The Spectator, Volume 2.
by Addison and Steele
Previous Part     1 ... 3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

The publishing a few Sermons, whilst I live, the latest of which was preached about eight Years since, and the first above seventeen, will make it very natural for People to enquire into the Occasion of doing so; And to such I do very willingly assign these following Reasons.

First, From the Observations I have been able to make, for these many Years last past, upon our publick Affairs, and from the natural Tendency of several Principles and Practices, that have of late been studiously revived, and from what has followed thereupon, I could not help both fearing and presaging, that these Nations would some time or other, if ever we should have an enterprising Prince upon the Throne, of more Ambition than Virtue, Justice, and true Honour, fall into the way of all other Nations, and lose their Liberty.

Nor could I help foreseeing to whose Charge a great deal of this dreadful Mischief, whenever it should happen, would be laid, whether justly or unjustly, was not my Business to determine; but I resolved for my own particular part, to deliver my self, as well as I could, from the Reproaches and the Curses of Posterity, by publickly declaring to all the World, That although in the constant Course of my Ministry, I have never failed, on proper Occasions, to recommend, urge, and insist upon the loving, honouring, and the reverencing the Prince's Person, and holding it, according to the Laws, inviolable and sacred; and paying all Obedience and Submission to the Laws, though never so hard and inconvenient to private People: Yet did I never think my self at liberty, or authorized to tell the People, that either Christ, St. Peter, or St. Paul, or any other Holy Writer, had by any Doctrine delivered by them, subverted the Laws and Constitutions of the Country in which they lived, or put them in a worse Condition, with respect to their Civil Liberties, than they would have been had they not been Christians. I ever thought it a most impious Blasphemy against that holy Religion, to father any thing upon it that might encourage Tyranny, Oppression, or Injustice in a Prince, or that easily tended to make a free and happy People Slaves and Miserable. No: People may make themselves as wretched as they will, but let not God be called into that wicked Party. When Force and Violence, and hard Necessity have brought the Yoak of Servitude upon a People's Neck, Religion will supply them with a patient and submissive Spirit under it till they can innocently shake it off; but certainly Religion never puts it on. This always was, and this at present is, my Judgment of these Matters: And I would be transmitted to Posterity (for the little Share of Time such Names as mine can live) under the Character of one who lov'd his Country, and would be thought a good Englishman, as well as a good Clergyman.

This Character I thought would be transmitted by the following Sermons, which were made for, and preached in a private Audience, when I could think of nothing else but doing my Duty on the Occasions that were then offered by God's Providence, without any manner of design of making them publick: And for that reason I give them now as they were then delivered; by which I hope to satisfie those People who have objected a Change of Principles to me, as if I were not now the same Man I formerly was. I never had but one Opinion of these Matters; and that I think is so reasonable and well-grounded, that I believe I never can have any other. Another Reason of my publishing these Sermons at this time, is, that I have a mind to do my self some Honour, by doing what Honour I could to the Memory of two most excellent Princes, and who have very highly deserved at the hands of all the People of these Dominions, who have any true Value for the Protestant Religion, and the Constitution of the English Government, of which they were the great Deliverers and Defenders. I have lived to see their illustrious Names very rudely handled, and the great Benefits they did this Nation treated slightly and contemptuously. I have lived to see our Deliverance from Arbitrary Power and Popery, traduced and vilified by some who formerly thought it was their greatest Merit, and made it part of their Boast and Glory, to have had a little hand and share in bringing it about; and others who, without it, must have liv'd in Exile, Poverty, and Misery, meanly disclaiming it, and using ill the glorious Instruments thereof. Who could expect such a Requital of such Merit? I have, I own it, an Ambition of exempting my self from the Number of unthankful People: And as I loved and honoured those great Princes living, and lamented over them when dead, so I would gladly raise them up a Monument of Praise as lasting as any thing of mine can be; and I chuse to do it at this time, when it is so unfashionable a thing to speak honourably of them.

The Sermon that was preached upon the Duke of Gloucester's Death was printed quickly after, and is now, because the Subject was so suitable, join'd to the others. The Loss of that most promising and hopeful Prince was, at that time, I saw, unspeakably great; and many Accidents since have convinced us, that it could not have been over-valued. That precious Life, had it pleased God to have prolonged it the usual Space, had saved us many Fears and Jealousies, and dark Distrusts, and prevented many Alarms, that have long kept us, and will keep us still, waking and uneasy. Nothing remained to comfort and support us under this heavy Stroke, but the Necessity it brought the King and Nation under, of settling the Succession in the House of HANNOVER, and giving it an Hereditary Right, by Act of Parliament, as long as it continues Protestant. So much good did God, in his merciful Providence, produce from a Misfortune, which we could never otherwise have sufficiently deplored.

The fourth Sermon was preached upon the Queen's Accession to the Throne, and the first Year in which that Day was solemnly observed, (for, by some Accident or other, it had been overlook'd the Year before;) and every one will see, without the date of it, that it was preached very early in this Reign, since I was able only to promise and presage its future Glories and Successes, from the good Appearances of things, and the happy Turn our Affairs began to take; and could not then count up the Victories and Triumphs that, for seven Years after, made it, in the Prophet's Language, a Name and a Praise among all the People of the Earth. Never did seven such Years together pass over the head of any English Monarch, nor cover it with so much Honour: The Crown and Sceptre seemed to be the Queen's least Ornaments; those, other Princes wore in common with her, and her great personal Virtues were the same before and since; but such was the Fame of her Administration of Affairs at home, such was the Reputation of her Wisdom and Felicity in chusing Ministers, and such was then esteemed their Faithfulness and Zeal, their Diligence and great Abilities in executing her Commands; to such a height of military Glory did her great General and her Armies carry the British Name abroad; such was the Harmony and Concord betwixt her and her Allies, and such was the Blessing of God upon all her Counsels and Undertakings, that I am as sure as History can make me, no Prince of ours was ever yet so prosperous and successful, so beloved, esteemed, and honoured by their Subjects and their Friends, nor near so formidable to their Enemies. We were, as all the World imagined then, just ent'ring on the ways that promised to lead to such a Peace, as would have answered all the Prayers of our religious Queen, the Care and Vigilance of a most able Ministry, the Payments of a willing and obedient People, as well as all the glorious Toils and Hazards of the Soldiery; when God, for our Sins, permitted the Spirit of Discord to go forth, and, by troubling sore the Camp, the City, and the Country, (and oh that it had altogether spared the Places sacred to his Worship!) to spoil, for a time, this beautiful and pleasing Prospect, and give us, in its stead, I know not what—Our Enemies will tell the rest with Pleasure. It will become me better to pray to God to restore us to the Power of obtaining such a Peace, as will be to his Glory, the Safety, Honour, and the Welfare of the Queen and her Dominions, and the general Satisfaction of all her High and Mighty Allies.

May 2, 1712.


[Footnote 1: Dr. William Fleetwood, Bishop of St. Asaph, had published Four Sermons.

1. On the death of Queen Mary, 1694. 2. On the death of the Duke of Gloucester, 1700. 3. On the death of King William, 1701. 4. On the Queen's Accession to the Throne, in 1702, with a Preface. 8vo. London, 1712.

The Preface which, says Dr. Johnson, overflowed with Whiggish principles, was ordered to be burnt by the House of Commons. This moved Steele to diffuse it by inserting it in the Spectator, which, as its author said in a letter to Burnet, conveyed about fourteen thousand copies of the condemned preface into people's hands that would otherwise have never seen or heard of it. Moreover, to ensure its delivery into the Queen's hands the publication of this number is said to have been deferred till twelve oclock, her Majesty's breakfast hour, that no time might be allowed for a decision that it should not be laid, as usual, upon her breakfast table.

Fleetwood was born in 1656; had been chaplain to King William, and in 1706 had been appointed to the Bishopric of St. Asaph without any solicitation. He was translated to Ely in 1714, and died in 1723.]

* * * * *

No. 385. Thursday, May 22, 1712. Budgell.

'Thesea pectora juncta fide.'


I intend the Paper for this Day as a loose Essay upon Friendship, in which I shall throw my Observations together without any set Form, that I may avoid repeating what has been often said on this Subject.

Friendship is a strong and habitual Inclination in two Persons to promote the Good and Happiness of one another. Tho' the Pleasures and Advantages of Friendship have been largely celebrated by the best moral Writers, and are considered by all as great Ingredients of human Happiness, we very rarely meet with the Practice of this Virtue in the World.

Every Man is ready to give in a long Catalogue of those Virtues and good Qualities he expects to find in the Person of a Friend, but very few of us are careful to cultivate them in our selves.

Love and Esteem are the first Principles of Friendship, which always is imperfect where either of these two is wanting.

As, on the one hand, we are soon ashamed of loving a Man whom we cannot esteem: so, on the other, tho we are truly sensible of a Man's Abilities, we can never raise ourselves to the Warmths of Friendship, without an affectionate Good-will towards his Person.

Friendship immediately banishes Envy under all its Disguises. A Man who can once doubt whether he should rejoice in his Friends being happier than himself, may depend upon it that he is an utter Stranger to this Virtue.

There is something in Friendship so very great and noble, that in those fictitious Stories which are invented to the Honour of any particular Person, the Authors have thought it as necessary to make their Hero a Friend as a Lover. Achilles has his Patroclus, and AEneas his Achates. In the first of these Instances we may observe, for the Reputation of the Subject I am treating of, that Greece was almost ruin'd by the Hero's Love, but was preserved by his Friendship.

The Character of Achates suggests to us an Observation we may often make on the Intimacies of great Men, who frequently chuse their Companions rather for the Qualities of the Heart than those of the Head, and prefer Fidelity in an easy inoffensive complying Temper to those Endowments which make a much greater Figure among Mankind. I do not remember that Achates, who is represented as the first Favourite, either gives his Advice, or strikes a Blow, thro' the whole AEneid.

