The Spectator, Volume 2.
by Addison and Steele
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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 guineas.]

* * * * *


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 Physician.


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 Shenkyn.

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 insertion:

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 Expletives.

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 Love.

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. 223.]

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

[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 dando.


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 Country.

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 Dextera

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].

Nihil largiundo gloriam adeptus est.


My wise and good Friend, Sir Andrew Freeport, divides himself almost equally between the Town and the Country: His Time in Town is given up to the Publick, and the Management of his private Fortune; and after every three or four Days spent in this Manner, he retires for as many to his Seat within a few Miles of the Town, to the Enjoyment of himself, his Family, and his Friend. Thus Business and Pleasure, or rather, in Sir Andrew, Labour and Rest, recommend each other. They take their Turns with so quick a Vicissitude, that neither becomes a Habit, or takes Possession of the whole Man; nor is it possible he should be surfeited with either. I often see him at our Club in good Humour, and yet sometimes too with an Air of Care in his Looks: But in his Country Retreat he is always unbent, and such a Companion as I could desire; and therefore I seldom fail to make one with him when he is pleased to invite me.

The other Day, as soon as we were got into his Chariot, two or three Beggars on each Side hung upon the Doors, and solicited our Charity with the usual Rhetorick of a sick Wife or Husband at home, three or four helpless little Children all starving with Cold and Hunger. We were forced to part with some Money to get rid of their Importunity; and then we proceeded on our Journey with the Blessings and Acclamations of these People.

Well then, says Sir Andrew, we go off with the Prayers and good Wishes of the Beggars, and perhaps too our Healths will be drunk at the next Ale-house: So all we shall be able to value ourselves upon, is, that we have promoted the Trade of the Victualler and the Excises of the Government. But how few Ounces of Wooll do we see upon the Backs of those poor Creatures? And when they shall next fall in our Way, they will hardly be better dress'd; they must always live in Rags to look like Objects of Compassion. If their Families too are such as they are represented, tis certain they cannot be better clothed, and must be a great deal worse fed: One would think Potatoes should be all their Bread, and their Drink the pure Element; and then what goodly Customers are the Farmers like to have for their Wooll, Corn and Cattle? Such Customers, and such a Consumption, cannot choose but advance the landed Interest, and hold up the Rents of the Gentlemen.

But of all Men living, we Merchants, who live by Buying and Selling, ought never to encourage Beggars. The Goods which we export are indeed the Product of the lands, but much the greatest Part of their Value is the Labour of the People: but how much of these Peoples Labour shall we export whilst we hire them to sit still? The very Alms they receive from us, are the Wages of Idleness. I have often thought that no Man should be permitted to take Relief from the Parish, or to ask it in the Street, till he has first purchased as much as possible of his own Livelihood by the Labour of his own Hands; and then the Publick ought only to be taxed to make good the Deficiency. If this Rule was strictly observed, we should see every where such a Multitude of new Labourers, as would in all probability reduce the Prices of all our Manufactures. It is the very Life of Merchandise to buy cheap and sell dear. The Merchant ought to make his Outset as cheap as possible, that he may find the greater Profit upon his Returns; and nothing will enable him to do this like the Reduction of the Price of Labour upon all our Manufactures. This too would be the ready Way to increase the Number of our Foreign Markets: The Abatement of the Price of the Manufacture would pay for the Carriage of it to more distant Countries; and this Consequence would be equally beneficial both to the Landed and Trading Interests. As so great an Addition of labouring Hands would produce this happy Consequence both to the Merchant and the Gentle man; our Liberality to common Beggars, and every other Obstruction to the Increase of Labourers, must be equally pernicious to both.

Sir Andrew then went on to affirm, That the Reduction of the Prices of our Manufactures by the Addition of so many new Hands, would be no Inconvenience to any Man: But observing I was something startled at the Assertion, he made a short Pause, and then resumed the Discourse.

