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No. 377.] TUESDAY, MAY 13, 1712.
Quid quisque vitet, nunquam homini satis Cautum est in horas.-HOR. 2 Od. xiii. 13. What each should fly, is seldom known; We unprovided, are undone.-CREECH. LOVE was the mother of poetry, and still produces, among the most ignorant and barbarous, a thousand imaginary distresses and poetical complaints. It makes a footman talk like Oroondates, and converts a brutal rustic into a gentle swain. The most ordinary plebeian or mechanic in love bleeds and pines away with a certain elegance and tenderness of sentiments which this passion naturally inspires. These inward languishings of a mind infected with this softness have given birth to a phrase which is made use of by all the meating tribe, from the highest to the lowest-I mean that of "dying for love."
Romances, which owe their very being to this passion, are full of these metaphorical deaths. Heroes and heroines, knights, squires, and damsels, are all of them in a dying condition. There is the same kind of mortality in our modern tragedies, where every one gasps, faints, bleeds, and dies. Many of the poets, to describe the execution which is done by this passion, represent the fair sex as basilisks, that destroy with their eyes; but I think Mr. Cowley has, with great justness of thought, compared a beautiful woman to a porcupine, that sends an arrow from every part.
Ralph Gapley, Esq. hit by a random-shot at the ring.
F. R. caught his death upon the water, April the 1st.
W. W. killed by an unknown hand, that was playing with the glove off upon the side of the front box in Drury-lane.
Sir Christopher Crazy, Bart. hurt by the brush of a whale-bone petticoat.
Sylvius, shot through the sticks of a fan at St. James's church.
Damon struck through the heart by a diamond necklace.
Thomas Trusty, Francis Goosequill, William Meanwell, Edward Callow, Esers. standing in a row, fell all four at the same time, by an ogle of the Widow Trapland.
Tom Rattle, chancing to tread upon a lady's tail as he came out of the play-house, she turned full upon him, and laid him dead upon the spot.
Dick Tastewell, slain by a blush from the queen's box in the third act of the Trip to the Jubilee. Samuel Felt, haberdasher, wounded in his walks to Islington, by Mrs. Susannah Cross-stitch, as she was clambering over a stile.
R. F. T. W. S. I. M. P. &c. put to death in the last birth-day massacre.
Roger Blinko, cut off in the twenty-first year of his age by a white-wash.
Musidorus, slain by an arrow that flew out of a dimple, in Belinda's left cheek.
Ned Courtly, presenting Flavia with her glove (which she had dropped on purpose), she received it, and took away his life with a curtsey.
John Gosselin, having received a slight hurt from a pair of blue eyes, as he was making his escape, was dispatched by a smile.
Strephon, killed by Clarinda as she looked down into the pit.
Charles Careless, shot flying by a girl of fifteen, who unexpectedly popped her head upon him out of a coach.
Josiah Wither, aged threescore and three, sent to his long home by Elizabeth Jetwell, spinster. Jack Freelove, murdered by Melissa in her hair. William Wiseacre, Gent. drowned in a flood of tears by Moll Common.
I have often thought that there is no way so effectual for the cure of this general infirmity, as a man's reflecting upon the motives that produce it. When the passion proceeds from the sense of any virtue or perfection in the person beloved, I would by no means discourage it; but if a man considers that all his heavy complaints of wounds and deaths rise from some little affectations of coquetry, which are improved into charms by his own fond imagination, the very laying before himself the cause of his distemper may be sufficient to effect the cure of it. It is in this view that I have looked over the several bundles of letters which I have received from dying people, and composed out of them the follow-for his advice. ing bill of mortality, which I shall lay before my reader without any further preface, as hoping that it may be useful to him in discovering those several places where there is most danger, and those fatal arts which are made use of to destroy the heedless and unwary:
Lysander, slain at a puppet-show on the third of September.
Thyrsis, shot from a casement in Piccadilly. T. S. wounded by Zelinda's scarlet stocking, as she was stepping out of a coach.
