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

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--Accipe si vis,
Accipe jam tabulas; detur nobis locus, hora,
Custodes: videamus uter plus scribere possit.


This was the whole of his Ambition; and therefore I cannot but think
the Flights of this rapid Author very proper to be opposed to those
laborious Nothings which you have observed were the Delight of the
_German_ Wits, and in which they so happily got rid of such a tedious
Quantity of their Time.

I have known a Gentleman of another Turn of Humour, who, despising
the Name of an Author, never printed his Works, but contracted his
Talent, and by the help of a very fine Diamond which he wore on his
little Finger, was a considerable Poet upon Glass. He had a very good
Epigrammatick Wit; and there was not a Parlour or Tavern Window where
he visited or dined for some Years, which did not receive some
Sketches or Memorials of it. It was his Misfortune at last to lose his
Genius and his Ring to a Sharper at Play; and he has not attempted to
make a Verse since.

But of all Contractions or Expedients for Wit, I admire that of an
ingenious Projector whose Book I have seen. [4] This Virtuoso being a
Mathematician, has, according to his Taste, thrown the Art of Poetry
into a short Problem, and contrived Tables by which any one without
knowing a Word of Grammar or Sense, may, to his great Comfort, be able
to compose or rather to erect _Latin_ Verses. His Tables are a kind of
Poetical Logarithms, which being divided into several Squares, and all
inscribed with so many incoherent Words, appear to the Eye somewhat
like a Fortune-telling Screen. What a Joy must it be to the unlearned
Operator to find that these Words, being carefully collected and writ
down in Order according to the Problem, start of themselves into
Hexameter and Pentameter Verses? A Friend of mine, who is a Student in
Astrology, meeting with this Book, performed the Operation, by the
Rules there set down; he shewed his Verses to the next of his
Acquaintance, who happened to understand _Latin_; and being informed
they described a Tempest of Wind, very luckily prefixed them, together
with a Translation, to an Almanack he was just then printing, and was
supposed to have foretold the last great Storm. [5]

I think the only Improvement beyond this, would be that which the
late Duke of _Buckingham_ mentioned to a stupid Pretender to Poetry,
as the Project of a _Dutch_ Mechanick, _viz_. a Mill to make Verses.
This being the most compendious Method of all which have yet been
proposed, may deserve the Thoughts of our modern Virtuosi who are
employed in new Discoveries for the publick Good: and it may be worth
the while to consider, whether in an Island where few are content
without being thought Wits, it will not be a common Benefit, that Wit
as well as Labour should be made cheap.

_I am, SIR, Your humble Servant, &c._


I often dine at a Gentleman's House, where there are two young
Ladies, in themselves very agreeable, but very cold in their
Behaviour, because they understand me for a Person that is to break my
Mind, as the Phrase is, very suddenly to one of them. But I take this
Way to acquaint them, that I am not in Love with either of them, in
Hopes they will use me with that agreeable Freedom and Indifference
which they do all the rest of the World, and not to drink to one
another [only,] but sometimes cast a kind Look, with their Service to,

_SIR, Your humble Servant._


I am a young Gentleman, and take it for a Piece of Good-breeding to
pull off my Hat when I see any thing particularly charming in any
Woman, whether I know her or not. I take care that there is nothing
ludicrous or arch in my Manner, as if I were to betray a Woman into a
Salutation by Way of Jest or Humour; and yet except I am acquainted
with her, I find she ever takes it for a Rule, that she is to look
upon this Civility and Homage I pay to her supposed Merit, as an
Impertinence or Forwardness which she is to observe and neglect. I
wish, Sir, you would settle the Business of salutation; and please to
inform me how I shall resist the sudden Impulse I have to be civil to
what gives an Idea of Merit; or tell these Creatures how to behave
themselves in Return to the Esteem I have for them. My Affairs are
such, that your Decision will be a Favour to me, if it be only to save
the unnecessary Expence of wearing out my Hat so fast as I do at

There are some that do know me, and wont bow to me.

_I am, SIR,


[Footnote 1:

--Aliena negotia centum
Per caput, et circa saliunt latus.


[Footnote 2: This letter is by John Hughes.]

[Footnote 3:

--in hora saepe ducentos,
Ut magnum, versus dictabat stans pede in uno.

Sat. I. iv. 10.]

[Footnote 4: A pamphlet by John Peter, Artificial Versifying, a New Way
to make Latin Verses. Lond. 1678.]

[Footnote 5: Of Nov. 26, 1703, which destroyed in London alone property
worth a million.]

* * * * *

No. 221. Tuesday, November 13, 1711. Addison.

--Ab Ovo
Usque ad Mala--


When I have finished any of my Speculations, it is my Method to consider
which of the ancient Authors have touched upon the Subject that I treat
of. By this means I meet with some celebrated Thought upon it, or a
Thought of my own expressed in better Words, or some Similitude for the
Illustration of my Subject. This is what gives Birth to the Motto of a
Speculation, which I rather chuse to take out of the Poets than the
Prose-writers, as the former generally give a finer Turn to a Thought
than the latter, and by couching it in few Words, and in harmonious
Numbers, make it more portable to the Memory.

My Reader is therefore sure to meet with at least one good Line in every
Paper, and very often finds his Imagination entertained by a Hint that
awakens in his Memory some beautiful Passage of a Classick Author.

It was a Saying of an ancient Philosopher, which I find some of our
Writers have ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, who perhaps might have taken
occasion to repeat it, That a good Face is a Letter of Recommendation.
[1] It naturally makes the Beholders inquisitive into the Person who is
the Owner of it, and generally prepossesses them in his Favour. A
handsome Motto has the same Effect. Besides that, it always gives a
Supernumerary Beauty to a Paper, and is sometimes in a manner necessary
when the Writer is engaged in what may appear a Paradox to vulgar Minds,
as it shews that he is supported by good Authorities, and is not
singular in his Opinion.

I must confess, the Motto is of little Use to an unlearned Reader, for
which Reason I consider it only as _a Word to the Wise_. But as for my
unlearned Friends, if they cannot relish the Motto, I take care to make
Provision for them in the Body of my Paper. If they do not understand
the Sign that is hung out, they know very well by it, that they may meet
with Entertainment in the House; and I think I was never better pleased
than with a plain Man's Compliment, who, upon his Friends telling him
that he would like the _Spectator_ much better if he understood the
Motto, replied, _That good Wine needs no Bush_.

I have heard of a Couple of Preachers in a Country Town, who endeavoured
which should outshine one another, and draw together the greatest
Congregation. One of them being well versed in the Fathers, used to
quote every now and then a _Latin_ Sentence to his illiterate Hearers,
who it seems found themselves so edified by it, that they flocked in
greater Numbers to this learned Man than to his Rival. The other finding
his Congregation mouldering every _Sunday_, and hearing at length what
was the Occasion of it, resolved to give his Parish a little _Latin_ in
his Turn; but being unacquainted with any of the Fathers, he digested
into his Sermons the whole Book of Quae Genus, adding however such
Explications to it as he thought might be for the Benefit of his People.
He afterwards entered upon _As in praesenti_, [2] which he converted in
the same manner to the Use of his Parishioners. This in a very little
time thickned his Audience, filled his Church, and routed his

The natural Love to _Latin_ which is so prevalent in our common People,
makes me think that my Speculations fare never the worse among them for
that little Scrap which appears at the Head of them; and what the more
encourages me in the Use of Quotations in an unknown Tongue is, that I
hear the Ladies, whose Approbation I value more than that of the whole
Learned World, declare themselves in a more particular manner pleased
with my _Greek_ Mottos.

Designing this Days Work for a Dissertation upon the two Extremities of
my Paper, and having already dispatch'd my Motto, I shall, in the next
place, discourse upon those single Capital Letters, which are placed at
the End of it, and which have afforded great Matter of Speculation to
the Curious. I have heard various Conjectures upon this Subject. Some
tell us that C is the Mark of those Papers that are written by the
Clergyman, though others ascribe them to the Club in general: That the
Papers marked with R were written by my Friend Sir ROGER: That L
signifies the Lawyer, whom I have described in my second Speculation;
and that T stands for the Trader or Merchant: But the Letter X, which is
placed at the End of some few of my Papers, is that which has puzzled
the whole Town, as they cannot think of any Name which begins with that
Letter, except _Xenophon_ and _Xerxes_, who can neither of them be
supposed to have had any Hand in these Speculations.

In Answer to these inquisitive Gentlemen, who have many of them made
Enquiries of me by Letter, I must tell them the Reply of an ancient
Philosopher, who carried something hidden under his Cloak. A certain
Acquaintance desiring him to let him know what it was he covered so
carefully; _I cover it,_ says he, _on purpose that you should not know_.
I have made use of these obscure Marks for the same Purpose. They are,
perhaps, little Amulets or Charms to preserve the Paper against the
Fascination and Malice of evil Eyes; for which Reason I would not have
my Reader surprized, if hereafter he sees any of my Papers marked with a
Q, a Z, a Y, an &c., or with the Word _Abracadabra_ [3]

I shall, however, so far explain my self to the Reader, as to let him
know that the Letters, C, L, and X, are Cabalistical, and carry more in
them than it is proper for the World to be acquainted with. Those who
are versed in the Philosophy of Pythagoras, and swear by the
_Tetrachtys_, [4] that is, the Number Four, will know very well that the
Number _Ten_, which is signified by the Letter X, (and which has so much
perplexed the Town) has in it many particular Powers; that it is called
by Platonick Writers the Complete Number; that One, Two, Three and Four
put together make up the Number Ten; and that Ten is all. But these are
not Mysteries for ordinary Readers to be let into. A Man must have spent
many Years in hard Study before he can arrive at the Knowledge of them.

We had a Rabbinical Divine in _England_, who was Chaplain to the Earl of
_Essex_ in Queen _Elizabeth's_ Time, that had an admirable Head for
Secrets of this Nature. Upon his taking the Doctor of Divinity's Degree,
he preached before the University of _Cambridge_, upon the _First_ Verse
of the _First_ Chapter of the _First_ Book of _Chronicles_, in which,
says he, you have the three following Words,

_Adam, Sheth, Enosh_.

