for my Conduct in relation to them.

Drury-Lane, April [1] the 9th.

'Upon reading the Project which is set forth in one of your late
Papers, [2] of making an Alliance between all the Bulls, Bears,
Elephants, and Lions, which are separately exposed to publick View in
the Cities of _London_ and _Westminster_; together with the other
Wonders, Shows, and Monsters, whereof you made respective Mention in
the said Speculation; We, the chief Actors of this Playhouse, met and
sat upon the said Design. It is with great Delight that We expect the
Execution of this Work; and in order to contribute to it, We have
given Warning to all our Ghosts to get their Livelihoods where they
can, and not to appear among us after Day-break of the 16th Instant.
We are resolved to take this Opportunity to part with every thing
which does not contribute to the Representation of humane Life; and
shall make a free Gift of all animated Utensils to your Projector. The
Hangings you formerly mentioned are run away; as are likewise a Set of
Chairs, each of which was met upon two Legs going through the _Rose_
Tavern at Two this Morning. We hope, Sir, you will give proper Notice
to the Town that we are endeavouring at these Regulations; and that we
intend for the future to show no Monsters, but Men who are converted
into such by their own Industry and Affectation. If you will please to
be at the House to-night, you will see me do my Endeavour to show some
unnatural Appearances which are in vogue among the Polite and
Well-bred. I am to represent, in the Character of a fine Lady Dancing,
all the Distortions which are frequently taken for Graces in Mien and
Gesture. This, Sir, is a Specimen of the Method we shall take to
expose the Monsters which come within the Notice of a regular Theatre;
and we desire nothing more gross may be admitted by you Spectators for
the future. We have cashiered three Companies of Theatrical Guards,
and design our Kings shall for the future make Love and sit in Council
without an Army: and wait only your Direction, whether you will have
them reinforce King _Porus_ or join the Troops of _Macedon_. Mr.
_Penkethman_ resolves to consult his _Pantheon_ of Heathen Gods in
Opposition to the Oracle of _Delphos_, and doubts not but he shall
turn the Fortunes of _Porus_ when he personates him. I am desired by
the Company to inform you, that they submit to your Censures; and
shall have you in greater Veneration than _Hercules_ was in of old, if
you can drive Monsters from the Theatre; and think your Merit will be
as much greater than his, as to convince is more than to conquer.

I am, Sir, Your most obedient Servant, T.D.

SIR, When I acquaint you with the great and unexpected Vicissitudes of
my Fortune, I doubt not but I shall obtain your Pity and Favour. I
have for many Years last past been Thunderer to the Play-house; and
have not only made as much Noise out of the Clouds as any Predecessor
of mine in the Theatre that ever bore that Character, but also have
descended and spoke on the Stage as the bold Thunder in _The
Rehearsal_ [1]

When they got me down thus low, they thought fit to degrade me
further, and make me a Ghost. I was contented with this for these two
last Winters; but they carry their Tyranny still further, and not
satisfied that I am banished from above Ground, they have given me to
understand that I am wholly to depart their Dominions, and taken from
me even my subterraneous Employment. Now, Sir, what I desire of you
is, that if your Undertaker thinks fit to use Fire-Arms (as other
Authors have done) in the Time of _Alexander_, I may be a Cannon
against _Porus_, or else provide for me in the Burning of
_Persepolis_, or what other Method you shall think fit.

Salmoneus of Covent-Garden.'

The Petition of all the Devils of the Play-house in behalf of themselves
and Families, setting forth their Expulsion from thence, with
Certificates of their good Life and Conversation, and praying Relief.

_The Merit of this Petition referred to Mr._ Chr. Rich, _who made them

The Petition of the Grave-digger in 'Hamlet', to command the Pioneers in
the Expedition of _Alexander_.


The Petition of _William Bullock_, to be _Hephestion_ to _Penkethman the
Great_. [4]


* * * * *

The caricature here, and in following lines, is of a passage in Sir
Robert Stapylton's 'Slighted Maid': 'I am the Evening, dark as
Night,' &c.

In the 'Spectator's' time the Rehearsal was an acted play, in which
Penkethman had the part of the gentleman Usher, and Bullock was one
of the two Kings of Brentford; Thunder was Johnson, who played also
the Grave-digger in Hamlet and other reputable parts.

* * * * *

[Footnote 1: 'March' was written by an oversight left in the first reprint

[Footnote 2: No. 31.]

[Footnote 3: Mr. Bayes, the poet, in the Duke of Buckingham's
'Rehearsal', after showing how he has planned a Thunder and Lightning
Prologue for his play, says,

Come out, Thunder and Lightning.

[Enter Thunder and Lightning.]

'Thun'. I am the bold 'Thunder'.

'Bayes'. Mr. Cartwright, prithee speak that a little louder, and
with a hoarse voice. I am the bold Thunder: pshaw! Speak
it me in a voice that thunders it out indeed: I am the
bold 'Thunder'.

'Thun'. I am the bold 'Thunder'.

'Light'. The brisk Lightning, I.']

