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No. 241.] THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1711. pany or business they were engaged in, they left it
"THOUGH you have considered virtuous love in most of its distresses, I do not remember that you have given us any dissertation upon the absence of lovers, or laid down any methods how they should support themselves under those long separations which they are sometimes forced to undergo. I am at present in this unhappy circumstance, having parted with the best of husbands, who is abroad in the service of his country, and may not possibly return for some years. His warm and generous affection while we were together, with the tenderness which he expressed to me at parting, make his absence almost insupportable. I think of him every moment of the day, and meet him every night in my dreams. Every thing I see puts me in mind of him. I apply myself with more than ordinary diligence to the care of his family and his estate; but this, instead of relieving me, gives me but so many occasions of wishing for his return. I frequent the rooms where I used to converse with him, and not meeting him there, sit down in his chair and fall a weeping. I love to read the books he delighted in, and to converse with the persons whom he esteemed. I visit his picture a hundred times a day, and place myself over-against it whole hours together. I pass a great part of my time in the walks where I used to lean upon his arm, and recollect in my mind the discourses which have there passed between us: I look over the several prospects and points of view which we used to survey together, fix my eye upon the objects which he has made me take notice of, and call to mind a thousand agreeable remarks which he has made on those occasions. I write to him by every conveyance, and, contrary to other people, am always in good humour when an east wind blows, because it seldom fails of bringing me a letter from him. Let me entreat you, Sir, to give me your advice upon this occasion, and to let me know how I may relieve myself in this my widowhood.
"I am, Sir, your most humble Šervant,
"ASTERIA." Absence is what the poets call death in love, and has given occasion to abundance of beautiful complaints in those authors who have treated of this passion in verse. Ovid's Epistles are full of them. Otway's Monimia talks very tenderly upon this subject:
abruptly as soon as the clock warned them to retire. The romance further adds, that the lovers expected the return of this stated hour with as much impatience as if it had been a real assignation, and enjoyed an imaginary happiness, that was almost as pleasing to them as what they would have found from a real meeting. It was an inexpressible satisfaction to these divided lovers, to be assured that each was at the same time employed in the same kind of contemplation, and making equal returns of tenderness and affection.
If I may be allowed to mention a more serious expedient for the alleviating of absence, I shall take notice of one which I have known two persons practise, who joined religion to that elegance of sentiment with which the passion of love generally inspires its votaries. This was, at the return of such an hour, to offer up a certain prayer for each other, which they had agreed upon before their parting. The husband, who is a man that makes a figure in the polite world as well as in his own family, has often told me, that he could not have supported an absence of three years without this expedient.
Strada, in one of his Prolusions,* gives an account of a chimerical correspondence between two friends by the help of a certain load-stone, which had such virtue in it, that if it touched two several needles, when one of the needles so touched began to move, the other, though at never so great a dis tance, moved at the same time, and in the same manner. He tells us, that the two friends being each of them possessed of one of these needles, made a kind of dial-plate, inscribing it with four-andtwenty letters, in the same manner as the hours of the day are marked upon the ordinary dial-plate. They then fixed one of the needles on each of these plates in such a manner, that it could move round without impediment, so as to touch any of the fourand-twenty letters. Upon their separating from one another into distant countries, they agreed to withdraw themselves punctually into their closets at a certain hour of the day, and to converse with one another by means of this their invention. Accord ingly when they were some hundred miles asunder, each of them shut himself up in his closet at the time appointed, and immediately cast his eye upon his dial-plate. If he had a mind to write any thing to his friend, he directed his needle to every letter that formed the words which he had occasion for, making a little pause at the end of every word or sentence, to avoid confusion. The frieud in the meanwhile saw his own sympathetic needle moving of itself to every letter which that of his correspondent pointed at. By this means they talked together across a whole continent, and conveyed their thoughts to one another in an instant over cities or mountains, seas or deserts.