Will Simple, smitten at the opera by the glance of an eye that was aimed at one who stood by him. Tho. Vainlove, lost his life at a ball.
Tim. Tattle, killed by the tap of a fan on his left shoulder by Coquetilla, as he was talking carelessly with her in a bow-window.
Sir Simon Softly, murdered at the play-house in Drury-lane by a frown.
Philander, mortally wounded by Cleora, as she was adjusting her tucker.
John Pleadwell, Esq. of the Middle Temple, barrister-at-law, assassinated in his chambers the sixth inst. by Kitty Sly, who pretended to come to him
No. 378.] WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 1712. Aggredere, O magnos! aderit jam tempus, honores. VIRG. Ecl. ix. 48 Mature in years, to ready honours move.—DRYDEN, I WILL make no apology for entertaining the reader with the following poem, which is written by a great genius, a friend of mine in the country, who is not ashamed to employ his wit in the praise
of his Maker.
A SACRED ECLOGUE,
Composed of several passages of Isaiah the prophet,
Written in Imitation of Virgil's Pollio.
The dreams of Pindus, and th' Aonian maids,
* Pope. See No. 534.
Isa. xi. 4.
xl. 3, 4
xlii. 18. xxxv. 5, 6.
Delight no more-O Thou my voice inspire,
See nodding forests on the niountains dance,
And bid new music charm th' unfolding ear:
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego, And leap exulting like the bounding roe; No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear, From every face he wipes off every tear; In adamantine chains shall death be bound, And hell's grim tyrant feel th' eternal wound, As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care, Seeks freshest pastures and the purest air, Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs, By day o'ersees them, and by night protects, The tender Lamb he raises in his arms, Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms; Mankind shall thus his guardian care engage, The promis'd Father of the future age. No more shall nation against nation rise, Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes, Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover'd o'er, The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more: But useless lances into scythes shall bend, And the broad falchion in a plough-share end. lxv. 21, 22. Then palaces shall rise; the joyful son
ix. 6. ii. 4.
Shall finish what his short-liv'd sire begun : Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield, And the same hand that sow'd shall reap the field xxxv. 1. 7. The swain in barren deserts with surprise Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise, And starts amidst the thirsty wilds to hear New falls of water murmuring in his ear: On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes, The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods. Waste sandy valleys, once perplex'd with thorn, The spiry fir and shapely box adorn;
xll. 19. and lv. 13.
xi. 6, 7, 8.
To leafless shrubs the flowering palms succeed,
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead;
And with their forked tongue and pointless sting shall play.
Rise, crown'd with light, imperial Salem, rise!
Isa. Ix. 19, 20
For thee Idume's spicy forests blow,
IL. 6. and liv. 10.
No. 379.] THURSDAY, MAY 15, 1712.
Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter.
-Science is not science till reveal'd.-Dryden.
I HAVE often wondered at that ill-natured position which has sometimes been maintained in the schools, and is comprised in an old Latin verse, namely, that "A man's knowledge is worth nothing if he communicates what he knows to any one besides." There is certainly no more sensible pleasure to a good-natured man, than if he can by any means gratify or inform the mind of another. I might add, that this virtue naturally carries it own reward along with it, since it is almost impossible it should be exercised without the improvement of the person who practises it. The reading of books, and the daily occurrences of life, are continually furnishing us with matter for thought and reflection. It is extremely natural for us to desire to see such our thoughts put in the dress of words, without which, indeed, we can scarce have a clear and distinct idea of them ourselves. When they are thus clothed in expressions, nothing so truly shows us whether they are just or false, as those effects which they produce in the minds of others.
I am apt to flatter myself, that, in the course of these my speculations, I have treated of several subjects, and laid down many such rules for the conduct of a man's life, which my readers were either wholly ignorant of before, or which at least those few who were acquainted with them, looked upon as so many secrets they have found out for the conduct of themselves, but were resolved never to have made public.
I am the more confirmed in this opinion from my having received several letters, wherein I am censured for having prostituted Learning to the embraces of the vulgar, and made her, as one of my correspondents phrases it, a common strumpet. I am charged by another with laying open the arcana or secrets of prudence to the eyes of every reader.
