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his renown do but fhew their pain and impatience of its brightness, without throwing the leaft fhade upon it. If the foundation of an high name be virtue and fervice, all that is offered against it is but rumour, which is too fhort-lived to ftand up in competition with glory, which is everlasting.
Reputation, which is the portion of every man who would live with the elegant and knowing part of mankind, is as ftable as glory, if it be as well founded; and the commcn cause of human fociety is thought concerned when we hear a man of good behaviour calumniated: befides which, according to a prevailing cuftom amongst us, every man has his defence in his
The most unhappy of all men, and the most exposed to the malignity and wantonnefs of the common voice, is the trader. Credit is undone in whispers. The tradefman's wound is received from one who is more private and more cruel than the ruffian with the lanthorn and dagger. The manner of repeating a man's name,-As; "Mr. Cafh, Oh! do you leave your money at "his fhop? Why, do you know Mr. Searoom? "He is indeed a general merchant." I fay, I have feen, from the iteration of a man's name, hiding one thought of him, and explaining what you hide, by faying something to his advantage when you fpeak, a merchant hurt in his credit; and him who every day he lived, literally added to the value of his native country, undone by one who was only a burden and a blemish to it. Since every body who knows the world is fenfible of this great evil, how careful ought a man to be in his language of a merchant? It may poffibly be in the power of a very fhallow creature to lay the ruin of the beft family in the most opulent city; and the more fo, the more highly he deferves of his country; that is to fay, the farther he places his wealth out of his hands, to draw home that of another climate.
think, fay more on this occafion, than to repeat, that the merit of the merchant is above that of all other fubjects; for while he is untouched in his credit, his hand-writing is a more portable coin for the fervice of his fellow-citizens, and his word the gold of Ophir to the country wherein he refides. T
In this cafe an ill word may change plenty into want, and by a rafh fentence a free and generous fortune may in a few days be reduced to beggary How little does a giddy prater imagine, that an idle phrafe to the disfavour of a merchant may be as pernicious in the confequence, as the forgery of a deed to bar an inheritance would be to a gentleman? Land stands where it did before a gentleman was calumniated, and the state of a great action is juft as it was before calumny was offered to diminish it, there is time, place and occafion, expected to unravel all that is contrived against thofe characters; but the trader who is ready only for probable demands upon him, can have no armour against the inquifitive, the malicious, and the envious, who are prepared to fill the cry to his difhonour. Fire and fword are flow engines of deftruction, in com. parifon of the babbler in the cafe of the mer
own arm: and is foon TH
out of countenance, and overtaken by difgrace.
For this reafon I thought it an imitable piece of humanity of a gentleman of my acquaintance, who had great variety of affairs, and used to talk with warmth enough against gentlemen by whom he thought himself ill dealt with; but he would never let any thing be urged against a merchant, with whom he had any difference, except in a court of juftice. He ufed to fay, that to fpeak ill of a merchant, was to begin his fuit with judgment and execution. One cannot, I
No 219 SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10. Vix ea noftra voco
OVID. Met. lib. 13. ver. 141. Thefe I fcarce call our own.
HERE are but few men who are not ambitious of diftinguishing themselves in the nation or country where they live, and of growing confiderable among those with whom they converfe. There is a kind of grandeur and refpect, which the meanest and most infignificant part of mankind endeavour to procure in the little circle of their friends and acquaintance. The poorest mechanic, nay, the man who lives upon common alms, gets him his fet of admirers, and delights in that fuperiority which he enjoys over thofe who are in fome refpects beneath him. This ambition, which is natural to the foul of man, might methinks receive a very happy turn; and, if it were rightly directed, contribute as much to a perfon's advantage, as it generally does to his uneafinefs and difquiet.
I fhall therefore put together fome thoughts on this fubject, which I have not met with in other writers; and fhall fet them down as they have occurred to me, without being at the pains to connect or methodise them.