He divided this short Text into many Parts, and by discovering several
Mysteries in each Word, made a most Learned and Elaborate Discourse. The
Name of this profound Preacher was Doctor _Alabaster_, of whom the
Reader may find a more particular Account in Doctor _Fullers_ Book of
_English_ Worthies. [5] This Instance will, I hope, convince my Readers
that there may be a great deal of fine Writing in the Capital Letters
which bring up the Rear of my Paper, and give them some Satisfaction in
that Particular. But as for the full Explication of these Matters, I
must refer them to Time, which discovers all things.


[Footnote 1: Diogenes Laertius, Bk. V. ch. I.]

[Footnote 2: Quae Genus and As in Praesenti were the first words in
collections of rules then and until recently familiar as part of the
standard Latin Grammar, Lilly's, to which Erasmus and Colet contributed,
and of which Wolsey wrote the original Preface.]

[Footnote 3: Abraxas, which in Greek letters represents 365, the number
of the deities supposed by the Basilidians to be subordinate to the All
Ruling One, was a mystical name for the supreme God, and was engraved as
a charm on stones together with the figure of a human body (Cadaver),
with cats head and reptiles feet. From this the name Abracadabra may
have arisen, with a sense of power in it as a charm. Serenus Sammonicus,
a celebrated physician who lived about A.D. 210, who had, it is said, a
library of 62,000 volumes, and was killed at a banquet by order of
Caracalla, said in an extant Latin poem upon Medicine and Remedies, that
fevers were cured by binding to the body the word Abracadabra written in
this fashion:


and so on, till there remained only the initial A. His word was taken,
and this use of the charm was popular even in the Spectators time. It
is described by Defoe in his History of the Plague.]

[Footnote 4: The number Four was called Tetractys by the Pythagoreans,
who accounted it the most powerful of numbers, because it was the
foundation of them all, and as a square it signified solidity. They said
it was at the source of Nature, four elements, four seasons, &c., to
which later speculators added the four rivers of Paradise, four
evangelists, and association of the number four with God, whose name was
a mystical Tetra grammaton, Jod, He, Vau, He.]

[Footnote 5: Where it is explained that Adam meaning Man; Seth, placed;
and Enosh, Misery: the mystic inference is that Man was placed in

* * * * *

No. 222. Wednesday, November 14, 1711. Steele.

Cur alter fratrum cessare, et ludere, et ungi,
Praeferat Herodis palmetis pinguibus



There is one thing I have often look'd for in your Papers, and have
as often wondered to find my self disappointed; the rather, because I
think it a Subject every way agreeable to your Design, and by being
left unattempted by others, seems reserved as a proper Employment for
you; I mean a Disquisition, from whence it proceeds, that Men of the
brightest Parts, and most comprehensive Genius, compleatly furnished
with Talents for any Province in humane Affairs; such as by their wise
Lessons of Oeconomy to others have made it evident, that they have the
justest Notions of Life and of true Sense in the Conduct of it--: from
what unhappy contradictious Cause it proceeds, that Persons thus
finished by Nature and by Art, should so often fail in the Management
of that which they so well understand, and want the Address to make a
right Application of their own Rules. This is certainly a prodigious
Inconsistency in Behaviour, and makes much such a Figure in Morals as
a monstrous Birth in Naturals, with this Difference only, which
greatly aggravates the Wonder, that it happens much more frequently;
and what a Blemish does it cast upon Wit and Learning in the general
Account of the World? And in how disadvantageous a Light does it
expose them to the busy Class of Mankind, that there should be so many
Instances of Persons who have so conducted their Lives in spite of
these transcendent Advantages, as neither to be happy in themselves,
nor useful to their Friends; when every Body sees it was entirely in
their own Power to be eminent in both these Characters? For my part, I
think there is no Reflection more astonishing, than to consider one of
these Gentlemen spending a fair Fortune, running in every Body's Debt
without the least Apprehension of a future Reckoning, and at last
leaving not only his own Children, but possibly those of other People,
by his Means, in starving Circumstances; while a Fellow, whom one
would scarce suspect to have a humane Soul, shall perhaps raise a vast
Estate out of Nothing, and be the Founder of a Family capable of being
very considerable in their Country, and doing many illustrious
Services to it. That this Observation is just, Experience has put
beyond all Dispute. But though the Fact be so evident and glaring, yet
the Causes of it are still in the Dark; which makes me persuade my
self, that it would be no unacceptable Piece of Entertainment to the
Town, to inquire into the hidden Sources of so unaccountable an Evil.
_I am, SIR, Your most Humble Servant_.

What this Correspondent wonders at, has been Matter of Admiration ever
since there was any such thing as humane Life. _Horace_ reflects upon
this Inconsistency very agreeably in the Character of _Tigellius_, whom
he makes a mighty Pretender to Oeconomy, and tells you, you might one
Day hear him speak the most philosophick Things imaginable concerning
being contented with a little, and his Contempt of every thing but mere
Necessaries, and in Half a Week after spend a thousand Pound. When he
says this of him with Relation to Expence, he describes him as unequal
to himself in every other Circumstance of Life. And indeed, if we
consider lavish Men carefully, we shall find it always proceeds from a
certain Incapacity of possessing themselves, and finding Enjoyment in
their own Minds. Mr. _Dryden_ has expressed this very excellently in the
Character of _Zimri_. [1]

A Man so various, that he seem'd to be
Not one, but all Mankind's Epitome.
Stiff in Opinion, always in the Wrong,
Was every Thing by Starts, and Nothing long;
But in the Course of one revolving Moon,
Was Chymist, Fidler, Statesman, and Buffoon.
Then all for Women, Painting, Rhiming, Drinking,
Besides ten thousand Freaks that died in thinking;
Blest Madman, who could every Hour employ
In something new to wish or to enjoy!
In squandering Wealth was his peculiar Art,
Nothing went unrewarded but Desert.

This loose State of the Soul hurries the Extravagant from one Pursuit to
another; and the Reason that his Expences are greater than anothers,
is, that his Wants are also more numerous. But what makes so many go on
in this Way to their Lives End, is, that they certainly do not know how
contemptible they are in the Eyes of the rest of Mankind, or rather,
that indeed they are not so contemptible as they deserve. _Tully_ says,
it is the greatest of Wickedness to lessen your paternal Estate. And if
a Man would thoroughly consider how much worse than Banishment it must
be to his Child, to ride by the Estate which should have been his had it
not been for his Fathers Injustice to him, he would be smitten with the
Reflection more deeply than can be understood by any but one who is a
Father. Sure there can be nothing more afflicting than to think it had
been happier for his Son to have been born of any other Man living than

It is not perhaps much thought of, but it is certainly a very important
Lesson, to learn how to enjoy ordinary Life, and to be able to relish
your Being without the Transport of some Passion or Gratification of
some Appetite. For want of this Capacity, the World is filled with
Whetters, Tipplers, Cutters, Sippers, and all the numerous Train of
those who, for want of Thinking, are forced to be ever exercising their
Feeling or Tasting. It would be hard on this Occasion to mention the
harmless Smoakers of Tobacco and Takers of Snuff.

The slower Part of Mankind, whom my Correspondent wonders should get
Estates, are the more immediately formed for that Pursuit: They can
expect distant things without Impatience, because they are not carried
out of their Way either by violent Passion or keen Appetite to any
thing. To Men addicted to Delight[s], Business is an Interruption; to
such as are cold to Delights, Business is an Entertainment. For which
Reason it was said to one who commended a dull Man for his Application,

_No Thanks to him; if he had no Business, he would have nothing to do._


[Footnote 1: i.e. The Duke of Buckingham, in Part I. of 'Absalom and

* * * * *

No. 223. Thursday, Nov. 15, 1711. Addison.

O suavis Anima! qualem te dicam bonam
Antehac fuisse, tales cum sint reliquiae!


When I reflect upon the various Fate of those Multitudes of Ancient
Writers who flourished in _Greece_ and _Italy_, I consider Time as an
Immense Ocean, in which many noble Authors are entirely swallowed up,
many very much shattered and damaged, some quite disjointed and broken
into pieces, while some have wholly escaped the Common Wreck; but the
Number of the last is very small.

_Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto_.

Among the mutilated Poets of Antiquity, there is none whose Fragments
are so beautiful as those of _Sappho_. They give us a Taste of her Way
of Writing, which is perfectly conformable with that extraordinary
Character we find of her, in the Remarks of those great Criticks who
were conversant with her Works when they were entire. One may see by
what is left of them, that she followed Nature in all her Thoughts,
without descending to those little Points, Conceits, and Turns of Wit
with which many of our modern Lyricks are so miserably infected. Her
Soul seems to have been made up of Love and Poetry; She felt the Passion
in all its Warmth, and described it in all its Symptoms. She is called
by ancient Authors the Tenth Muse; and by _Plutarch_ is compared to
_Cacus_ the Son of _Vulcan_, who breathed out nothing but Flame. I do
not know, by the Character that is given of her Works, whether it is not
for the Benefit of Mankind that they are lost. They were filled with
such bewitching Tenderness and Rapture, that it might have been
dangerous to have given them a Reading.

An Inconstant Lover, called _Phaon_, occasioned great Calamities to this
Poetical Lady. She fell desperately in Love with him, and took a Voyage
into _Sicily_ in Pursuit of him, he having withdrawn himself thither on
purpose to avoid her. It was in that Island, and on this Occasion, she
is supposed to have made the Hymn to _Venus_, with a Translation of
which I shall present my Reader. Her Hymn was ineffectual for the
procuring that Happiness which she prayed for in it. _Phaon_ was still
obdurate, and _Sappho_ so transported with the Violence of her Passion,
that she was resolved to get rid of it at any Price.

There was a Promontory in _Acarnania_ called _Leucrate_ [1] on the Top
of which was a little Temple dedicated to Apollo. In this Temple it was
usual for _despairing_ Lovers to make their Vows in secret, and
afterwards to fling themselves from the Top of the Precipice into the
Sea, where they were sometimes taken up alive. This Place was therefore
called, _The Lovers Leap_; and whether or no the Fright they had been
in, or the Resolution that could push them to so dreadful a Remedy, or
the Bruises which they often received in their Fall, banished all the
tender Sentiments of Love, and gave their Spirits another Turn; those
who had taken this Leap were observed never to relapse into that
Passion. _Sappho_ tried the Cure, but perished in the Experiment.