The narrow spirit which appears in the letters of these my correspondents is the less surprising, as it has shown itself in all ages: there is still extant an epistle written by Alexander the Great to his tutor Aristotle, upon that philosopher's publishing some part of his writings; in which the prince complains of his having made known to all the world those secrets in learning which he had before communicated to him in private lectures: concluding, that he had rather excel the rest of mankind in know ledge than in power.
Louisa de Padilla, a lady of great learning, and countess of Aranda, was in like manner angry with the famous Gratian, upon his publishing his treatise of the Discreto, wherein she fancied that be had laid open those maxims to common readers which ought
only to have been reserved for the knowledge of the great.
These objections are thought by many of so much weight, that they often defend the above-mentioned authors by affirming they have affected such an obscurity in their style and manner of writing, that, though every one may read their works, there will be but very few who can comprehend their meaning. Persius, the Latin satirist, affected obscurity for another reason; with which, however, Mr. Cowley is so offended, that, writing to one of his friends, "You," says he, "tell me, that you do not know whether Persius be a good poet or no, because you cannot understand him; for which very reason I affirm that he is not so."
with several springs, which upon any man's entering, naturally produced that which had happened." Rosicrusius, say his disciples, made use of this method to show the world that he had re-invented the ever burning lamps of the ancients, though he was resolved no one should reap any advantage from the discovery.-X
No. 380.] FRIDAY, MAY 16, 1712. -
Thursday, May 8, 1712. However, this art of writing unintelligibly has "THE character you have in the world of being been very much improved, and followed by several the ladies' philosopher, and the pretty advice I have of the moderns, who, observing the general inclina-seen you give to others in your papers, make me tion of mankind to dive into a secret, and the repu- address myself to you in this abrupt manner, and tation many have acquired by concealing their to desire your opinion of what in this age a woman meaning under obscure terms and phrases, resolve, may call a lover. I have lately had a gentleman that they may be still more abstruse, to write with- that I thought made pretensions to me, insomuch out any meaning at all. This art, as it is at pre- that most of my friends took notice of it, and sent practised by many eminent authors, consists thought we were really married. I did not take in throwing so many words at a venture into diffe- much pains to undeceive them, and especially a rent periods, and leaving the curious reader to find young gentlewoman of my particular acquaintance, out the meaning of them. who was then in the country. She coming to town, and seeing our intimacy so great, gave herself the liberty of taking me to task concerning it: I ingenuously told her we were not married, but I did not know what might be the event. She soon got acquainted with the gentleman, and was pleased to take upon her to examine him about it. Now, whether a new face had made a greater conquest than the old I will leave you to judge. I am informed that he utterly denied all pretensions to courtship, but withal professed a sincere friendship for me; but, whether marriages are proposed by
The Egyptians, who made use of hieroglyphics to signify several things, expressed a man who confined his knowledge and discoveries altogether within himself by the figure of a dark lantern closed on all sides; which, though it was illuminated within, afforded no manner of light or advantage to such as stood by it. For my own part, as I shall from time to time communicate to the public whatever discoveries I happen to make, I should much rather be compared to an ordinary lamp, which consumes and wastes itself for the benefit of every passenger. I shall conclude this paper with the story of Ro-way of friendship or not, is what I desire to know, sicrusius's sepulchre. I suppose I need not inform my readers, that this man was the founder of the Rosicrusian sect, and that his disciples still pretend to new discoveries, which they are never to communicate to the rest of mankind.*
and what I may really call a lover? There are so many who talk in a language fit only for that character, and yet guard themselves against speaking in direct terms to the point, that it is impossible to distinguish between courtship and conversation. "A certain person having occasion to dig some-I hope you will do me justice both upon my lover what deep in the ground, where this philosopher lay and my friend, if they provoke me further. In the interred, met with a small door, having a wall on mean time I carry it with so equal a behaviour, that each side of it. His curiosity, and the hopes of the nymph and the swain too are mightily at a loss: finding some hidden treasure, soon prompted him each believes I, who know them both well, think to force open the door. He was immediately sur-myself revenged in their love to one another, which prised by a sudden blaze of light, and discovered a creates an irreconcilable jealousy. If all comes very fair vault. At the upper end of it was a statue right again, you shall hear further from, of a man in armour, sitting by a table, and leaning on his left arm. He held a truncheon in his right hand, and had a lamp burning before him. The man had no sooner set one foot within the vault, than the statue erected itself from its leaning pos- "Your observations on persons that have be ture, stood bolt upright, and upon the fellow's ad- haved themselves irreverently at church, I doubt not vancing another step, lifted up the truncheon in his have had a good effect on some that have read them: right hand. The man still ventured a third step, but there is another fault which has hitherto escaped when the statue, with a furious blow, broke the lamp your notice, I mean of such persons as are there into a thousand pieces, and left his guest in a sud-very zealous and punctual to perform an ejaculation den darkness.