A Friendship which makes the least noise, is very often most useful: for which reason I should prefer a prudent Friend to a zealous one.

Atticus, one of the best Men of ancient Rome, was a very remarkable Instance of what I am here speaking. This extraordinary Person, amidst the Civil Wars of his Country, when he saw the Designs of all Parties equally tended to the Subversion of Liberty, by constantly preserving the Esteem and Affection of both the Competitors, found means to serve his Friends on either side: and while he sent Money to young Marius, whose Father was declared an Enemy of the Commonwealth, he was himself one of Sylla's chief Favourites, and always near that General.

During the War between Caesar and Pompey, he still maintained the same Conduct. After the Death of Caesar he sent Money to Brutus in his Troubles, and did a thousand good Offices to Antony's Wife and Friends when that Party seemed ruined. Lastly, even in that bloody War between Antony and Augustus, Atticus still kept his place in both their Friendships; insomuch that the first, says Cornelius Nepos, whenever he was absent from Rome in any part of the Empire, writ punctually to him what he was doing, what he read, and whither he intended to go; and the latter gave him constantly an exact Account of all his Affairs.

A Likeness of Inclinations in every Particular is so far from being requisite to form a Benevolence in two Minds towards each other, as it is generally imagined, that I believe we shall find some of the firmest Friendships to have been contracted between Persons of different Humours; the Mind being often pleased with those Perfections which are new to it, and which it does not find among its own Accomplishments. Besides that a Man in some measure supplies his own Defects, and fancies himself at second hand possessed of those good Qualities and Endowments, which are in the possession of him who in the Eye of the World is looked on as his other self.

The most difficult Province in Friendship is the letting a Man see his Faults and Errors, which should, if possible, be so contrived, that he may perceive our Advice is given him not so much to please ourselves as for his own Advantage. The Reproaches therefore of a Friend should always be strictly just, and not too frequent.

The violent Desire of pleasing in the Person reproved, may otherwise change into a Despair of doing it, while he finds himself censur'd for Faults he is not Conscious of. A Mind that is softened and humanized by Friendship, cannot bear frequent Reproaches; either it must quite sink under the Oppression, or abate considerably of the Value and Esteem it had for him who bestows them.

The proper Business of Friendship is to inspire Life and Courage; and a Soul thus supported, outdoes itself: whereas if it be unexpectedly deprived of these Succours, it droops and languishes.

We are in some measure more inexcusable if we violate our Duties to a Friend, than to a Relation: since the former arise from a voluntary Choice, the latter from a Necessity to which we could not give our own Consent.

As it has been said on one side, that a Man ought not to break with a faulty Friend, that he may not expose the Weakness of his Choice; it will doubtless hold much stronger with respect to a worthy one, that he may never be upbraided for having lost so valuable a Treasure which was once in his Possession.


* * * * *

No. 386. Friday, May 23, 1712. Steele.

'Cum Tristibus severe, cum Remissis jucunde, cum Senibus graviter, cum Juventute comiter vivere.'


The piece of Latin on the Head of this Paper is part of a Character extremely vicious, but I have set down no more than may fall in with the Rules of Justice and Honour. Cicero spoke it of Catiline, who, he said, lived with the Sad severely, with the Chearful agreeably, with the Old gravely, with the Young pleasantly; he added, with the Wicked boldly, with the Wanton lasciviously. The two last Instances of his Complaisance I forbear to consider, having it in my thoughts at present only to speak of obsequious Behaviour as it sits upon a Companion in Pleasure, not a Man of Design and Intrigue. To vary with every Humour in this Manner, cannot be agreeable, except it comes from a Man's own Temper and natural Complection; to do it out of an Ambition to excel that Way, is the most fruitless and unbecoming Prostitution imaginable. To put on an artful Part to obtain no other End but an unjust Praise from the Undiscerning, is of all Endeavours the most despicable. A Man must be sincerely pleased to become Pleasure, or not to interrupt that of others: For this Reason it is a most calamitous Circumstance, that many People who want to be alone or should be so, will come into Conversation. It is certain, that all Men who are the least given to Reflection, are seized with an Inclination that Way; when, perhaps, they had rather be inclined to Company: but indeed they had better go home, and be tired with themselves, than force themselves upon others to recover their good Humour. In all this the Cases of communicating to a Friend a sad Thought or Difficulty, in order to relieve [a [1]] heavy Heart, stands excepted; but what is here meant, is, that a Man should always go with Inclination to the Turn of the Company he is going into, or not pretend to be of the Party. It is certainly a very happy Temper to be able to live with all kinds of Dispositions, because it argues a Mind that lies open to receive what is pleasing to others, and not obstinately bent on any Particularity of its own.

This is that which makes me pleased with the Character of my good Acquaintance Acasto. You meet him at the Tables and Conversations of the Wise, the Impertinent, the Grave, the Frolick, and the Witty; and yet his own Character has nothing in it that can make him particularly agreeable to any one Sect of Men; but Acasto has natural good Sense, good Nature and Discretion, so that every Man enjoys himself in his company; and tho' Acasto contributes nothing to the Entertainment, he never was at a Place where he was not welcome a second time. Without these subordinate good Qualities of Acasto, a Man of Wit and Learning would be painful to the Generality of Mankind, instead of being pleasing. Witty Men are apt to imagine they are agreeable as such, and by that means grow the worst Companions imaginable; they deride the Absent or rally the Present in a wrong manner, not knowing that if you pinch or tickle a Man till he is uneasy in his Seat, or ungracefully distinguished from the rest of the Company, you equally hurt him.

I was going to say, the true Art of being agreeable in Company, (but there can be no such thing as Art in it) is to appear well pleased with those you are engaged with, and rather to seem well entertained, than to bring Entertainment to others. A Man thus disposed is not indeed what we ordinarily call a good Companion, but essentially is such, and in all the Parts of his Conversation has something friendly in his Behaviour, which conciliates Men's Minds more than the highest Sallies of Wit or Starts of Humour can possibly do. The Feebleness of Age in a Man of this Turn, has something which should be treated with respect even in a Man no otherwise venerable. The Forwardness of Youth, when it proceeds from Alacrity and not Insolence, has also its Allowances. The Companion who is formed for such by Nature, gives to every Character of Life its due Regards, and is ready to account for their Imperfections, and receive their Accomplishments as if they were his own. It must appear that you receive Law from, and not give it to your Company, to make you agreeable.

I remember Tully, speaking, I think, of Anthony, says, That in eo facetiae erant, quae nulla arte tradi possunt: He had a witty Mirth, which could be acquired by no Art. This Quality must be of the Kind of which I am now speaking; for all sorts of Behaviour which depend upon Observation and Knowledge of Life, is to be acquired: but that which no one can describe, and is apparently the Act of Nature, must be every where prevalent, because every thing it meets is a fit Occasion to exert it; for he who follows Nature, can never be improper or unseasonable.

How unaccountable then must their Behaviour be, who, without any manner of Consideration of what the Company they have just now entered are upon, give themselves the Air of a Messenger, and make as distinct Relations of the Occurrences they last met with, as if they had been dispatched from those they talk to, to be punctually exact in a Report of those Circumstances: It is unpardonable to those who are met to enjoy one another, that a fresh Man shall pop in, and give us only the last part of his own Life, and put a stop to ours during the History. If such a Man comes from Change, whether you will or not, you must hear how the Stocks go; and tho' you are ever so intently employed on a graver Subject, a young Fellow of the other end of the Town will take his place, and tell you, Mrs. Such-a-one is charmingly handsome, because he just now saw her. But I think I need not dwell on this Subject, since I have acknowledged there can be no Rules made for excelling this Way; and Precepts of this kind fare like Rules for writing Poetry, which, 'tis said, may have prevented ill Poets, but never made good ones.


[Footnote 1: [an]]

* * * * *

No. 387. [1] Saturday, May 24, 1712. Addison.

'Quid pure tranquillet—'


In my last Saturday's Paper I spoke of Chearfulness as it is a Moral Habit of the Mind, and accordingly mentioned such moral Motives as are apt to cherish and keep alive this happy Temper in the Soul of Man: I shall now consider Chearfulness in its natural State, and reflect on those Motives to it, which are indifferent either as to Virtue or Vice.

Chearfulness is, in the first place, the best Promoter of Health. Repinings and secret Murmurs of Heart, give imperceptible Strokes to those delicate Fibres of which the vital parts are composed, and wear out the Machine insensibly; not to mention those violent Ferments which they stir up in the Blood, and those irregular disturbed Motions, which they raise in the animal Spirits. I scarce remember, in my own Observation, to have met with many old Men, or with such, who (to use our English Phrase) wear well, that had not at least a certain Indolence in their Humour, if not a more than ordinary Gaiety and Chearfulness of Heart. The truth of it is, Health and Chearfulness mutually beget each other; with this difference, that we seldom meet with a great degree of Health which is not attended with a certain Chearfulness, but very often see Chearfulness where there is no great degree of Health.

Chearfulness bears the same friendly regard to the Mind as to the Body: It banishes all anxious Care and Discontent, sooths and composes the Passions, and keeps the Soul in a Perpetual Calm. But having already touched on this last Consideration, I shall here take notice, that the World, in which we are placed, is filled with innumerable Objects that are proper to raise and keep alive this happy Temper of Mind.

If we consider the World in its Subserviency to Man, one would think it was made for our Use; but if we consider it in its natural Beauty and Harmony, one would be apt to conclude it was made for our Pleasure. The Sun, which is as the great Soul of the Universe, and produces all the Necessaries of Life, has a particular Influence in chearing the Mind of Man, and making the Heart glad.

