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culties which will naturally occur to you upon that fubject.
"I am, Sir,
with the most profound veneration, yours, &c.'
T has been usual to remind perfons of rank, on great occafions in life, of their race and quality, and to what expectations they were born; that, by confidering what is worthy of them, they may be withdrawn from mean purfuits, and encouraged to laudable undertakings: This is turning nobility into a principle of vir tue, and making it productive of merit, as it is understood to have been originally a reward of it.
રે ARAT. Acts xvii. 28.
To the SPECTATOR.
both fides feem to be of equal ftrength. But as I began with confidering this point as it relates to action, I fhall here borrow an admirable reflection from Monfieur Pafchal, which I think fets it in its proper light.
"It is of dangerous confequence," fays he "to prefent to man how near he is to the level "of beafts, without fhewing him at the fame "time his greatnefs. It is likewife dangerous
to let him fee his greatness, without his mean"nefs. It is more dangerous yet to leave him "ignorant of either; but very beneficial that he "fhould be made fenfible of both." Whatever imperfections we may have in our nature, it is the bufinefs of religion and virtue to rectify them, as far as is confiftent with our prefent ftate. In the mean time, it is no fmall encouragement to generous minds to confider that we thall put them all off with our mortality. That fublime manner of falutation with which the Jews approached their Kings,
"O King, live for ever!"
It is for the like reason, I imagine, that you have in fome of your fpeculations afferted to your readers the dignity of human nature. But you cannot be infenfible that this is a controverted doctrine; there are authors who confider human nature in a very different view, and books of maxims have Been written to thew the falfity of all human virtues. The reflections which are made on this fubject ufually * take fome tincture from the tempers and characters of thofe that make them. Politicians can refolve the most thining actions among men into artifice and defign; others, who are foured by difcontent, repulfes, or ill ufage, are apt to miftake their fpleen for philofophy men of profligate lives, and fuch as find themfelves incapable of rifing to any distinction among their fellow-creatures, are for pulling down all appearances of merit, which feem to upbraid them and fatirifts defcribe nothing but deformity. From all thefe hands we have fuch draughts of mankind as are reprefented in thofe burlesque pictures, which the Italians call Caricaturas; where the art confifts in preferving, amidst diftorted proportions, and aggravated features, fome diftinguishing likeness of the perfon; but in fuch a manner as to transform the most agreeable beauty into the most odious
meniter. "It is
very difingenuous to level the best of mankind with the worft; and for the faults of particulars to degrade the whole fpecies. Such methods tend not only to remove a man's good opinion of others, but to deftroy that reverence for himfelf, which is a great guard of innocence, and a fpring of virtue.
It is true indeed, that there are furprizing mixtures of beauty and deformity, of wisdom and folly, virtue and vice, in the human make; fuch a difparity is found among numbers of the fame kind, and every individual, in fome inftances, or at fome times, is fo unequal to himfelf, that man feems to be the most wavering and inconftant being in the whole crea tion. So that the queftion in morality, con cerning the dignity of our nature, may at firft fight appear like fome difficult queftions in natural philofophy, in which the arguments on
may be addreffed to the loweft and most defpifc 'mortal among us; under all the infirmities and diftreffes with which we fee him furrounded. And whoever believes the immortality of the foul, will not need a better argument for the dignity of his nature, nor a ftronger incitement to actions fuitable to it.
I am naturally led by this reflection to a 'fubject I have already touched upon in a former letter, and cannot without pleasure call to mind the thoughts of Cicero to this purpofe, in the close of his book concerning old age. Every one who is acquainted with his writings, will remember, that the elder Cato is introduced in that difcourfe as the fpeaker, and Scipio and Lelius as his auditors. This venerable per-, fon is represented looking forward, as it were, from the verge of extreme old age into a future ftate, and rifing into a contemplation on the unperishable part of his nature, and its existence after death. I fhall collect part of his difcourfe. And as you have formerly offered fome argu 'ments for the foul's immortality, agreeable both to reafon and the Chriftian doctrine, I believe your readers will not be difpleafed to fee how the fame great truth fhines in the pomp of the Roman eloquence.
"This," fays Cato, is my firm perfuafion, "that fince the human foul exerts itfelf with fo "great activity, fince it has fuch a remembrance "of the paft, fuch a concern for the future, "fince it is enriched with fo many arts, fcien
ces, and difcoveries, it is impoffible but the "being which contains all these must be im"mortal.