All fuperiority and pre-eminence that one man can have over another, may be reduced to the notion of quality, which, confidered at large, is either that of fortune, body, or mind. The firft is that which confifts in birth, title, or riches; and is the most foreign to our natures, and what we can the leaft call our own of any of the three kinds of quality. In relation to the body, quality arifes from health, ftrength, or beauty; which are nearer to us, and more a part of ourfelves than the former. Quality, as it regards the mind, has its rife from knowledge or virtue; and is that which is more effential to us, and more intimately united with us than either of the other two.
The quality of fortune, though a man has lefs reafon to value himself upon it than on that of the body or mind, is however the kind of quality which makes the most shining figure in the eye of the world.
As virtue is the most reasonable and genuine fource of honour, we generally find in titles an intimation of fome particular merit that should recommend men to the high stations which they poffefs. Holinefs is afcribed to the pope; majefty to kings; ferenity or mildness of temper to princes; excellence or perfection to ambassadors; grace to archbishops; honour to peers; worship or venerable behaviour to magistrates; and reverence, which is of the fame import as the former, to the inferior clergy.
In the founders of great families, fuch attri butes of honour are generally correspondent with the virtues of the perfon to whom they are applied; but in the defcendents they are too often the marks rather of grandeur than of merit. The stamp
ftamp and denomination ftill continues, but the intrinfic value is frequently loft.
The death-bed fhews the emptiness of titles in a true light. A poor difpirited finner lies trembling under the apprehenfions of the ftate he is entering on; and is afked by a grave attendant how his holinefs does? Another hears himself addressed to under the title of highness or excellency, who lies under fuch mean circumstances of mortality, as are the difgrace of human nature. Titles at fuch a time look rather like infults and mockery than respect.
The truth of it is, honours are in this world under no regulation; true quality is neglected, virtue is oppreffed, and vice triumphant. The laft day will rectify this disorder, and affign to every one a station fuitable to the dignity of his character; ranks will be then adjusted, and precedency fet right.
Methinks we should have an ambition, if not to advance ourselves in another world, at leaft to preferve our post in it, and outshine our inferiors in virtue here, that they may not be put above us in a state which is to fettle the diftinction for eternity.
Men in fcripture are called "ftrangers and so"journers upon earth," and life a "pilgrimage.' Several heathen, as well as chriftian authors, under the fame kind of metaphor, have reprefented the world as an inn, which was only defigned to furnish us with accommodations in this our paffage. It is therefore very abfurd to think of fetting up our reft before we come to our journey's end, and not rather to take care of the reception we shall there meet, than to fix our thoughts on the little conveniencies and advantages which we enjoy one above another in the way to it.
Épictetus makes use of another kind of allufion, which is very beautiful, and wonderfully proper to incline us to be fatisfied with the poft in which Providence has placed us. We are here, fays he, as in a theatre, where every one has a part allotted to him. The great duty which lies upon a man is to act his part in perfection. We may indeed say, that our part does not fuit us, and that we could at another better. But this, fays the philofopher, is not our business. All that we are concerned in is to excel in the part which is given us. If it be an improper one, the fault is not in us, but in him who has caft our feveral parts, and is the great disposer of the drama.
The part that was acted by this philofopher himself was but a very indifferent one, for he lived and died a flave. His motive to contentment in this particular, receives a very great enforcement from the above-mentioned confideration, if we remember that our parts in the other world will be new caft, and that mankind will be there ranged in different ftations of fuperiority and pre-eminence, in proportion as they have here excelled one another in virtue, and performed in their several pofts of life the duties which belong to them.
There are many beautiful paffages in the little apocryphal book, entitled, "The Wisdom of "Solomon," to fet forth the vanity of honour, and the like temporal bleffings which are in fo great repute among men, and to comfort thofe who have not the poffeffion of them. It repre*fents in very warm and noble terms this advancement of a good man in the other warld, and the
great furprife which it will produce among those who are his fuperiors in this. Then shall the ⚫ righteous man ftand in great boldnefs before the face of fuch as have afflicted him, and 'made no account of his labours. When they fee it, they fhall be troubled with terrible fear, and fhall be amazed at the ftrangeness of his 'falvation, fo far beyond all that they looked 'for. And they repenting and groaning for an'guish of fpirit, fhall fay within themselves; this was he whom we had fome time in derifion, ' and a proverb of reproach. We fools account'ed his life madness, and his end to be without 'honour. How is he numbered among the children of God, and his lot is among the 'faints !'