Those several living Creatures which are made for our Service or Sustenance, at the same time either fill the Woods with their Musick, furnish us with Game, or raise pleasing Ideas in us by the delightfulness of their Appearance, Fountains, Lakes, and Rivers, are as refreshing to the Imagination, as to the Soil through which they pass.

There are Writers of great Distinction, who have made it an Argument for Providence, that the whole Earth is covered with Green, rather than with any other Colour, as being such a right Mixture of Light and Shade, that it comforts and strengthens the Eye instead of weakning or grieving it. For this reason several Painters have a green Cloth hanging near them, to ease the Eye upon, after too great an Application to their Colouring. A famous modern Philosopher [2] accounts for it in the following manner: All Colours that are more luminous, overpower and dissipate the animal Spirits which are employd in Sight; on the contrary, those that are more obscure do not give the animal Spirits a sufficient Exercise; whereas the Rays that produce in us the Idea of Green, fall upon the Eye in such a due proportion, that they give the animal Spirits their proper Play, and by keeping up the struggle in a just Ballance, excite a very pleasing and agreeable Sensation. Let the Cause be what it will, the Effect is certain, for which reason the Poets ascribe to this particular Colour the Epithet of Chearful.

To consider further this double End in the Works of Nature, and how they are at the same time both useful and entertaining, we find that the most important Parts in the vegetable World are those which are the most beautiful. These are the Seeds by which the several Races of Plants are propagated and continued, and which are always lodged in Flowers or Blossoms. Nature seems to hide her principal Design, and to be industrious in making the Earth gay and delightful, while she is carrying on her great Work, and intent upon her own Preservation. The Husbandman after the same manner is employed in laying out the whole Country into a kind of Garden or Landskip, and making every thing smile about him, whilst in reality he thinks of nothing but of the Harvest, and Encrease which is to arise from it.

We may further observe how Providence has taken care to keep up this Chearfulness in the Mind of Man, by having formed it after such a manner, as to make it capable of conceiving Delight from several Objects which seem to have very little use in them; as from the Wildness of Rocks and Desarts, and the like grotesque Parts of Nature. Those who are versed in Philosophy may still carry this Consideration higher, by observing that if Matter had appeared to us endowed only with those real Qualities which it actually possesses, it would have made but a very joyless and uncomfortable Figure; and why has Providence given it a Power of producing in us such imaginary Qualities, as Tastes and Colours, Sounds and Smells, Heat and Cold, but that Man, while he is conversant in the lower Stations of Nature, might have his Mind cheared and delighted with agreeable Sensations? In short, the whole Universe is a kind of Theatre filled with Objects that either raise in us Pleasure, Amusement, or Admiration.

The Reader's own Thoughts will suggest to him the Vicissitude of Day and Night, the Change of Seasons, with all that Variety of Scenes which diversify the Face of Nature, and fill the Mind with a perpetual Succession of beautiful and pleasing Images.

I shall not here mention the several Entertainments of Art, with the Pleasures of Friendship, Books, Conversation, and other accidental Diversions of Life, because I would only take notice of such Incitements to a Chearful Temper, as offer themselves to Persons of all Ranks and Conditions, and which may sufficiently shew us that Providence did not design this World should be filled with Murmurs and Repinings, or that the Heart of Man should be involved in Gloom and Melancholy.

I the more inculcate this Chearfulness of Temper, as it is a Virtue in which our Countrymen are observed to be more deficient than any other Nation. Melancholy is a kind of Demon that haunts our Island, and often conveys her self to us in an Easterly Wind. A celebrated French Novelist, in opposition to those who begin their Romances with the flow'ry Season of the Year, enters on his Story thus: In the gloomy Month of November, when the People of England hang and drown themselves, a disconsolate Lover walked out into the Fields, &c.

Every one ought to fence against the Temper of his Climate or Constitution, and frequently to indulge in himself those Considerations which may give him a Serenity of Mind, and enable him to bear up chearfully against those little Evils and Misfortunes which are common to humane Nature, and which by a right Improvement of them will produce a Satiety of Joy, and an uninterrupted Happiness.

At the same time that I would engage my Reader to consider the World in its most agreeable Lights, I must own there are many Evils which naturally spring up amidst the Entertainments that are provided for us; but these, if rightly consider'd, should be far from overcasting the Mind with Sorrow, or destroying that Chearfulness of Temper which I have been recommending. This Interspersion of Evil with Good, and Pain with Pleasure, in the Works of Nature, is very truly ascribed by Mr. Locke, in his Essay on Human Understanding, to a moral Reason, in the following Words:

Beyond all this, we may find another Reason why God hath scattered up and down several Degrees of Pleasure and Pain, in all the things that environ and affect us, and blended them together, in almost all that our Thoughts and Senses have to do with; that we finding Imperfection, Dissatisfaction, and Want of compleat Happiness in all the Enjoyments which the Creatures can afford us, might be led to seek it in the Enjoyment of him, with whom there is Fulness of Joy, and at whose Right Hand are Pleasures for evermore.


[Footnote 1: Numbered by mistake, in the daily issue 388, No. 388 is then numbered 390; 389 is right, 390 is called 392, the next 391, which is right, another 392 follows, and thus the error is corrected.]

[Footnote 2: Sir Isaac Newton.]

* * * * *

No. 388. Monday, May 26, 1712. Barr? [1]

'—Tibi res antiquae Laudis et Artis Ingredior; sanctos ausus recludere Fontes.'



It is my Custom, when I read your Papers, to read over the Quotations in the Authors from whence you take them: As you mentiond a Passage lately out of the second Chapter of Solomon's Song, it occasion'd my looking into it; and upon reading it I thought the Ideas so exquisitely soft and tender, that I could not help making this Paraphrase of it; which, now it is done, I can as little forbear sending to you. Some Marks of your Approbation, which I have already receiv'd, have given me so sensible a Taste of them, that I cannot forbear endeavouring after them as often as I can with any Appearance of Success. I am, SIR, Your most [obedient [2]] humble Servant.

The Second Chapter of Solomon's Song.

I. As when in Sharon's Field the blushing Rose Does its chaste Bosom to the Morn disclose, Whilst all around the Zephyrs bear The fragrant Odours thro' the Air: Or as the Lilly in the shady Vale, Does o'er each Flower with beauteous Pride prevail, And stands with Dews and kindest Sun-shine blest, In fair Pre-eminence, superior to the rest: So if my Love, with happy Influence, shed His Eyes bright Sun-shine on his Lover's Head, Then shall the Rose of Sharon's Field, And whitest Lillies to my Beauties yield. Then fairest Flowers with studious Art combine, The Roses with the Lillies join, And their united [Charms are [3]] less than mine.

II. As much as fairest Lillies can surpass A Thorn in Beauty, or in Height the Grass; So does my Love among the Virgins shine, Adorn'd with Graces more than half Divine; Or as a Tree, that, glorious to behold, Is hung with Apples all of ruddy Gold, Hesperian Fruit! and beautifully high, Extends its Branches to the Sky; So does my Love the Virgin's Eyes invite: 'Tis he alone can fix their wand'ring Sight, [Among [4]] ten thousand eminently bright.

III. Beneath this pleasing Shade My weaned Limbs at Ease I laid, And on his fragrant Boughs reclined my Head. I pull'd the Golden Fruit with eager haste; Sweet was the Fruit, and pleasing to the Taste: With sparkling Wine he crown'd the Bowl, With gentle Ecstacies he fill'd my Soul; Joyous we sate beneath the shady Grove, And o'er my Head he hung the Banners of his Love.

IV. I faint; I die! my labouring Breast Is with the mighty Weight of Love opprest: I feel the Fire possess my Heart, And pain conveyed to every Part. Thro' all my Veins the Passion flies, My feeble Soul forsakes its Place, A trembling Faintness seals my Eyes, And Paleness dwells upon my Face; Oh! let my Love with pow'rful Odours stay My fainting lovesick Soul that dies away; One Hand beneath me let him place, With t'other press me in a chaste Embrace.

V. I charge you, Nymphs of Sion, as you go Arm'd with the sounding Quiver and the Bow, Whilst thro' the lonesome Woods you rove, You ne'er disturb my sleeping Love, Be only gentle Zephyrs there, With downy Wings to fan the Air; Let sacred Silence dwell around, To keep off each intruding Sound: And when the balmy Slumber leaves his Eyes, May he to Joys, unknown till then, arise.

VI. But see! he comes! with what majestick Gate He onward bears his lovely State! Now thro' the Lattice he appears, With softest Words dispels my Fears, Arise, my Fair-One, and receive All the Pleasures Love can give. For now the sullen Winters past, No more we fear the Northern Blast: No Storms nor threatning Clouds appear, No falling Rains deform the Year. My Love admits of no delay, Arise, my Fair, and come away.

VII. Already, see! the teeming Earth Brings forth the Flow'rs, her beauteous Birth. The Dews, and soft-descending Showers, Nurse the new-born tender Flow'rs. Hark! the Birds melodious sing, And sweetly usher in the Spring. Close by his Fellow sits the Dove, And billing whispers her his Love. The spreading Vines with Blossoms swell, Diffusing round a grateful Smell, Arise, my Fair-One, and receive All the Blessings Love can give: For Love admits of no delay, Arise, my Fair, and come away.

VIII. As to its Mate the constant Dove Flies thro' the Covert of the spicy Grove, So let us hasten to some lonely Shade, There let me safe in thy lov'd Arms be laid, Where no intruding hateful Noise Shall damp the Sound of thy melodious Voice; Where I may gaze, and mark each beauteous Grace; For sweet thy Voice, and lovely is thy Face.