"The elder Cyrus, juft before his death, is "reprefented by Xenophon fpeaking after this "manner."
"Think not, my deareft children, that when " I depart from you, I fhall be no more, but "remember, that my foul, even while I lived
among you, was invifible to you; yet by my "actions you were fenfible it exifted in this "body. Believe it therefore exifting ftill, tho'
it be ftill unfeen. How quickly would the honours of illuftrious meni perifh after death, "if their fouls performed nothing to preferve their fame? For my own part, I never could think that the foul, while in a mortal body, M m << lives
"lives, but when departed from it, dies; or "that its confcioufnefs is loft, when it is dif"charged out of an unconfcious habitation. But
when it is freed from all corporeal alliance, "then it truly exits. Farther, fince the human "frame is broken by death, tell us what becomes
of its parts It is vifible whither the materials of other beings are tranflated, namely, to the
"fource from whence they had their birth. The N° 538. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17. "foul alone, neither prefent nor departed, is the "object of our eyes.”
"Thus Cyrus. But to proceed. No one thall "perfuade me, Scipio, that your worthy father, "or your grandfathers Paulus and Atricanus, or "Africanus his father or uncle, or many other "excellent men whom I need not name, per"formed fo many actions to be remembered by « pofterity, without being fenfible that futurity "was their right. And if I may be allowed an "old man's privilege, to speak of myfelf, do you "think I would have endured the fatigue of fo many wearifome days and nights, both at home and abroad, if I imagined that the fame boun"dary which is fet to my life must terminate "my glory? Were it not more defitable to have "worn out my days in eafe and tranquillity, "free from labour and without emulation? But "I know not how, my foul has always raifed "itfelf, and looked forward on futurity, in this view and expectation, that when it thall depart out of life, it thall then live for ever; and if this were not true, that the mind is im"mortal, the fouls of the most worthy would "not, above all others, have the ftrongest impulie "to glory.
"What befides this is the cause that the wifeft men die with the greatest equanimity, the ig"norant with the greatest concern? Does it not "feem, that thofe minds which have the most "extensive views, forefee they are removing to a "happier condition, which those of a narrow *fight do not perceive? Ì, for my part, am tranf"ported with the hope of feeing your anceflors, "whom I have honoured and loved, and am ear
three other very fine ones among those which are not lettered at the end, will foon publish a nobie poem, intitled, An Ode to the Creator of the World, occafioned by the fragments of Orpheus.
netly defirous of meeting not only thofe ex"cellent perfons whom I have known, but those "too of whom I have heard and read, and of "whom I myself have written: nor would I "be detained from fo pleating a journey. Ohap
py day, when I fhall efcape from this croud, "this heap of pollution, and be admitted to that "divine affembly of exalted fpirits! When I "thall go not only to thofe great perfons I have "named, but to my Cato, my fon, than whom "a better man was never born, and whose funeral "rites 1 myfelf performed, whereas he ought " rather to have attended mine. Yet has not "his foul deferted me, but feeming to caft back "a look on me, is gone before to thofe ha "bitations to which it was fenfible I thould fol"low him. And though I might appear to have "borne my lofs with courage, I was not unaf"fected with it, but I comforted myself in the "affurance that it would not be long before we "thould meet again, and be divorced no more." "I am, Sir, &c."
I question not but my reader will be very much pleafed to hear that the gentleman who has obliged the world with the foregoing letter, and who was the author of the 210th fpeculation on the immortality of the foul, the 375th on virtue in diftrefs, the 525th on conjugal love, and two or
Finem tendere opus.
To launch beyond all bounds.
HOR. Sat, 1. 1. 2. ver. 1.