It may seem, says he, a Paradox, that the Price of Labour should be reduced without an Abatement of Wages, or that Wages can be abated without any Inconvenience to the Labourer, and yet nothing is more certain than that both those Things may happen. The Wages of the Labourers make the greatest Part of the Price of every Thing that is useful; and if in Proportion with the Wages the Prices of all other Things should be abated, every Labourer with less Wages would be still able to purchase as many Necessaries of Life; where then would be the Inconvenience? But the Price of Labour may be reduced by the Addition of more Hands to a Manufacture, and yet the Wages of Persons remain as high as ever. The admirable Sir William Petty [2] has given Examples of this in some of his Writings: One of them, as I remember, is that of a Watch, which I shall endeavour to explain so as shall suit my present Purpose. It is certain that a single Watch could not be made so cheap in Proportion by one only Man, as a hundred Watches by a hundred; for as there is vast Variety in the Work, no one Person could equally suit himself to all the Parts of it; the Manufacture would be tedious, and at last but clumsily performed: But if an hundred Watches were to be made by a hundred Men, the Cases may be assigned to one, the Dials to another, the Wheels to another, the Springs to another, and every other Part to a proper Artist; as there would be no need of perplexing any one Person with too much Variety, every one would be able to perform his single Part with greater Skill and Expedition; and the hundred Watches would be finished in one fourth Part of the Time of the first one, and every one of them at one fourth Part of the Cost, tho the Wages of every Man were equal. The Reduction of the Price of the Manufacture would increase the Demand of it, all the same Hands would be still employed and as well paid. The same Rule will hold in the Clothing, the Shipping, and all the other Trades whatsoever. And thus an Addition of Hands to our Manufactures will only reduce the Price of them; the Labourer will still have as much Wages, and will consequently be enabled to purchase more Conveniencies of Life; so that every Interest in the Nation would receive a Benefit from the Increase of our Working People.

Besides, I see no Occasion for this Charity to common Beggars, since every Beggar is an Inhabitant of a Parish, and every Parish is taxed to the Maintenance of their own Poor. [3]

For my own part, I cannot be mightily pleased with the Laws which have done this, which have provided better to feed than employ the Poor. We have a Tradition from our Forefathers, that after the first of those Laws was made, they were insulted with that famous Song;

Hang Sorrow, and cast away Care, The Parish is bound to find us, &c.

And if we will be so good-natured as to maintain them without Work, they can do no less in Return than sing us The Merry Beggars.

What then? Am I against all Acts of Charity? God forbid! I know of no Virtue in the Gospel that is in more pathetical Expressions recommended to our Practice. I was hungry and [ye] [4] gave me no Meat, thirsty and ye gave me no Drink, naked and ye clothed me not, a Stranger and ye took me not in, sick and in prison and ye visited me not. Our Blessed Saviour treats the Exercise or Neglect of Charity towards a poor Man, as the Performance or Breach of this Duty towards himself. I shall endeavour to obey the Will of my Lord and Master: And therefore if an industrious Man shall submit to the hardest Labour and coarsest Fare, rather than endure the Shame of taking Relief from the Parish, or asking it in the Street, this is the Hungry, the Thirsty, the Naked; and I ought to believe, if any Man is come hither for Shelter against Persecution or Oppression, this is the Stranger, and I ought to take him in. If any Countryman of our own is fallen into the Hands of Infidels, and lives in a State of miserable Captivity, this is the Man in Prison, and I should contribute to his Ransom. I ought to give to an Hospital of Invalids, to recover as many useful Subjects as I can; but I shall bestow none of my Bounties upon an Alms-house of idle People; and for the same Reason I should not think it a Reproach to me if I had withheld my Charity from those common Beggars. But we prescribe better Rules than we are able to practise; we are ashamed not to give into the mistaken Customs of our Country: But at the same time, I cannot but think it a Reproach worse than that of common Swearing, that the Idle and the Abandoned are suffered in the Name of Heaven and all that is sacred, to extort from Christian and tender Minds a Supply to a profligate Way of Life, that is always to be supported, but never relieved.

Ẓ [5]

[Footnote 1: Or Henry Martyn?]

[Footnote 2: Surveyor-general of Ireland to Charles II. See his Discourse of Taxes (1689).]

[Footnote 3: Our idle poor till the time of Henry VIII. lived upon alms. After the dissolution of the monasteries experiments were made for their care, and by a statute 43 Eliz. overseers were appointed and Parishes charged to maintain their helpless poor and find work for the sturdy. In Queen Annes time the Poor Law had been made more intricate and troublesome by the legislation on the subject that had been attempted after the Restoration.]

[Footnote 4: [you] throughout, and in first reprint.]

[Footnote 5: X.]

* * * * *

No. 233. Tuesday, Nov. 27, 1711. Addison.

—Tanquam hec sint nostri medicina furoris, Aut Deus ille malis hominum mitescere discat.


I shall, in this Paper, discharge myself of the Promise I have made to the Publick, by obliging them with a Translation of the little Greek Manuscript, which is said to have been a Piece of those Records that were preserved in the Temple of Apollo, upon the Promontory of Leucate: It is a short History of the Lovers Leap, and is inscribed, An Account of Persons Male and Female, who offered up their Vows in the Temple of the Pythian Apollo, in the Forty sixth Olympiad, and leaped from the Promontory of Leucate into the Ionian Sea, in order to cure themselves of the Passion of Love.