IX. As all of me, my Love, is thine, Let all of thee be ever mine. Among the Lillies we will play, Fairer, my Love, thou art than they, Till the purple Morn arise, And balmy Sleep forsake thine Eyes; Till the gladsome Beams of Day Remove the Shades of Night away; Then when soft Sleep shall from thy Eyes depart, Rise like the bounding Roe, or lusty Hart, Glad to behold the Light again From Bether's Mountains darting o'er the Plain.


[Footnote 1: Percy had heard that a poetical translation of a chapter in the Proverbs, and another poetical translation from the Old Testament, were by Mr. Barr, a dissenting minister at Morton Hampstead in Devonshire.]

[Footnote 2: obliged]

[Footnote 3: [Beauties shall be]]

[Footnote 4: [And stands among]]

* * * * *

No. 389. Tuesday, May 27, 1712. Budgell.

'Meliora pii docuere parentes.'


Nothing has more surprized the Learned in England, than the Price which a small Book, intitled Spaccio della Bestia triom fante, [1] bore in a late Auction. This Book was sold for [thirty [2]] Pound. As it was written by one Jordanus Brunus, a professed Atheist, with a design to depreciate Religion, every one was apt to fancy, from the extravagant Price it bore, that there must be something in it very formidable.

I must confess that happening to get a sight of one of them my self, I could not forbear perusing it with this Apprehension; but found there was so very little Danger in it, that I shall venture to give my Readers a fair Account of the whole Plan upon which this wonderful Treatise is built.

The Author pretends that Jupiter once upon a Time resolved on a Reformation of the Constellations: for which purpose having summoned the Stars together, he complains to them of the great Decay of the Worship of the Gods, which he thought so much the harder, having called several of those Celestial Bodies by the Names of the Heathen Deities, and by that means made the Heavens as it were a Book of the Pagan Theology. Momus tells him, that this is not to be wondered at, since there were so many scandalous Stories of the Deities; upon which the Author takes occasion to cast Reflections upon all other Religions, concluding, that Jupiter, after a full Hearing, discarded the Deities out of Heaven, and called the Stars by the Names of the Moral Virtues.

This short Fable, which has no Pretence in it to Reason or Argument, and but a very small Share of Wit, has however recommended it self wholly by its Impiety to those weak Men, who would distinguish themselves by the Singularity of their Opinions.

There are two Considerations which have been often urged against Atheists, and which they never yet could get over. The first is, that the greatest and most eminent Persons of all Ages have been against them, and always complied with the publick Forms of Worship established in their respective Countries, when there was nothing in them either derogatory to the Honour of the Supreme Being, or prejudicial to the Good of Mankind.

The Platos and Ciceros among the Ancients; the Bacons, the Boyles, and the Lockes, among our own Countrymen, are all Instances of what I have been saying; not to mention any of the Divines, however celebrated, since our Adversaries challenge all those, as Men who have too much Interest in this Case to be impartial Evidences.

But what has been often urged as a Consideration of much more Weight, is, not only the Opinion of the Better Sort, but the general Consent of Mankind to this great Truth; which I think could not possibly have come to pass, but from one of the three following Reasons; either that the Idea of a God is innate and co-existent with the Mind it self; or that this Truth is so very obvious, that it is discoverd by the first Exertion of Reason in Persons of the most ordinary Capacities; or, lastly, that it has been delivered down to us thro' all Ages by a Tradition from the first Man.

The Atheists are equally confounded, to which ever of these three Causes we assign it; they have been so pressed by this last Argument from the general Consent of Mankind, that after great search and pains they pretend to have found out a Nation of Atheists, I mean that Polite People the Hottentots.

I dare not shock my Readers with a Description of the Customs and Manners of these Barbarians, who are in every respect scarce one degree above Brutes, having no Language among them but a confused [Gabble [3]] which is neither well understood by themselves or others.

It is not however to be imagin'd how much the Atheists have gloried in these their good Friends and Allies.

If we boast of a Socrates, or a Seneca, they may now confront them with these great Philosophers the Hottentots.

Tho even this Point has, not without Reason, been several times controverted, I see no manner of harm it could do Religion, if we should entirely give them up this elegant Part of Mankind.

Methinks nothing more shews the Weakness of their Cause, than that no Division of their Fellow-Creatures join with them, but those among whom they themselves own Reason is almost defaced, and who have little else but their Shape, which can entitle them to any Place in the Species.

Besides these poor Creatures, there have now and then been Instances of a few crazed People in several Nations, who have denied the Existence of a Deity.

The Catalogue of these is however very short; even Vanini [4] the most celebrated Champion for the Cause, professed before his Judges that he believed the Existence of a God, and taking up a Straw which lay before him on the Ground, assured them, that alone was sufficient to convince him of it; alledging several Arguments to prove that 'twas impossible Nature alone could create anything.

I was the other day reading an Account of Casimir Liszynski, a Gentleman of Poland, who was convicted and executed for this Crime. [5] The manner of his Punishment was very particular. As soon as his Body was burnt his Ashes were put into a Cannon, and shot into the Air towards Tartary.

I am apt to believe, that if something like this Method of Punishment should prevail in England, such is the natural good Sense of the British Nation, that whether we rammed an Atheist [whole] into a great Gun, or pulverized our Infidels, as they do in Poland, we should not have many Charges.

I should, however, propose, while our Ammunition lasted, that instead of Tartary, we should always keep two or three Cannons ready pointed towards the Cape of Good Hope, in order to shoot our Unbelievers into the Country of the Hottentots.

In my Opinion, a solemn judicial Death is too great an Honour for an Atheist, tho' I must allow the Method of exploding him, as it is practised in this ludicrous kind of Martyrdom, has something in it proper [enough] to the Nature of his Offence.

There is indeed a great Objection against this Manner of treating them. Zeal for Religion is of so active a Nature, that it seldom knows where to rest; for which reason I am afraid, after having discharged our Atheists, we might possibly think of shooting off our Sectaries; and, as one does not foresee the Vicissitude of human Affairs, it might one time or other come to a Man's own turn to fly out of the Mouth of a Demi-culverin.

If any of my Readers imagine that I have treated these Gentlemen in too Ludicrous a Manner, I must confess, for my own part, I think reasoning against such Unbelievers upon a Point that shocks the Common Sense of Mankind, is doing them too great an Honour, giving them a Figure in the Eye of the World, and making People fancy that they have more in them than they really have.

As for those Persons who have any Scheme of Religious Worship, I am for treating such with the utmost Tenderness, and should endeavour to shew them their Errors with the greatest Temper and Humanity: but as these Miscreants are for throwing down Religion in general, for stripping Mankind of what themselves own is of excellent use in all great Societies, without once offering to establish any thing in the Room of it; I think the best way of dealing with them, is to retort their own Weapons upon them, which are those of Scorn and Mockery.


[Footnote 1: The book was bought in 1711 for L28 by Mr. Walter Clavel at the sale of the library of Mr. Charles Barnard. It had been bought in 1706 at the sale of Mr. Bigot's library with five others for two shillings and a penny. Although Giordano Bruno was burnt as a heretic, he was a noble thinker, no professed atheist, but a man of the reformed faith, who was in advance of Calvin, a friend of Sir Philip Sydney, and as good a man as Mr. Budgell.]

[Footnote 2: Fifty]

[Footnote 3: Gabling]

[Footnote 4: Vanini, like Giordano Bruno, has his memory dishonoured through the carelessness with which men take for granted the assertions of his enemies. Whether burnt or not, every religious thinker of the sixteenth century who opposed himself to the narrowest views of those who claimed to be the guardians of orthodoxy was remorselessly maligned. If he was the leader of a party, there were hundreds to maintain his honour against calumny. If he was a solitary searcher after truth, there was nothing but his single life and work to set against the host of his defamers. Of Vanini's two books, one was written to prove the existence of a God, yet here is Mr. Budgell calling him the most celebrated champion for the cause of atheism.]

[Footnote 5: Casimir Lyszynski was a Polish Knight, executed at Warsaw in 1689, in the barbarous manner which appears to tickle Mr. Budgell's fancy. It does not appear that he had written anything.]

* * * * *

No. 390. Wednesday, May 28, 1712. Steele.

'Non pudendo sed non faciendo id quod non decet impudentiae nomen effugere debemus.'


Many are the Epistles I receive from Ladies extremely afflicted that they lie under the Observation of scandalous People, who love to defame their Neighbours, and make the unjustest Interpretation of innocent and indifferent Actions. They describe their own Behaviour so unhappily, that there indeed lies some Cause of Suspicion upon them. It is certain, that there is no Authority for Persons who have nothing else to do, to pass away Hours of Conversation upon the Miscarriages of other People; but since they will do so, they who value their Reputation should be cautious of Appearances to their Disadvantage. But very often our young Women, as well as the middle-aged and the gay Part of those growing old, without entering into a formal League for that purpose, to a Woman agree upon a short Way to preserve their Characters, and go on in a Way that at best is only not vicious. The Method is, when an ill-naturd or talkative Girl has said any thing that bears hard upon some part of another's Carriage, this Creature, if not in any of their little Cabals, is run down for the most censorious dangerous Body in the World. Thus they guard their Reputation rather than their Modesty; as if Guilt lay in being under the Imputation of a Fault, and not in a Commission of it. Orbicilla is the kindest poor thing in the Town, but the most blushing Creature living: It is true she has not lost the Sense of Shame, but she has lost the Sense of Innocence. If she had more Confidence, and never did anything which ought to stain her Cheeks, would she not be much more modest without that ambiguous Suffusion, which is the Livery both of Guilt and Innocence? Modesty consists in being conscious of no Ill, and not in being ashamed of having done it. When People go upon any other Foundation than the Truth of their own Hearts for the Conduct of their Actions, it lies in the power of scandalous Tongues to carry the World before them, and make the rest of Mankind fall in with the Ill, for fear of Reproach. On the other hand, to do what you ought, is the ready way to make Calumny either silent or ineffectually malicious. Spencer, in his Fairy Queen, says admirably to young Ladies under the Distress of being defamed;

