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TUESDAY, AUGUST 19, 1712.
Sed non ego eredulus iilis.-VIRG. Ecl. ix. 34.
But I discern their flatt'ry from their praise.-DRYDEN, FOR want of time to substitute something else in the room of them, I am at present obliged to publish compliments above my desert in the following letters. It is no small satisfaction to have given occasion to ingenious men to employ their thoughts upon sacred subjects, from the approbation of such pieces of poetry as they have seen in my Saturday's papers. 1 shall never publish verse on that day but what is written by the same hand yet shall I not accompany these writings with eulogiums, but leave them to speak for themselves.
"FOR THE SPECTATOR.
66 'MR. SPECTATOR,
"You very much promote the interests of virtue, while you reform the taste of a profane age; and "There are those who take the advantage of your persuade us to be entertained with divine poems, putting a halfpenny value upon yourself above the while we are distinguished by so many thousand hu- rest of our daily writers, to defame you in public mours, and split into so many different sects and conversation, and strive to make you unpopular upon parties; yet persons of every party, sect, and hu- the account of this said haltpenny. But, if I were mour, are fond of conforming their taste to yours. you, I would insist upon that small acknowledgment You can transfuse your own relish of a poem into all for the superior merit of yours, as being a work of your readers according to their capacity to receive; invention. Give me leave, therefore, to do you jus and when you recommend the pious passion that tice, and say in your behalf, what you cannot your reigns in the verse, we seem to feel the devotion, and self, which is, that your writings have made learning grow proud and pleased inwardly, that we have souls a more necessary part of good breeding than it was capable of relishing what the Spectator approves. before you appeared; that modesty is become fashUpon reading the hymns that you have pub-ionable, and impudence stands in need of some wit, lished in some late papers, I had a mind to try yes- since you have put them both in their proper lights. terday whether I could write one. The cxivth psalm Profaneness, lewdness, and debauchery, are not now appears to me an adinirable ode, and I began to turn qualifications; and a man may be a very fine genit into our language. As I was describing the jour-tleman, though he is neither a keeper nor an infidel. ney of Israel from Egypt, and added the Divine Presence amongst them, I perceived a beauty in this psalm, which was entirely new to me, and which I was going to lose; and that is, that the poet utterly Conceals the presence of God in the beginning of it, and rather lets a possessive pronoun go without a substantive, than he will so much as mention any thing of divinity there. Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion or kingdom.' The reason now seems evident, and this conduct necessary; for, if God had appeared before, there could be no wonder why the mountains should leap and the sea retire; therefore, that this convulsion of nature may be brought in with due surprise, his name is not mentioned till afterward: and then with a very agreeable turn of thought, God is introduced at once in all his majesty. This is what I have attempted to imitate in a translation without paraphrase, and to preserve what I could of the spirit of the sacred author.
"If the following essay be not too incorrigible, bestow upon it a few brightenings from your genius, that I may learn how to write better, or to write no
Across the deep their journey lay,
SPECTATOR-Nos. 67 & 68.
I would have you tell the town the story of the Sibyls, if they deny giving you two-pence. Let them know, that those sacred papers were valued at the same rate after two-thirds of them were destroyed, as when there was the whole set. There are so many of us who will give you your own price, that you may acquaint your nonconformist readers, that they shall not have it, except they come in within such a day, under three-pence. I do not know but you might bring in the Date Obolum Belisario' with a good grace. The witlings come in clusters to two or three coffee-houses which have left you off; and I hope you will make us, who fine to your wit, merry with their characters who stand out against it.
I am your most humble Servar.t.
"P.S. I have lately got the ingenious authors of blacking for shoes, powder for colouring the hair, pomatum for the hands, cosmetic for the face, to be your constant customers; so that your advertiseinents will as much adorn the outward man, as your paper does the inward."
No. 462.] WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20, 1712.