[Footnote 4: William Bullock was a good and popular comedian, whom some
preferred to Penkethman, because he spoke no more than was set down for
him, and did not overact his parts. He was now with Penkethman, now with
Cibber and others, joint-manager of a theatrical booth at Bartholomew
Fair. When this essay was written Bullock and Penkethman were acting
together in a play called 'Injured Love', produced at Drury Lane on the
7th of April, Bullock as 'Sir Bookish Outside,' Penkethman as 'Tipple,'
a Servant. Penkethman, Bullock and Dogget were in those days Macbeth's
three witches. Bullock had a son on the stage capable of courtly parts,
who really had played Hephestion in 'the Rival Queens', in a theatre
opened by Penkethman at Greenwich in the preceding summer.]

* * * * *


_A Widow Gentlewoman, wellborn both by Father and Mother's Side,
being the Daughter of_ Thomas Prater, _once an eminent
Practitioner in the Law, and of_ Letitia Tattle, _a Family well
known in all Parts of this Kingdom, having been reduc'd by
Misfortunes to wait on several great Persons, and for some time to
be Teacher at a Boarding-School of young Ladies; giveth Notice to
the Publick, That she hath lately taken a House near_ Bloomsbury-
Square, _commodiously situated next the Fields in a good Air;
where she teaches all sorts of Birds of the loquacious Kinds, as
Parrots, Starlings, Magpies, and others, to imitate human Voices
in greater Perfection than ever yet was practis'd. They are not
only instructed to pronounce Words distinctly, and in a proper
Tone and Accent, but to speak the Language with great Purity and
Volubility of Tongue, together with all the fashionable Phrases
and Compliments now in use either at Tea-Tables or visiting Days.
Those that have good Voices may be taught to sing the newest
Opera-Airs, and, if requir'd, to speak either_ Italian _or_
French, _paying something extraordinary above the common Rates.
They whose Friends are not able to pay the full Prices may be
taken as Half-boarders. She teaches such as are design'd for the
Diversion of the Publick, and to act in enchanted Woods on the
Theatres, by the Great. As she has often observ'd with much
Concern how indecent an Education is usually given these innocent
Creatures, which in some Measure is owing to their being plac'd in
Rooms next the Street, where, to the great Offence of chaste and
tender Ears, they learn Ribaldry, obscene Songs, and immodest
Expressions from Passengers and idle People, and also to cry Fish
and Card-matches, with other useless Parts of Learning to Birds
who have rich Friends, she has fitted up proper and neat
Apartments for them in the back Part of her said House; where she
suffers none to approach them but her self, and a Servant Maid who
is deaf and dumb, and whom she provided on purpose to prepare
their Food and cleanse their Cages; having found by long
Experience how hard a thing it is for those to keep Silence who
have the Use of Speech, and the Dangers her Scholars are expos'd
to by the strong Impressions that are made by harsh Sounds and
vulgar Dialects. In short, if they are Birds of any Parts or
Capacity, she will undertake to render them so accomplish'd in the
Compass of a Twelve-month, that they shall be fit Conversation for
such Ladies as love to chuse their Friends and Companions out of
this Species_.


* * * * *

No. 37. Thursday, April 12, 1711. Addison.

... Non illa colo calathisve Minervae
Foemineas assueta manus ...


Some Months ago, my Friend Sir Roger, being in the Country, enclosed a
Letter to me, directed to a certain Lady whom I shall here call by the
Name of _Leonora_, and as it contained Matters of Consequence, desired
me to deliver it to her with my own Hand. Accordingly I waited upon her
Ladyship pretty early in the Morning, and was desired by her Woman to
walk into her Lady's Library, till such time as she was in a Readiness
to receive me. The very Sound of a _Lady's Library_ gave me a great
Curiosity to see it; and as it was some time before the Lady came to me,
I had an Opportunity of turning over a great many of her Books, which
were ranged together in a very beautiful Order. At the End of the
_Folios_ (which were finely bound and gilt) were great Jars of _China_
placed one above another in a very noble Piece of Architecture. The
_Quartos_ were separated from the _Octavos_ by a Pile of smaller
Vessels, which rose in a [delightful[1]] Pyramid. The _Octavos_ were
bounded by Tea Dishes of all Shapes Colours and Sizes, which were so
disposed on a wooden Frame, that they looked like one continued Pillar
indented with the finest Strokes of Sculpture, and stained with the
greatest Variety of Dyes. That Part of the Library which was designed
for the Reception of Plays and Pamphlets, and other loose Papers, was
enclosed in a kind of Square, consisting of one of the prettiest
Grotesque Works that ever I saw, and made up of Scaramouches, Lions,
Monkies, Mandarines, Trees, Shells, and a thousand other odd Figures in
_China_ Ware. In the midst of the Room was a little Japan Table, with a
Quire of gilt Paper upon it, and on the Paper a Silver Snuff-box made in
the Shape of a little Book. I found there were several other Counterfeit
Books upon the upper Shelves, which were carved in Wood, and served only
to fill up the Number, like Fagots in the muster of a Regiment. I was
wonderfully pleased with such a mixt kind of Furniture, as seemed very
suitable both to the Lady and the Scholar, and did not know at first
whether I should fancy my self in a Grotto, or in a Library.