'The best, said he, that I can you advise, Is to avoid th' Occasion of the Ill; For when the Cause, whence Evil doth arise, Removed is, th' Effect surceaseth still. Abstain from Pleasure, and restrain your Will, Subdue Desire, and bridle loose Delight: Use scanted Diet, and forbear your Fill; Shun Secrecy, and talk in open sight: So shall you soon repair your present evil Plight. [1]'

Instead of this Care over their Words and Actions, recommended by a Poet in old Queen Bess's Days, the modern Way is to do and say what you please, and yet be the prettiest sort of Woman in the World. If Fathers and Brothers will defend a Lady's Honour, she is quite as safe as in her own Innocence. Many of the Distressed, who suffer under the Malice of evil Tongues, are so harmless that they are every Day they live asleep till twelve at Noon; concern themselves with nothing but their own Persons till two; take their necessary Food between that time and four; visit, go to the Play, and sit up at Cards till towards the ensuing Morn; and the malicious World shall draw Conclusions from innocent Glances, short Whispers, or pretty familiar Railleries with fashionable Men, that these Fair ones are not as rigid as Vestals. It is certain, say these goodest Creatures very well, that Virtue does not consist in constrain'd Behaviour and wry Faces, that must be allow'd; but there is a Decency in the Aspect and Manner of Ladies contracted from an Habit of Virtue, and from general Reflections that regard a modest Conduct, all which may be understood, tho' they cannot be described. A young Woman of this sort claims an Esteem mixed with Affection and Honour, and meets with no Defamation; or if she does, the wild Malice is overcome with an undisturbed Perseverance in her Innocence. To speak freely, there are such Coveys of Coquets about this Town, that if the Peace were not kept by some impertinent Tongues of their own Sex, which keep them under some Restraint, we should have no manner of Engagement upon them to keep them in any tolerable Order.

As I am a SPECTATOR, and behold how plainly one Part of Womankind ballance the Behaviour of the other, whatever I may think of Talebearers or Slanderers, I cannot wholly suppress them, no more than a General would discourage Spies. The Enemy would easily surprize him whom they knew had no Intelligence of their Motions. It is so far otherwise with me, that I acknowledge I permit a She-Slanderer or two in every Quarter of the Town, to live in the Characters of Coquets, and take all the innocent Freedoms of the rest, in order to send me Information of the Behaviour of their respective Sisterhoods.

But as the Matter of Respect to the World, which looks on, is carried on, methinks it is so very easie to be what is in the general called Virtuous, that it need not cost one Hour's Reflection in a Month to preserve that Appellation. It is pleasant to hear the pretty Rogues talk of Virtue and Vice among each other: She is the laziest Creature in the World, but I must confess strictly Virtuous: The peevishest Hussy breathing, but as to her Virtue she is without Blemish: She has not the least Charity for any of her Acquaintance, but I must allow rigidly Virtuous. As the unthinking Part of the Male World call every Man a Man of Honour, who is not a Coward; so the Crowd of the other Sex terms every Woman who will not be a Wench, Virtuous.


[Footnote 1: F. Q. Bk VI. canto vi. st. 14.]

* * * * *

No. 391. Thursday, May 29, 1712. Addison.

'—Non tu prece poscis emaci, Qua nisi seductis nequeas committere Divis: At bona pars procerum tacita libabit acerra. Haud cuivis promptum est, murmurque humilesque susurros Tollere de Templis; et aperto vivere voto. Mens bona, fama, fides, haec clare, et ut audiat hospes. Illa sibi introrsum, et sub lingua immurmurat: O si Ebullit patrui praeclarum funus! Et O si Sub rastro crepet argenti mihi seria dextro Hercule! pupillumve utinam, quem proximus haeres Impello, expungam!—'


Where Homer [1] represents Phoenix, the Tutor of Achilles, as persuading his Pupil to lay aside his Resentments, and give himself up to the Entreaties of his Countrymen, the Poet, in order to make him speak in Character, ascribes to him a Speech full of those Fables and Allegories which old Men take Delight in relating, and which are very proper for Instruction. The Gods, says he, suffer themselves to be prevailed upon by Entreaties. When Mortals have offended them by their Transgressions, they appease them by Vows and Sacrifices. You must know, Achilles, that PRAYERS are the Daughters of Jupiter. They are crippled by frequent Kneeling, have their Faces full of Cares and Wrinkles, and their Eyes always cast towards Heaven. They are constant Attendants on the Goddess ATE, and march behind her. This Goddess walks forward with a bold and haughty Air, and being very light of foot, runs thro' the whole Earth, grieving and afflicting the Sons of Men. She gets the start of PRAYERS, who always follow her, in, order to heal those Persons whom she wounds. He who honours these Daughters of Jupiter, when they draw near to him, receives great Benefit from them; but as for him who rejects them, they intreat their Father to give his Orders to the Goddess ATE to punish him for his Hardness of Heart. This noble Allegory needs but little Explanation; for whether the Goddess ATE signifies Injury, as some have explained it; or Guilt in general, as others; or divine Justice, as I am the more apt to think; the Interpretation is obvious enough.

I shall produce another Heathen Fable relating to Prayers, which is of a more diverting kind. One would think by some Passages in it, that it was composed by Lucian, or at least by some Author who has endeavourd to imitate his Way of Writing; but as Dissertations of this Nature are more curious than useful, I shall give my Reader the Fable, without any further Enquiries after the Author.

Menippus [2] the Philosopher was a second time taken up into Heaven by Jupiter, when for his Entertainment he lifted up a Trap-Door that was placed by his Foot-stool. At its rising, there issued through it such a Din of Cries as astonished the Philosopher. Upon his asking what they meant, Jupiter told him they were the Prayers that were sent up to him from the Earth. Menippus, amidst the Confusion of Voices, which was so great, that nothing less than the Ear of Jove could distinguish them, heard the Words, Riches, Honour, and Long Life repeated in several different Tones and Languages. When the first Hubbub of Sounds was over, the Trap-Door being left open, the Voices came up more separate and distinct. The first Prayer was a very odd one, it came from Athens, and desired Jupiter to increase the Wisdom and the Beard of his humble Supplicant. Menippus knew it by the Voice to be the Prayer of his Friend Licander the Philosopher. This was succeeded by the Petition of one who had just laden a Ship, and promised Jupiter, if he took care of it, and returned it home again full of Riches, he would make him an Offering of a Silver Cup. Jupiter thanked him for nothing; and bending down his Ear more attentively than ordinary, heard a Voice complaining to him of the Cruelty of an Ephesian Widow, and begging him to breed Compassion in her Heart: This, says Jupiter, is a very honest Fellow. I have received a great deal of Incense from him; I will not be so cruel to him as to hear his Prayers. He was [then] interrupted with a whole Volly of Vows, which were made for the Health of a tyrannical Prince by his Subjects who pray'd for him in his Presence. Menippus was surprized, after having listned to Prayers offered up with so much Ardour and Devotion, to hear low Whispers from the same Assembly, expostulating with Jove for suffering such a Tyrant to live, and asking him how his Thunder could lie idle? Jupiter was so offended at these prevaricating Rascals, that he took down the first Vows, and puffed away the last. The Philosopher seeing a great Cloud mounting upwards, and making its way directly to the Trap-Door, enquired of Jupiter what it meant. This, says Jupiter, is the Smoke of a whole Hecatomb that is offered me by the General of an Army, who is very importunate with me to let him cut off an hundred thousand Men that are drawn up in Array against him: What does the impudent Wretch think I see in him, to believe that I will make a Sacrifice of so many Mortals as good as himself, and all this to his Glory, forsooth? But hark, says Jupiter, there is a Voice I never heard but in time of danger; tis a Rogue that is shipwreck'd in the Ionian Sea: I sav'd him on a Plank but three Days ago, upon his Promise to mend his Manners, the Scoundrel is not worth a Groat, and yet has the Impudence to offer me a Temple if I will keep him from sinking—But yonder, says he, is a special Youth for you, he desires me to take his Father, who keeps a great Estate from him, out of the Miseries of human Life. The old Fellow shall live till he makes his Heart ake, I can tell him that for his pains. This was followed by the soft Voice of a Pious Lady, desiring Jupiter that she might appear amiable and charming in the Sight of her Emperor. As the Philosopher was reflecting on this extraordinary Petition, there blew a gentle Wind thro the Trap-Door, which he at first mistook for a Gale of Zephirs, but afterwards found it to be a Breeze of Sighs: They smelt strong of Flowers and Incense, and were succeeded by most passionate Complaints of Wounds and Torments, Fires and Arrows, Cruelty, Despair and Death. Menippus fancied that such lamentable Cries arose from some general Execution, or from Wretches lying under the Torture; but Jupiter told him that they came up to him from the Isle of Paphos, and that he every day received Complaints of the same nature from that whimsical Tribe of Mortals who are called Lovers. I am so trifled with, says he, by this Generation of both Sexes, and find it so impossible to please them, whether I grant or refuse their Petitions, that I shall order a Western Wind for the future to intercept them in their Passage, and blow them at random upon the Earth. The last Petition I heard was from a very aged Man of near an hundred Years old, begging but for one Year more of Life, and then promising to die contented. This is the rarest old Fellow! says Jupiter. He has made this Prayer to me for above twenty Years together. When he was but fifty Years old, he desired only that he might live to see his Son settled in the World; I granted it. He then begged the same Favour for his Daughter, and afterwards that he might see the Education of a Grandson: When all this was brought about, he puts up a Petition that he might live to finish a House he was building. In short, he is an unreasonable old Cur, and never wants an Excuse; I will hear no more of him. Upon which, he flung down the Trap-Door in a Passion, and was resolved to give no more Audiences that day.