PEOPLE are not aware of the very great force which pleasantry in company has upon ail those with whom a man of that talent converses. His faults are generally overlooked by all his acquaintance; and a certain carelessness, that constantly attends all his actions, carries him on with greater
By Dr. Isaac Wätts.
and accent, Sir, you shall stay and take t'other bottle.' The airy monarch looked kindly at him over his shoulder, and with a smile and graceful air (for I saw him at the time, and do now) repeated this line of the old song:
success, than diligence and assiduity does others who pression, very fond of his sovereign; but what with have no share of this endowment. Dacinthus breaks the joy he felt at heart for the honour done him by his word upon all occasions both trivial and import- his prince, and through the warmth he was in with ant; and, when he is sufficiently railed at for that continual toasting healths to the royal family, his abominable quality, they who talk of him end with, lordship grew a little fond of his majesty, and en"After all, he is a very pleasant fellow." Dacin- tered into a familiarity not altogether so graceful in thus is an ill-natured husband, and yet the very so public a place. The king understood very well women end their freedom of discourse upon this sub-how to extricate himself in all kinds of difficulties, ject, "But after all, he is very pleasant company." and, with a hint to the company to avoid ceremony, Dacinthus is neither in point of honour, civility, stole off and made towards his coach, which stood good-breeding, nor good-nature, unexceptionable, ready for him in Guildhall-yard, But the mayor and yet all is answered, "For he is a very pleasant liked his company so well, and was grown so intifellow." When this quality is conspicuous in a manmate, that he pursued him hastily, and, catching him who has, to accompany it, manly and virtuous sen-fast by the hand, cried out with a vehement oath timents, there cannot certainly be any thing which can give so pleasing a gratification as the gaiety of such a person; but when it is alone, and serves only to gild a crowd of ill qualities, there is no man so much to be avoided as your pleasant fellow. A very pleasant fellow shall turn your good name to a jest, make your character contemptible, debauch your wife or daughter, and yet be received with the rest of the world with welcome wherever he appears. It is very ordinary with those of this character to be attentive only to their own satisfactions, and have very little bowels for the concerns or sorrows of other men; nay, they are capable of purchasing their own pleasures at the expense of giving pain to others. But they who do not consider this sort of men thus carefully, are irresistibly exposed to their insinuations. The anthor of the following letter carries the matter so high, as to intimate that the liberties of England have been at the mercy of a prince merely as he was of this pleasant character:
He that's drunk is as great as a king.
and immediately returned back, and complied with
I give you this story, Mr. Spectator, because, as I said, I saw the passage; and I assure you it is very true, and yet no common one; and when I tell you the sequel, you will say I have a better reason of his merry monarch in Stocks-market, and did for it. This very mayor afterward erected a statue the crown many and great services; and it was owing to this humour of the king, that his family had so great a fortune shut up in the exchequer of their descensions of this prince are vulgarly known; and pleasant sovereign. The many good-natured 'conit is excellently said of him by a great hand which writ his character, that he was not a king a quarter receive visits from fools and half madmen; and at of an hour together in his whole reign. He would times I have met with people who have boxed, fought II. In a word, he was so pleasant a man, that no at back-sword, and taken poison before King Charles one could be sorrowful under his government. This made him capable of baffling, with the greatest ease "It is this passion alone, when misapplied, that people could not entertain notions of any thing ter imaginable, all suggestions of jealousy and the lays us so open to flatterers; and he who can agree-rible in him, whom they saw every way agreeable. ably condescend to sooth our humour or temper, finds always an open avenue to our soul; especially if the flatterer happen to be our superior.
"There is no one passion which all mankind so naturally give into as pride, nor any other passion which appears in such different disguises. It is to be found in all habits and all complexions. Is it not a question, whether it does more harm or good in the world; and if there be not such a thing as what we may call a virtuous and laudable pride?
This scrap of the familiar part of that prince's his-
"Your most humble Servant."
No. 463.] THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 1712.
Vanaque nocturnis meta cavetur equis.