Upon my looking into the Books, I found there were some few which the
Lady had bought for her own use, but that most of them had been got
together, either because she had heard them praised, or because she had
seen the Authors of them. Among several that I examin'd, I very well
remember these that follow. [2]

_Ogleby's Virgil_.
_Dryden's Juvenal_.
_Sir Isaac Newton's_ Works.
The _Grand Cyrus:_ With a Pin stuck in one of the middle Leaves.
_Pembroke's Arcadia_.
_Locke_ of Human Understanding: With a Paper of Patches in it.
A Spelling-Book.
A Dictionary for the Explanation of hard Words.
_Sherlock_ upon Death.
The fifteen Comforts of Matrimony.
Sir _William Temptle's_ Essays.
Father _Malbranche's_ Search after Truth, translated into _English_.
A Book of Novels.
The Academy of Compliments.
_Culpepper's_ Midwifry.
The Ladies Calling.
Tales in Verse by Mr. _Durfey_: Bound in Red Leather, gilt on the
Back, and doubled down in several Places.
All the Classick Authors in Wood.
A set of _Elzevers_ by the same Hand.
_Clelia_: Which opened of it self in the Place that describes two
Lovers in a Bower.
_Baker's_ Chronicle.
Advice to a Daughter.
The New _Atalantis_, with a Key to it.
Mr. _Steel's_ Christian Heroe.
A Prayer Book: With a Bottle of _Hungary_ Water by the side of it.
Dr. _Sacheverell's_ Speech.
_Fielding's_ Tryal.
_Seneca's_ Morals.
_Taylor's_ holy Living and Dying.
_La ferte's_ Instructions for Country Dances.

I was taking a Catalogue in my Pocket-Book of these, and several other
Authors, when _Leonora_ entred, and upon my presenting her with the
Letter from the Knight, told me, with an unspeakable Grace, that she
hoped Sir ROGER was in good Health: I answered _Yes_, for I hate long
Speeches, and after a Bow or two retired.

_Leonora_ was formerly a celebrated Beauty, and is still a very lovely
Woman. She has been a Widow for two or three Years, and being
unfortunate in her first Marriage, has taken a Resolution never to
venture upon a second. She has no Children to take care of, and leaves
the Management of her Estate to my good Friend Sir ROGER. But as the
Mind naturally sinks into a kind of Lethargy, and falls asleep, that is
not agitated by some Favourite Pleasures and Pursuits, _Leonora_ has
turned all the Passions of her Sex into a Love of Books and Retirement.
She converses chiefly with Men (as she has often said herself), but it
is only in their Writings; and admits of very few Male-Visitants,
except my Friend Sir ROGER, whom she hears with great Pleasure, and
without Scandal. As her Reading has lain very much among Romances, it
has given her a very particular Turn of Thinking, and discovers it self
even in her House, her Gardens, and her Furniture. Sir ROGER has
entertained me an Hour together with a Description of her Country-Seat,
which is situated in a kind of Wilderness, about an hundred Miles
distant from _London_, and looks like a little Enchanted Palace. The
Rocks about her are shaped into Artificial Grottoes covered with
Wood-Bines and Jessamines. The Woods are cut into shady Walks, twisted
into Bowers, and filled with Cages of Turtles. The Springs are made to
run among Pebbles, and by that means taught to Murmur very agreeably.
They are likewise collected into a Beatiful Lake that is Inhabited by a
Couple of Swans, and empties it self by a litte Rivulet which runs
through a Green Meadow, and is known in the Family by the Name of _The
Purling Stream_. The Knight likewise tells me, that this Lady preserves
her Game better than any of the Gentlemen in the Country, not (says Sir
ROGER) that she sets so great a Value upon her Partridges and Pheasants,
as upon her Larks and Nightingales. For she says that every Bird which
is killed in her Ground, will spoil a Consort, and that she shall
certainly miss him the next Year.

When I think how odly this Lady is improved by Learning, I look upon her
with a Mixture of Admiration and Pity. Amidst these Innocent
Entertainments which she has formed to her self, how much more Valuable
does she appear than those of her Sex, [who [3]] employ themselves in
Diversions that are less Reasonable, tho' more in Fashion? What
Improvements would a Woman have made, who is so Susceptible of
Impressions from what she reads, had she been guided to such Books as
have a Tendency to enlighten the Understanding and rectify the Passions,
as well as to those which are of little more use than to divert the

But the manner of a Lady's Employing her self usefully in Reading shall
be the Subject of another Paper, in which I design to recommend such
particular Books as may be proper for the Improvement of the Sex. And as
this is a Subject of a very nice Nature, I shall desire my
Correspondents to give me their Thoughts upon it.


[Footnote 1: very delightful]

[Footnote 2: John Ogilby, or Ogilvy, who died in 1676, aged 76, was
originally a dancing-master, then Deputy Master of the Revels in Dublin;
then, after the outbreak of the Irish Rebellion, a student of Latin and
Greek in Cambridge. Finally, he settled down as a cosmographer. He
produced translations of both Virgil and Homer into English verse. His
'Virgil', published in 1649, was handsomely printed and the first which
gave the entire works in English, nearly half a century before Dryden's
which appeared in 1697.

The translation of 'Juvenal' and 'Persius' by Dryden, with help of his
two sons, and of Congreve, Creech, Tate, and others, was first published
in 1693. Dryden translated Satires 1, 3, 6, 10, and 16 of Juvenal, and
the whole of Persius. His Essay on Satire was prefixed.