If the reader would fee the description of a life that is paffed away in vanity, and among the fhadows of pomp and greatnefs, he may fee it very finely drawn in the fame place. In the mean time, fince it is neceffary in the prefent conftitution of things, that order and distinction fhould be kept in the world, we should be happy, if those who enjoy the upper stations in it, would endeavour to furpafs others in virtue, as much as in rank, and by their humanity and condefcenfion make their fuperiority eafy and acceptable to those who are beneath them; and if, on the contrary, thofe who are in meaner pofts of life, would confider how they may better their condition hereafter, and by a just deference and fubmiffion to their fuperiors, make them happy in those bleffings with which Providence thought fit to distinguish them. с
No 220. MONDAY, Nov. 12. Rumorefque ferit varios- Virg. Æn. 12. v. 228. A thousand rumours fpreads.
HY will you apply to my father for my love? I cannot help it if he will give you my perfon; but I affure you it is not in his power, nor even in my own, to give you 'my heart. Dear Sir, do but confider the ill'confequence of fuch a match; you are fifty'five, I twenty-one. You are a man of bufinefs, and mightily converfant in arithmetic and making calculations; be pleafed therefore to confider what proportion your fpirits bear 'to mine, and when you have made a just eftimate of the neceffary decay on one fide, and the redundance on the other, you will act accordingly. This perhaps is fuch language as you may not expect from a young lady; but' 'my happiness is at stake, and I muft talk plainly. I mortally hate you; and fo, as you and my father agree, you may take me or leave me: but if you will be fo good as never to fee
me more, you will for ever oblige,
Your most humble fervant,
• Mr. Spectator,
HERE are fo many artifices and modes of falfe wit, and fuch a variety of humour ⚫ difcovers itself among its votaries, that it would be impoffible to exhauft fo fertile a fubject, if you would think fit to resume it. The following inftances may, if you think fit be
⚫ be added by way of appendix to your discourses on that fubject.
That feat of poetical activity mentioned by Horace, of an author who could compofe two hundred verfes while he ftood upon one leg, has been imitated, as I have heard, by a modern writer; who priding himself on the hurry of his invention, thought it no fmall addition to his fame to have each piece minuted with, the exact number of hours or days it coft him in the compofition. He could tafte no praife until he had acquainted you in how fhort space of time he had deferved it; and was not fo much led to an oftentation of his art, as of his ⚫ dispatch.
--Accipe, fi vis,
I think the only improvement beyond this, * would be that which the late duke of Buck
ingham mentioned to a ftupid pretender to poetry, as the project of a Dutch mechanic, viz. a mill to make verfes. This being the moft compendious method of all which have yet been proposed, may deserve the thoughts of our modern virtuofi who are employed in new discoveries for the public good: and it may be worth the while to confider, whether in an ifland where few are content without being thought wits, it will not be a common benefit, that wit as well as labour should be made. cheap.
• Mr. Spectator,
Qften dine at a gentleman's house, where there are two young ladies, in themselves very agreeable, but very cold in their behaviour, because they understand me for a person that is to break my mind, as the phrafe is, very fuddenly to one of them. But I take this way to 'acquaint them, that I am not in love with ei, ther of them, in hopes they will ufe me with that agrecable freedom and indifference which they do all the reft of the world, and not to drink to one another only, but fometimes caft a kind look, with their fervice to,
❝ I am, Sir,
This was the whole of his ambition; and therefore I cannot but think the flights of this rapid author very proper to be oppofed to thofe laborious nothings which you have obferved were the delight of the German wits, and in which they fo happily got rid of such a tedious quantity of their time.