This Account is very dry in many Parts, as only mentioning the Name of the Lover who leaped, the Person he leaped for, and relating, in short, that he was either cured, or killed, or maimed by the Fall. It indeed gives the Names of so many who died by it, that it would have looked like a Bill of Mortality, had I translated it at full length; I have therefore made an Abridgment of it, and only extracted such particular Passages as have something extraordinary, either in the Case, or in the Cure, or in the Fate of the Person who is mentioned in it. After this short Preface take the Account as follows.

Battus, the Son of Menalcas the Sicilian, leaped for Bombyca the Musician: Got rid of his Passion with the Loss of his Right Leg and Arm, which were broken in the Fall.

Melissa, in Love with Daphnis, very much bruised, but escaped with Life.

Cynisca, the Wife of AEschines, being in Love with Lycus; and AEschines her Husband being in Love with Eurilla; (which had made this married Couple very uneasy to one another for several Years) both the Husband and the Wife took the Leap by Consent; they both of them escaped, and have lived very happily together ever since.

Larissa, a Virgin of Thessaly, deserted by Plexippus, after a Courtship of three Years; she stood upon the Brow of the Promontory for some time, and after having thrown down a Ring, a Bracelet, and a little Picture, with other Presents which she had received from Plexippus, she threw her self into the Sea, and was taken up alive.

N. B. Larissa, before she leaped, made an Offering of a Silver Cupid in the Temple of Apollo.

Simaetha, in Love with Daphnis the Myndian, perished in the Fall.

Charixus, the Brother of Sappho, in Love with Rhodope the Courtesan, having spent his whole Estate upon her, was advised by his Sister to leap in the Beginning of his Amour, but would not hearken to her till he was reduced to his last Talent; being forsaken by Rhodope, at length resolved to take the Leap. Perished in it.

Aridaeus, a beautiful Youth of Epirus, in Love with Praxinoe, the Wife of Thespis, escaped without Damage, saving only that two of his Fore-Teeth were struck out and his Nose a little flatted.

Cleora, a Widow of Ephesus, being inconsolable for the Death of her Husband, was resolved to take this Leap in order to get rid of her Passion for his Memory; but being arrived at the Promontory, she there met with Dimmachus the Miletian, and after a short Conversation with him, laid aside the Thoughts of her Leap, and married him in the Temple of Apollo.

N. B. Her Widows Weeds are still to be seen hanging up in the Western Corner of the Temple.

Olphis, the Fisherman, having received a Box on the Ear from Thestylis the Day before, and being determined to have no more to do with her, leaped, and escaped with Life.

Atalanta, an old Maid, whose Cruelty had several Years before driven two or three despairing Lovers to this Leap; being now in the fifty fifth Year of her Age, and in Love with an Officer of Sparta, broke her Neck in the Fall.

Hipparchus being passionately fond of his own Wife who was enamoured of Bathyllus, leaped, and died of his Fall; upon which his Wife married her Gallant.

Tettyx, the Dancing-Master, in Love with Olympia an Athenian Matron, threw himself from the Rock with great Agility, but was crippled in the Fall.

Diagoras, the Usurer, in Love with his Cook-Maid; he peeped several times over the Precipice, but his Heart misgiving him, he went back, and married her that Evening.

Cinaedus, after having entered his own Name in the Pythian Records, being asked the Name of the Person whom he leaped for, and being ashamed to discover it, he was set aside, and not suffered to leap.

Eunica, a Maid of Paphos, aged Nineteen, in Love with Eurybates. Hurt in the Fall, but recovered.

N. B. This was her second Time of Leaping.

Hesperus, a young Man of Tarentum, in Love with his Masters Daughter. Drowned, the Boats not coming in soon enough to his Relief.

Sappho, the Lesbian, in Love with Phaon, arrived at the Temple of Apollo, habited like a Bride in Garments as white as Snow. She wore a Garland of Myrtle on her Head, and carried in her Hand the little Musical Instrument of her own Invention. After having sung an Hymn to Apollo, she hung up her Garland on one Side of his Altar, and her Harp on the other. She then tuck'd up her Vestments, like a Spartan Virgin, and amidst thousands of Spectators, who were anxious for her Safety, and offered up Vows for her Deliverance, [marched[1]] directly forwards to the utmost Summit of the Promontory, where after having repeated a Stanza of her own Verses, which we could not hear, she threw herself off the Rock with such an Intrepidity as was never before observed in any who had attempted that dangerous Leap. Many who were present related, that they saw her fall into the Sea, from whence she never rose again; tho there were others who affirmed, that she never came to the Bottom of her Leap, but that she was changed into a Swan as she fell, and that they saw her hovering in the Air under that Shape. But whether or no the Whiteness and Fluttering of her Garments might not deceive those who looked upon her, or whether she might not really be metamorphosed into that musical and melancholy Bird, is still a Doubt among the Lesbians.