'Cassandra' and 'Cleopatra' were romances from the French of Gautier de
Costes, Seigneur de la Calprenede, who died in 1663. He published
'Cassandra' in 10 volumes in 1642, 'Cleopatra' in 12 volumes in 1656,
besides other romances. The custom was to publish these romances a
volume at a time. A pretty and rich widow smitten with the 'Cleopatra'
while it was appearing, married La Calprenede upon condition that he
finished it, and his promise to do so was formally inserted in the
marriage contract. The English translations of these French Romances
were always in folio. 'Cassandra', translated by Sir Charles Cotterell,
was published in 1652; 'Cleopatra' in 1668, translated by Robert
Loveday. 'Astraea' was a pastoral Romance of the days of Henri IV. by
Honore D'Urfe, which had been translated by John Pyper in 1620, and was
again translated by a Person 'of Quality' in 1657. It was of the same
school as Sir Philip Sydney's 'Arcadia', first published after his death
by his sister Mary, Countess of Pembroke, in 1590, and from her, for
whom, indeed, it had been written, called the Countess of Pembroke's

Sir Isaac Newton was living in the 'Spectator's' time. He died in 1727,
aged 85. John Locke had died in 1704. His 'Essay on the Human
Understanding' was first published in 1690. Sir William Temple had died
in 1699, aged 71.

The 'Grand Cyrus', by Magdeleine de Scuderi, was the most famous of the
French Romances of its day. The authoress, who died in 1701, aged 94,
was called the Sappho of her time. Cardinal Mazarin left her a pension
by his will, and she had a pension of two thousand livres from the king.
Her 'Grand Cyrus', published in 10 volumes in 1650, was translated (in
one volume, folio) in 1653. 'Clelia', presently afterwards included in
the list of Leonora's books, was another very popular romance by the
same authoress, published in 10 volumes, a few years later, immediately
translated into English by John Davies, and printed in the usual folio

Dr. William Sherlock, who after some scruple about taking the oaths to
King William, did so, and was made Dean of St. Paul's, published his
very popular 'Practical Discourse concerning Death', in 1689. He died in

Father Nicolas Malebranche, in the 'Spectator's' time, was living in
enjoyment of his reputation as one of the best French writers and
philosophers. The foundations of his fame had been laid by his
'Recherche de la Verite', of which the first volume appeared in 1673. An
English translation of it, by Thomas Taylor, was published (in folio) in
1694. He died in 1715, Aged 77.

Thomas D'Urfey was a licentious writer of plays and songs, whose tunes
Charles II. would hum as he leant on their writer's shoulder. His 'New
Poems, with Songs' appeared in 1690. He died in 1723, aged 95.

The 'New Atalantis' was a scandalous book by Mary de la Riviere Manley,
a daughter of Sir Roger Manley, governor of Guernsey. She began her
career as the victim of a false marriage, deserted and left to support
herself; became a busy writer and a woman of intrigue, who was living in
the 'Spectator's' time, and died in 1724, in the house of Alderman
Barber, with whom she was then living. Her 'New Atalantis', published in
1709, was entitled 'Secret Memoirs and Manners of several Persons of
Quality of both sexes, from the New Atalantis, an Island in the
Mediterranean.' Under feigned names it especially attacked members of
Whig families, and led to proceedings for libel.

La Ferte was a dancing master of the days of the 'Spectator', who in
Nos. 52 and 54 advertised his School

'in Compton Street, Soho, over against St. Ann's Church Back-door,'
adding that, 'at the desire of several gentlemen in the City,' he
taught dancing on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the neighhourhood of the
Royal Exchange.]

[Footnote 3: that]

* * * * *

No. 38. Friday, April 13, 1711. Steele.

'Cupias non placuisse nimis.'


A Late Conversation which I fell into, gave me an Opportunity of
observing a great deal of Beauty in a very handsome Woman, and as much
Wit in an ingenious Man, turned into Deformity in the one, and Absurdity
in the other, by the meer Force of Affectation. The Fair One had
something in her Person upon which her Thoughts were fixed, that she
attempted to shew to Advantage in every Look, Word, and Gesture. The
Gentleman was as diligent to do Justice to his fine Parts, as the Lady
to her beauteous Form: You might see his Imagination on the Stretch to
find out something uncommon, and what they call bright, to entertain
her; while she writhed her self into as many different Postures to
engage him. When she laughed, her Lips were to sever at a greater
Distance than ordinary to shew her Teeth: Her Fan was to point to
somewhat at a Distance, that in the Reach she may discover the Roundness
of her Arm; then she is utterly mistaken in what she saw, falls back,
smiles at her own Folly, and is so wholly discomposed, that her Tucker
is to be adjusted, her Bosom exposed, and the whole Woman put into new
Airs and Graces. While she was doing all this, the Gallant had Time to
think of something very pleasant to say next to her, or make some unkind
Observation on some other Lady to feed her Vanity. These unhappy Effects
of Affectation, naturally led me to look into that strange State of Mind
which so generally discolours the Behaviour of most People we meet with.

The learned Dr. _Burnet_, [1] in his Theory of the Earth, takes Occasion
to observe, That every Thought is attended with Consciousness and
Representativeness; the Mind has nothing presented to it but what is
immediately followed by a Reflection or Conscience, which tells you
whether that which was so presented is graceful or unbecoming. This Act
of the Mind discovers it self in the Gesture, by a proper Behaviour in
those whose Consciousness goes no further than to direct them in the
just Progress of their present Thought or Action; but betrays an
Interruption in every second Thought, when the Consciousness is employed
in too fondly approving a Man's own Conceptions; which sort of
Consciousness is what we call Affectation.