"Upon the report of this adventure, the country people soon came with lights to the sepulchre, and discovered that the statue, which was made of brass, was nothing more than a piece of clock-work; that the floor of the vault was all loose, and underlaid
Sir, your most obedient Servant,
"MYRTILLA." April 28, 1712.
that is only preparatory to the service of the church, and yet neglect to join in the service itself. There is an instance of this in a friend of Will Honeycomb's, who sits opposite to me. He seldom comes in till the prayers are about half over; and when he has entered his seat (instead of joining with the congregation) he devoutly holds his hat before his face for three or four moments, then bows to all his acquaintance, sits down, takes a pinch of snuff (if it be the evening service perhaps takes a nap), and
spends the remaining time in surveying the congre- do them the same favour in Friday's Spectator for gation. Now, Sir, what I would desire is, that you Sunday next, when they are to appear with their would animadvert a little on this genleman's prac- humble airs at the parish church of St. Bride's. tice. In my opinion, this gentleman's devotion, Sir, the mention of this may possibly be serviceable cap in hand, is only a compliance to the custom of to the children; and sure no one will omit a good the place, and goes no further than a little ecclesias-action attended with no expense. tical good breeding. If you will not pretend to tell us the motives that bring such triflers to solemn assemblies, yet let me desire that you will give this letter a place in your paper, and shall remain, Sir, you obliged humble Servant,
"J. S." * May the 5th. "The conversation at a club, of which I am a member, last night, falling upon vanity and the desire of being admired, put me in mind of relating how agreeably I was entertained at my own door last Thursday, by a clean fresh-coloured girl, under the most elegant and the best furnished milk-pail I had ever observed. I was glad of such an opportunity of seeing the behaviour of a coquette in low life, and how she received the extraordinary notice that was taken of her; which I found had affected every muscle of her face in the same manner as it does the features of a first-rate toast at a play or in an assembly. This hint of mine made the discourse turn upon the sense of pleasure; which ended in a general resolution, that the milkmaid enjoys her vanity as exquisitely as the woman of quality. I think it would not be an improper subject for you to examine this frailty, and trace it to all conditions of life; which is recommended to you as an occasion of obliging many of your readers: among the rest, "Your most humble Servant,
"T. B." May 12, 1712. "Coming last week into a coffee-house not far from the Exchange, with my basket under a Jew of considerable note, as I am informed, takes half-a-dozen oranges of me, and at the same time slides a guinea into my hand; I made him a curtsey, and went my way. He followed me, and finding I was going about my business, he came up with me, and told me plainly that he gave me the guinea with no other intent but to purchase my person for an hour. Did you so, Sir,' says 1: you gave it me then to make me wicked; I will keep it to make me honest. However, not to be in the least ungrateful, I promise you I will lay it out in a couple of rings, and wear them for your sake.' I am so just, Sir, besides, as to give every body that asks how I came by my rings this account of my benefactor: but to save me the trouble of telling my tale over and over again, I humbly beg the favour of you to tell it once for all, and you will extremely oblige,
66 Your humble Servant,
"SIR, St. Bride's, May 15, 1712. "Tis a great deal of pleasure to me, and I dare say will be no less satisfactory to you, that I have an opportunity of informing you, that the gentlemen and others of the parish of St. Bride's have raised a charity-school of fifty girls, as before of fifty boys. You were so kind to recommend the boys to the charitable world; and the other sex hope you will
Perhaps the initials of Swift's name, in whose works there in a sermon on sleeping at church.