After having given this short Account of _Sappho_ so far as it regards
the following Ode, I shall subjoin the Translation of it as it was sent
me by a Friend, whose admirable Pastorals and _Winter-Piece_ have been
already so well received. [2] The Reader will find in it that Pathetick
Simplicity which is so peculiar to him, and so suitable to the Ode he
has here Translated. This Ode in the Greek (besides those Beauties
observed by Madam _Dacier_) has several harmonious Turns in the Words,
which are not lost in the _English_. I must farther add, that the
Translation has preserved every Image and Sentiment of _Sappho_,
notwithstanding it has all the Ease and Spirit of an Original. In a
Word, if the Ladies have a mind to know the Manner of Writing practised
by the so much celebrated _Sappho_, they may here see it in its genuine
and natural Beauty, without any foreign or affected Ornaments.


I. _O_ Venus, _Beauty of the Skies,
To whom a Thousand Temples rise,
Gayly false in gentle Smiles,
Full of Loves perplexing Wiles;
O Goddess! from my Heart remove
The wasting Cares and Pains of Love_.

II. _If ever thou hast kindly heard
A Song in soft Distress preferr'd,
Propitious to my tuneful Vow,
O gentle Goddess! hear me now.
Descend, thou bright, immortal Guest,
In all thy radiant Charms confest_.

III. _Thou once didst leave Almighty Jove,
And all the Golden Roofs above:
The Carr thy wanton Sparrows drew;
Hovring in Air they lightly flew,
As to my Bower they wing'd their Way:
I saw their quivring Pinions play_.

IV. _The Birds dismist (while you remain)
Bore back their empty Carr again:
Then You, with Looks divinely mild,
In evry heavnly Feature smil'd,
And ask'd what new Complaints I made,
And why I call'd you to my Aid_?

V. _What Phrenzy in my Bosom rag'd,
And by what Care to be asswag'd?
What gentle Youth I could allure,
Whom in my artful Toiles secure?
Who does thy tender Heart subdue,
Tell me, my_ Sappho, _tell me Who_?

VI. _Tho now he Shuns thy longing Arms,
He soon shall court thy slighted Charms;
Tho now thy Offrings he despise,
He soon to thee shall Sacrifice;
Tho now he freeze, he soon shall burn,
And be thy Victim in his turn_.

VII. _Celestial Visitant, once more
Thy needful Presence I implore!
In Pity come and ease my Grief,
Bring my distemper'd Soul Relief;
Favour thy Suppliants hidden Fires,
And give me All my Heart desires_.

Madam _Dacier_ observes, there is something very pretty in that
Circumstance of this Ode, wherein _Venus_ is described as sending away
her Chariot upon her Arrival at _Sappho's_ Lodgings, to denote that it
was not a short transient Visit which she intended to make her. This Ode
was preserved by an eminent _Greek_ Critick, [3] who inserted it intire
in his Works, as a Pattern of Perfection in the Structure of it.

_Longinus_ has quoted another Ode of this great Poetess, which is
likewise admirable in its Kind, and has been translated by the same Hand
with the foregoing one. I shall oblige my Reader with it in another
Paper. In the mean while, I cannot but wonder, that these two finished
Pieces have never been attempted before by any of our Countrymen. But
the Truth of it is, the Compositions of the Ancients, which have not in
them any of those unnatural Witticisms that are the Delight of ordinary
Readers, are extremely difficult to render into another Tongue, so as
the Beauties of the Original may not appear weak and faded in the


[Footnote 1: Leucas]

[Footnote 2: Ambrose Philips, whose Winter Piece appeared in No. 12 of
the _Tatler_, and whose six Pastorals preceded those of Pope. Philips's
Pastorals had appeared in 1709 in a sixth volume of a Poetical
Miscellany issued by Jacob Tonson. The first four volumes of that
Miscellany had been edited by Dryden, the fifth was collected after
Dryden's death, and the sixth was notable for opening with the Pastorals
of Ambrose Philips and closing with those of young Pope which Tonson had
volunteered to print, thereby, said Wycherley, furnishing a Jacob's
ladder by which Pope mounted to immortality. In a letter to his friend
Mr. Henry Cromwell, Pope said, generously putting himself out of
account, that there were no better eclogues in our language than those
of Philips; but when afterwards Tickell in the _Guardian_, criticising
Pastoral Poets from Theocritus downwards, exalted Philips and passed
over Pope, the slighted poet took his revenge by sending to Steele an
amusing one paper more upon Pastorals. This was ironical exaltation of
the worst he could find in Philips over the best bits of his own work,
which Steele inserted (it is No. 40 of the _Guardian_). Hereupon
Philips, it is said, stuck up a rod in Buttons Coffee House, which he
said was to be used on Pope when next he met him. Pope retained his
wrath, and celebrated Philips afterwards under the character of Macer,
saying of this _Spectator_ time,

_When simple Macer, now of high renown,
First sought a Poets fortune in the town,
Twas all the ambition his high soul could feel,
To wear red stockings, and to dine with Steele._]

[Footnote 3: Dionysius of Halicarnassus.]

* * * * *

No. 224. Friday, November 16, 1711. Hughes.

--Fulgente trahit constrictos Gloria curru
Non minus ignotos generosis

Hor. Sat. 6.

If we look abroad upon the great Multitudes of Mankind, and endeavour to
trace out the Principles of Action in every Individual, it will, I
think, seem highly probable that Ambition runs through the whole
Species, and that every Man in Proportion to the Vigour of his
Complection is more or less actuated by it. It is indeed no uncommon
thing to meet with Men, who by the natural Bent of their Inclinations,
and without the Discipline of Philosophy, aspire not to the Heights of
Power and Grandeur; who never set their Hearts upon a numerous Train of
Clients and Dependancies, nor other gay Appendages of Greatness; who are
contented with a Competency, and will not molest their Tranquillity to
gain an Abundance: But it is not therefore to be concluded that such a
Man is not Ambitious; his Desires may have cut out another Channel, and
determined him to other Pursuits; the Motive however may be still the
same; and in these Cases likewise the Man may be equally pushed on with
the Desire of Distinction.

Though the pure Consciousness of worthy Actions, abstracted from the
Views of popular Applause, be to a generous Mind an ample Reward, yet
the Desire of Distinction was doubtless implanted in our Natures as an
additional Incentive to exert our selves in virtuous Excellence.

This Passion indeed, like all others, is frequently perverted to evil
and ignoble Purposes; so that we may account for many of the
Excellencies and Follies of Life upon the same innate Principle, to wit,
the Desire of being remarkable: For this, as it has been differently
cultivated by Education, Study and Converse, will bring forth suitable
Effects as it falls in with an [ingenuous] [1] Disposition, or a corrupt
Mind; it does accordingly express itself in Acts of Magnanimity or
selfish Cunning, as it meets with a good or a weak Understanding. As it
has been employed in embellishing the Mind, or adorning the Outside, it
renders the Man eminently Praise-worthy or ridiculous. Ambition
therefore is not to be confined only to one Passion or Pursuit; for as
the same Humours, in Constitutions otherwise different, affect the Body
after different Manners, so the same aspiring Principle within us
sometimes breaks forth upon one Object, sometimes upon another.

It cannot be doubted, but that there is as great Desire of Glory in a
Ring of Wrestlers or Cudgel-Players, as in any other more refined
Competition for Superiority. No Man that could avoid it, would ever
suffer his Head to be broken but out of a Principle of Honour. This is
the secret Spring that pushes them forward; and the Superiority which
they gain above the undistinguish'd many, does more than repair those
Wounds they have received in the Combat. Tis Mr. _Waller's_ Opinion,
that _Julius Caesar_, had he not been Master of the _Roman_ Empire, would
in all Probability have made an excellent Wrestler.

_Great_ Julius _on the Mountains bred,
A Flock perhaps or Herd had led;
He that the World subdued, had been
But the best Wrestler on the Green._ [2]

That he subdued the World, was owing to the Accidents of Art and
Knowledge; had he not met with those Advantages, the same Sparks of
Emulation would have kindled within him, and prompted him to distinguish
himself in some Enterprize of a lower Nature. Since therefore no Man's
Lot is so unalterably fixed in this Life, but that a thousand Accidents
may either forward or disappoint his Advancement, it is, methinks, a
pleasant and inoffensive Speculation, to consider a great Man as
divested of all the adventitious Circumstances of Fortune, and to bring
him down in ones Imagination to that low Station of Life, the Nature of
which bears some distant Resemblance to that high one he is at present
possessed of. Thus one may view him exercising in Miniature those
Talents of Nature, which being drawn out by Education to their full
Length, enable him for the Discharge of some important Employment. On
the other Hand, one may raise uneducated Merit to such a Pitch of
Greatness as may seem equal to the possible Extent of his improved

Thus Nature furnishes a Man with a general Appetite of Glory, Education
determines it to this or that particular Object. The Desire of
Distinction is not, I think, in any Instance more observable than in the
Variety of Outsides and new Appearances, which the modish Part of the
World are obliged to provide, in order to make themselves remarkable;
for any thing glaring and particular, either in Behaviour or Apparel, is
known to have this good Effect, that it catches the Eye, and will not
suffer you to pass over the Person so adorned without due Notice and
Observation. It has likewise, upon this Account, been frequently
resented as a very great Slight, to leave any Gentleman out of a Lampoon
or Satyr, who has as much Right to be there as his Neighbour, because it
supposes the Person not eminent enough to be taken notice of. To this
passionate Fondness for Distinction are owing various frolicksome and
irregular Practices, as sallying out into Nocturnal Exploits, breaking
of Windows, singing of Catches, beating the Watch, getting Drunk twice a
Day, killing a great Number of Horses; with many other Enterprizes of
the like fiery Nature: For certainly many a Man is more Rakish and
Extravagant than he would willingly be, were there not others to look on
and give their Approbation.