Alcaeus, the famous Lyrick Poet, who had for some time been passionately in Love with Sappho, arrived at the Promontory of Leucate that very Evening, in order to take the Leap upon her Account; but hearing that Sappho had been there before him, and that her Body could be no where found, he very generously lamented her Fall, and is said to have written his hundred and twenty fifth Ode upon that Occasion.

Leaped in this Olympiad [250 [2]]

Males 124 Females 126

Cured [120[3]]

Males 51 Females 69


[Footnote 1: [she marched]]

[Footnote 2: [350], and in first reprint.]

[Footnote 3: [150], corrected by an Erratum.]

* * * * *

No. 234. Wednesday, Nov. 28, 1711. Steele.

[Vellum in amicitia erraremus.

Hor.] [1]

You very often hear People, after a Story has been told with some entertaining Circumstances, tell it over again with Particulars that destroy the Jest, but give Light into the Truth of the Narration. This sort of Veracity, though it is impertinent, has something amiable in it, because it proceeds from the Love of Truth, even in frivolous Occasions. If such honest Amendments do not promise an agreeable Companion, they do a sincere Friend; for which Reason one should allow them so much of our Time, if we fall into their Company, as to set us right in Matters that can do us no manner of Harm, whether the Facts be one Way or the other. Lies which are told out of Arrogance and Ostentation a Man should detect in his own Defence, because he should not be triumphed over; Lies which are told out of Malice he should expose, both for his own sake and that of the rest of Mankind, because every Man should rise against a common Enemy: But the officious Liar many have argued is to be excused, because it does some Man good, and no Man hurt. The Man who made more than ordinary speed from a Fight in which the Athenians were beaten, and told them they had obtained a complete Victory, and put the whole City into the utmost Joy and Exultation, was check'd by the Magistrates for his Falshood; but excused himself by saying, O Athenians! am I your Enemy because I gave you two happy Days? This Fellow did to a whole People what an Acquaintance of mine does every Day he lives in some eminent Degree to particular Persons. He is ever lying People into good Humour, and, as Plato said, it was allowable in Physicians to lie to their Patients to keep up their Spirits, I am half doubtful whether my Friends Behaviour is not as excusable. His Manner is to express himself surprised at the Chearful Countenance of a Man whom he observes diffident of himself; and generally by that means makes his Lie a Truth. He will, as if he did not know any [thing] [2] of the Circumstance, ask one whom he knows at Variance with another, what is the meaning that Mr. such a one, naming his Adversary, does not applaud him with that Heartiness which formerly he has heard him? He said indeed, (continues he) I would rather have that Man for my Friend than any Man in England; but for an Enemy—This melts the Person he talks to, who expected nothing but downright Raillery from that Side. According as he sees his Practices succeeded, he goes to the opposite Party, and tells him, he cannot imagine how it happens that some People know one another so little; you spoke with so much Coldness of a Gentleman who said more Good of you, than, let me tell you, any Man living deserves. The Success of one of these Incidents was, that the next time that one of the Adversaries spied the other, he hems after him in the publick Street, and they must crack a Bottle at the next Tavern, that used to turn out of the others Way to avoid one anothers Eyeshot. He will tell one Beauty she was commended by another, nay, he will say she gave the Woman he speaks to, the Preference in a Particular for which she her self is admired. The pleasantest Confusion imaginable is made through the whole Town by my Friends indirect Offices; you shall have a Visit returned after half a Years Absence, and mutual Railing at each other every Day of that Time. They meet with a thousand Lamentations for so long a Separation, each Party naming herself for the greater Delinquent, if the other can possibly be so good as to forgive her, which she has no Reason in the World, but from the Knowledge of her Goodness, to hope for. Very often a whole Train of Railers of each Side tire their Horses in setting Matters right which they have said during the War between the Parties; and a whole Circle of Acquaintance are put into a thousand pleasing Passions and Sentiments, instead of the Pangs of Anger, Envy, Detraction, and Malice.

The worst Evil I ever observed this Man's Falsehood occasion, has been that he turned Detraction into Flattery. He is well skilled in the Manners of the World, and by over-looking what Men really are, he grounds his Artifices upon what they have a Mind to be. Upon this Foundation, if two distant Friends are brought together, and the Cement seems to be weak, he never rests till he finds new Appearances to take off all Remains of Ill-will, and that by new Misunderstandings they are thoroughly reconciled.


Devonshire, Nov. 14, 1711.