If Monsieur Scudery, or any other writer of romance, had introduced a necromancer, who is generally in the train of a knight-errant, making a present to two lovers of a couple of these abovementioned needles, the reader would not have been a little pleased to have seen them corresponding with one another when they were guarded by spies and watches, or separated by castles and adventures.
In the meanwhile, if ever this invention should be revived or put in practice, I would propose that upon the lover's dial-plate there should be written not only the four-and-twenty letters, but several en
* Lib. ii. prol. 6.
tire words which have always a place in passionate epistles; as flames, darts, die, language, absence, Cupid, heart, eyes, hang, drown, and the like. This would very much abridge the lover's pains in this way of writing a letter, as it would enable him to express the most useful and significant words with a single touch of the needle.-C.
No. 242.] FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1711.
had hid this very privately in the bottom of a trunk,
"YOUR speculations do not so generally prevail over men's manners as I could wish. A former paper of yours concerning the misbehaviour of people who are necessarily in each other's company in travelling, ought to have been a lasting admonition against transgressions of that kind. But I had the fate of your Quaker, in meeting with a rude fellow in a stage-coach, who entertained two or three women of us (for there was no man besides himself) with language as indecent as ever was heard upon the water. The impertinent observations which the coxcomb made upon our shame and confusion were such, that it is an unspeakable grief to reflect upon them. As much as you have declaimed against duelling, I hope you will do us the justice to deelare, that if the brute has courage enough to send to the place where he saw us all alight together to get rid of him, there is not one of us but has a lover who shall avenge the insult. It would certainly be worth your consideration, to look into the frequent misfortunes of this kind, to which the modest and innocent are exposed, by the licentious behaviour of such as are as much strangers to good-breeding as to virtue. Could we avoid hearing what we do not approve, as easily as we can seeing what is dis- "I am what the world calls a warm fellow, and agreeable, there were some consolation; but since by good success in trade I have raised myself to a in a box at a play, in an assembly of ladies, or even capacity of making some figure in the world; but in a pew at church, it is in the power of a gross no matter for that, I have now under my guardiancoxcomb to utter what a woman cannot avoid hear-ship a couple of nieces, who will certainly make me ing, how miserable is her condition who comes within the power of such impertinents? and how necessary is it to repeat invectives against such behaviour? If the licentious had not utterly forgot what it is to be modest, they would know that offended modesty labours under one of the greatest sufferings to which human life can be exposed. If these brutes could reflect thus much, though they want shame, they would be moved by their pity, to abhor an impudent behaviour in the presence of the chaste and innocent. If you will oblige us with a Spectator on this subject, and procure it to be pasted against every stage-coach in Great Britain as the law of the journey, you will highly oblige the whole sex, for which you have professed so great an esteem; and in particular, the two ladies my late fellow-sufferers, and,
run mad; which you will not wonder at, when I tell you they are female virtuosos, and during the three years and a half that I have had them under my care, they never in the least inclined their thoughts towards any one single part of the character of a notable woman. Whilst they should have been considering the proper ingredients for a sackposset, you should hear a dispute concerning the magnetic virtue of the loadstone, or perhaps the pressure of the atmosphere. Their language is peculiar to themselves, and they scorn to express themselves on the meanest trifle with words that are not of a Latin derivation. But this were supportable still, would they suffer me to enjoy an uninterrupted ignorance; but unless I fall in with their abstracted ideas of things (as they call them) I must not expect to smoke one pipe in quiet. Ín a late fit of the gout I complained of the pain of that distemper, when my niece Kitty begged leave to assure me, that whatever I might think, several great phi"MR. SPECTATOR, losophers, both ancient and modern, were of opinion, "The matter which I am now going to send you, that both pleasure and pain were imaginary disis an unhappy story in low life, and will recommend tinctions, and that there was no such thing as either itself, so that you must excuse the manner of ex-in rerum naturû. I have often heard them affirm pressing it. A poor idle drunken weaver in Spitalfields has a faithful laborious wife, who by her frugality and industry has laid by her as much money as purchased her á ticket in the present lottery. She