Notwithstanding the Levity of this Fable, the Moral of it very well deserves our Attention, and is the same with that which has been inculcated by Socrates and Plato, not to mention Juvenal and Persius, who have each of them made the finest Satire in their whole Works upon this Subject. The Vanity of Mens Wishes, which are the natural Prayers of the Mind, as well as many of those secret Devotions which they offer to the Supreme Being, are sufficiently exposed by it. Among other Reasons for set Forms of Prayer, I have often thought it a very good one, that by this means the Folly and Extravagance of Mens Desires may be kept within due Bounds, and not break out in absurd and ridiculous Petitions on so great and solemn an Occasion.


[Footnote 1: Iliad, Bk ix.]

[Footnote 2: Menippus was a Cynic philosopher of Gadara, who made money in Thebes by usury, lost it, and hanged himself. He wrote satirical pieces, which are lost; some said that they were the joint work of two friends, Dionysius and Zopyrus of Colophon, in whom it was one jest the more to ascribe their jesting to Menippus. These pieces were imitated by Terentius Varro in Satirae Menippeae.]

* * * * *

No. 392. Friday, May 30, 1712. Steele.

'Per Ambages et Ministeria Deorum Praecipitandus est liber Spiritus.'



The Transformation of Fidelio into a Looking-Glass.

I was lately at a Tea-Table, where some young Ladies entertained the Company with a Relation of a Coquet in the Neighbourhood, who had been discovered practising before her Glass. To turn the Discourse, which from being witty grew to be malicious, the Matron of the Family took occasion, from the Subject, to wish that there were to be found amongst Men such faithful Monitors to dress the Mind by, as we consult to adorn the Body. She added, that if a sincere Friend were miraculously changed into a Looking-Glass, she should not be ashamed to ask its Advice very often. This whimsical Thought worked so much upon my Fancy the whole Evening, that it produced [a very odd Dream. [1]]

Methought, that as I stood before my Glass, the Image of a Youth, of an open ingenuous Aspect, appeared in it; who with a small shrill Voice spoke in the following manner.

The Looking-Glass, you see, was heretofore a Man, even I, the unfortunate Fidelio. I had two Brothers, whose Deformity in Shape was made out by the Clearness of their Understanding: It must be owned however, that (as it generally happens) they had each a Perverseness of Humour suitable to their Distortion of Body. The eldest, whose Belly sunk in monstrously, was a great Coward; and tho' his splenetick contracted Temper made him take fire immediately, he made Objects that beset him appear greater than they were. The second, whose Breast swelled into a bold Relievo, on the contrary, took great pleasure in lessening every thing, and was perfectly the Reverse of his Brother. These Oddnesses pleased Company once or twice, but disgusted when often seen; for which reason the young Gentlemen were sent from Court to study Mathematicks at the University.

I need not acquaint you, that I was very well made, and reckoned a bright polite Gentleman. I was the Confident and Darling of all the Fair; and if the Old and Ugly spoke ill of me, all the World knew it was because I scorned to flatter them. No Ball, no Assembly was attended till I had been consulted. Flavia colour'd her Hair before me, Celia shew'd me her Teeth, Panthea heaved her Bosom, Cleora brandished her Diamonds; I have seen Cloe's Foot, and tied artificially the Garters of Rhodope.

'Tis a general Maxim, that those who doat upon themselves, can have no violent Affection for another: But on the contrary, I found that the Women's Passion for me rose in proportion to the Love they bare to themselves. This was verify'd in my Amour with Narcissa, who was so constant to me, that it was pleasantly said, had I been little enough, she would have hung me at her Girdle. The most dangerous Rival I had, was a gay empty Fellow, who by the Strength of a long Intercourse with Narcissa, joined to his natural Endowments, had formed himself into a perfect Resemblance with her. I had been discarded, had she not observed that he frequently asked my Opinion about Matters of the last Consequence: This made me still more considerable in her Eye.

Tho' I was eternally caressed by the Ladies, such was their Opinion of my Honour, that I was never envy'd by the Men. A jealous Lover of Narcissa one day thought he had caught her in an Amorous Conversation; for tho' he was at such a Distance that he could hear nothing, he imagined strange things from her Airs and Gestures. Sometimes with a serene Look she stepped back in a listning Posture, and brightened into an innocent Smile. Quickly after she swelled into an Air of Majesty and Disdain, then kept her Eyes half shut after a languishing Manner, then covered her Blushes with her Hand, breathed a Sigh, and seemd ready to sink down. In rushed the furious Lover; but how great was his Surprize to see no one there but the innocent Fidelio, with his Back against the Wall betwixt two Windows?

It were endless to recount all my Adventures. Let me hasten to that which cost me my Life, and Narcissa her Happiness.

She had the misfortune to have the Small-Pox, upon which I was expressly forbid her Sight, it being apprehended that it would increase her Distemper, and that I should infallibly catch it at the first Look. As soon as she was suffered to leave her Bed, she stole out of her Chamber, and found me all alone in an adjoining Apartment. She ran with Transport to her Darling, and without Mixture of Fear, lest I should dislike her. But, oh me! what was her Fury when she heard me say, I was afraid and shockd at so loathsome a Spectacle. She stepped back, swollen with Rage, to see if I had the Insolence to repeat it. I did, with this Addition, that her ill-timed Passion had increased her Ugliness. Enraged, inflamed, distracted, she snatched a Bodkin, and with all her Force stabbed me to the Heart. Dying, I preserv'd my Sincerity, and expressed the Truth, tho' in broken Words; and by reproachful Grimaces to the last I mimick'd the Deformity of my Murderess.

Cupid, who always attends the Fair, and pity'd the Fate of so useful a Servant as I was, obtained of the Destinies, that my Body should be made incorruptible, and retain the Qualities my Mind had possessed. I immediately lost the Figure of a Man, and became smooth, polished, and bright, and to this day am the first Favourite of the Ladies.


[Footnote 1: [so odd a Dream, that no one but the SPECTATOR could believe that the Brain, clogged in Sleep, could furnish out such a regular Wildness of Imagination.]

* * * * *

No. 393. Saturday, May 31, 1712. Addison.

'Nescio qua praeter solitum dulcedine laeti.'


Looking over the Letters that have been sent me, I chanced to find the following one, which I received about two years ago from an ingenious Friend, who was then in Denmark.

Copenhagen, May 1, 1710.

Dear Sir,

The Spring with you has already taken Possession of the Fields and Woods: Now is the Season of Solitude, and of moving Complaints upon trivial Sufferings: Now the Griefs of Lovers begin to flow, and their Wounds to bleed afresh. I too, at this Distance from the softer Climates, am not without my Discontents at present. You perhaps may laugh at me for a most Romantick Wretch, when I have disclosed to you the Occasion of my Uneasiness; and yet I cannot help thinking my Unhappiness real, in being confined to a Region, which is the very Reverse of Paradise. The Seasons here are all of them unpleasant, and the Country quite Destitute of Rural Charms. I have not heard a Bird sing, nor a Brook murmur, nor a Breeze whisper, neither have I been blest with the Sight of a flow'ry Meadow these two years. Every Wind here is a Tempest, and every Water a turbulent Ocean. I hope, when you reflect a little, you will not think the Grounds of my Complaint in the least frivolous and unbecoming a Man of serious Thought; since the Love of Woods, of Fields and Flowers, of Rivers and Fountains, seems to be a Passion implanted in our Natures the most early of any, even before the Fair Sex had a Being.

I am, Sir, &c.

Could I transport my self with a Wish from one Country to another, I should chuse to pass my Winter in Spain, my Spring in Italy, my Summer in England, and my Autumn in France. Of all these Seasons there is none that can vie with the Spring for Beauty and Delightfulness. It bears the same Figure among the Seasons of the Year, that the Morning does among the Divisions of the Day, or Youth among the Stages of Life. The English Summer is pleasanter than that of any other Country in Europe on no other account but because it has a greater Mixture of Spring in it. The Mildness of our Climate, with those frequent Refreshments of Dews and Rains that fall among us, keep up a perpetual Chearfulness in our Fields, and fill the hottest Months of the Year with a lively Verdure.

In the opening of the Spring, when all Nature begins to recover her self, the same animal Pleasure which makes the Birds sing, and the whole brute Creation rejoice, rises very sensibly in the Heart of Man. I know none of the Poets who have observed so well as Milton those secret Overflowings of Gladness which diffuse themselves thro' the Mind of the Beholder, upon surveying the gay Scenes of Nature: he has touched upon it twice or thrice in his Paradise Lost, and describes it very beautifully under the Name of Vernal Delight, in that Passage where he represents the Devil himself as almost sensible of it.

Blossoms and Fruits at once of golden hue Appear'd, with gay enamel'd Colours mixt: On which the Sun more glad impress'd his Beams Than in fair evening Cloud, or humid Bow, When God hath shower'd the Earth; so lovely seem'd That Landskip: And of pure now purer Air Meets his approach, and to the Heart inspires Vernal Delight, and Joy able to drive All Sadness but Despair, &c. [1]

Many Authors have written on the Vanity of the Creature, and represented the Barrenness of every thing in this World, and its Incapacity of producing any solid or substantial Happiness. As Discourses of this Nature are very useful to the Sensual and Voluptuous; those Speculations which shew the bright Side of Things, and lay forth those innocent Entertainments which are to be met with among the several Objects that encompass us, are no less beneficial to Men of dark and melancholy Tempers. It was for this reason that I endeavoured to recommend a Chearfulness of Mind in my two last Saturday's Papers, and which I would still inculcate, not only from the Consideration of our selves, and of that Being on whom we depend, nor from the general Survey of that Universe in which we are placed at present, but from Reflections on the particular Season in which this Paper is written. The Creation is a perpetual Feast to the Mind of a good Man, every thing he sees chears and delights him; Providence has imprinted so many Smiles on Nature, that it is impossible for a Mind, which is not sunk in more gross and sensual Delights, to take a Survey of them without several secret Sensations of Pleasure. The Psalmist has in several of his Divine Poems celebrated those beautiful and agreeable Scenes which make the Heart glad, and produce in it that vernal Delight which I have before taken Notice of.