I have known a gentleman of another turn of humour, who, defpifing the name of an author, never printed his works, but contradicted his talent, and by the help of a very fine diamond which he wore on his little finger, was ⚫ a confiderable poet upon glafs. He had a very good epigrammatic wit; and there was not a parlour or tavern-window where he vifited or dined for fome years, which did not receive fome sketches or memorials of it. It was his • misfortune at last to lose his genius and his ring to a fharper at play, and he has not attempted to make a verfe fince.
But of all contractions or expedients for * wit, I admire that of an ingenious projector whofe book I have feen. This virtuofa being a mathematician, has, according to his tafte, thrown the art of poetry into a fhort problem, ⚫ and contrived tables by which any one without knowing a word of grammar or sense, may, to his great comfort, be able to compofe, or rather to erect Latin verfes. His tables are a kind of poetical logarithms, which being divided into feveral fquares, and all infcribed with fo many incoherent words, appear to the eye fomewhat like a fortune-telling fcreen. What a joy muft it be to the unlearned operator to find that these words being carefully collected and writ down in order according to
the problem, start of themfelves into hexameter No 221. TUESDAY,
and pentameter verfes? A friend of mine, who is a ftudent in aftrology, meeting with this book, performed the operation, by the rules there fet down; he fhewed his verfes to the next of his acquaintance, who happened to understand Latin; and being informed they defcribed a tempeft of wind, very luckily prefixed them, together with a translation, to an almanac he was just then printing, and was fuppofed to have foretold the last great form.
Your humble fervant, &c.
Ama young gentleman, and take it for a piece of good-breeding to pull off my hat when I fee any thing peculiarly charming in 6 any woman, whether I know her or not. I 'take care that there is nothing ludicrous or
arch in my manner, as if I were to betray a · woman into a falutation by way of jeft or hu mour; and except I am acquainted with her, I find the ever takes it for a rule, that he is to look upon this civility and homage I pay to her fuppofed merit, as an impertinence or forwardnefs which he is to obferve and neglect. I 'with, Sir, you would fettle the business of falu- · 'tation; and please to inform me how I fhall refift the fudden impulfe I have to be civil to 'what gives an idea of merit; or tell thefe creatures how to behave themfelves in return to the efteem I have for them. My affairs are fuch, that your decifion will be a favour to me, if it be only to fave the unneceffary expence of wearing out my hat fo faft as I do at prefent. I am. Sir,
• Your humble fervant.*
'D. T.' P. S. There are fome that do know me, and will not bow to me.' T
HOR. Sat. 3. 1. 1. v. 6.
HEN I have finished any of my fpeculations, it is my method to confider which of the ancient authors have touched upon the fubject that I treat of. By this means I meet with fome celebrated thought upon it, or a thought of my own expreffed in better words, or fome fimilitude for the illustration of my fubject, This
It was a faying of an ancient philofopher, which I find fome of our writers have afcribed to queen Elizabeth, who perhaps might have taken occafion to repeat it, "that a good face " is a letter of recommendation." It naturally makes the beholders inquifitive into the perfon who is the owner of it, and generally prepoffeffes them in his favour. A handfome motto has the fame effect. Befides that it always gives a fupernumerary beauty to a paper, and is fometimes in a manner neceffary when the writer is engaged in what may appear a paradox to vulgar minds, as it fhews that he is fupported by good authorities, and is not fingular in his opinion.
I must confefs, the motto is of little ufe to an unlearned reader, for which reason I confider it only as a word to the wife." But as for my unlearned friends, if they cannot relish the motto, I take care to make provifion for them in the body of my paper. If they do not understand the fign that is hung out, they know very well, by it, that they may meet with entertainment in the houfe; and I think I was never better pleafed than with a plain man's compliment, who, upon his friend's telling him that he would like the Spectator much better if he understood the motto, replied, "that good wine needs no "bush."