Sir, your most humble Servant,
that the fire was not hot; and one day when I, with the authority of an old fellow, desired one of them to put my blue cloak on my knees, she answered, Sir, I will reach the cloak; but take notice, I do
not do it as allowing your description; for it might as well be called yellow as blue; for colour is nothing but the various infractions of the rays of the sun. Miss Molly told me one day, that to say snow was white, is allowing a vulgar error; for as it contains a great quantity of nitrous particles, it might more reasonably be supposed to be black. In short, the young husseys would persuade me, that to believe one's eyes is a sure way to be deceived; and have often advised me, by no means to trust any thing so fallible as my senses. What I have to beg of you now is, to turn one speculation to the due regulation of female literature, so far, at least, as to make it consistent with the quiet of such whose fate it is to be liable to its insults; and to tell us the difference between a gentleman that should make cheese-cakes and raise a paste, and a lady that reads Locke, and understands the mathematics. In which you will extremely oblige
"Your hearty friend and humble Servant,
man to be handsome. This indeed looks more like a philosophical rant than the real opinion of a wise man; yet this was what Cato very seriously maintained. In short, the stoics thought they could not sufficiently represent the excellence of virtue, if they did not comprehend in the notion of it all possible perfections; and theretore did not only suppose, that it was transcendently beautiful in itself, but that it made the very body amiable, and banished every kind of deformity from the person in whom it resided.
It is a common observation, that the most abandoned to all sense of goodness, are apt to wish those who are related to them of a different character; and it is very observable, that none are more struck with the charms of virtue in the fair sex, than those who by their very admiration of it are carried to a desire of ruining it.
A virtuous mind in a fair body is indeed a fine picture in a good light, and therefore it is no wonder that it makes the beautiful sex all over charms.
As virtue in general is of an amiable and lovely nature, there are some particular kinds of it which are more so than others, and these are such as disNo. 243.] SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8, 1711. pose us to do good to mankind. Temperance and Formam quidem ipsam, Marce fili, et tanquam faciem ho-abstinence, faith and devotion, are in themselves nesti vides: quæ si oculis cerneretur, mirabiles amores (ut ait Plato) excitaret sapientiæ.-TULL. Offic.
You see, my son Marcus, virtue as if it were embodied, which if it could be made the object of sight, would (as Plato
says) excite in us a wonderful love of wisdom
I Do not remember to have read any discourse written expressly upon the beauty and loveliness of virtue, without considering it as a duty, and as the means of making us happy both now and hereafter. I design therefore this speculation as an essay upon that subject, in which I shall consider virtue no further than as it is in itself of an amiable nature, after I have premised, that I understand by the word virtue such a general notion as is affixed to it by the writers of morality, and which by devout men generally goes under the name of religion, and by men of the world under the name of honour.
perhaps as laudable as any other virtues; but those which make a man popular and beloved, are justice, charity, munificence, and, in short, all the good qualities which render us beneficial to each other. For this reason even an extravagant man, who has nothing else to recommend him but a false generosity, is often more beloved and esteemed than a person of a much more finished character, who is defective in this particular.
The two great ornaments of virtue, which show her in the most advantageous views, and make her altogether lovely, are cheerfulness and good-nature. These generally go together, as a man cannot be agreeable to others who is not easy within himself. They are both very requisite in a virtuous mind, to keep out melancholy from the many serious thoughts it is engaged in, and to hinder its natural hatred of vice from souring into severity and censoriousness.
Hypocrisy itself does great honour, or rather justice, to religion, and tacitly acknowledges it to be If virtue is of this amiable nature, what can we an ornament to human nature. The hypocrite think of those who can look upon it with an eye of would not be at so much pains to put on the appear-hatred and ill-will, or can suffer their aversion for a ance of virtue, if he did not know it was the most proper and effectual means to gain the love and esteem of mankind.