One very Common, and at the same time the most absurd Ambition that ever
shewed it self in Humane Nature, is that which comes upon a Man with
Experience and old Age, the Season when it might be expected he should
be wisest; and therefore it cannot receive any of those lessening
Circumstances which do, in some measure, excuse the disorderly Ferments
of youthful Blood: I mean the Passion for getting Money, exclusive of
the Character of the Provident Father, the Affectionate Husband, or the
Generous Friend. It may be remarked, for the Comfort of honest Poverty,
that this Desire reigns most in those who have but few good Qualities to
recommend them. This is a Weed that will grow in a barren Soil.
Humanity, Good Nature, and the Advantages of a Liberal Education, are
incompatible with Avarice. Tis strange to see how suddenly this abject
Passion kills all the noble Sentiments and generous Ambitions that adorn
Humane Nature; it renders the Man who is over-run with it a peevish and
cruel Master, a severe Parent, an unsociable Husband, a distant and
mistrustful Friend. But it is more to the present Purpose to consider it
as an absurd Passion of the Heart, rather than as a vicious Affection of
the Mind. As there are frequent Instances to be met with of a proud
Humility, so this Passion, contrary to most others, affects Applause, by
avoiding all Show and Appearance; for this Reason it will not sometimes
endure even the common Decencies of Apparel. _A covetous Man will call
himself poor, that you may sooth his Vanity by contradicting him_. Love
and the Desire of Glory, as they are the most natural, so they are
capable of being refined into the most delicate and rational Passions.
Tis true, the wise Man who strikes out of the secret Paths of a private
Life, for Honour and Dignity, allured by the Splendour of a Court, and
the unfelt Weight of publick Employment, whether he succeeds in his
Attempts or no, usually comes near enough to this painted Greatness to
discern the Dawbing; he is then desirous of extricating himself out of
the Hurry of Life, that he may pass away the Remainder of his Days in
Tranquillity and Retirement.

It may be thought then but common Prudence in a Man not to change a
better State for a worse, nor ever to quit that which he knows he shall
take up again with Pleasure; and yet if human Life be not a little moved
with the gentle Gales of Hopes and Fears, there may be some Danger of
its stagnating in an unmanly Indolence and Security. It is a known Story
of _Domitian_, that after he had possessed himself of the _Roman_ Empire,
his Desires turn'd upon catching Flies. Active and Masculine Spirits in
the Vigour of Youth neither can nor ought to remain at Rest: If they
debar themselves from aiming at a noble Object, their Desires will move
downwards, and they will feel themselves actuated by some low and abject

Thus if you cut off the top Branches of a Tree, and will not suffer it
to grow any higher, it will not therefore cease to grow, but will
quickly shoot out at the Bottom. The Man indeed who goes into the World
only with the narrow Views of Self-interest, who catches at the
Applause of an idle Multitude, as he can find no solid Contentment at
the End of his Journey, so he deserves to meet with Disappointments in
his Way; but he who is actuated by a noble Principle, whose Mind is so
far enlarged as to take in the Prospect of his Country's Good, who is
enamoured with that Praise which is one of the fair Attendants of
Virtue, and values not those Acclamations which are not seconded by the
impartial Testimony of his own Mind; who repines not at the low Station
which Providence has at present allotted him, but yet would willingly
advance himself by justifiable Means to a more rising and advantageous
Ground; such a Man is warmed with a generous Emulation; it is a virtuous
Movement in him to wish and to endeavour that his Power of doing Good
may be equal to his Will.

The Man who is fitted out by Nature, and sent into the World with great
Abilities, is capable of doing great Good or Mischief in it. It ought
therefore to be the Care of Education to infuse into the untainted Youth
early Notices of Justice and Honour, that so the possible Advantages of
good Parts may not take an evil Turn, nor be perverted to base and
unworthy Purposes. It is the Business of Religion and Philosophy not so
much to extinguish our Passions, as to regulate and direct them to
valuable well-chosen Objects: When these have pointed out to us which
Course we may lawfully steer, tis no Harm to set out all our Sail; if
the Storms and Tempests of Adversity should rise upon us, and not suffer
us to make the Haven where we would be, it will however prove no small
Consolation to us in these Circumstances, that we have neither mistaken
our Course, nor fallen into Calamities of our own procuring.

Religion therefore (were we to consider it no farther than as it
interposes in the Affairs of this Life) is highly valuable, and worthy
of great Veneration; as it settles the various Pretensions, and
otherwise interfering Interests of mortal Men, and thereby consults the
Harmony and Order of the great Community; as it gives a Man room to play
his Part, and exert his Abilities; as it animates to Actions truly
laudable in themselves, in their Effects beneficial to Society; as it
inspires rational Ambitions, correct Love, and elegant Desires.


[Footnote 1: ingenious]

[Footnote 2: In the Poem To Zelinda.]

* * * * *

No. 225 Saturday, November 17, 1711 Addison.

Nullum numen abest si sit Prudentia


I have often thought if the Minds of Men were laid open, we should see
but little Difference between that of the Wise Man and that of the Fool.
There are infinite _Reveries_, numberless Extravagancies, and a
perpetual Train of Vanities which pass through both. The great
Difference is that the first knows how to pick and cull his Thoughts for
Conversation, by suppressing some, and communicating others; whereas the
other lets them all indifferently fly out in Words. This sort of
Discretion, however, has no Place in private Conversation between
intimate Friends. On such Occasions the wisest Men very often talk like
the weakest; for indeed the Talking with a Friend is nothing else but
_thinking aloud_.

_Tully_ has therefore very justly exposed a Precept delivered by some
Ancient Writers, That a Man should live with his Enemy in such a manner,
as might leave him room to become his Friend; and with his Friend in
such a manner, that if he became his Enemy, it should not be in his
Power to hurt him. The first Part of this Rule, which regards our
Behaviour towards an Enemy, is indeed very reasonable, as well as very
prudential; but the latter Part of it which regards our Behaviour
towards a Friend, savours more of Cunning than of Discretion, and would
cut a Man off from the greatest Pleasures of Life, which are the
Freedoms of Conversation with a Bosom Friend. Besides, that when a
Friend is turned into an Enemy, and (as the Son of _Sirach_ calls him) a
Bewrayer of Secrets, the World is just enough to accuse the
Perfidiousness of the Friend, rather than the Indiscretion of the Person
who confided in him.

Discretion does not only shew it self in Words, but in all the
Circumstances of Action; and is like an Under-Agent of Providence, to
guide and direct us in the ordinary Concerns of Life.

There are many more shining Qualities in the Mind of Man, but there is
none so useful as Discretion; it is this indeed which gives a Value to
all the rest, which sets them at work in their proper Times and Places,
and turns them to the Advantage of the Person who is possessed of them.
Without it Learning is Pedantry, and Wit Impertinence; Virtue itself
looks like Weakness; the best Parts only qualify a Man to be more
sprightly in Errors, and active to his own Prejudice.

Nor does Discretion only make a Man the Master of his own Parts, but of
other Mens. The discreet Man finds out the Talents of those he Converses
with, and knows how to apply them to proper Uses. Accordingly if we look
into particular Communities and Divisions of Men, we may observe that it
is the discreet Man, not the Witty, nor the Learned, nor the Brave, who
guides the Conversation, and gives Measures to the Society. A Man with
great Talents, but void of Discretion, is like _Polyphemus_ in the
Fable, Strong and Blind, endued with an irresistible Force, which for
want of Sight is of no Use to him.

Though a Man has all other Perfections, and wants Discretion, he will be
of no great Consequence in the World; but if he has this single Talent
in Perfection, and but a common Share of others, he may do what he
pleases in his particular Station of Life.

At the same time that I think Discretion the most useful Talent a Man
can be Master of, I look upon Cunning to be the Accomplishment of
little, mean, ungenerous Minds. Discretion points out the noblest Ends
to us, and pursues the most proper and laudable Methods of attaining
them: Cunning has only private selfish Aims, and sticks at nothing which
may make them succeed. Discretion has large and extended Views, and,
like a well-formed Eye, commands a whole Horizon: Cunning is a Kind of
Short-sightedness, that discovers the minutest Objects which are near at
hand, but is not able to discern things at a distance. Discretion, the
more it is discovered, gives a greater Authority to the Person who
possesses it: Cunning, when it is once detected, loses its Force, and
makes a Man incapable of bringing about even those Events which he might
have done, had he passed only for a plain Man. Discretion is the
Perfection of Reason, and a Guide to us in all the Duties of Life;
Cunning is a kind of Instinct, that only looks out after our immediate
Interest and Welfare. Discretion is only found in Men of strong Sense
and good Understandings: Cunning is often to be met with in Brutes
themselves, and in Persons who are but the fewest Removes from them. In
short Cunning is only the Mimick of Discretion, and may pass upon weak
Men, in the same manner as Vivacity is often mistaken for Wit, and
Gravity for Wisdom.

The Cast of Mind which is natural to a discreet Man, makes him look
forward into Futurity, and consider what will be his Condition Millions
of Ages hence, as well as what it is at present. He knows that the
Misery or Happiness which are reserv'd for him in another World, lose
nothing of their Reality by being placed at so great Distance from him.
The Objects do not appear little to him because they are remote. He
considers that those Pleasures and Pains which lie hid in Eternity,
approach nearer to him every Moment, and will be present with him in
their full Weight and Measure, as much as those Pains and Pleasures
which he feels at this very Instant. For this Reason he is careful to
secure to himself that which is the proper Happiness of his Nature, and
the ultimate Design of his Being. He carries his Thoughts to the End of
every Action, and considers the most distant as well as the most
immediate Effects of it. He supersedes every little Prospect of Gain and
Advantage which offers itself here, if he does not find it consistent
with his Views of an Hereafter. In a word, his Hopes are full of
Immortality, his Schemes are large and glorious, and his Conduct
suitable to one who knows his true Interest, and how to pursue it by
proper Methods.

I have, in this Essay upon Discretion, considered it both as an
Accomplishment and as a Virtue, and have therefore described it in its
full Extent; not only as it is conversant about worldly Affairs, but as
it regards our whole Existence; not only as it is the Guide of a mortal
Creature, but as it is in general the Director of a reasonable Being. It
is in this Light that Discretion is represented by the Wise Man, who
sometimes mentions it under the Name of Discretion, and sometimes under
that of Wisdom. It is indeed (as described in the latter Part of this
Paper) the greatest Wisdom, but at the same time in the Power of every
one to attain. Its Advantages are infinite, but its Acquisition easy; or
to speak of her in the Words of the Apocryphal Writer whom I quoted in
my last _Saturdays_ Paper, _Wisdom is glorious, and never fadeth away,
yet she is easily seen of them that love her, and found of such as seek
her. She preventeth them that desire her, in making herself first known
unto them. He that seeketh her early, shall have no great Travel: for he
shall find her sitting at his Doors. To think therefore upon her is
Perfection of Wisdom, and whoso watcheth for her shall quickly be
without Care. For she goeth about seeking such as are worthy of her,
sheweth her self favourably unto them in the Ways, and meeteth them in
every Thought_. [1]


[Footnote 1: Wisdom vi. 12-16.]