As the Love of Praise is implanted in our Bosoms as a strong Incentive
to worthy Actions, it is a very difficult Task to get above a Desire of
it for things that should be wholly indifferent. Women, whose Hearts are
fixed upon the Pleasure they have in the Consciousness that they are the
Objects of Love and Admiration, are ever changing the Air of their
Countenances, and altering the Attitude of their Bodies, to strike the
Hearts of their Beholders with new Sense of their Beauty. The dressing
Part of our Sex, whose Minds are the same with the sillyer Part of the
other, are exactly in the like uneasy Condition to be regarded for a
well-tied Cravat, an Hat cocked with an unusual Briskness, a very
well-chosen Coat, or other Instances of Merit, which they are impatient
to see unobserved.

But this apparent Affectation, arising from an ill-governed
Consciousness, is not so much to be wonder'd at in such loose and
trivial Minds as these: But when you see it reign in Characters of Worth
and Distinction, it is what you cannot but lament, not without some
Indignation. It creeps into the Heart of the wise Man, as well as that
of the Coxcomb. When you see a Man of Sense look about for Applause, and
discover an itching Inclination to be commended; lay Traps for a little
Incense, even from those whose Opinion he values in nothing but his own
Favour; Who is safe against this Weakness? or who knows whether he is
guilty of it or not? The best Way to get clear of such a light Fondness
for Applause, is to take all possible Care to throw off the Love of it
upon Occasions that are not in themselves laudable; but, as it appears,
we hope for no Praise from them. Of this Nature are all Graces in Mens
Persons, Dress and bodily Deportment; which will naturally be winning
and attractive if we think not of them, but lose their Force in
proportion to our Endeavour to make them such.

When our Consciousness turns upon the main Design of Life, and our
Thoughts are employed upon the chief Purpose either in Business or
Pleasure, we shall never betray an Affectation, for we cannot be guilty
of it: But when we give the Passion for Praise an unbridled Liberty, our
Pleasure in little Perfections, robs us of what is due to us for great
Virtues and worthy Qualities. How many excellent Speeches and honest
Actions are lost, for want of being indifferent where we ought? Men are
oppressed with regard to their Way of speaking and acting; instead of
having their Thought bent upon what they should do or say, and by that
Means bury a Capacity for great things, by their fear of failing in
indifferent things. This, perhaps, cannot be called Affectation; but it
has some Tincture of it, at least so far, as that their Fear of erring
in a thing of no Consequence, argues they would be too much pleased in
performing it.

It is only from a thorough Disregard to himself in such Particulars,
that a Man can act with a laudable Sufficiency: His Heart is fixed upon
one Point in view; and he commits no Errors, because he thinks nothing
an Error but what deviates from that Intention.

The wild Havock Affectation makes in that Part of the World which should
be most polite, is visible where ever we turn our Eyes: It pushes Men
not only into Impertinencies in Conversation, but also in their
premeditated Speeches. At the Bar it torments the Bench, whose Business
it is to cut off all Superfluities in what is spoken before it by the
Practitioner; as well as several little Pieces of Injustice which arise
from the Law it self. I have seen it make a Man run from the Purpose
before a Judge, who was, when at the Bar himself, so close and logical a
Pleader, that with all the Pomp of Eloquence in his Power, he never
spoke a Word too much. [2]

It might be born even here, but it often ascends the Pulpit it self; and
the Declaimer, in that sacred Place, is frequently so impertinently
witty, speaks of the last Day it self with so many quaint Phrases, that
there is no Man who understands Raillery, but must resolve to sin no
more: Nay, you may behold him sometimes in Prayer for a proper Delivery
of the great Truths he is to utter, humble himself with so very well
turned Phrase, and mention his own Unworthiness in a Way so very
becoming, that the Air of the pretty Gentleman is preserved, under the
Lowliness of the Preacher.

I shall end this with a short Letter I writ the other Day to a very
witty Man, over-run with the Fault I am speaking of.

Dear SIR,

'I Spent some Time with you the other Day, and must take the Liberty
of a Friend to tell you of the unsufferable Affectation you are guilty
of in all you say and do. When I gave you an Hint of it, you asked me
whether a Man is to be cold to what his Friends think of him? No; but
Praise is not to be the Entertainment of every Moment: He that hopes
for it must be able to suspend the Possession of it till proper
Periods of Life, or Death it self. If you would not rather be
commended than be Praiseworthy, contemn little Merits; and allow no
Man to be so free with you, as to praise you to your Face. Your Vanity
by this Means will want its Food. At the same time your Passion for
Esteem will be more fully gratified; Men will praise you in their
Actions: Where you now receive one Compliment, you will then receive
twenty Civilities. Till then you will never have of either, further


Your humble Servant.'


[Footnote 1: Dr. Thomas Burnet, who produced in 1681 the 'Telluris
Theoria Sacra,' translated in 1690 as 'the Sacred Theory of the Earth,'
was living in the 'Spectator's' time. He died in 1715, aged 80. He was
for 30 years Master of the Charter-house, and set himself against James
II. in refusing to admit a Roman Catholic as a Poor Brother. Burnet's
Theory, a romance that passed for science in its day, was opposed in
1696 by Whiston in his 'New Theory of the Earth' (one all for Fire, the
other all for Water), and the new Romance was Science even in the eyes
of Locke. Addison, from Oxford in 1699, addressed a Latin ode to Burnet.]