"One might give many instances of this in a late English monarch under the title of The Gaieties of King Charles II.' This prince was by nature extremely familiar, of very easy access, and much delighted to see and be seen; and this happy temper, which in the highest degree gratified his people's vanity, did him more service with his loving subjects | than all his other virtues, though it must be confessed he had many. He delighted, though a mighty king, to give and take a jest as they say and a prince of this fortunate disposition, who were inclined to make an ill use of his power, may have any thing of his people, be it never so much to their prejudice. But this good king made generally a very innocent use, as to the public, of this ensnaring temper; for, it is The equestrian statue of Charles IL in Stocks-market, well known, he pursued pleasure more than ambition. made for John Sobieski, King of Poland; but by some acc erected at the sole charge of Sir Robert Viner, was originally He seemed to glory in being the first man at cock-dent it had been left on the workman's hands. To save time matches, horse-races, balls, and plays; he appeared highly delighted on those occasions, and never failed to warm and gladden the heart of every spectator. He more than once dined with his good citizens of London on their lord-mayor's day, and did so the year that Sir Robert Viner was mayor. Sir Robert was a very loyal man, and, if you will allow the ex-moment."
and expense, the Polander was converted into a Britain, sod the Turk underneath his horse into Oliver Cromwell com plete the compliment. Unfortunately the turban on the Turk's head was overlooked, and left an undeniable proof of this story. See Stowe's Survey, &c. ed. 1755, p. 517, vol. 1. and Ralph's Review, &c. ed. 1736, p. 9.
meditation, Charles II. could not act the part of a king for a + Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, who said, that " on a pre
la sleep, when faucy is 1;t loose to play..
With wonted chimes of jingling verse delight.
vity till they were laid in the golden balance, insomuch that I could not guess which was light or heavy whilst I held them in my hand. This I found by several instances: for upon my laying a weight in one of the scales, which was inscribed with the word "Eternity," though I threw in that of Time, Prosperity, Affliction, Wealth, Poverty, Interest, Success, with many other weights which in my hand seemed very ponderous, they were not able to stir the opposite balance; nor could they have prevailed, though assisted with the weight of the Sun the Stars, and the Earth.
"I was lately entertaining myself with comparing Homer's balance, in which Jupiter is represented as weighing the fates of Hector and Achilles, with a passage of Virgil, wherein that deity is introduced as weighing the fates of Turnus and Eneas. I Upon emptying the scales, I laid several titles then considered how the same way of thinking preand honours, with Pomps, Triumphs, and many vailed in the eastern parts of the world, as in those weights of the like nature, in one of them; and seenoble passages of Scripture, wherein we are told, ing a little glittering weight lie by me, I threw it that the great king of Babylon, the day before his accidentally into the other scale, when, to my great death, had been "weighed in the balance, and been surprise, it proved so exact a counterpoise, that it found wanting." In other places of the holy wri-kept the balance in an equilibrium. This little tings, the Almighty is described as weighing the glittering weight was inscribed upon the edges of it mountains in scales, making the weight for the with the word "Vanity." I found there were scwinds, knowing the balancings of the clouds; and veral other weights which were equally heavy, and in others as weighing the actions of men, and laying I tried, as Avarice and Poverty, Riches and Conexact counterpoises to one another: a few of them their calamities together in a balance. Milton, as I have observed in a former paper, had an eye to se- tent, with some others. veral of these foregoing instances in that beautiful description, wherein he represents the archangel and the evil spirit as addressing themselves for the combat, but parted by the balance which appeared in the heavens, and weighed the consequences of such a battle.