Natural Philosophy quickens this Taste of the Creation, and renders it not only pleasing to the Imagination, but to the Understanding. It does not rest in the Murmur of Brooks, and the Melody of Birds, in the Shade of Groves and Woods, or in the Embroidery of Fields and Meadows, but considers the several Ends of Providence which are served by them, and the Wonders of Divine Wisdom which appear in them. It heightens the Pleasures of the Eye, and raises such a rational Admiration in the Soul as is little inferior to Devotion.

It is not in the Power of every one to offer up this kind of Worship to the great Author of Nature, and to indulge these more refined Meditations of Heart, which are doubtless highly acceptable in his Sight: I shall therefore conclude this short Essay on that Pleasure which the Mind naturally conceives from the present Season of the Year, by the recommending of a Practice for which every one has sufficient Abilities.

I would have my Readers endeavour to moralize this natural Pleasure of the Soul, and to improve this vernal Delight, as Milton calls it, into a Christian Virtue. When we find our selves inspired with this pleasing Instinct, this secret Satisfaction and Complacency arising from the Beauties of the Creation, let us consider to whom we stand indebted for all these Entertainments of Sense, and who it is that thus opens his Hand and fills the World with Good. The Apostle instructs us to take advantage of our present Temper of Mind, to graft upon it such a religious Exercise as is particularly conformable to it, by that Precept which advises those who are sad to pray, and those who are merry to sing Psalms. The Chearfulness of Heart which springs up in us from the Survey of Nature's Works, is an admirable Preparation for Gratitude. The Mind has gone a great way towards Praise and Thanksgiving, that is filled with such a secret Gladness: A grateful Reflection on the supreme Cause who produces it, sanctifies it in the Soul, and gives it its proper Value. Such an habitual Disposition of Mind consecrates every Field and Wood, turns an ordinary Walk into a morning or evening Sacrifice, and will improve those transient Gleams of Joy, which naturally brighten up and refresh the Soul on such Occasions, into an inviolable and perpetual State of Bliss and Happiness.


[Footnote 1: Paradise Lost, Bk iv. ll. 148-156.]

* * * * *

No. 394. Monday, June 2, 1712. Steele.

'Bene colligitur haec Pueris et Mulierculis et Servis et Servorum simillimis Liberis esse grata. Gravi vero homini et ea quae fiunt Judicio certo ponderanti probari posse nullo modo.'


I have been considering the little and frivolous things which give Men Accesses to one another, and Power with each other, not only in the common and indifferent Accidents of Life, but also in Matters of greater importance. You see in Elections for Members to sit in Parliament, how far saluting Rows of old Women, drinking with Clowns, and being upon a level with the lowest Part of Mankind in that wherein they themselves are lowest, their Diversions, will carry a Candidate. A Capacity for prostituting a Man's Self in his Behaviour, and descending to the present Humour of the Vulgar, is perhaps as good an Ingredient as any other for making a considerable Figure in the World; and if a Man has nothing else, or better, to think of, he could not make his way to Wealth and Distinction by properer Methods, than studying the particular Bent or Inclination of People with whom he converses, and working from the Observation of such their Biass in all Matters wherein he has any Intercourse with them: For his Ease and Comfort he may assure himself, he need not be at the Expence of any great Talent or Virtue to please even those who are possessd of the highest Qualifications. Pride in some particular Disguise or other, (often a Secret to the proud Man himself) is the most ordinary Spring of Action among Men. You need no more than to discover what a Man values himself for; then of all things admire that Quality, but be sure to be failing in it your self in comparison of the Man whom you court. I have heard, or read, of a Secretary of State in Spain, who served a Prince who was happy in an elegant use of the Latin Tongue, and often writ Dispatches in it with his own Hand. The King shewed his Secretary a Letter he had written to a foreign Prince, and under the Colour of asking his Advice, laid a Trap for his Applause. The honest Man read it as a faithful Counsellor, and not only excepted against his tying himself down too much by some Expressions, but mended the Phrase in others. You may guess the Dispatches that Evening did not take much longer Time. Mr. Secretary, as soon as he came to his own House, sent for his eldest Son, and communicated to him that the Family must retire out of Spain as soon as possible; for, said he, the King knows I understand Latin better than he does.

This egregious Fault in a Man of the World, should be a Lesson to all who would make their Fortunes: But a Regard must be carefully had to the Person with whom you have to do; for it is not to be doubted but a great Man of common Sense must look with secret Indignation or bridled Laughter, on all the Slaves who stand round him with ready Faces to approve and smile at all he says in the gross. It is good Comedy enough to observe a Superior talking half Sentences, and playing an humble Admirer's Countenance from one thing to another, with such Perplexity that he knows not what to sneer in Approbation of. But this kind of Complaisance is peculiarly the Manner of Courts; in all other Places you must constantly go farther in Compliance with the Persons you have to do with, than a mere Conformity of Looks and Gestures. If you are in a Country Life, and would be a leading Man, a good Stomach, a loud Voice, and a rustick Chearfulness will go a great way, provided you are able to drink, and drink any thing. But I was just now going to draw the Manner of Behaviour I would advise People to practise under some Maxim, and intimated, that every one almost was governed by his Pride. There was an old Fellow about forty Years ago so peevish and fretful, though a Man of Business, that no one could come at him: But he frequented a particular little Coffee-house, where he triumphed over every body at Trick-track and Baggammon. The way to pass his Office well, was first to be insulted by him at one of those Games in his leisure Hours; for his Vanity was to shew, that he was a Man of Pleasure as well as Business. Next to this sort of Insinuation, which is called in all Places (from its taking its Birth in the Housholds of Princes) making one's Court, the most prevailing way is, by what better-bred People call a Present, the Vulgar a Bribe. I humbly conceive that such a thing is conveyed with more Gallantry in a Billet-doux that should be understood at the Bank, than in gross Money; But as to stubborn People, who are so surly as to accept of neither Note or Cash, having formerly dabbled in Chymistry, I can only say that one part of Matter asks one thing, and another another, to make it fluent; but there is nothing but may be dissolved by a proper Mean: Thus the Virtue which is too obdurate for Gold or Paper, shall melt away very kindly in a Liquid. The Island of Barbadoes (a shrewd People) manage all their Appeals to Great-Britain, by a skilful Distribution of Citron-Water among the Whisperers about Men in Power. Generous Wines do every Day prevail, and that in great Points, where ten thousand times their Value would have been rejected with Indignation.

But to wave the Enumeration of the sundry Ways of applying by Presents, Bribes, Management of People, Passions and Affections, in such a Manner as it shall appear that the Virtue of the best Man is by one Method or other corruptible; let us look out for some Expedient to turn those Passions and Affections on the side of Truth and Honour. When a Man has laid it down for a Position, that parting with his Integrity, in the minutest Circumstance, is losing so much of his very Self, Self-love will become a Virtue. By this means Good and Evil will be the only Objects of Dislike and Approbation; and he that injures any Man, has effectually wounded the Man of this Turn as much as if the Harm had been to himself. This seems to be the only Expedient to arrive at an Impartiality; and a Man who follows the Dictates of Truth and right Reason, may by Artifice be led into Error, but never can into Guilt.


* * * * *


My Lord,

Very many Favours and Civilities (received from You in a private Capacity) which I have no other Way to acknowledge, will, I hope, excuse this Presumption; but the Justice I, as a Spectator, owe your Character, places me above the want of an Excuse. Candor and Openness of Heart, which shine in all your Words and Actions, exacts the highest Esteem from all who have the Honour to know You, and a winning Condescention to all subordinate to You, made Business a Pleasure to those who executed it under You, at the same time that it heightened Her Majesty's Favour to all who had the Happiness of having it convey'd through Your Hands: A Secretary of State, in the Interests of Mankind, joined with that of his Fellow-Subjects, accomplished with a great Facility and Elegance in all the Modern as well as Ancient Languages, was a happy and proper Member of a Ministry, by whose Services Your Sovereign and Country are in so high and flourishing a Condition, as makes all other Princes and Potentates powerful or inconsiderable in Europe, as they are Friends or Enemies to Great-Britain. The Importance of those great Events which happened during that Administration, in which Your Lordship bore so important a Charge, will be acknowledgd as long as Time shall endure; I shall not therefore attempt to rehearse those illustrious Passages, but give this Application a more private and particular Turn, in desiring Your Lordship would continue your Favour and Patronage to me, as You are a Gentleman of the most polite Literature, and perfectly accomplished in the Knowledge of Books and Men, which makes it necessary to beseech Your Indulgence to the following Leaves, and the Author of them: Who is, with the greatest Truth and Respect,

My Lord, Your Lordship's Obliged, Obedient, and Humble Servant, THE SPECTATOR.