There arrived in this Neighbourhood two Days ago one of your gay Gentlemen of the Town, who being attended at his Entry with a Servant of his own, besides a Countryman he had taken up for a Guide, excited the Curiosity of the Village to learn whence and what he might be. The Countryman (to whom they applied as most easy of Access) knew little more than that the Gentleman came from London to travel and see Fashions, and was, as he heard say, a Free-thinker: What Religion that might be, he could not tell; and for his own Part, if they had not told him the Man was a Free-thinker, he should have guessed, by his way of talking, he was little better than a Heathen; excepting only that he had been a good Gentleman to him, and made him drunk twice in one Day, over and above what they had bargained for.

I do not look upon the Simplicity of this, and several odd Inquiries with which I shall not trouble you to be wondered at, much less can I think that our Youths of fine Wit, and enlarged Understandings, have any Reason to laugh. There is no Necessity that every Squire in Great Britain should know what the Word Free-thinker stands for; but it were much to be wished, that they who value themselves upon that conceited Title were a little better instructed in what it ought to stand for; and that they would not perswade themselves a Man is really and truly a Free-thinker in any tolerable Sense, meerly by virtue of his being an Atheist, or an Infidel of any other Distinction. It may be doubted, with good Reason, whether there ever was in Nature a more abject, slavish, and bigotted Generation than the Tribe of Beaux Esprits, at present so prevailing in this Island. Their Pretension to be Free-thinkers, is no other than Rakes have to be Free-livers, and Savages to be Free-men, that is, they can think whatever they have a Mind to, and give themselves up to whatever Conceit the Extravagancy of their Inclination, or their Fancy, shall suggest; they can think as wildly as they talk and act, and will not endure that their Wit should be controuled by such formal Things as Decency and common Sense: Deduction, Coherence, Consistency, and all the Rules of Reason they accordingly disdain, as too precise and mechanical for Men of a liberal Education.

This, as far as I could ever learn from their Writings, or my own Observation, is a true Account of the British Free-thinker. Our Visitant here, who gave occasion to this Paper, has brought with him a new System of common Sense, the Particulars of which I am not yet acquainted with, but will lose no Opportunity of informing my self whether it contain any [thing] [3] worth Mr. SPECTATORS Notice. In the mean time, Sir, I cannot but think it would be for the good of Mankind, if you would take this Subject into your own Consideration, and convince the hopeful Youth of our Nation, that Licentiousness is not Freedom; or, if such a Paradox will not be understood, that a Prejudice towards Atheism is not Impartiality.

I am, SIR, Your most humble Servant,


[Footnote 1:

Splendide mendax.


[Footnote 2: think]

[Footnote 3: think]

* * * * *

No. 235. Thursday, November 29, 1711. Addison.

—Populares Vincentum strepitus


There is nothing which lies more within the Province of a Spectator than publick Shows and Diversions; and as among these there are none which can pretend to vie with those elegant Entertainments that are exhibited in our Theatres, I think it particularly incumbent on me to take Notice of every thing that is remarkable in such numerous and refined Assemblies.

It is observed, that of late Years there has been a certain Person in the upper Gallery of the Playhouse, who when he is pleased with any Thing that is acted upon the Stage, expresses his Approbation by a loud Knock upon the Benches or the Wainscot, which may be heard over the whole Theatre. This Person is commonly known by the Name of the Trunk-maker in the upper Gallery. Whether it be, that the Blow he gives on these Occasions resembles that which is often heard in the Shops of such Artizans, or that he was supposed to have been a real Trunk-maker, who after the finishing of his Days Work used to unbend his Mind at these publick Diversions with his Hammer in his Hand, I cannot certainly tell. There are some, I know, who have been foolish enough to imagine it is a Spirit which haunts the upper Gallery, and from Time to Time makes those strange Noises; and the rather, because he is observed to be louder than ordinary every Time the Ghost of Hamlet appears. Others have reported, that it is a dumb Man, who has chosen this Way of uttering himself when he is transported with any Thing he sees or hears. Others will have it to be the Playhouse Thunderer, that exerts himself after this Manner in the upper Gallery, when he has nothing to do upon the Roof.

But having made it my Business to get the best Information I could in a Matter of this Moment, I find that the Trunk-maker, as he is commonly called, is a large black Man, whom no body knows. He generally leans forward on a huge Oaken Plant with great Attention to every thing that passes upon the Stage. He is never seen to smile; but upon hearing any thing that pleases him, he takes up his Staff with both Hands, and lays it upon the next Piece of Timber that stands in his Way with exceeding Vehemence: After which, he composes himself in his former Posture, till such Time as something new sets him again at Work.