* * * * *

No. 226 Monday, November 19, 1711. [1] Steele.

--Mutum est pictura poema.

Hor. [2]

I have very often lamented and hinted my Sorrow in several Speculations,
that the Art of Painting is made so little Use of to the Improvement of
our Manners. When we consider that it places the Action of the Person
represented in the most agreeable Aspect imaginable, that it does not
only express the Passion or Concern as it sits upon him who is drawn,
but has under those Features the Height of the Painters Imagination.
What strong Images of Virtue and Humanity might we not expect would be
instilled into the Mind from the Labours of the Pencil? This is a Poetry
which would be understood with much less Capacity, and less Expence of
Time, than what is taught by Writings; but the Use of it is generally
perverted, and that admirable Skill prostituted to the basest and most
unworthy Ends. Who is the better Man for beholding the most beautiful
_Venus_, the best wrought _Bacchanal_, the Images of sleeping _Cupids_,
languishing Nymphs, or any of the Representations of Gods, Goddesses,
Demy-gods, Satyrs, _Polyphemes_, Sphinxes, or Fauns? But if the Virtues
and Vices, which are sometimes pretended to be represented under such
Draughts, were given us by the Painter in the Characters of real Life,
and the Persons of Men and Women whose Actions have rendered them
laudable or infamous; we should not see a good History-Piece without
receiving an instructive Lecture. There needs no other Proof of this
Truth, than the Testimony of every reasonable Creature who has seen the
Cartons in Her Majesty's Gallery at _Hampton--Court_: These are
Representations of no less Actions than those of our Blessed Saviour and
his Apostles. As I now sit and recollect the warm Images which the
admirable _Raphael_ has raised, it is impossible even from the faint
Traces in ones Memory of what one has not seen these two Years, to be
unmoved at the Horror and Reverence which appear in the whole Assembly
when the mercenary Man fell down dead; at the Amazement of the Man born
blind, when he first receives Sight; or at the graceless Indignation of
the Sorcerer, when he is struck blind. The Lame, when they first find
Strength in their Feet, stand doubtful of their new Vigour. The heavenly
Apostles appear acting these great Things, with a deep Sense of the
Infirmities which they relieve, but no Value of themselves who
administer to their Weakness. They know themselves to be but
Instruments; and the generous Distress they are painted in when divine
Honours are offered to them, is a Representation in the most exquisite
Degree of the Beauty of Holiness. When St. _Paul_ is preaching to the
_Athenians_, with what wonderful Art are almost all the different
Tempers of Mankind represented in that elegant Audience? You see one
credulous of all that is said, another wrapt up in deep Suspence,
another saying there is some Reason in what he says, another angry that
the Apostle destroys a favourite Opinion which he is unwilling to give
up, another wholly convinced and holding out his Hands in Rapture; while
the Generality attend, and wait for the Opinion of those who are of
leading Characters in the Assembly. I will not pretend so much as to
mention that Chart on which is drawn the Appearance of our Blessed Lord
after his Resurrection. Present Authority, late Suffering, Humility and
Majesty, Despotick Command, and [Divine] [3] Love, are at once seated in
his celestial Aspect. The Figures of the Eleven Apostles are all in the
same Passion of Admiration, but discover it differently according to
their Characters. _Peter_ receives his Masters Orders on his Knees with
an Admiration mixed with a more particular Attention: The two next with
a more open Ecstasy, though still constrained by the Awe of the Divine
[4] Presence: The beloved Disciple, whom I take to be the Right of the
two first Figures, has in his Countenance Wonder drowned in Love; and
the last Personage, whose Back is towards the Spectator[s], and his Side
towards the Presence, one would fancy to be St. _Thomas_, as abashed by
the Conscience of his former Diffidence; which perplexed Concern it is
possible _Raphael_ thought too hard a Task to draw but by this
Acknowledgment of the Difficulty to describe it.

The whole Work is an Exercise of the highest Piety in the Painter; and
all the Touches of a religious Mind are expressed in a Manner much more
forcible than can possibly be performed by the most moving Eloquence.
These invaluable Pieces are very justly in the Hands of the greatest and
most pious Sovereign in the World; and cannot be the frequent Object of
every one at their own Leisure: But as an Engraver is to the Painter
what a Printer is to an Author, it is worthy Her Majesty's Name, that
she has encouraged that Noble Artist, Monsieur _Dorigny_, [5] to publish
these Works of _Raphael_. We have of this Gentleman a Piece of the
Transfiguration, which, I think, is held a Work second to none in the

Methinks it would be ridiculous in our People of Condition, after their
large Bounties to Foreigners of no Name or Merit, should they overlook
this Occasion of having, for a trifling Subscription, a Work which it is
impossible for a Man of Sense to behold, without being warmed with the
noblest Sentiments that can be inspired by Love, Admiration, Compassion,
Contempt of this World, and Expectation of a better.

It is certainly the greatest Honour we can do our Country, to
distinguish Strangers of Merit who apply to us with Modesty and
Diffidence, which generally accompanies Merit. No Opportunity of this
Kind ought to be neglected; and a modest Behaviour should alarm us to
examine whether we do not lose something excellent under that
Disadvantage in the Possessor of that Quality. My Skill in Paintings,
where one is not directed by the Passion of the Pictures, is so
inconsiderable, that I am in very great Perplexity when I offer to speak
of any Performances of Painters of Landskips, Buildings, or single
Figures. This makes me at a loss how to mention the Pieces which Mr.
_Boul_ exposes to Sale by Auction on _Wednesday_ next in
_Shandois-street_: But having heard him commended by those who have
bought of him heretofore for great Integrity in his Dealing, and
overheard him himself (tho a laudable Painter) say, nothing of his own
was fit to come into the Room with those he had to sell, I fear'd I
should lose an Occasion of serving a Man of Worth, in omitting to speak
of his Auction.


[Footnote 1: Swift to Stella, Nov. 18, 1711.

Do you ever read the SPECTATORS? I never do; they never come in my
way; I go to no coffee-houses. They say abundance of them are very
pretty; they are going to be printed in small volumes; Ill bring them
over with me.]

[Footnote 2:

_Pictura Poesis erit_.


[Footnote 3: Brotherly]

[Footnote 4: coelestial]

[Footnote 5: Michel Dorigny, painter and engraver, native of St.
Quentin, pupil and son-in-law of Simon Vouet, whose style he adopted,
was Professor in the Paris Academy of Painting, and died at the age of
48, in 1665. His son and Vouet's grandson, Nicolo Dorigny, in aid of
whose undertaking Steele wrote this paper in the Spectator, had been
invited from Rome by several of the nobility, to produce, with licence
from the Queen, engravings from Raphael's Cartoons, at Hampton Court. He
offered eight plates 19 inches high, and from 25 to 30 inches long, for
four guineas subscription, although, he said in his Prospectus, the five
prints of Alexanders Battles after Lebrun were often sold for twenty

* * * * *


_There is arrived from_ Italy
_a Painter
who acknowledges himself the greatest Person of the Age in that Art,
and is willing to be as renowned in this Island
as he declares he is in Foreign Parts_.

The Doctor paints the Poor for nothing.

* * * * *

No. 227. Tuesday, November 20, 1711. Addison.

[Greek: O moi ego ti patho; ti ho dussuos; ouch hypakoueis;
Tan Baitan apodus eis kumata taena aleumai
Homer tos thunnos skopiazetai Olpis ho gripeus.
Kaeka mae pothano, to ge man teon hadu tetuktai.


In my last _Thursday's_ Paper I made mention of a Place called _The
Lovers' Leap_, which I find has raised a great Curiosity among several
of my Correspondents. I there told them that this Leap was used to be
taken from a Promontory of _Leucas_. This _Leucas_ was formerly a Part
of _Acarnania_, being [joined to[1]] it by a narrow Neck of Land, which
the Sea has by length of Time overflowed and washed away; so that at
present _Leucas_ is divided from the Continent, and is a little Island
in the _Ionian_ Sea. The Promontory of this Island, from whence the
Lover took his Leap, was formerly called _Leucate_. If the Reader has a
mind to know both the Island and the Promontory by their modern Titles,
he will find in his Map the ancient Island of _Leucas_ under the Name of
St. _Mauro_, and the ancient Promontory of _Leucate_ under the Name of
_The Cape of St._ Mauro.

Since I am engaged thus far in Antiquity, I must observe that
_Theocritus_ in the Motto prefixed to my Paper, describes one of his
despairing Shepherds addressing himself to his Mistress after the
following manner, _Alas! What will become of me! Wretch that I am! Will
you not hear me? Ill throw off my Cloaths, and take a Leap into that
Part of the Sea which is so much frequented by_ Olphis _the Fisherman.
And tho I should escape with my Life, I know you will be pleased with
it_. I shall leave it with the Criticks to determine whether the Place,
which this Shepherd so particularly points out, was not the
above-mentioned _Leucate_, or at least some other Lovers Leap, which
was supposed to have had the same Effect. I cannot believe, as all the
Interpreters do, that the Shepherd means nothing farther here than that
he would drown himself, since he represents the Issue of his Leap as
doubtful, by adding, That if he should escape with [Life,[2]] he knows
his Mistress would be pleased with it; which is, according to our
Interpretation, that she would rejoice any way to get rid of a Lover who
was so troublesome to her.

After this short Preface, I shall present my Reader with some Letters
which I have received upon this Subject. The first is sent me by a


The Lovers Leap, which you mention in your 223d Paper, was
generally, I believe, a very effectual Cure for Love, and not only for
Love, but for all other Evils. In short, Sir, I am afraid it was such
a Leap as that which _Hero_ took to get rid of her Passion for
_Leander_. A Man is in no Danger of breaking his Heart, who breaks his
Neck to prevent it. I know very well the Wonders which ancient Authors
relate concerning this Leap; and in particular, that very many Persons
who tried it, escaped not only with their Lives but their Limbs. If by
this Means they got rid of their Love, tho it may in part be ascribed
to the Reasons you give for it; why may not we suppose that the cold
Bath into which they plunged themselves, had also some Share in their
Cure? A Leap into the Sea or into any Creek of Salt Waters, very often
gives a new Motion to the Spirits, and a new Turn to the Blood; for
which Reason we prescribe it in Distempers which no other Medicine
will reach. I could produce a Quotation out of a very venerable
Author, in which the Frenzy produced by Love, is compared to that
which is produced by the Biting of a mad Dog. But as this Comparison
is a little too coarse for your Paper, and might look as if it were
cited to ridicule the Author who has made use of it; I shall only hint
at it, and desire you to consider whether, if the Frenzy produced by
these two different Causes be of the same Nature, it may not very
properly be cured by the same Means.