We learn from Hierocles, it was a common saying among the heathens, that the wise man hates nobody, but only loves the virtuous.
party to blot out all the merit of the person who is engaged in it? A man must be excessively stupid, as well as uncharitable, who believes that there is no virtue but on his own side, and that there are not men as honest as himself who may differ from him in political principles. Men may oppose one anTully has a very beautiful gradation of thoughts other in some particulars, but ought not to carry their to show how amiable virtue is. "We love a vir-hatred to those qualities which are of so amiable a tuous man," says he, "who lives in the remotest parts of the earth, though we are altogether out of the reach of his virtue, and can receive from it no manner of benefit." Nay, one who died several ages ago, raises a secret fondness and benevolence for him in our minds, when we read his story. Nay, what is still more, one who has been the enemy of our country, provided his wars were regulated by justice and humanity, as in the instance of Pyrrhus, whom Tully mentions on this occasion in opposition to Hannibal. Such is the natural beauty and love liness of virtue.
Stoicism, which was the pedantry of virtue, ascribes all good qualifications of what kind soever to the virtuons man. Accordingly, Cato, in the character Tully has left of him, carried matters so far, that he would not allow any one but a virtuous
nature in themselves, and have nothing to do with the points in dispute. Men of virtue, though of different interests, ought to consider themselves as more nearly united with one another, than with the vicious part of mankind, who embark with them in the same civil concerns. We should bear the same love towards a man of honour who is a living antagonist, which Tully tells us in the fore-mentioned passage, every one naturally does to an enemy that is dead. In short, we should esteem virtue though in a foe, and abhor vice though in a friend.
I speak this with an eye to those cruel treatments which men of all sides are apt to give the characters of those who do not agree with them. How many persons of undoubted probity and exemplary virtue, on either side, are blackened and defamed? How many men of honour exposed to public obloquy and
reproach? Those therefore who are either the instruments or abettors in such infernal dealings, ought to be looked upon as persons who make use of religion to promote their cause, not of their cause to promote religion.-C.
No. 244.] MONDAY, DECEMBER 10, 1711.
Judex et callidus audis.-HOR. 2 Sat. vii. 101. A judge of painting you, a connoisseur.
"Covent Garden, Dec. 7.
is truly boid and great, an impudent fellow for a man of true courage and bravery, hasty and unreasonable actions for enterprises of spirit and resolu tion, gaudy colouring for that which is truly beautiful, a false and insinuating discourse for simple truth elegantly recommended. The parallel will hold through all the parts of life and painting too; and the virtuosos above mentioned will be glad to see you draw it with your terms of art. As the shadows in a picture represent the serious or melancholy, so the lights do the bright and lively thoughts. As there should be but one forcible light in a picture which should catch the eye and fall on the hero, so there should be but one object of our love, even the Author of nature, These and the like reflections, well improved, might very much contribute to open the beauty of that art, and prevent young people from being poisoned by the ill gusto of an extravagant workman that should be imposed upon us.
"I am, Sir, your most humble Servant." "MR. SPECTATOR,
"MR. SPECTATOR, "I CANNOT, without a double injustice, forbear expressing to you the satisfaction which a whole clan of virtuosos have received from those hints which you have lately given the town on the cartoons of the inimitable Raphael. It should, methinks, be the business of a Spectator to improve the pleasures of sight, and there cannot be a more immediate way to it than by recommending the study and observation of excellent drawings and pictures. When I first went to view those of Ra- Though I am a woman, yet I am one of those phael which you have celebrated, I must confess I who confess themselves highly pleased with a spewas but barely pleased; the next time I liked them culation you obliged the world with some time ago, better, but at last, as I grew better acquainted with from an old Greek poet you call Simonides, in relathem, I fell deeply in love with them; like wise tion to the several natures and distinctions of our speeches, they sunk deep into my heart; for you own sex.. I could not but admire how justly the know, Mr. Spectator, that a man of wit may ex-characters of the women in this age fall in with the tremely affect one for the present, but if he has not times of Simonides, there being no one of those discretion, his merit soon vanishes away; while a sorts I have not some time or other of my life met wise man that has not so great a