I have heard of a couple of preachers in a country town, who endeavoured which fhould outfhine one another, and draw together the greatest congregation. One of them being well verfed in the fathers, ufed to quote every now and then a Latin fentence to his illiterate hearers, who it seems found themselves fo edified by it, that they flocked in greater numbers to this learned man than to his rival. The other finding his congregation mouldering every Sunday, and hearing at length what was the occafion of it, refolved to give his parish a little Latin in his turn: but being unacquainted with any of the fathers, he digefted into his fermons the whole book of Qua Genus, adding however fuch explications to it as he thought might be for the benefit of his people. He afterwards entered upon As in præfenti, which he converted in the fame manner to the use of his parifhoners. This in a very little time thickened his audience, filled his church, and routed his antagonist.
Designing this day's work for a differtation upon the two extremities of my paper, and having already difpatched my motto, I fhall, in the next place, difcourfe upon thofe fingle capital letters, which are placed at the end of it, and which have afforded great matter of fpeculation to the curious. I have heard various conjectures upon this fubject. Some tell us that C is the mark of those papers that are written by the clergyman, though others afcribe them to the club in general: that the papers marked with R were written by my friend Sir Roger: that L fignifies the lawyer, whom I have described in my fecond fpeculation; and that T ftands for the trader or merchant: but the letter X, which is placed at the end of fome few of my papers, is that which has puzzled the whole town, as they cannot think of any name which begins with that letter, except Xenophon and Xerxes, who can neither of them be fuppofed to have had any hand in thefe fpeculations.
The natural love to Latin, which is fo prevalent in our common people, makes me think that my fpeculations fare never the worfe among them from that little fcrap which appears at the head of them; and what the more encourages me in the ufe of quotations in an unknown tongue, is, that I hear the ladies, whofe approbation I value more than that of the whole learned world, declare themfelves in a more particular manner pleafed with my Greek mottos.
In answer to these inquifitive gentlemen, who have many of them made inquiries of me by letter, I muft tell them the reply of an ancient philofopher, who carried fomething hidden under his cloke. A certain acquaintance defiring him to let him know what it was he covered fo carefully, "I cover it," fays he, "on purpose that you should not know." I have made use of thefe obfcure marks for the fame purpose. They are, perhaps, little amulets or charms to preferve the paper against the fafcination and malice of evil eyes; for which reafon I would not have my reader furprized, if hereafter he fees any of my papers marked with a Q, a Z, a Y, an &c. or with the word Abracadabra.
I fhall, however, fo far explain myself to the reader, as to let him know that the letters C, L, and X, are cabalistical, and carry more in them than it is proper for the world to be acquainted with. Thofe who are verfed in the philofophy of Pythagoras, and fwear by the Tetrachtys, that is, the number four, will know very well that the number ten, which is fignified by the letter X, (and which has fo much perplexed the town) has in it many particular powers, that it is called by platonic writers the complete number; that one, two, three and four put together make up the number ten; and that ten is all. But thefe are not myfteries for ordinary readers to be let into. A man must have spent many years in hard ftudy before he can arrive at the knowledge of them.
We had a rabbinical divine in England, who was chaplain to the earl of Effex in queen Elizabeth's time, that had an admirable head for fecrets of this nature. Upon his taking the doctor of divinity's degree, he preached before the univerfity of Cambridge upon the first verfe of the first chapter of the first book of Chronicles, in which, fays he, you have the three following words,
Adam, Sheth, Enosh.
He divided this fhort text into many parts, and by discovering feveral myfteries in each word, made a moft learned and elaborate difcourfe. The name of this profound preacher was Dr. Alabafter, of whom the reader may find a more particular account in Dr, Fuller's book of Englifh worthies. This inftance will, I hope, convince my readers that there may be a great deal of fine writing in the capital letters which bring
up the rear of my paper, and give them fome fatisfaction in that particular. But as for the full explication of thefe matters, I must refer them to time, which difcovers all things. C
What this correspondent wonders at, has been matter of admiration ever fince there was any fuch thing as human life. Horace reflects upon this inconfiftency very agreeably in the character of Tigellius, whom he makes a mighty pretender to œconomy, and tells you, you might one day hear him speak the most philofophic things imaginable concerning being contented with a little, and his contempt of every thing but mere neceffaries, and in half a week after spend a thousand pound. When he fays this of him with relation to expence, he defcribes him as unequal to himfelf in every other circumftance of life. And indeed, if we confider lavish men carefully, we fhall find it always proceeds from a certain incapacity of poffeffing themselves, and finding enjoyment in their own minds. Mr. Dryden has expreffed this very excellently in the character of Zimri.