_I am, SIR,

Your most humble Servant, and Well-wisher,_



I am a young Woman crossed in Love. My Story is very long and
melancholy. To give you the heads of it: A young Gentleman, after
having made his Applications to me for three Years together, and
filled my Head with a thousand Dreams of Happiness, some few Days
since married another. Pray tell me in what Part of the World your
Promontory lies, which you call _The Lovers Leap_, and whether one
may go to it by Land? But, alas, I am afraid it has lost its Virtue,
and that a Woman of our Times would find no more Relief in taking such
a Leap, than in singing an Hymn to _Venus_. So that I must cry out
with _Dido_ in _Dryden's Virgil_,

_Ah! cruel Heaven, that made no Cure for Love!

Your disconsolate Servant,_



My Heart is so full of Lofes and Passions for Mrs. _Gwinifrid_, and
she is so pettish and overrun with Cholers against me, that if I had
the good Happiness to have my Dwelling (which is placed by my
Creat-Cranfather upon the Pottom of an Hill) no farther Distance but
twenty Mile from the Lofers Leap, I would indeed indeafour to preak
my Neck upon it on Purpose. Now, good Mister SPICTATUR of _Crete
Prittain_, you must know it there is in _Caernaruanshire_ a fery pig
Mountain, the Glory of all _Wales_, which is named _Penmainmaure_, and
you must also know, it iss no great Journey on Foot from me; but the
Road is stony and bad for Shooes. Now, there is upon the Forehead of
this Mountain a very high Rock, (like a Parish Steeple) that cometh a
huge deal over the Sea; so when I am in my Melancholies, and I do
throw myself from it, I do desire my fery good Friend to tell me in
his _Spictatur_, if I shall be cure of my grefous Lofes; for there is
the Sea clear as Glass, and as creen as the Leek: Then likewise if I
be drown, and preak my Neck, if Mrs. _Gwinifrid_ will not lose me
afterwards. Pray be speedy in your Answers, for I am in crete Haste,
and it is my Tesires to do my Pusiness without Loss of Time. I remain
with cordial Affections, your ever lofing Friend, _Davyth ap

P. S. My Law-suits have brought me to _London_, but I have lost my
Causes; and so have made my Resolutions to go down and leap before the
Frosts begin; for I am apt to take Colds.

Ridicule, perhaps, is a better Expedient against Love than sober Advice,
and I am of Opinion, that _Hudibras_ and _Don Quixote_ may be as
effectual to cure the Extravagancies of this Passion, as any of the old
Philosophers. I shall therefore publish, very speedily, the Translation
of a little _Greek_ Manuscript, which is sent me by a learned Friend. It
appears to have been a Piece of those Records which were kept in the
little Temple of _Apollo_, that stood upon the Promontory of _Leucate_.
The Reader will find it to be a Summary Account of several Persons who
tried the Lovers Leap, and of the Success they found in it. As there
seem to be in it some Anachronisms and Deviations from the ancient
Orthography, I am not wholly satisfied myself that it is authentick, and
not rather the Production of one of those _Grecian_ Sophisters, who have
imposed upon the World several spurious Works of this Nature. I speak
this by way of Precaution, because I know there are several Writers, of
uncommon Erudition, who would not fail to expose my Ignorance, if they
caught me tripping in a Matter of so great Moment. [3]


[Footnote 1: [divided from]]

[Footnote 2: [his Life,]]

[Footnote 3: The following Advertisement appeared in Nos. 227-234, 237,
247 and 248, with the word certainly before be ready after the first

There is now Printing by Subscription two Volumes of the SPECTATORS on
a large Character in Octavo; the Price of the two Vols. well Bound and
Gilt two Guineas. Those who are inclined to Subscribe, are desired to
make their first Payments to Jacob Tonson, Bookseller in the Strand,
the Books being so near finished, that they will be ready for the
Subscribers at or before Christmas next.

The Third and Fourth Volumes of the LUCUBRATIONS of Isaac Bickerstaff,
Esq., are ready to be delivered at the same Place.

N.B. The Author desires that such Gentlemen who have not received
their Books for which they have Subscribed, would be pleased to
signify the same to Mr. Tonson.]

* * * * *

No. 228. Wednesday, November 21, 1711. Steele.

Percunctatorem fugito, nam Garrulus idem est.


There is a Creature who has all the Organs of Speech, a tolerable good
Capacity for conceiving what is said to it, together with a pretty
proper Behaviour in all the Occurrences of common Life; but naturally
very vacant of Thought in it self, and therefore forced to apply it self
to foreign Assistances. Of this Make is that Man who is very
inquisitive. You may often observe, that tho he speaks as good Sense as
any Man upon any thing with which he is well acquainted, he cannot trust
to the Range of his own Fancy to entertain himself upon that Foundation,
but goes on to still new Enquiries. Thus, tho you know he is fit for
the most polite Conversation, you shall see him very well contented to
sit by a Jockey, giving an Account of the many Revolutions in his
Horses Health, what Potion he made him take, how that agreed with him,
how afterwards he came to his Stomach and his Exercise, or any the like
Impertinence; and be as well pleased as if you talked to him on the most
important Truths. This Humour is far from making a Man unhappy, tho it
may subject him to Raillery; for he generally falls in with a Person who
seems to be born for him, which is your talkative Fellow. It is so
ordered, that there is a secret Bent, as natural as the Meeting of
different Sexes, in these two Characters, to supply each others Wants.
I had the Honour the other Day to sit in a publick Room, and saw an
inquisitive Man look with an Air of Satisfaction upon the Approach of
one of these Talkers.

The Man of ready Utterance sat down by him, and rubbing his Head,
leaning on his Arm, and making an uneasy Countenance, he began; There
is no manner of News To-day. I cannot tell what is the Matter with me,
but I slept very ill last Night; whether I caught Cold or no, I know
not, but I fancy I do not wear Shoes thick enough for the Weather, and I
have coughed all this Week: It must be so, for the Custom of washing my
Head Winter and Summer with cold Water, prevents any Injury from the
Season entering that Way; so it must come in at my Feet; But I take no
notice of it: as it comes so it goes. Most of our Evils proceed from too
much Tenderness; and our Faces are naturally as little able to resist
the Cold as other Parts. The _Indian_ answered very well to an
_European_, who asked him how he could go naked; I am all Face.

I observed this Discourse was as welcome to my general Enquirer as any
other of more Consequence could have been; but some Body calling our
Talker to another Part of the Room, the Enquirer told the next Man who
sat by him, that Mr. such a one, who was just gone from him, used to
wash his Head in cold Water every Morning; and so repeated almost
_verbatim_ all that had been said to him. The Truth is, the Inquisitive
are the Funnels of Conversation; they do not take in any thing for their
own Use, but merely to pass it to another: They are the Channels through
which all the Good and Evil that is spoken in Town are conveyed. Such as
are offended at them, or think they suffer by their Behaviour, may
themselves mend that Inconvenience; for they are not a malicious People,
and if you will supply them, you may contradict any thing they have said
before by their own Mouths. A farther Account of a thing is one of the
gratefullest Goods that can arrive to them; and it is seldom that they
are more particular than to say, The Town will have it, or I have it
from a good Hand: So that there is room for the Town to know the Matter
more particularly, and for a better Hand to contradict what was said by
a good one.

I have not known this Humour more ridiculous than in a Father, who has
been earnestly solicitous to have an Account how his Son has passed his
leisure Hours; if it be in a Way thoroughly insignificant, there cannot
be a greater Joy than an Enquirer discovers in seeing him follow so
hopefully his own Steps: But this Humour among Men is most pleasant when
they are saying something which is not wholly proper for a third Person
to hear, and yet is in itself indifferent. The other Day there came in a
well-dressed young Fellow, and two Gentlemen of this Species immediately
fell a whispering his Pedigree. I could overhear, by Breaks, She was his
Aunt; then an Answer, Ay, she was of the Mothers Side: Then again in a
little lower Voice, His Father wore generally a darker Wig; Answer, Not
much. But this Gentleman wears higher Heels to his Shoes.

As the Inquisitive, in my Opinion, are such merely from a Vacancy in
their own Imaginations, there is nothing, methinks, so dangerous as to
communicate Secrets to them; for the same Temper of Enquiry makes them
as impertinently communicative: But no Man, though he converses with
them, need put himself in their Power, for they will be contented with
Matters of less Moment as well. When there is Fuel enough, no matter
what it is--Thus the Ends of Sentences in the News Papers, as, _This
wants Confirmation, This occasions many Speculations_, and _Time will
discover the Event_, are read by them, and considered not as mere

One may see now and then this Humour accompanied with an insatiable
Desire of knowing what passes, without turning it to any Use in the
world but merely their own Entertainment. A Mind which is gratified this
Way is adapted to Humour and Pleasantry, and formed for an unconcerned
Character in the World; and, like my self, to be a mere Spectator. This
Curiosity, without Malice or Self-interest, lays up in the Imagination a
Magazine of Circumstances which cannot but entertain when they are
produced in Conversation. If one were to know, from the Man of the first
Quality to the meanest Servant, the different Intrigues, Sentiments,
Pleasures, and Interests of Mankind, would it not be the most pleasing
Entertainment imaginable to enjoy so constant a Farce, as the observing
Mankind much more different from themselves in their secret Thoughts and
publick Actions, than in their Night-caps and long Periwigs?


_Plutarch_ tells us, that _Caius Gracchus_, the _Roman_, was
frequently hurried by his Passion into so loud and tumultuous a way of
Speaking, and so strained his Voice as not to be able to proceed. To
remedy this Excess, he had an ingenious Servant, by Name _Licinius_,
always attended him with a Pitch-pipe, or Instrument to regulate the
Voice; who, whenever he heard his Master begin to be high, immediately
touched a soft Note; at which, 'tis said, _Caius_ would presently
abate and grow calm.