It has been observed, his Blow is so well timed, that the most judicious Critick could never except against it. As soon as any shining Thought is expressed in the Poet, or any uncommon Grace appears in the Actor, he smites the Bench or Wainscot. If the Audience does not concur with him, he smites a second Time, and if the Audience is not yet awaked, looks round him with great Wrath, and repeats the Blow a third Time, which never fails to produce the Clap. He sometimes lets the Audience begin the Clap of themselves, and at the Conclusion of their Applause ratifies it with a single Thwack.

He is of so great Use to the Play-house, that it is said a former Director of it, upon his not being able to pay his Attendance by reason of Sickness, kept one in Pay to officiate for him till such time as he recovered; but the Person so employed, tho he laid about him with incredible Violence, did it in such wrong Places, that the Audience soon found out that it was not their old Friend the Trunk-maker.

It has been remarked, that he has not yet exerted himself with Vigour this Season. He sometimes plies at the Opera; and upon Nicolini's first Appearance, was said to have demolished three Benches in the Fury of his Applause. He has broken half a dozen Oaken Plants upon Dogget [1] and seldom goes away from a Tragedy of Shakespear, without leaving the Wainscot extremely shattered.

The Players do not only connive at his obstreperous Approbation, but very cheerfully repair at their own Cost whatever Damages he makes. They had once a Thought of erecting a kind of Wooden Anvil for his Use that should be made of a very sounding Plank, in order to render his Stroaks more deep and mellow; but as this might not have been distinguished from the Musick of a Kettle-Drum, the Project was laid aside.

In the mean while, I cannot but take notice of the great Use it is to an Audience, that a Person should thus preside over their Heads like the Director of a Consort, in order to awaken their Attention, and beat time to their Applauses; or, to raise my Simile, I have sometimes fancied the Trunk-maker in the upper Gallery to be like Virgil's Ruler of the Wind, seated upon the Top of a Mountain, who, when he struck his Sceptre upon the Side of it, roused an Hurricane, and set the whole Cavern in an Uproar. [2]

It is certain, the Trunk-maker has saved many a good Play, and brought many a graceful Actor into Reputation, who would not otherwise have been taken notice of. It is very visible, as the Audience is not a little abashed, if they find themselves betrayed into a Clap, when their Friend in the upper Gallery does not come into it; so the Actors do not value themselves upon the Clap, but regard it as a meer Brutum fulmen, or empty Noise, when it has not the Sound of the Oaken Plant in it. I know it has been given out by those who are Enemies to the Trunk-maker, that he has sometimes been bribed to be in the Interest of a bad Poet, or a vicious Player; but this is a Surmise which has no Foundation: his Stroaks are always just, and his Admonitions seasonable; he does not deal about his Blows at Random, but always hits the right Nail upon the Head. [The [3]] inexpressible Force wherewith he lays them on, sufficiently shows the Evidence and Strength of his Conviction. His Zeal for a good Author is indeed outrageous, and breaks down every Fence and Partition, every Board and Plank, that stands within the Expression of his Applause.

As I do not care for terminating my Thoughts in barren Speculations, or in Reports of pure Matter of Fact, without drawing something from them for the Advantage of my Countrymen, I shall take the Liberty to make an humble Proposal, that whenever the Trunk-maker shall depart this Life, or whenever he shall have lost the Spring of his Arm by Sickness, old Age, Infirmity, or the like, some able-bodied Critick should be advanced to this Post, and have a competent Salary settled on him for Life, to be furnished with Bamboos for Operas, Crabtree-Cudgels for Comedies, and Oaken Plants for Tragedy, at the publick Expence. And to the End that this Place should be always disposed of according to Merit, I would have none preferred to it, who has not given convincing Proofs both of a sound Judgment and a strong Arm, and who could not, upon Occasion, either knock down an Ox, or write a Comment upon Horace's Art of Poetry. In short, I would have him a due Composition of Hercules and Apollo, and so rightly qualified for this important Office, that the Trunk-maker may not be missed by our Posterity.


[Footnote 1: Thomas Doggett, an excellent comic actor, who was for many years joint-manager with Wilkes and Cibber, died in 1721, and bequeathed the Coat and Badge that are rowed for by Thames Watermen every first of August, from London Bridge to Chelsea.]

[Footnote 2: AEneid I. 85.]

[Footnote 3: That.]

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No. 236. Friday, November 30, 1711. Steele

—Dare Jura maritis.



You have not spoken in so direct a manner upon the Subject of Marriage as that important Case deserves. It would not be improper to observe upon the Peculiarity in the Youth of Great Britain, of railing and laughing at that Institution; and when they fall into it, from a profligate Habit of Mind, being insensible of the [Satisfaction [1]] in that Way of Life, and treating their Wives with the most barbarous Disrespect.