[Footnote 2: Lord Cowper.]

* * * * *

No. 39. Saturday, April 14, 1711. Addison.

'Multa fero, ut placem genus irritabile vatum,
Cum scribo.'


As a perfect Tragedy is the Noblest Production of Human Nature, so it is
capable of giving the Mind one of the most delightful and most improving
Entertainments. A virtuous Man (says _Seneca_) struggling with
Misfortunes, is such a Spectacle as Gods might look upon with Pleasure:
[1] And such a Pleasure it is which one meets with in the Representation
of a well-written Tragedy. Diversions of this kind wear out of our
Thoughts every thing that is mean and little. They cherish and cultivate
that Humanity which is the Ornament of our Nature. They soften
Insolence, sooth Affliction, and subdue the Mind to the Dispensations of

It is no Wonder therefore that in all the polite Nations of the World,
this part of the _Drama_ has met with publick Encouragement.

The modern Tragedy excels that of _Greece_ and _Rome_, in the Intricacy
and Disposition of the Fable; but, what a Christian Writer would be
ashamed to own, falls infinitely short of it in the Moral Part of the

This I [may [2]] shew more at large hereafter; and in the mean time,
that I may contribute something towards the Improvement of the _English_
Tragedy, I shall take notice, in this and in other following Papers, of
some particular Parts in it that seem liable to Exception.

_Aristotle_ [3] observes, that the _Iambick_ Verse in the _Greek_ Tongue
was the most proper for Tragedy: Because at the same time that it lifted
up the Discourse from Prose, it was that which approached nearer to it
than any other kind of Verse. For, says he, we may observe that Men in
Ordinary Discourse very often speak _Iambicks_, without taking notice of
it. We may make the same Observation of our _English_ Blank Verse, which
often enters into our Common Discourse, though we do not attend to it,
and is such a due Medium between Rhyme and Prose, that it seems
wonderfully adapted to Tragedy. I am therefore very much offended when I
see a Play in Rhyme, which is as absurd in _English_, as a Tragedy of
_Hexameters_ would have been in _Greek_ or _Latin_. The Solaecism is, I
think, still greater, in those Plays that have some Scenes in Rhyme and
some in Blank Verse, which are to be looked upon as two several
Languages; or where we see some particular Similies dignifyed with
Rhyme, at the same time that everything about them lyes in Blank Verse.
I would not however debar the Poet from concluding his Tragedy, or, if
he pleases, every Act of it, with two or three Couplets, which may have
the same Effect as an Air in the _Italian_ Opera after a long
_Recitativo_, and give the Actor a graceful _Exit_. Besides that we see
a Diversity of Numbers in some Parts of the Old Tragedy, in order to
hinder the Ear from being tired with the same continued Modulation of
Voice. For the same Reason I do not dislike the Speeches in our
_English_ Tragedy that close with an _Hemistick_, or half Verse,
notwithstanding the Person who speaks after it begins a new Verse,
without filling up the preceding one; Nor with abrupt Pauses and
Breakings-off in the middle of a Verse, when they humour any Passion
that is expressed by it.

Since I am upon this Subject, I must observe that our _English_ Poets
have succeeded much better in the Style, than in the Sentiments of their
Tragedies. Their Language is very often Noble and Sonorous, but the
Sense either very trifling or very common. On the contrary, in the
Ancient Tragedies, and indeed in those of _Corneille_ and _Racine_ [4]
tho' the Expressions are very great, it is the Thought that bears them
up and swells them. For my own part, I prefer a noble Sentiment that is
depressed with homely Language, infinitely before a vulgar one that is
blown up with all the Sound and Energy of Expression. Whether this
Defect in our Tragedies may arise from Want of Genius, Knowledge, or
Experience in the Writers, or from their Compliance with the vicious
Taste of their Readers, who are better Judges of the Language than of
the Sentiments, and consequently relish the one more than the other, I
cannot determine. But I believe it might rectify the Conduct both of the
one and of the other, if the Writer laid down the whole Contexture of
his Dialogue in plain _English_, before he turned it into Blank Verse;
and if the Reader, after the Perusal of a Scene, would consider the
naked Thought of every Speech in it, when divested of all its Tragick
Ornaments. By this means, without being imposed upon by Words, we may
judge impartially of the Thought, and consider whether it be natural or
great enough for the Person that utters it, whether it deserves to shine
in such a Blaze of Eloquence, or shew itself in such a Variety of Lights
as are generally made use of by the Writers of our _English_ Tragedy.

I must in the next place observe, that when our Thoughts are great and
just, they are often obscured by the sounding Phrases, hard Metaphors,
and forced Expressions in which they are cloathed. _Shakespear_ is often
very Faulty in this Particular. There is a fine Observation in
_Aristotle_ to this purpose, which I have never seen quoted. The
Expression, says he, ought to be very much laboured in the unactive
Parts of the Fable, as in Descriptions, Similitudes, Narrations, and the
like; in which the Opinions, Manners and Passions of Men are not
represented; for these (namely the Opinions, Manners and Passions) are
apt to be obscured by Pompous Phrases, and Elaborate Expressions. [5]
_Horace_, who copied most of his Criticisms after _Aristotle_, seems to
have had his Eye on the foregoing Rule in the following Verses:

Et Tragicus plerumque dolet Sermone pedestri,
Telephus et Peleus, cum pauper et exul uterque,
Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba,
Si curat cor Spectantis tetigisse querela.