The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
Hung forth in heav'n his golden scales, yet seen
The katter quick up flew, and kick'd the beam;
"Satan, I know thy strength, and thow know'st mine; Neither our own, but giv'n. "What folly then
To boast what arms can do, since thine no more
And read thy lot in yon celestial sign,
There were likewise several weights that were of
the same figure, and seemed to correspond with each other, but were entirely different when thrown into and Learning, Wit and Vivacity, Superstition and the scales; as Religion and Hypocrisy, Pedantry Devotion, Gravity and Wisdom, with many others. I observed one particular weight lettered on both sides: and, upon applying myself to the reading of it, I found on one side written, " In the dialect of men," and underneath it, "Calamities:" on the other side was written, "In the language of the gods," and underneath, "Blessings." I found the intrinsic value of this weight to be much greater than I imagined, for it overpowered Health, Wealth, Good-fortune, and many other weights, which were much more ponderous in my hand than the other.
There is a saying among the Scotch, that an ounce of mother-wit is worth a pound of clergy: I was sensible of the truth of this saying, when i saw
Where thou art weighed, and shewn how light, how weak, the difference between the weight of Natural Parts
If thou resist." The fiend look'd up, and knew and that of Learning. The observations which I His moanted scale aloft; nor more; but fled made upon these two weights opened to me a new Muri'ring, and with him fled the shades of night. field of discoveries; for, notwithstanding the weight These several amusing thoughts, having taken of the Natural Parts was much heavier than that of possession of my mind some time before I went to Learning, I observed that it weighed a hundred sleep, and mingling themselves with my ordinary times heavier than it did before, when I put Learnideas, raised in my imagination a very odd kind of ing into the same scale with it. I made the same vision. I was, methought, replaced in my study, observation upon Faith and Morality; for, notwithand seated in my elbow chair, where I had indulged standing the latter outweighed the former separately, the foregoing speculations with my lamp burning by it received a thousand times more additional weight me as usual. Whilst I was here meditating on se- from its conjunction with the former, than what it veral subjects of morality, and considering the na-had by itself. This odd phenomenon showed itself ture of many virtues and vices, as materials for those in other particulars, as in Wit and Judgment, discourses with which I daily entertain the public, Philosophy and Religion, Justice and Humanity, I saw, methought, a pair of golden scales hanging by a chain of the same metal, over the table that stood before me; when, on a sudden, there were great heaps of weights thrown down on each side of them. I found, upon examining these weights, they showed the value of every thing that is in esteem among men. I made an essay of them, by putting the weight of wisdom in one scale, and that of riches in another: upon which, the latter, to show its comparative lightness, immediately flew up and kicked the beam.
But, before I proceed, I must inform my reader, that these weights did not exert their natural gra
Zeal and Charity, depth of Sense and perspicuity of Style, with innumerable other particulars too long to be mentioned in this paper.
As a dream seldom fails of dashing seriousness with impertinence, mirth with gravity, methought I made several other experiments of a more ludicrous nature, by one of which I found that an English octavo was very often heavier than a French folio; and, by another, that an old Greek or Latin author weighed down a whole library of moderns. Seeing one of the Spectators lying by me, I had it into one of the scales, and flung a two-penny piece into the other. The reader will not inquire into the event,
if he remembers the first trial which i have recorded
I made many other experiments; and, though I have not room for them all in this day's speculation, I may perhaps reserve them for another. I shall only add, that, upon my awaking, I was sorry to find my golden scales vanished; but resolved for the future to learn this lesson from them, not to despise or value any things for their appearances, but to regulate my esteem and passions towards them according to their real and intrinsic value.-C.
No. 464.] FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 1712.
Sobrius aula.-HOR. 2 Od. x. 5.
verty is apt to betray a man into envy, riches into arrogance. Poverty is too often attended with fraud, vicious compliance, repining, murmur, and discontent; riches expose a man to pride and luxury, a foolish elation of heart and too great a fondness for the present world. In short, the middle condition is most eligible to the man who would improve himself in virtue; as I have before shown, it is the most advantageous for the gaining of knowledge. It was upon this consideration that Agur founded his prayer, which, for the wisdom of it, is recorded in holy writ. "Two things have I required of thee, deny me them not before I die. Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed ine with food convenient for me: lest I be full and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain."