stock of wit, shall with a sample of. But, Sir, the subjects of this nevertheless give you a far greater and more lasting present address are a set of women, comprehended, satisfaction. Just so it is in a picture that is smartly I think, in the ninth species of that speculation, touched, but not well studied; one may call it a called the Apes: the description of whom I find to witty picture, though the painter in the mean time be, That they are such as are both ugly and illbe in danger of being called a fool. On the other natured, who have nothing beautiful themselves, hand, a picture that is thoroughly understood in the and endeavour to detract from, or ridicule, every whole, and well performed in the particulars, that is thing that appears so in others.' Now, Sir, this begun on the foundation of geometry, carried on by sect, as I have been told, is very frequent in the the rules of perspective, architecture, and anatomy, great town where you live; but as my circumstance and perfected by a good harmony, a just and na-in life obliges me to reside altogether in the country, tural colouring, and such passions and expressions though not many miles from London, I cannot have of the mind as are almost peculiar to Raphael; this met with a great number of them, nor indeed is it is what you may justly style a wise picture, and a desirable acquaintance, as I have lately found by which seldom fails to strike us dumb, until we can experience. You must know, Sir, that at the beassemble all our faculties to make but a tolerable ginning of this summer a family of these apes came judgment upon it. Other pictures are made for the and settled for the season not far from the place eyes only, as rattles are made for children's ears; where I live. As they were strangers in the counand certainly that picture that only pleases the eye, try, they were visited by the ladies about them, of without representing some well-chosen part of na- whom I was one, with a humanity usual in those ture or other, does but show what fiue colours are who pass most of their time in solitude. The apes to be sold at the colour-shop, and mocks the works lived with us very agreeably our own way until toof the Creator. If the best imitator of nature is wards the end of the summer, when they began to not to be esteemed the best painter, but he that bethink themselves of returning to town; then it makes the greatest show and glare of colours; it was, Mr. Spectator, that they began to set themwill necessarily follow, that he who can array him- selves about the proper and distinguishing business self in the most gaudy draperies is best drest, and of their character; and as it is said of evil spirits, he that can speak loudest the best orator. Every that they are apt to carry away a piece of the house man when he looks on a picture should examine it they are about to leave, the apes, without regard to according to that share of reason he is master of, or common mercy, civility, or gratitude, thought fit to he will be in danger of making a wrong judgment. mimic and fall foul on the faces, dress, and behaIf men as they walk abroad would make more fre-viour of their innocent neighbours, bestowing aboquent observations on those beauties of Nature which minable censures and disgraceful appellations, comevery moment present themselves to their view, they monly called nicknames, on all of them; and, in would be better judges when they saw her well imi-short, like true fine ladies, made their honest plaintated at home. This would help to correct those ness and sincerity matter of ridicule. I could not errors which most pretenders fall into, who are overhasty in their judgments, and will not stay to let reason come in for a share in the decision. It is for want of this that men mistake in this case, and in common life, a wild extravagant pencil for one that
but acquaint you with these grievances, as well as at the desire of all the parties injured, as from my own inclination. I hope, Sir, if you cannot propose entirely to reform this evil, you will take such notice of it in some of your future speculations, as
and pastimes not only merry but innocent; for which reason I have not mentioned either whisk or lanterloo, nor indeed so much as one-and-thirty. After having communicated to you my request upon this
may put the deserving part of our sex on their guard against these creatures; and at the same time the apes may be sensible, that this sort of mirth is so far from an innocent diversion, that it is in the highest degree that vice which is said to compre-subject, I will be so free as to tell you how my wife hend all others.
and I pass away these tedious winter evenings with a great deal of pleasure. Though she be young and handsome, and good-humoured to a miracle, she does not care for gadding abroad like others of her sex. There is a very friendly man, a colonel in the
No. 245.] TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1711. army, whom I am mightily obliged to for his civili
Ficta voluptatis causa sint proxima veris.