URPRIZE is fo much the life of ftories, that
please by telling them.
ftories will have when they are attended with a However, a knowledge of the fuccefs which racters of fome, fo has it alfo been the ruin of turn of furprize, as it has happily made the chacharacters of others. There is a fet of men who outrage truth, instead of affecting us with a manner in telling it; who overleap the line of probab lity, that they may be seen to move out of the common road, and endeavour only to make their hearers ftare by impofing upon them with a kind of nonfenfe against the philofophy of nature, or fuch a heap of wonders told upon their own knowledge, as it is not likely one man fhould ever have met with.
pany into which I fell accidentally. The fubI have been led to this obfervation by a comject of antipathies was a proper field wherein fuch falfe furprizers might expatiate, and there were thofe prefent who appeared very fond to fhew it in its full extent of traditional history. Some of them, in a learned manner, offered to our confideration the miraculous powers which the effluviums of cheese have over bodies whose pores are difpofed to receive them in a noxious manner; others give an account of fuch who could indeed bear the fight of cheese, but not the tafte; for which they brought a reafon from the milk of their nurfes. Others again difcourfed, without endeavouring at reafons, concerning an unconquerable averfion which some ftomachs have against a joint of meat when it is whole, and the eager inclination they have for it, when, by its being cut up, the shape which had affected them is altered. From hence they paffed to eels, then to parsnips, and fo from one averlion to another, until we had worked up ourselves to fuch a pitch of complaifance, that when the dinner was to come in, we enquired the name of every dish, pany, before it was admitted. When we had and hoped it would be no offence to any in comcourfe from eatables to other forts of averfions fat down, this civility among us turned the dif and the eternal cat, which plagues every conver
fation of this nature, began then to ingrofs the
The other method which the world has taken for correcting this practice of falle furprize, is to overshoot fuch talkers in their own bow, or to raise the story with further degrees of impoffibility, and fet up for a voucher to them in fuch a manner as must let them fee they stand detected. Thus I have heard a difcourfe was once managed upon the effects of fear. One of the company. had given an account how it had turned his friend's hair grey in a night, while the terrors of a fhipwreck encompaffed him. Another taking, the hint from hence, began, upon his own knowledge, to enlarge his inftances of the like nature to fuch a number, that it was not probable he could ever have met with them: and as he ftill grounded thefe upon different caufes for the fake of variety, it might feem at laft, from his share of the converfation, almost impoffible that any one who can feel the paffion of fear fhould all his life escape fo common an effect of it. By this time fome of the company grew negligent, or defirous to contradict him: but one rebuked the reft with an appearance of severity, and with the known old story in his head, affured them they need not scruple to believe that the fear of any thing can make a man's hair grey fince he knew one whofe periwig had fuffered fo by it, Thus he stopped the talk, and made them easy. Thus is the fame method taken to bring us to fhame, which we fondly take to increase our character. It is indeed a kind of mimicry, by which another puts on our air of conversation to fhew us to ourselves: he feems to look ridiculous before you, that you may remember how near a refemblance you bear to him, or that you may know that he will not lie under the imputa tion of believing you. Then it is that you are ftruck dumb immediately with a conscientious fhame for what you have been saying. Then it is that you are inwardly grieved at the fenti.. ments which you cannot but perceive others entertain concerning you. In short, you are against yourself; the laugh of the company runs against you; the cenfuring world is obliged to you for that triumph which you have allowed them at your own expence; and truth which you have injured has a near way of being revenged on you, when by the bare repetition of your story you become a frequent diverfion for the public.
The extravagance of this turn in the way of furprize, gave a stop to the talk we had been carrying on: fome were filent because they doubted, and others because they were conquered in their own way; fo that the gentle man had an opportunity to prefs the belief of it upon us, and let us fee that he was rather expofing himself than ridiculing others.
I must freely own that I did not all this while difbelieve every thing that was faid; but yet I thought fome in the company had been endeavouring who fhould pitch the bar fartheft; that it had for fome time been a measuring caft, and at laft my friend of the cat and fign-poft had thrown beyond them all.
I then confidered the manner in which this ftory had been received, and the poffibility that it might have paffed for a jeft upon others; if he had not laboured against himself. From hence, thought I, there are two ways which the 'wel-bred world generally takes to correct fuch a practice, when they do not think fit to contradict it fiatly.