• Mr. Spectator,
HERE is one thing I have often looked for in your papers, and have as often wondered to find myself disappointed; the rather, becaufe I think it a fubject every way ⚫ agreeable to your defign, and by being left unattempted by others, feems referved as a proper employment for you: I mean a difquifition, ❝ from whence it proceeds, that men of the brightest parts, and moft comprehenfive genius, completely furnished with talents for any province in human affairs; fuch as by their wife ' leffons of œconomy to others have made it evident, that they have the jufteft notions of life, ⚫ and of true fenfe in the conduct of it :-from what unhappy contradictious caufe it proceeds," ⚫ that perfons thus finished by nature and by art, fhould fo often fail in the management of that ⚫ which they fo well understand, and want the • address to make a right application of their own rules. This is certainly a prodigious inconfiftency in behaviour, and makes much fuch a figure in morals as a monftrous birth in naturals, with this difference only, which greatly aggravates the wonder, that it happens much • more frequently; and what a blemish does it ⚫ caft upon wit and learning in the general account of the world? and in how difadvantageous a light does it expofe them to the bufy ⚫ class of mankind, that there should be so many inftances of perfons who have fo conducted ⚫ their lives in fpite of these transcendent advantages, as neither to be happy in themselves, nor ⚫ufeful to their friends; when every body fees it was intirely in their own power to be eminent < in both these characters? For my part, I think ⚫ there is no reflexion more astonishing than to ⚫ confider one of these gentlemen spending a fair fortune, running in every body's debt without the leaft apprehenfion of a future reckoning, and at laft leaving not only his own children, but poffibly those of other people, by his means, ⚫ in ftarving circumstances; while a fellow, whom one would scarce fufpect to have a human foul, thall perhaps raise a vast estate out of nothing, ⚫ and be the founder of a family capable of being • very confiderable in their country, and doing • many illuftrious fervices to it. That this observation is juft, experience has put beyond all difpute. But though the fact be fo evident and glaring, yet the caufes of it are ftill in the dark; ⚫ which makes me perfuade myself, that it would be no unacceptable piece of entertainment to the town, to inquire into the hidden fources of fo unaccountable an evil. I am,
"A man fo various, that he feem'd to be
"Befides ten thousand freaks that died in think-
Bleft madman, who could every hour employ "In fomething new to wish or to enjoy! "In fquand'ring wealth was his peculiar art, "Nothing went unrewarded but defert."
This loofe ftate of the foul hurries the extravagant from one purfuit to another; and the reason that his expences are greater than another's, is, that his wants are alfo more numerous. But what makes fo many go on in this way to their lives end, is, that they certainly do not know how contemptible they are in the eyes of the reft of mankind, or rather, that indeed they are not fo contemptible as they deferve. Tully fays, it is the greatest of wickedness to leffen your paternal eftate. And if a man would thoroughly confider how much worse than banishment it must be to his child, to ride by the estate which should have been his, had it not been for his father's injustice to him, he would be fmitten with the reflexion more deeply than can be understood by any but one who is a father. Sure there can be nothing more afflicting, than to think it had been happier for his fon to have been born of any other man living than himself.
It is not perhaps much thought of, but it is certainly a very important leffon, to learn how to enjoy ordinary life, and to be able to relish your being without the tranfport of fome paffion, or gratification of fome appetite. For want of this capacity, the world is filled with whetters, tipplers, cutters, fippers, and all the numerous train of those who, for want of thinking, are forced to be ever exercifing their feeling or tafting. It would be hard on this occafion to mention the harmless smokers of tobacco and takers of fnuff,
The flower part of mankind, whom my corref pondent wonders should get eftates,are the more immediately formed for that purfuit: they can expect diftant things without impatience, because they are not carried out of their way either by violent "Your most humble Servant.' paffion or keen appetite to any thing: To mea