Particular Circumstances and Cast of Temper, must teach a Man the Probability of mighty Uneasinesses in that State, (for unquestionably some there are whose very Dispositions are strangely averse to conjugal Friendship;) but no one, I believe, is by his own natural Complexion prompted to teaze and torment another for no Reason but being nearly allied to him: And can there be any thing more base, or serve to sink a Man so much below his own distinguishing Characteristick, (I mean Reason) than returning Evil for Good in so open a Manner, as that of treating an helpless Creature with Unkindness, who has had so good an Opinion of him as to believe what he said relating to one of the greatest Concerns of Life, by delivering her Happiness in this World to his Care and Protection? Must not that Man be abandoned even to all manner of Humanity, who can deceive a Woman with Appearances of Affection and Kindness, for no other End but to torment her with more Ease and Authority? Is any Thing more unlike a Gentleman, than when his Honour is engaged for the performing his Promises, because nothing but that can oblige him to it, to become afterwards false to his Word, and be alone the Occasion of Misery to one whose Happiness he but lately pretended was dearer to him than his own? Ought such a one to be trusted in his common Affairs? or treated but as one whose Honesty consisted only in his Incapacity of being otherwise?

There is one Cause of this Usage no less absurd than common, which takes place among the more unthinking Men: and that is the Desire to appear to their Friends free and at Liberty, and without those Trammels they have so much ridiculed. [To avoid [2]] this they fly into the other Extream, and grow Tyrants that they may seem Masters. Because an uncontroulable Command of their own Actions is a certain Sign of entire Dominion, they wont so much as recede from the Government even in one Muscle, of their Faces. A kind Look they believe would be fawning, and a civil Answer yielding the Superiority. To this must we attribute an Austerity they betray in every Action: What but this can put a Man out of Humour in his Wife's Company, tho he is so distinguishingly pleasant every where else? The Bitterness of his Replies, and the Severity of his Frowns to the tenderest of Wives, clearly demonstrate, that an ill-grounded Fear of being thought too submissive, is at the Bottom of this, as I am willing to call it, affected Moroseness; but if it be such only, put on to convince his Acquaintance of his entire Dominion, let him take Care of the Consequence, which will be certain, and worse than the present Evil; his seeming Indifference will by Degrees grow into real Contempt, and if it doth not wholly alienate the Affections of his Wife for ever from him, make both him and her more miserable than if it really did so.

However inconsistent it may appear, to be thought a well-bred Person has no small Share in this clownish Behaviour: A Discourse therefore relating to good Breeding towards a loving and a tender Wife, would be of great Use to this Sort of Gentlemen. Could you but once convince them, that to be civil at least is not beneath the Character of a Gentleman, nor even tender Affection towards one who would make it reciprocal, betrays any Softness or Effeminacy that the most masculine Disposition need be ashamed of; could you satisfy them of the Generosity of voluntary Civility, and the Greatness of Soul that is conspicuous in Benevolence without immediate Obligations; could you recommend to Peoples Practice the Saying of the Gentleman quoted in one of your Speculations, That he thought it incumbent upon him to make the Inclinations of a Woman of Merit go along with her Duty: Could you, I say, perswade these Men of the Beauty and Reasonableness of this Sort of Behaviour, I have so much Charity for some of them at least, to believe you would convince them of a Thing they are only ashamed to allow: Besides, you would recommend that State in its truest, and consequently its most agreeable Colours; and the Gentlemen who have for any Time been such professed Enemies to it, when Occasion should serve, would return you their Thanks for assisting their Interest in prevailing over their Prejudices. Marriage in general would by this Means be a more easy and comfortable Condition; the Husband would be no where so well satisfied as in his own Parlour, nor the Wife so pleasant as in the Company of her Husband: A Desire of being agreeable in the Lover would be increased in the Husband, and the Mistress be more amiable by becoming the Wife. Besides all which, I am apt to believe we should find the Race of Men grow wiser as their Progenitors grew kinder, and the Affection of the Parents would be conspicuous in the Wisdom of their Children; in short, Men would in general be much better humoured than they are, did not they so frequently exercise the worst Turns of their Temper where they ought to exert the best.


I am a Woman who left the Admiration of this whole Town, to throw myself ([for [3]] Love of Wealth) into the Arms of a Fool. When I married him, I could have had any one of several Men of Sense who languished for me; but my Case is just. I believed my superior Understanding would form him into a tractable Creature. But, alas, my Spouse has Cunning and Suspicion, the inseparable Companions of little Minds; and every Attempt I make to divert, by putting on an agreeable Air, a sudden Chearfulness, or kind Behaviour, he looks upon as the first Act towards an Insurrection against his undeserved Dominion over me. Let every one who is still to chuse, and hopes to govern a Fool, remember


St. Martins, November 25.