Tragedians too lay by their State, to grieve_.
Peleus _and_ Telephus, _Exit'd and Poor,
Forget their Swelling and Gigantick Words.


Among our Modern _English_ Poets, there is none who was better turned
for Tragedy than _Lee_; [6] if instead of favouring the Impetuosity of
his Genius, he had restrained it, and kept it within its proper Bounds.
His Thoughts are wonderfully suited to Tragedy, but frequently lost in
such a Cloud of Words, that it is hard to see the Beauty of them: There
is an infinite Fire in his Works, but so involved in Smoak, that it does
not appear in half its Lustre. He frequently succeeds in the Passionate
Parts of the Tragedy, but more particularly where he slackens his
Efforts, and eases the Style of those Epithets and Metaphors, in which
he so much abounds. What can be more Natural, more Soft, or more
Passionate, than that Line in _Statira's_ Speech, where she describes
the Charms of _Alexander's_ Conversation?

_Then he would talk: Good Gods! how he would talk!_

That unexpected Break in the Line, and turning the Description of his
Manner of Talking into an Admiration of it, is inexpressibly Beautiful,
and wonderfully suited, to the fond Character of the Person that speaks
it. There is a Simplicity in the Words, that outshines the utmost Pride
of Expression.

_Otway_ [7] has followed Nature in the Language of his Tragedy, and
therefore shines in the Passionate Parts, more than any of our _English_
Poets. As there is something Familiar and Domestick in the Fable of his
Tragedy, more than in those of any other Poet, he has little Pomp, but
great Force in his Expressions. For which Reason, though he has
admirably succeeded in the tender and melting Part of his Tragedies, he
sometimes falls into too great a Familiarity of Phrase in those Parts,
which, by _Aristotle's_ Rule, ought to have been raised and supported by
the Dignity of Expression.

It has been observed by others, that this Poet has founded his Tragedy
of _Venice Preserved_ on so wrong a Plot, that the greatest Characters
in it are those of Rebels and Traitors. Had the Hero of his Play
discovered the same good Qualities in the Defence of his Country, that
he showed for its Ruin and Subversion, the Audience could not enough
pity and admire him: But as he is now represented, we can only say of
him what the _Roman_ Historian says of _Catiline_, that his Fall would
have been Glorious (_si pro Patria sic concidisset_) had he so fallen in
the Service of his Country.


[Footnote 1: From Seneca on Providence:

"'De Providentia', sive Quare Bonis Viris Mala Accidant cum sit
Providentia' Sec. 2,
'Ecce spectaculum dignum, ad quod respiciat intentus operi suo Deus:
ecce par Deo dignum, vir fortis cum mala fortuna compositus, utique si
et provocavit."

So also Minutius Felix, 'Adversus Gentes:'

"Quam pulchrum spectaculum Deo, cum Christianus cum dolore
congueditur? cum adversus minas, et supplicia, et tormenta componitur?
cum libertatem suam adversus reges ac Principes erigit."

Epictetus also bids the endangered man remember that he has been sent by
God as an athlete into the arena.]

[Footnote 2: shall]

[Footnote 3: 'Poetics', Part I. Sec. 7. Also in the 'Rhetoric', bk III. ch.

[Footnote 4: These chiefs of the French tragic drama died, Corneille in
1684, and his brother Thomas in 1708; Racine in 1699.]

[Footnote 5: It is the last sentence in Part III. of the 'Poetics'.]

[Footnote 6: Nathaniel Lee died in 1692 of injury received during a
drunken frolic. Disappointed of a fellowship at Cambridge, he turned
actor; failed upon the stage, but prospered as a writer for it. His
career as a dramatist began with 'Nero', in 1675, and he wrote in all
eleven plays. His most successful play was the 'Rival Queens', or the
Death of Alexander the Great, produced in 1677. Next to it in success,
and superior in merit, was his 'Theodosius', or the Force of Love,
produced in 1680. He took part with Dryden in writing the very
successful adaptation of 'OEdipus', produced in 1679, as an English
Tragedy based upon Sophocles and Seneca. During two years of his life
Lee was a lunatic in Bedlam.]

[Footnote 7: Thomas Otway died of want in 1685, at the age of 34. Like
Lee, he left college for the stage, attempted as an actor, then turned
dramatist, and produced his first tragedy, 'Alcibiades', in 1675, the
year in which Lee produced also his first tragedy, 'Nero'. Otway's
second play, 'Don Carlos', was very successful, but his best were, the
'Orphan', produced in 1680, remarkable for its departure from the kings
and queens of tragedy for pathos founded upon incidents in middle life,
and 'Venice Preserved', produced in 1682.]

* * * * *

No. 40. Monday, April 16, 1711. Addison.