Upon recollecting this Story, I have frequently wondered that this
useful Instrument should have been so long discontinued; especially
since we find that this good Office of _Licinius_ has preserved his
Memory for many hundred Years, which, methinks, should have encouraged
some one to have revived it, if not for the publick Good, yet for his
own Credit. It may be objected, that our loud Talkers are so fond of
their own Noise, that they would not take it well to be check'd by
their Servants: But granting this to be true, surely any of their
Hearers have a very good Title to play a soft Note in their own
Defence. To be short, no _Licinius_ appearing and the Noise
increasing, I was resolved to give this late long Vacation to the Good
of my Country; and I have at length, by the Assistance of an ingenious
Artist, (who works to the Royal Society) almost compleated my Design,
and shall be ready in a short Time to furnish the Publick with what
Number of these Instruments they please, either to lodge at
Coffee-houses, or carry for their own private Use. In the mean time I
shall pay that Respect to several Gentlemen, who I know will be in
Danger of offending against this Instrument, to give them notice of it
by private Letters, in which I shall only write, _Get a_ Licinius.

I should now trouble you no longer, but that I must not conclude
without desiring you to accept one of these Pipes, which shall be left
for you with _Buckley_; and which I hope will be serviceable to you,
since as you are silent yourself you are most open to the Insults of
the Noisy.

_I am, SIR_, &c.


I had almost forgot to inform you, that as an Improvement in this
Instrument, there will be a particular Note, which I call a Hush-Note;
and this is to be made use of against a long Story, Swearing,
Obsceneness, and the like.

* * * * *

No. 229. Thursday, Nov. 22, 1711. Addison.

--Spirat adhuc amor,
Vivuntque commissi calores
AEoliae fidibus puellae.


Among the many famous Pieces of Antiquity which are still to be seen at
_Rome_, there is the Trunk of a Statue [1] which has lost the Arms,
Legs, and Head; but discovers such an exquisite Workmanship in what
remains of it, that _Michael Angelo_ declared he had learned his whole
Art from it. Indeed he studied it so attentively, that he made most of
his Statues, and even his Pictures in that _Gusto_, to make use of the
_Italian_ Phrase; for which Reason this maimed Statue is still called
_Michael Angelo's_ School.

A Fragment of _Sappho_, which I design for the Subject of this Paper,
[2] is in as great Reputation among the Poets and Criticks, as the
mutilated Figure above-mentioned is among the Statuaries and Painters.
Several of our Countrymen, and Mr. _Dryden_ in particular, seem very
often to have copied after it in their Dramatick Writings; and in their
Poems upon Love.

Whatever might have been the Occasion of this Ode, the English Reader
will enter into the Beauties of it, if he supposes it to have been
written in the Person of a Lover sitting by his Mistress. I shall set to
View three different Copies of this beautiful Original: The first is a
Translation by _Catullus_, the second by Monsieur _Boileau_, and the
last by a Gentleman whose Translation of the _Hymn to Venus_ has been so
deservedly admired.


_Ille mi par esse deo videtur,
Ille, si fas est, superare divos,
Qui sedens adversus identidem te,
Spectat, et audit.

Dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis
Eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,
Lesbia, adspexi, nihil est super mi_
Quod loquar amens.

_Lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus
Flamnia dimanat, sonitu suopte
Tinniunt aures, gemina teguntur
Lumina nocte_.

My learned Reader will know very well the Reason why one of these Verses
is printed in _Roman_ Letter; [3] and if he compares this Translation
with the Original, will find that the three first Stanzas are rendred
almost Word for Word, and not only with the same Elegance, but with the
same short Turn of Expression which is so remarkable in the _Greek_, and
so peculiar to the _Sapphick_ Ode. I cannot imagine for what Reason
Madam _Dacier_ has told us, that this Ode of _Sappho_ is preserved
entire in _Longinus_, since it is manifest to any one who looks into
that Authors Quotation of it, that there must at least have been
another Stanza, which is not transmitted to us.

The second Translation of this Fragment which I shall here cite, is that
of Monsieur _Boileau_.

Heureux! qui pres de toi, pour toi seule soupire:
Qui jouit du plaisir de tentendre parler:
Qui te voit quelquefois doucement lui sourire.
Les Dieux, dans son bonheur, peuvent-ils legaler?

Je sens de veine en veine une subtile flamme
Courir par tout mon corps, si-tost que je te vois:
Et dans les doux transports, ou segare mon ame,
Je ne scaurois trouver de langue, ni de voix.

Un nuage confus se repand sur ma vue,
Je nentens plus, je tombe en de douces langueurs;
Et pale, sans haleine, interdite, esperdue,
Un frisson me saisit, je tremble, je me meurs.

The Reader will see that this is rather an Imitation than a Translation.
The Circumstances do not lie so thick together, and follow one another
with that Vehemence and Emotion as in the Original. In short, Monsieur
_Boileau_ has given us all the Poetry, but not all the Passion of this
famous Fragment. I shall, in the last Place, present my Reader with the
_English_ Translation.

I. Blest as th'immortal Gods is he,
The Youth who fondly sits by thee,
And hears and sees thee all the while
Softly speak and sweetly smile.

II. Twas this deprived my Soul of Rest,
And raised such Tumults in my Breast;
For while I gaz'd, in Transport tost,
My Breath was gone, my Voice was lost:

III. My Bosom glowed; the subtle Flame
Ran quick through all my vital Frame;
O'er my dim Eyes a Darkness hung;
My Ears with hollow Murmurs rung.

IV. In dewy Damps my Limbs were child;
My Blood with gentle Horrors thrill'd;
My feeble Pulse forgot to play;
I fainted, sunk, and dy'd away.

Instead of giving any Character of this last Translation, I shall desire
my learned Reader to look into the Criticisms which _Longinus_ has made
upon the Original. By that means he will know to which of the
Translations he ought to give the Preference. I shall only add, that
this Translation is written in the very Spirit of _Sappho_, and as near
the _Greek_ as the Genius of our Language will possibly suffer.

_Longinus_ has observed, that this Description of Love in _Sappho_ is an
exact Copy of Nature, and that all the Circumstances which follow one
another in such an Hurry of Sentiments, notwithstanding they appear
repugnant to each other, are really such as happen in the Phrenzies of

I wonder, that not one of the Criticks or Editors, through whose Hands
this Ode has passed, has taken Occasion from it to mention a
Circumstance related by _Plutarch_. That Author in the famous Story of
_Antiochus_, who fell in Love with _Stratonice_, his Mother-in-law, and
(not daring to discover his Passion) pretended to be confined to his Bed
by Sickness, tells us, that _Erasistratus_, the Physician, found out the
Nature of his Distemper by those Symptoms of Love which he had learnt
from _Sappho's_ Writings. [4] _Stratonice_ was in the Room of the
Love-sick Prince, when these Symptoms discovered themselves to his
Physician; and it is probable, that they were not very different from
those which _Sappho_ here describes in a Lover sitting by his Mistress.
This Story of _Antiochus_ is so well known, that I need not add the
Sequel of it, which has no Relation to my present Subject.


[Footnote 1: The Belvidere Torso.]

[Footnote 2: The other translation by Ambrose Philips. See note to No.

[Footnote 3: Wanting in copies then known, it is here supplied by

[Footnote 4: In Plutarch's Life of Demetrius.

When others entered Antiochus was entirely unaffected. But when
Stratonice came in, as she often did, he shewed all the symptoms
described by Sappho, the faltering voice, the burning blush, the
languid eye, the sudden sweat, the tumultuous pulse; and at length,
the passion overcoming his spirits, a swoon and mortal paleness.]

* * * * *

No. 230. Friday, Nov. 23, 1711. Steele.

Homines ad Deos nulla re propius accedunt, quam salutem Hominibus


Human Nature appears a very deformed, or a very beautiful Object,
according to the different Lights in which it is viewed. When we see Men
of inflamed Passions, or of wicked Designs, tearing one another to
pieces by open Violence, or undermining each other by secret Treachery;
when we observe base and narrow Ends pursued by ignominious and
dishonest Means; when we behold Men mixed in Society as if it were for
the Destruction of it; we are even ashamed of our Species, and out of
Humour with our own Being: But in another Light, when we behold them
mild, good, and benevolent, full of a generous Regard for the publick
Prosperity, compassionating [each [1]] others Distresses, and relieving
each others Wants, we can hardly believe they are Creatures of the same
Kind. In this View they appear Gods to each other, in the Exercise of
the noblest Power, that of doing Good; and the greatest Compliment we
have ever been able to make to our own Being, has been by calling this
Disposition of Mind Humanity. We cannot but observe a Pleasure arising
in our own Breast upon the seeing or hearing of a generous Action, even
when we are wholly disinterested in it. I cannot give a more proper
Instance of this, than by a Letter from _Pliny_, in which he recommends
a Friend in the most handsome manner, and, methinks, it would be a great
Pleasure to know the Success of this Epistle, though each Party
concerned in it has been so many hundred Years in his Grave.


What I should gladly do for any Friend of yours, I think I may now
with Confidence request for a Friend of mine. _Arrianus Maturius_ is
the most considerable Man of his Country; when I call him so, I do not
speak with Relation to his Fortune, though that is very plentiful, but
to his Integrity, Justice, Gravity, and Prudence; his Advice is useful
to me in Business, and his Judgment in Matters of Learning: His
Fidelity, Truth, and good Understanding, are very great; besides this,
he loves me as you do, than which I cannot say any thing that
signifies a warmer Affection. He has nothing that's aspiring; and
though he might rise to the highest Order of Nobility, he keeps
himself in an inferior Rank; yet I think my self bound to use my
Endeavours to serve and promote him; and would therefore find the
Means of adding something to his Honours while he neither expects nor
knows it, nay, though he should refuse it. Something, in short, I
would have for him that may be honourable, but not troublesome; and I
entreat that you will procure him the first thing of this kind that
offers, by which you will not only oblige me, but him also; for though
he does not covet it, I know he will be as grateful in acknowledging
your Favour as if he had asked it. [2]


The Reflections in some of your Papers on the servile manner of
Education now in Use, have given Birth to an Ambition, which, unless
you discountenance it, will, I doubt, engage me in a very difficult,
tho not ungrateful Adventure. I am about to undertake, for the sake of
the _British_ Youth, to instruct them in such a manner, that the most
dangerous Page in _Virgil_ or _Homer_ may be read by them with much
Pleasure, and with perfect Safety to their Persons.