I am, Sir, "Your very humble Servant, "THE SEXTON,"
No. 381 SATURDAY, MAY 17, 1712.
Equam memento rebus in azduis
Servare mentem, non secus in bonis,
Ab insolenti temperatam
Lætitia, moriture Delli.-HOR. 2 Dd. iii. 1.
In thy most dejected state,
The settled quiet of thy mind destroy.-Axos.
I HAVE always preferred cheerfulness to mirth. The latter I consider as an act, the former as a habit of the mind. Mirth is short and transient, cheerfulness fixed and permanent. Those are often raised into the greatest transports of mirth, who are subject to the greatest depressions of melancholy. On the contrary, cheerfulness, though it does not give the mind such an exquisite gladness, prevents us from falling into any depths of sorrow. Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of day-light in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.
Men of austere principles look upon mirth as too wanton and dissolute for a state of probation, and as filled with a certain triumph and insolence of heart that is inconsistent with a life which is every mo ment obnoxious to the greatest dangers. Writers of this complexion have observed, that the Sacred Person who was the great pattern of perfection was never seen to laugh.
Cheerfulness of mind is not liable to any of these exceptions; it is of a serious and composed nature; it does not throw the mind into a condition improper for the present state of humanity, and is very conspicuous in the characters of those who are looked upon as the greatest philosophers among the heathens, as well as among those who have been deservedly es teemed as saints and holy men among Christians.
If we consider cheerfulness in three lights, with regard to ourselves, to those we converse with, and to the great Author of our being, it will not a little recommend itself on each of these accounts. The man who is possessed of this excellent frame of mind, is not only easy in his thoughts, but a perfect master of all the powers and faculties of his soul. His imagination is always clear, and his judgment undisturbed; his temper is even and unruffled, relish to all those goods which nature has provided whether in action or in solitude. He comes with for him, tastes all the pleasures of the creation which are poured about him, and does not feel the full weight of those accidental evils which may befal him.
whom he converses with, it naturally produces love If we consider him in relation to the persons and good-will towards him. A cheerful mind is not only disposed to be affable and obliging; but raises the same good humour in those who come within its influence. A man rinds himself pleased, he does
not know why, with the cheerfulness of his compa- after millions of ages, will be still new, and still in nion. It is like a sudden sunshine that awakens a its beginning. How many self-congratulations nasecret delight in the mind, without her attending to turally arise in the mind, when it reflects on this its it. The heart rejoices of its own accord, and na- entrance into eternity, when it takes a view of those turally flows out into friendship and benevolence to-improvable faculties, which in a few years, and even wards the person who has so kindly an effect upon it. at its first setting out, have made so considerable a When I consider this cheerful state of mind in its progress, and which will still be receiving an increase third relation, I cannot but look upon it as a con- of perfection, and consequently an increase of hapstant habitual gratitude to the great Author of na-piness! The consciousness of such a being spreads ture. An inward cheerfulness is an implicit praise a perpetual diffusion of joy through the soul of a and thanksgiving to Providence under all its disper-virtuous man, and makes him look upon himself sations. It is a kind of acquiescence in the state every moment as more happy than he knows how to wherein we are placed, and a secret approbation of conceive. the Divine Will in his conduct towards man.
There are but two things which, in my opinion, can reasonably deprive us of this cheerfulness of heart. The first of these is the sense of guilt. A man who lives in a state of vice and impenitence, can have no title to that evenness and tranquillity of mind which is the health of the soul, and the natural effect of virtue and innocence. Cheerfulness in an ill man deserves a harder name than language can furnish us with, and is many degrees beyond what we commonly call folly or madness.