[Footnote 1: Charles Spencer, to whom the Sixth Volume of the Spectator is here inscribed, represented Tiverton, in 1700, when he took the Lady Anne Churchill, Marlborough's second daughter, for his second wife. On the death of his father Robert, in 1702, he became Earl of Sunderland. He was an accomplished man and founder of the library at Althorpe. In 1705 he was employed diplomatically at the courts of Prussia, Austria, and Hanover. Early in 1706 he was one of the Commissioners for arranging the Union with Scotland, and in September of that year he was forced by the Whigs on Queen Anne, as successor to Sir Charles Hedges in the office of Secretary of State. Steele held under him the office of Gazetteer, to which he was appointed in the following May. In 1710 Sunderland shared in the political reverse suffered by Marlborough. In the summer of that year Sunderland was dismissed from office, but with an offer from the Queen of a pension of L3000 a year. He replied that he was glad her Majesty was satisfied that he had done his duty; but if he could not have the honour to serve his country, he would not plunder it. The accession of George I. restored him to favour and influence. He became Lord-lieutenant of Ireland; had, in 1715, a pension of L12,000 a year settled on him; in April, 1717, was again Secretary of State; and in the following March, Lord President of the Council. His political influence was broken in 1721, the year before his death.]

* * * * *

No. 395. Tuesday, June 3, 1712. Budgell.

'Quod nunc ratio est, Impetus ante fuit.'


Beware of the Ides of March, said the Roman Augur to Julius Caesar: Beware of the Month of May, says the British Spectator to his fair Country-women. The Caution of the first was unhappily neglected, and Caesar's Confidence cost him his Life. I am apt to flatter my self that my pretty Readers had much more regard to the Advice I gave them, since I have yet received very few Accounts of any notorious Trips made in the last Month.

But tho' I hope for the best, I shall not pronounce too positively on this point, till I have seen forty Weeks well over, at which Period of Time, as my good Friend Sir ROGER has often told me, he has more Business as a Justice of Peace, among the dissolute young People in the Country, than at any other Season of the Year.

Neither must I forget a Letter which I received near a Fortnight since from a Lady, who, it seems, could hold out no longer, telling me she looked upon the Month as then out, for that she had all along reckoned by the New Style.

On the other hand, I have great reason to believe, from several angry Letters which have been sent to me by disappointed Lovers, that my Advice has been of very signal Service to the fair Sex, who, according to the old Proverb, were Forewarned forearm'd.

One of these Gentlemen tells me, that he would have given me an hundred Pounds, rather than I should have publishd that Paper; for that his Mistress, who had promised to explain herself to him about the Beginning of May, upon reading that Discourse told him that she would give him her Answer in June.

Thyrsis acquaints me, that when he desired Sylvia to take a Walk in the Fields, she told him the Spectator had forbidden her.

Another of my Correspondents, who writes himself Mat Meager, complains, that whereas he constantly used to Breakfast with his Mistress upon Chocolate, going to wait upon her the first of May he found his usual Treat very much changed for the worse, and has been forced to feed ever since upon Green Tea.

As I begun this Critical Season with a Caveat to the Ladies, I shall conclude it with a Congratulation, and do most heartily wish them Joy of their happy Deliverance.

They may now reflect with Pleasure on the Dangers they have escaped, and look back with as much Satisfaction on their Perils that threat'ned them, as their Great-Grandmothers did formerly on the Burning Plough-shares, after having passed through the Ordeal Tryal. The Instigations of the Spring are now abated. The Nightingale gives over her Love-labourd Song, as Milton phrases it, the Blossoms are fallen, and the Beds of Flowers swept away by the Scythe of the Mower.

I shall now allow my Fair Readers to return to their Romances and Chocolate, provided they make use of them with Moderation, till about the middle of the Month, when the Sun shall have made some Progress in the Crab. Nothing is more dangerous, than too much Confidence and Security. The Trojans, who stood upon their Guard all the while the Grecians lay before their City, when they fancied the Siege was raised, and the Danger past, were the very next Night burnt in their Beds: I must also observe, that as in some Climates there is a perpetual Spring, so in some Female Constitutions there is a perpetual May: These are a kind of Valetudinarians in Chastity, whom I would continue in a constant Diet. I cannot think these wholly out of Danger, till they have looked upon the other Sex at least Five Years through a Pair of Spectacles. WILL. HONEYCOMB has often assured me, that its much easier to steal one of this Species, when she has passed her grand Climacterick, than to carry off an icy Girl on this side Five and Twenty; and that a Rake of his Acquaintance, who had in vain endeavoured to gain the Affections of a young Lady of Fifteen, had at last made his Fortune by running away with her Grandmother.

But as I do not design this Speculation for the Evergreens of the Sex, I shall again apply my self to those who would willingly listen to the Dictates of Reason and Virtue, and can now hear me in cold Blood. If there are any who have forfeited their Innocence, they must now consider themselves under that Melancholy View, in which Chamont regards his Sister, in those beautiful Lines.

—Long she flourish'd, Grew sweet to Sense, and lovely to the Eye; Till at the last a cruel Spoiler came, Cropt this fair Rose, and rifled all its Sweetness; Then cast it like a loathsome Weed away. [1]

On the contrary, she who has observed the timely Cautions I gave her, and lived up to the Rules of Modesty, will now Flourish like a Rose in June, with all her Virgin Blushes and Sweetness about her: I must, however, desire these last to consider, how shameful it would be for a General, who has made a Successful Campaign, to be surprized in his Winter Quarters: It would be no less dishonourable for a Lady to lose in any other Month of the Year, what she has been at the pains to preserve in May.

There is no Charm in the Female Sex, that can supply the place of Virtue. Without Innocence, Beauty is unlovely, and Quality contemptible, Good-breeding degenerates into Wantonness, and Wit into Impudence. It is observed, that all the Virtues are represented by both Painters and Statuaries under Female Shapes, but if any one of them has a more particular Title to that Sex, it is Modesty. I shall leave it to the Divines to guard them against the opposite Vice, as they may be overpowerd by Temptations; It is sufficient for me to have warned them against it, as they may be led astray by Instinct.

I desire this Paper may be read with more than ordinary Attention, at all Tea-Tables within the Cities of London and Westminster.


[Footnote 1: Otway's Orphan, Act IV.]

* * * * *

No. 396. Wednesday, June 4, 1712. Henley.

'Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Ferio, Baralipton.'


From St. John's College Cambridge, Feb. 3, 1712.


The Monopoly of Punns in this University has been an immemorial Privilege of the Johnians; and we can't help resenting the late Invasion of our ancient Right as to that Particular, by a little Pretender to Clenching in a neighbouring College, who in an Application to you by way of Letter, a while ago, styled himself Philobrune. Dear Sir, as you are by Character a profest Well-wisher to Speculation, you will excuse a Remark which this Gentleman's Passion for the Brunette has suggested to a Brother Theorist; 'tis an Offer towards a mechanical Account of his Lapse to Punning, for he belongs to a Set of Mortals who value themselves upon an uncommon Mastery in the more humane and polite Part of Letters. A Conquest by one of this Species of Females gives a very odd Turn to the Intellectuals of the captivated Person, and very different from that way of thinking which a Triumph from the Eyes of another more emphatically of the fair Sex, does generally occasion. It fills the Imagination with an Assemblage of such Ideas and Pictures as are hardly any thing but Shade, such as Night, the Devil, &c. These Portraitures very near over-power the Light of the Understanding, almost benight the Faculties, and give that melancholy Tincture to the most sanguine Complexion, which this Gentleman calls an Inclination to be in a Brown-study, and is usually attended with worse Consequences in case of a Repulse. During this Twilight of Intellects, the Patient is extremely apt, as Love is the most witty Passion in Nature, to offer at some pert Sallies now and then, by way of Flourish, upon the amiable Enchantress, and unfortunately stumbles upon that Mongrel miscreated (to speak in Miltonic) kind of Wit, vulgarly termed, the Punn. It would not be much amiss to consult Dr. T—W—[2] (who is certainly a very able Projector, and whose system of Divinity and spiritual Mechanicks obtains very much among the better Part of our Under-Graduates) whether a general Intermarriage, enjoyned by Parliament, between this Sisterhood of the Olive Beauties, and the Fraternity of the People call'd Quakers, would not be a very serviceable Expedient, and abate that Overflow of Light which shines within them so powerfully, that it dazzles their Eyes, and dances them into a thousand Vagaries of Error and Enthusiasm. These Reflections may impart some Light towards a Discovery of the Origin of Punning among us, and the Foundation of its prevailing so long in this famous Body. Tis notorious from the Instance under Consideration, that it must be owing chiefly to the use of brown Juggs, muddy Belch, and the Fumes of a certain memorable Place of Rendezvous with us at Meals, known by the Name of Staincoat Hole: For the Atmosphere of the Kitchen, like the Tail of a Comet, predominates least about the Fire, but resides behind and fills the fragrant Receptacle above-mentioned. Besides, 'tis farther observable that the delicate Spirits among us, who declare against these nauseous proceedings, sip Tea, and put up for Critic and Amour, profess likewise an equal Abhorrency for Punning, the ancient innocent Diversion of this Society. After all, Sir, tho' it may appear something absurd, that I seem to approach you with the Air of an Advocate for Punning, (you who have justified your Censures of the Practice in a set Dissertation upon that Subject;) yet, I'm confident, you'll think it abundantly atoned for by observing, that this humbler Exercise may be as instrumental in diverting us from any innovating Schemes and Hypothesis in Wit. as dwelling upon honest Orthodox Logic would be in securing us from Heresie in Religion. Had Mr. W—n's [3] Researches been confined within the Bounds of Ramus or Crackanthorp, that learned News-monger might have acquiesced in what the holy Oracles pronounce upon the Deluge, like other Christians; and had the surprising Mr. L—y[4] been content with the Employment of refining upon Shakespear's Points and Quibbles, (for which he must be allowed to have a superlative Genius) and now and then penning a Catch or a Ditty, instead of inditing Odes, and Sonnets, the Gentlemen of the Bon Goust in the Pit would never have been put to all that Grimace in damning the Frippery of State, the Poverty and Languor of Thought, the unnatural Wit, and inartificial Structure of his Dramas. I am, SIR, Your very humble Servant, Peter de Quir.

Previous Part     1 ... 3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20     Next Part
Home - Random Browse