'Ac ne forte putes, me, que facere ipse recusem,
Cum recte tractant alii, laudare maligne;
Ille per extentum funem mihi fosse videtur
Ire Poeta, meum qui pectus inaniter angit,
Irritat, mulcet, falsis terroribus implet,
Ut magus; et modo me Thebis, modo ponit Athenis.'


The _English_ Writers of Tragedy are possessed with a Notion, that when
they represent a virtuous or innocent Person in Distress, they ought not
to leave him till they have delivered him out of his Troubles, or made
him triumph over his Enemies. This Error they have been led into by a
ridiculous Doctrine in modern Criticism, that they are obliged to an
equal Distribution of Rewards and Punishments, and an impartial
Execution of poetical Justice. Who were the first that established this
Rule I know not; but I am sure it has no Foundation in Nature, in
Reason, or in the Practice of the Ancients. We find that Good and Evil
happen alike to all Men on this side the Grave; and as the principal
Design of Tragedy is to raise Commiseration and Terror in the Minds of
the Audience, we shall defeat this great End, if we always make Virtue
and Innocence happy and successful. Whatever Crosses and Disappointments
a good Man suffers in the Body of the Tragedy, they will make but small
Impression on our Minds, when we know that in the last Act he is to
arrive at the End of his Wishes and Desires. When we see him engaged in
the Depth of his Afflictions, we are apt to comfort our selves, because
we are sure he will find his Way out of them: and that his Grief, how
great soever it may be at present, will soon terminate in Gladness. For
this Reason the ancient Writers of Tragedy treated Men in their Plays,
as they are dealt with in the World, by making Virtue sometimes happy
and sometimes miserable, as they found it in the Fable which they made
choice of, or as it might affect their Audience in the most agreeable
Manner. _Aristotle_ considers the Tragedies that were written in either
of these Kinds, and observes, That those which ended unhappily had
always pleased the People, and carried away the Prize in the publick
Disputes of the Stage, from those that ended happily. [1] Terror and
Commiseration leave a pleasing Anguish in the Mind; and fix the Audience
in such a serious Composure of Thought as is much more lasting and
delightful than any little transient Starts of Joy and Satisfaction.
Accordingly, we find, that more of our English Tragedies have succeeded,
in which the Favourites of the Audience sink under their Calamities,
than those in which they recover themselves out of them. The best Plays
of this Kind are 'The Orphan', 'Venice Preserved', 'Alexander the
Great', 'Theodosius', 'All for Love', 'OEdipus', 'Oroonoko', 'Othello',
[2] &c. 'King Lear' is an admirable Tragedy of the same Kind, as
'Shakespear' wrote it; but as it is reformed according to the chymerical
Notion of Poetical Justice, in my humble Opinion it has lost half its
Beauty. At the same time I must allow, that there are very noble
Tragedies which have been framed upon the other Plan, and have ended
happily; as indeed most of the good Tragedies, which have been written
since the starting of the above-mentioned Criticism, have taken this
Turn: As 'The Mourning Bride', 'Tamerlane', 'Ulysses', 'Phaedra' and
'Hippolitus', with most of Mr. _Dryden's_. [3] I must also allow, that
many of _Shakespear's_, and several of the celebrated Tragedies of
Antiquity, are cast in the same Form. I do not therefore dispute against
this Way of writing Tragedies, but against the Criticism that would
establish this as the only Method; and by that Means would very much
cramp the _English_ Tragedy, and perhaps give a wrong Bent to the Genius
of our Writers.

The Tragi-Comedy, which is the Product of the _English_ Theatre, is one
of the most monstrous Inventions that ever entered into a Poet's
Thoughts. An Author might as well think of weaving the Adventures of
_AEneas_ and _Hudibras_ into one Poem, as of writing such a motly Piece
of Mirth and Sorrow. But the Absurdity of these Performances is so very
visible, that I shall not insist upon it.

The same Objections which are made to Tragi-Comedy, may in some Measure
be applied to all Tragedies that have a double Plot in them; which are
likewise more frequent upon the _English_ Stage, than upon any other:
For though the Grief of the Audience, in such Performances, be not
changed into another Passion, as in Tragi-Comedies; it is diverted upon
another Object, which weakens their Concern for the principal Action,
and breaks the Tide of Sorrow, by throwing it into different Channels.
This Inconvenience, however, may in a great Measure be cured, if not
wholly removed, by the skilful Choice of an Under-Plot, which may bear
such a near Relation to the principal Design, as to contribute towards
the Completion of it, and be concluded by the same Catastrophe.

There is also another Particular, which may be reckoned among the
Blemishes, or rather the false Beauties, of our _English_ Tragedy: I
mean those particular Speeches, which are commonly known by the Name of
_Rants_. The warm and passionate Parts of a Tragedy, are always the most
taking with the Audience; for which Reason we often see the Players
pronouncing, in all the Violence of Action, several Parts of the Tragedy
which the Author writ with great Temper, and designed that they should
have been so acted. I have seen _Powell_ very often raise himself a loud
Clap by this Artifice. The Poets that were acquainted with this Secret,
have given frequent Occasion for such Emotions in the Actor, by adding
Vehemence to Words where there was no Passion, or inflaming a real
Passion into Fustian. This hath filled the Mouths of our Heroes with
Bombast; and given them such Sentiments, as proceed rather from a
Swelling than a Greatness of Mind. Unnatural Exclamations, Curses, Vows,

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