Atheism, by which I mean a disbelief of a Supreme Being, and consequently of a future state, under whatsoever titles it shelter itself, may likewise very reasonably deprive a man of this cheerfulness of temper. There is something so particularly gloomy and offensive to human nature in the prospect of non-existence, that I cannot but wonder, with many excellent writers, how it is possible for a man to outlive the expectation of it. For my own part, I think the being of a God is so little to be doubted, that it is almost the only truth we are sure of; and such a truth as we meet with in every object, in every occurrence, and in every thought. If we look into the characters of this tribe of infidels, we generally find they are made up of pride, spleen, and cavil. It is indeed no wonder, that men who are uneasy to themselves should be so to the rest of the world; and how is it possible for a man to be otherwise than uneasy in himself, who is in danger every moment of losing his entire existence, and dropping into nothing?
The vicious man and Atheist have therefore no pretence to cheerfulness, and would act very unreasonably should they endeavour after it. It is impossible for any one to live in good-humour, and enjoy his present existence, who is apprehensive either of torment or of annihilation; of being miserable, or of not being at all.
The second source of cheerfulness to a good mind is the consideration of that Being on whom we have our dependance, and in whom, though we behold him as yet but in the first faint discoveries of his perfections, we see every thing that we can imagine as great, glorious, or amiable. We find ourselves every where upheld by his goodness, and surrounded with an immensity of love and mercy. In short, we depend upon a Being, whose power qualifies him to make us happy by an infinity of means, whose goodness and truth engage him to make those happy who desire it of him, and whose unchangeableness will secure us in this happiness to all eternity.
Such considerations, which every one should perpetually cherish in his thoughts, will banish from us all that secret heaviness of heart which unthinking men are subject to when they lie under no real affliction; all that anguish which we may feel from any evil that actually oppresses us, to which I may likewise add those little cracklings of mirth and folly that are apter to betray virtue than support it; and establish in us such an even and cheerful temper, as makes us pleasing to ourselves, to those with whom we converse, and to Him whom we were made to please.-I.
No. 382.] MONDAY, MAY 19, 1712.
Habes confitentem reum,-TULL
I OUGHT not to have neglected a request of one say I have given him time to add practice to profesof my correspondents so long as I have; but I dare sion. He sent me some time ago a bottle or two of excellent wine to drink the health of a gentleman who had by the penny-post advertised him of an egregious error in his conduct. My correspondent received the obligation from an unknown hand with the candour which is natural to an ingenuous mind; and promises a contrary behaviour in that point for the future. He will offend his monitor with no more errors of that kind, but thanks him for his benevolence. This frank carriage makes me reflect upon the amiable atonement a man makes in the ingenuous acknowledgment of a fault. All such miscarriages as flow from inadvertency are more than repaid by it; for reason, though not concerned in the injury, employs all its force in the atonement. He that says, he did not design to disoblige you in such an action, does as much as if he should tell you, that though the circumstance which displeased was never in his thoughts, he has that respeet for A man who uses his best endeavours to live ac-you that he is unsatisfied, till it is wholly out of cording to the dictates of virtue and right reason, has two perpetual sources of cheerfulness, in the consideration of his own nature, and of that Being on whom he has a dependance. If he looks into himself, he cannot but rejoice in that existence which is so lately bestowed upon him, and which,
After having mentioned these two great principles, which are destructive of cheerfulness in their own nature, as well as in right reason, I cannot think of any other that ought to banish this happy temper from a virtuous mind. Pain and sickness, shame and reproach, poverty and old age, nay death itself, considering the shortness of their duration, and the advantage we may reap from them, do not deserve the name of evils. A good mind may bear up under them with fortitude, with indolence, and with cheerfulness of heart. The tossing of a tempest does not discompose him, which he is sure will bring him to a joyful harbour.
yours. It must be confessed, that when an acknowledgment of an offence is made out of poorness of spirit, and not conviction of heart, the circumstance is quite different. But in the case of my correspondent, where both the notice is taken, and the return made in private, the affair begins and ends