HOR. Ars. Poet. v. 338. Fictions, to please, should wear the face of truth. THERE is nothing which one regards so much with an eye of mirth and pity as innocence, when it has in it a dash of folly. At the same time that one esteems the virtue, one is tempted to laugh at the simplicity which accompanies it. When a man is made up wholly of the dove, without the least grain of the serpent in his composition, he becomes ridiculous in many circumstances of life, and very often discredits his best actions. The Cordeliers tell a story of their founder St. Francis, that as he passed the streets in the dusk of the evening, he discovered a young fellow with a maid in a corner; upon which the good man, say they, lifted up his hands to heaven with secret thanksgiving, that there was still so much Christian charity in the world. The innocence of the saint made him mistake the kiss of the lover for a salute of charity. I am heartily concerned when I see a virtuous man without a competent knowledge of the world; and if there be any use in these my papers, it is this, that without representing vice under any false alluring notions, they give my reader an insight into the ways of men, and represent human nature in all its changeable colours. The man who has not been engaged in any of the follies of the world, or, as Shakspeare expresses it," hackney'd in the ways of men," may here find a picture of its follies and extravagances. The virtuous and the innocent may know in speculation what they could never arrive at by practice, and by this means avoid the snares of the crafty, the corruptions of the vicious, and the reasonings of the prejudiced. Their minds may be opened without being vitiated.
It is with an eye to my following correspondent, Mr. Timothy Doodle, who seems a very well-meaning man, that I have written this short preface, to which I shall subjoin a letter from the said Mr.
"I could heartily wish that you would let us know your opinion upon several innocent diversions which are in use among us, and which are very proper to pass away a winter night for those who do not care to throw away their time at an opera, or at the play-house. I would gladly know, in particular, what notion you have of hot-cockles; as also, whether you think that questions and commands, mottos, similes, and cross-purposes, have not more mirth and wit in them than those public diversions which are grown so very fashionable among us. you would recommend to our wives and daughters, who read your papers with a great deal of pleasure, some of those sports and pastimes that may be practised within doors, and by the fire-side, we, who are masters of families, should be hugely obliged to you. I need not tell you that I would have these sports
ties, that comes to see me almost every night; for he is not one of those giddy young fellows that cannot live out of a playhouse. When we are together, we very often make a party at Blind-man's-Buff, which is a sport that I like the better, because there is a good deal of exercise in it. The colonel and I are blinded by turns, and you would laugh your heart out to see what pains my dear takes to hoodwink us, so that it is impossible for us to see the least glimpse of light. The poor colonel sometimes hits his nose against a post, and makes us die with laughing. I have generally had the good luck not to hurt myself, but I am very often above half an hour before I can catch either of them; for you must know we hide ourselves up and down in corners, that we may have the more sport. I only give you this hint as a sample of such innocent diversions as I would have you recommend; and am, most esteemed Sir, "Your ever loving Friend,
The following letter was occasioned by my last Thursday's paper upon the absence of lovers, and the methods therein mentioned of making such absence supportable :
Among the several ways of consolation which absent lovers make use of while their souls are in that state of departure, which you say is death in love, there are some very material ones that have escaped your notice. Among these, the first and most received is a crooked shilling, which has administered great comfort to our forefathers, and is still made use of on this occasion with very good effect in most part of her majesty's dominions. There are some, I know, who think a crown piece cut into two equal parts, and preserved by the distant lovers, is of more sovereign virtue than the former. But since opinions are divided in this particular, why may not the same persons make use of both? The figure of a heart, whether cut in stone or cast in metal, whether bleeding upon an altar, stuck with darts, or held in the hand of a Cupid, has always been looked upon as talismanic in dis. tresses of this nature. I am acquainted with many a brave fellow, who carries his mistress in the lid of himself under the absence of a whole campaign. his snuff-box, and by that expedient has supported For my own part I have tried all these remedies, but never found so much benefit from any as from a ring, in which my mistress's hair is plaited together very artificially in a kind of true-lover's knot. As I have received great benefit from this secret, I think myself obliged to communicate it to the public will add this letter as an appendix to your consolafor the good of my fellow-subjects. I desire you tions upon absence, and am
"Your very humble Servant,