The first of thefe is a general filence, which I would not advise any one to interpret in his own behalf. It is often the effect of prudence in avoiding a quarrel, when they fee another drive fo faft that there is no ftopping him without being run against; and but very feldom the effect of weakness in believing fuddenly. The genera lity of mankind are not fo grofly ignorant, as fome overbearing fpirits would perfuade themfelves; and if the authority of a character or a caution againft danger make us fupprefs our opinions, yet neither of thefe are of force enough to fupprefs our thoughts of them, If a man who has endeavoured to amufe his company with improbabilities could but look into their minds, he would find that they imagine he lightly esteems of their fenfe when he thinks to impofe upon them, and that he is lefs efteemed by them for his attempt in doing fo. His endeavour to glory at their expence becomes a ground of quarrel, and the fcorn and indifference with which they entertain it begins the immediate punishment; and indeed, (if we should even go no farther) filence, or a negligent indifference has a deeper way of wounding than opposition, because oppofition proceeds from an anger that has a fort of generous fentiment for the adverfary mingling along with it, while it fhews that there is fome esteem in your mind for him; in fhort, that you think him worth while to conteft with: but filence, or a negligent indifference, proceeds from anger, mixed with a fcorn that thews another he is thought by you too contemptible to be regarded. !
No 539. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18.
Be they Heteroclites.
? I am, Sir,
• Mr. Spectator, AM a young widow of good fortune and where I I have clusters of pretty fellows come already to vifit me, fome dying with hopes, others with f fears, though they never faw me. Now what I would beg of you would be to know whether I may venture to use these pert fellows with the f fame freedom as I did my country acquaintance, I defire your leave to use them as to me fhall feem meet, without imputation of a jilt; for fince I make declaration that not one, of them fhall have me, I think. I ought to be allowed the liberty of infulting those who have the yanity to believe it is in their power to make me break that refolution. There are fchools for learning to ufc foils, frequented by thofe who never defign to fight, and this ufelefs way of aiming at the heart without defign to wound it on either fide, is the play with which I am refolved to divert myself: the man who pretends to win, I fhall ufe like him who who comes into a fencing school to pick a quarrel. I hope upon this foundation, you will give me the free ufe of the natural and artificial force of my eyes, looks, and gestures. As for verbal promifes, I will make none, but shall have no mercy on the conceited interpreters of glances and motions. I am particularly fkilled in the downcaft eye, and the recovery into a fudden full aspect, and away again, as you may have seen sometimes practifed by us country beauties beyond all that you have obferved in courts and cities. Add to this, Sir, that I have a ruddy heedlefs look, which covers artifice the be of any thing, Though I can dance very well, I affect a tottering untaught way of walking, by which I appear an eafy prey; and never exert my inftructed charms until I find I have engaged a purfuer. Be pleafed, Sir, to print this letter; which will certainly begin the chafe of a rich widow: the many foldings, escapes, returns, and doubl⚫ings which I make, I fhall from time to time communicate to you, for the better inftruction of all females who fet up, like me, for reducing the prefent exorbitant power and infolence
'would expatiate a little on this fubject, and ' admonifh her parents that it may be from the very imperfection of human nature itself, and not any perfonal frailty of her or me, that our 'inclinations baffled at prefent may alter; and 'while we are arguing with ourselves to put off the enjoyment of our prefent paffions, our af Ifections may change their objects in the operation. It is a very delicate fubject to talk upon;
Your faithful correfpondent,
Dear Mr. Spectator, Depend upon your profeffed refpect for virtuous love, for your immediately anfwering the defign of this letter; which is no other than to lay before the world the feverity of certain parents who defire to suspend the marriage of a difcreet young woman of eighteen, three years longer, for no other reafon but that of her being too young to enter into that ftate. As to the confideration of riches, my circumstances are fuch, that I cannot be fufpected to make my addresses to her on such low motives as avarice or ambition. If ever innocence, wit, and beauty, united their ut moft charms, they have in her. I wish you
would give the parties concerned fome reflexion that might expedite our happinefs. There is a poffibility, and I hope I may fay it without 'imputation of immodefty to her I love with the highest honour; I fay there is a poffibility this delay may be as painful to her as it is to me. If it be as much, it must be more, by reafon of the fevere rules the fex are under in ⚫ being denied even the relief of complaint. If you oblige me in this, and I fucceed, I promise · you a place at my wedding, and a treatment fuitable to your Spectatorial dignity,
Your most humble fervant,
Yesterday heard a young gentleman, that looked as if he was just come to the town and a scarf, upon evil fpeaking; which fubject, you know, Archbishop Tillotson has fo nobly handled in a fermon in his Folio. Aş foon as ever he had named his text, and had opened a little the drift of his difcourfe, I was in great hopes he had been one of Sir Roger's chaplains. I have conceived fo great an idea of the charming difcourfe above, that I fhould have thought one part of my fabbath very well fpent in hearing a repetition of it. But alas! Mr. Spectator, this reverend divine gave us his • Grace's fermon, and yet I do not know how; even I, that am fure have read it at least twenty times, could not tell what to make of it, and was at a loss fometimes to guess what the man ⚫ained at. He was fo juft indeed, as to give us all the heads and the fub-divifions of the fermon; and farther I think there was not one beautiful thought in it but what we had. But then, Sir, this gentleman made fo many pretty # additions; and he could never give us a paragraph of the fermon, but he introduced it with fomething which, methought, looked more like a defign to fhew his own ingenuity, than to inftruct the people. In short, he added and curtailed in fuch a manner, that he vexed me; infomuch that I could not forbear thinking of in fo holy a place) that this young spark was (what, confefs, I ought not to have thought when they mend a noble play of Shakespeare as justly blameable as Bullock or Penkethman
or Johnson. Pray, Sir, take this into your con→ fideration; and if we must be entertained with the works of any of thofe great men, defire thefe gentlemen to give them us as they find them, that fo when we read them to our families at home, they may the better remember they have heard them at church.