Could I prevail so far as to be honoured with the Protection of some
few of them, (for I am not Hero enough to rescue many) my Design is to
retire with them to an agreeable Solitude; though within the
Neighbourhood of a City, for the Convenience of their being instructed
in Musick, Dancing, Drawing, Designing, or any other such
Accomplishments, which it is conceived may make as proper Diversions
for them, and almost as pleasant, as the little sordid Games which
dirty School-boys are so much delighted with. It may easily be
imagined, how such a pretty Society, conversing with none beneath
themselves, and sometimes admitted as perhaps not unentertaining
Parties amongst better Company, commended and caressed for their
little Performances, and turned by such Conversations to a certain
Gallantry of Soul, might be brought early acquainted with some of the
most polite _English_ Writers. This having given them some tolerable
Taste of Books, they would make themselves Masters of the _Latin_
Tongue by Methods far easier than those in _Lilly_, with as little
Difficulty or Reluctance as young Ladies learn to speak _French_, or
to sing _Italian_ Operas. When they had advanced thus far, it would be
time to form their Taste something more exactly: One that had any true
Relish of fine Writing, might, with great Pleasure both to himself and
them, run over together with them the best _Roman_ Historians, Poets,
and Orators, and point out their more remarkable Beauties; give them a
short Scheme of Chronology, a little View of Geography, Medals,
Astronomy, or what else might best feed the busy inquisitive Humour so
natural to that Age. Such of them as had the least Spark of Genius,
when it was once awakened by the shining Thoughts and great Sentiments
of those admired Writers, could not, I believe, be easily withheld
from attempting that more difficult Sister Language, whose exalted
Beauties they would have heard so often celebrated as the Pride and
Wonder of the whole Learned World. In the mean while, it would be
requisite to exercise their Style in Writing any light Pieces that ask
more of Fancy than of Judgment: and that frequently in their Native
Language, which every one methinks should be most concerned to
cultivate, especially Letters, in which a Gentleman must have so
frequent Occasions to distinguish himself. A Set of genteel
good-natured Youths fallen into such a Manner of Life, would form
almost a little Academy, and doubtless prove no such contemptible
Companions, as might not often tempt a wiser Man to mingle himself in
their Diversions, and draw them into such serious Sports as might
prove nothing less instructing than the gravest Lessons. I doubt not
but it might be made some of their Favourite Plays, to contend which
of them should recite a beautiful Part of a Poem or Oration most
gracefully, or sometimes to join in acting a Scene of _Terence,
Sophocles,_ or our own _Shakespear_. The Cause of _Milo_ might again
be pleaded before more favourable Judges, _Caesar_ a second time be
taught to tremble, and another Race of _Athenians_ be afresh enraged
at the Ambition of another _Philip_. Amidst these noble Amusements, we
could hope to see the early Dawnings of their Imagination daily
brighten into Sense, their Innocence improve into Virtue, and their
unexperienced Good-nature directed to a generous Love of their

_I am_, &c.


[Footnote 1: of each]

[Footnote 2: Pliny, Jun, Epist. Bk. II. Ep. 2. Thus far the paper is by
John Hughes.]

* * * * *

No. 231. Saturday, November 24, 1711. Addison.

O Pudor! O Pietas!


Looking over the Letters which I have lately received from from my
Correspondents, I met with the following one, which is written with such
a Spirit of Politeness, that I could not but be very much pleased with
it my self, and question not but it will be as acceptable to the Reader.

Mr. Spectator, [1]

You, who are no Stranger to Publick Assemblies, cannot but have
observed the Awe they often strike on such as are obliged to exert any
Talent before them. This is a sort of elegant Distress, to which
ingenuous Minds are the most liable, and may therefore deserve some
remarks in your Paper. Many a brave Fellow, who has put his Enemy to
Flight in the Field, has been in the utmost Disorder upon making a
Speech before a Body of his Friends at home: One would think there was
some kind of Fascination in the Eyes of a large Circle of People, when
darting altogether upon one Person. I have seen a new Actor in a
Tragedy so bound up by it as to be scarce able to speak or move, and
have expected he would have died above three Acts before the Dagger or
Cup of Poison were brought in. It would not be amiss, if such an one
were at first introduced as a Ghost or a Statue, till he recovered his
Spirits, and grew fit for some living Part.

As this sudden Desertion of ones self shews a Diffidence, which is
not displeasing, it implies at the same time the greatest Respect to
an Audience that can be. It is a sort of mute Eloquence, which pleads
for their Favour much better than Words could do; and we find their
Generosity naturally moved to support those who are in so much
Perplexity to entertain them. I was extremely pleased with a late
Instance of this Kind at the Opera of _Almahide_, in the Encouragement
given to a young Singer, [2] whose more than ordinary Concern on her
first Appearance, recommended her no less than her agreeable Voice,
and just Performance. Meer Bashfulness without Merit is awkward; and
Merit without Modesty, insolent. But modest Merit has a double Claim
to Acceptance, and generally meets with as many Patrons as Beholders.
_I am_, &c.

It is impossible that a Person should exert himself to Advantage in an
Assembly, whether it be his Part either to sing or speak, who lies under
too great Oppressions of Modesty. I remember, upon talking with a Friend
of mine concerning the Force of Pronunciation, our Discourse led us into
the Enumeration of the several Organs of Speech which an Orator ought to
have in Perfection, as the Tongue, the Teeth [the Lips,] the Nose, the
Palate, and the Wind-pipe. Upon which, says my Friend, you have omitted
the most material Organ of them all, and that is the Forehead.

But notwithstanding an Excess of Modesty obstructs the Tongue, and
renders it unfit for its Offices, a due Proportion of it is thought so
requisite to an Orator, that Rhetoricians have recommended it to their
Disciples as a Particular in their Art. _Cicero_ tells us that he never
liked an Orator who did not appear in some little Confusion at the
Beginning of his Speech, and confesses that he himself never entered
upon an Oration without Trembling and Concern. It is indeed a kind of
Deference which is due to a great Assembly, and seldom fails to raise a
Benevolence in the Audience towards the Person who speaks. My
Correspondent has taken notice that the bravest Men often appear
timorous on these Occasions, as indeed we may observe, that there is
generally no Creature more impudent than a Coward.

--_Lingua melior, sedfrigida bello

A bold Tongue and a feeble Arm are the Qualifications of _Drances_ in
_Virgil_; as _Homer_, to express a Man both timorous and sawcy, makes
use of a kind of Point, which is very rarely to be met with in his
Writings; namely, that he had the Eyes of a Dog, but the Heart of a
Deer. [3]

A just and reasonable Modesty does not only recommend Eloquence, but
sets off every great Talent which a Man can be possessed of. It
heightens all the Virtues which it accompanies like the Shades in
Paintings, it raises and rounds every Figure, and makes the Colours more
beautiful, though not so glaring as they would be without it.

Modesty is not only an Ornament, but also a Guard to Virtue. It is a
kind of quick and delicate _Feeling_ in the Soul, which makes her shrink
and withdraw her self from every thing that has Danger in it. It is such
an exquisite Sensibility, as warns her to shun the first Appearance of
every thing which is hurtful.

I cannot at present recollect either the Place or Time of what I am
going to mention; but I have read somewhere in the History of Ancient
_Greece_, that the Women of the Country were seized with an
unaccountable Melancholy, which disposed several of them to make away
with themselves. The Senate, after having tried many Expedients to
prevent this Self-Murder, which was so frequent among them, published an
Edict, That if any Woman whatever should lay violent Hands upon her
self, her Corps should be exposed naked in the Street, and dragged about
the City in the most publick Manner. This Edict immediately put a Stop
to the Practice which was before so common. We may see in this Instance
the Strength of Female Modesty, which was able to overcome the Violence
even of Madness and Despair. The Fear of Shame in the Fair Sex, was in
those Days more prevalent than that of Death.

If Modesty has so great an Influence over our Actions, and is in many
Cases so impregnable a Fence to Virtue; what can more undermine Morality
than that Politeness which reigns among the unthinking Part of Mankind,
and treats as unfashionable the most ingenuous Part of our Behaviour;
which recommends Impudence as good Breeding, and keeps a Man always in
Countenance, not because he is Innocent, but because he is Shameless?

_Seneca_ thought Modesty so great a Check to Vice, that he prescribes to
us the Practice of it in Secret, and advises us to raise it in ourselves
upon imaginary Occasions, when such as are real do not offer themselves;
for this is the Meaning of his Precept, that when we are by ourselves,
and in our greatest Solitudes, we should fancy that _Cato_ stands before
us, and sees every thing we do. In short, if you banish Modesty out of
the World, she carries away with her half the Virtue that is in it.

After these Reflections on Modesty, as it is a Virtue; I must observe,
that there is a vicious Modesty, which justly deserves to be ridiculed,
and which those Persons very often discover, who value themselves most
upon a well-bred Confidence. This happens when a Man is ashamed to act
up to his Reason, and would not upon any Consideration be surprized in
the Practice of those Duties, for the Performance of which he was sent
into the World. Many an impudent Libertine would blush to be caught in a
serious Discourse, and would scarce be able to show his Head, after
having disclosed a religious Thought. Decency of Behaviour, all outward
Show of Virtue, and Abhorrence of Vice, are carefully avoided by this
Set of Shame-faced People, as what would disparage their Gayety of
Temper, and infallibly bring them to Dishonour. This is such a Poorness
of Spirit, such a despicable Cowardice, such a degenerate abject State
of Mind, as one would think Human Nature incapable of, did we not meet
with frequent Instances of it in ordinary Conversation.

There is another Kind of vicious Modesty which makes a Man ashamed of
his Person, his Birth, his Profession, his Poverty, or the like
Misfortunes, which it was not in his Choice to prevent, and is not in
his Power to rectify. If a Man appears ridiculous by any of the
afore-mentioned Circumstances, he becomes much more so by being out of
Countenance for them. They should rather give him Occasion to exert a
noble Spirit, and to palliate those Imperfections which are not in his
Power, by those Perfections which are; or to use a very witty Allusion
of an eminent Author, he should imitate _Caesar_, who, because his Head
was bald, cover'd that Defect with Laurels.


[Footnote 1: This letter is by John Hughes.]

[Footnote 2: Mrs. Barbier]

[Footnote 3: Iliad, i. 225.]

* * * * *

No. 232. Monday, November 26, 1711. Hughes [1].

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