This is to complain of an evil Practice which I think very well deserves a Redress, though you have not as yet taken any Notice of it: If you mention it in your Paper, it may perhaps have a very good Effect. What I mean is the Disturbance some People give to others at Church, by their Repetition of the Prayers after the Minister, and that not only in the Prayers, but also the Absolution and the Commandments fare no better, winch are in a particular Manner the Priests Office: This I have known done in so audible a manner, that sometimes their Voices have been as loud as his. As little as you would think it, this is frequently done by People seemingly devout. This irreligious Inadvertency is a Thing extremely offensive: But I do not recommend it as a Thing I give you Liberty to ridicule, but hope it may be amended by the bare Mention.

SIR, Your very humble Servant, T.S.


[Footnote 1: Satisfactions]

[Footnote 2: [For this Reason should they appear the least like what they were so much used to laugh at, they would become the Jest of themselves, and the Object of that Raillery they formerly bestowed on others. To avoid &c.]

[Footnote 3: [by], and in first reprint.]

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No. 237. Saturday, December 1, 1711. Addison.

Visu carentem magna pars veri latet.

Senec. in OEdip.

It is very reasonable to believe, that Part of the Pleasure which happy Minds shall enjoy in a future State, will arise from an enlarged Contemplation of the Divine Wisdom in the Government of the World, and a Discovery of the secret and amazing Steps of Providence, from the Beginning to the End of Time. Nothing seems to be an Entertainment more adapted to the Nature of Man, if we consider that Curiosity is one of the strongest and most lasting Appetites implanted in us, and that Admiration is one of our most pleasing Passions; and what a perpetual Succession of Enjoyments will be afforded to both these, in a Scene so large and various as shall then be laid open to our View in the Society of superior Spirits, who perhaps will join with us in so delightful a Prospect!

It is not impossible, on the contrary, that Part of the Punishment of such as are excluded from Bliss, may consist not only in their being denied this Privilege, but in having their Appetites at the same time vastly encreased, without any Satisfaction afforded to them. In these, the vain Pursuit of Knowledge shall, perhaps, add to their Infelicity, and bewilder them into Labyrinths of Error, Darkness, Distraction and Uncertainty of every thing but their own evil State. Milton has thus represented the fallen Angels reasoning together in a kind of Respite from their Torments, and creating to themselves a new Disquiet amidst their very Amusements; he could not properly have described the Sports of condemned Spirits, without that Cast of Horror and Melancholy he has so judiciously mingled with them.

Others apart sate on a Hill retired, In Thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate, First Fate, Freewill, Foreknowledge absolute, And found no End in wandring Mazes lost. [1]

In our present Condition, which is a middle State, our Minds are, as it were, chequered with Truth and Falshood; and as our Faculties are narrow, and our Views imperfect, it is impossible but our Curiosity must meet with many Repulses. The Business of Mankind in this Life being rather to act than to know, their Portion of Knowledge is dealt to them accordingly.

From hence it is, that the Reason of the Inquisitive has so long been exercised with Difficulties, in accounting for the promiscuous Distribution of Good and Evil to the Virtuous and the Wicked in this World. From hence come all those pathetical Complaints of so many tragical Events, which happen to the Wise and the Good; and of such surprising Prosperity, which is often the Lot[2] of the Guilty and the Foolish; that Reason is sometimes puzzled, and at a loss what to pronounce upon so mysterious a Dispensation.

Plato expresses his Abhorrence of some Fables of the Poets, which seem to reflect on the Gods as the Authors of Injustice; and lays it down as a Principle, That whatever is permitted to befal a just Man, whether Poverty, Sickness, or any of those Things which seem to be Evils, shall either in Life or Death conduce to his Good. My Reader will observe how agreeable this Maxim is to what we find delivered by a greater Authority. Seneca has written a Discourse purposely on this Subject[3], in which he takes Pains, after the Doctrine of the Stoicks, to shew that Adversity is not in itself an Evil; and mentions a noble Saying of Demetrius, That nothing would be more unhappy than a Man who had never known Affliction. He compares Prosperity to the Indulgence of a fond Mother to a Child, which often proves his Ruin; but the Affection of the Divine Being to that of a wise Father who would have his Sons exercised with Labour, Disappointment, and Pain, that they may gather Strength, and improve their Fortitude. On this Occasion the Philosopher rises into the celebrated Sentiment, That there is not on Earth a Spectator more worthy the Regard of a Creator intent on his Works than a brave Man superior to his Sufferings; to which he adds, That it must be a Pleasure to Jupiter himself to look down from Heaven, and see Cato amidst the Ruins of his Country preserving his Integrity.

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