Your humble fervant.?
N° 540. WEDNESDAY, Nov. 19.
VIRG. Æn. 6. ver. 143,
-Non deficit alter.
HERE is no part of your writings which I have in more esteem than your criticifm. 6 upon Milton. It is an honourable and candid ⚫ endeavour to fet the works of our noble writers in the graceful light which they deferve. You will lofe much of my kind inclination towards you, if you do not attempt this encomium of Spenfer alfo, or at least indulge my paffion for that charming author fo far as to print the loose hints I now give you on that fubject,
Spenfer's general plan is the reprefentation of fix virtues, Holiness, Temperance, Chastity, Friendship, Juftice, and Courtefy, in fix legends by fix perfons. The fix perfonages are fuppofed, under proper allegories fuitable to their refpective characters, to do all that is neceffary for the full manifestation of the respective virtues which they are to excrt.
Caufelefs jealoufy in Britomartis, V. 6, 14. in its reftleffness.
"Like as a wayward child, whofe founder fleep
Now fcratching her, and her loose locks mif-
"Now feeking darkness, and now seeking light: "Then craving fuck, and then the fuck retufing; "Such was this lady's fit in her love's fond ac"cufing."
Thefe, one might undertake to fhew under the feveral heads, are admirably drawn; no images improper, and moft furprisingly beautiful. The Red crofs Knight runs through the whole fteps of the Chriftian life; Guyon does all that temperance can poffibly require; Britomartis (a woman) obferves the true rules of unaffected chastity; Arthegal is in every refpect of life ftrictly and wifely just; f Calidore is rightly courteous.
In fhort, in Fairy-land, where knights-errant have a full scope to range, and to do even what Arioftos or Orlandos could not do in the world without breaking into credibility, Spenfer's Knights have, under these fix heads, given a full and truly poetical fyftem of chriftian, public, and low life.
His legend of friendship is more diffuse, and yet even there the allegory is finely drawn, only the heads various, one knight could not there fupport all the parts.
"Even in the door him meeting, she begun,
To do honour to his country, Prince Arthur is an univerfal hero; in holiness, temperance, chastity, and justice fuper-excellent. For the fame reafon and to compliment Queen Elizabeth, Gloriana, Queen of Fairies, whofe court was the afylum of the oppreffed, reprefents that glorious Queen. At her commands all these knights fet forth, and only at her's the Red-crofs Knight destroys the dragon, Guyon overturns the bower of blifs, Arthegal (i. e. Juftice) beats down Geryonoe (i. e. Philip II. King of Spain) to refcue Belge (i, e. Holland) and he beats the Grantorto (the fame Philip in another light) to restore Irena (i. e. Peace to Europe).
Chastity, being the first female virtue, Britomartis is a Briton; her part is fine, though it requires explication. His ftile is very poetical; no puns, affectations of wit, forced antithefes, or any of that low tribe.
His old words are all true English, and numbers exquifite; and fince of words there is the multa renafentur, fince they are all proper, fuch a poem fhould not (any more than Milton's) fubfift all of it of common ordinary" f words. See inftances of defcriptions,
The failing pine, the cedar proud and tall, "The vine-prop elm, the poplar never dry,