I shall fill the remaining part of my paper with a very pretty allegory, which is wrought into a play by Aristophanes, the Greek comedian. It seems originally designed as a satire upon the rich, though, in some parts of it, it is, like the foregoing discourse, a kind of comparison between wealth and poverty.
Chremylus, who was an old and a good man, and withal exceeding poor, being desirous to leave some riches to his son, consults the oracle of Apollo apon the subject. The oracle bids him follow the first man he should see upon his going out of the temple. The person he chanced to see was to appearance an old blind sordid man, but, upon his following him from place to place, he at last found, by his own To baulk the envy of a princely seat.-NORRIS. confession, that he was Plutus the god of riches, I AM wonderfully pleased when I meet with any and that he was just come out of the house of a passage in an old Greek and Latin author, that is miser. Plutus further told him, that when he was not blown upon, and which I have never met with a boy, he used to declare, that as soon as he came in a quotation. Of this kind is a beautiful saying to age he would distribute wealth to no one but virin Theognis: "Vice is covered by wealth, and virtuous and just men; upon which Jupiter, considertue by poverty;" or, to give it in the verbal trans-ing the pernicious consequences of such a resolu lation, "Among men there are some who have their tion, took his sight away from him, and left him to vices concealed by wealth, and others who have their stroll about the world in the blind condition wherein virtues concealed by poverty." Every man's obser- Chremylus beheld him. With much ado Chremylus vation will supply him with instances of rich men, prevailed upon him to go to his house, where he met who have several faults and defects that are over- an old woman in a tattered raiment, who had been looked, if not entirely hidden, by means of their his guest for many years, and whose name was Poriches; and, I think, we cannot find a more natural verty. The old woman refusing to turn out so easily description of a poor man, whose merits are lost in as he would have her, he threatened to banish her his poverty, than that in the words of the wise man: not only from his own house, but out of all Greece, "There was a little city, and few men within it, if she made any more words upon the matter. Pu and there came a great king against it, and besieged verty on this occasion pleads her cause very notably, it, and built great bulwarks against it. Now there and represents to her old landlord, that, should she was found in it a poor wise man, and he, by his wis-be driven out of the country, all their trades, arts, dom, delivered the city; yet no man remembered and sciences, would be driven out with her; and that same poor man. Then said I, wisdom is better that, if every one was rich, they would never be than strength; nevertheless, the poor man's wisdom supplied with those pomps, ornaments, and conve is despised, and his words are not heard." niences of life, which made riches desirable. Si The middle condition seems to be the most advan-likewise represented to him the several advantages tageously situated for the gaining of wisdom. Po-which she bestowed upon her votaries in regard to verty turns our thoughts too much upon the supplying of our wants, and riches upon enjoying our superfluities; and, as Cowley has said in another case, It is hard for a man to keep a steady eye upon truth, who is always in a battle or a triumph."
their shape, their health, and their activity, by preserving them from gouts, dropsies, unwieldiness, and intemperance. But whatever she had to say for herself, she was at last forced to troop off. Chre mylus immediately considered how he might restore Plutus to his sight; and, in order to it, conveyed him to the temple of Esculapius, who was famous
If we regard poverty and wealth, as they are apt to produce virtues or vices in the mind of man, one may observe that there is a set of each of these grow-for cures and miracles of this nature. By this means, ing out of poverty, quite different from that which the deity recovered his eyes, and began to make a rises out of wealth. Humility and patience, indus- right use of them, by enriching every one that was try and temperance, are very often the good quali- distinguished by piety towards the gods, and justice ties of a poor man. Humanity and good-nature, towards men; and at the same time by taking away magnanimity and a sense of honour, are as often his gifts from the impious and undeserving. This the qualifications of the rich. On the contrary, po-produces several merry incidents, till in the last act
Mercury descends with great complaints from the great conference which was managed between the gods, that since the good men were grown rich, most learned among the Protestants and Papists they had received no sacrifices; which is confirmed in the reign of Queen Mary. This venerable old by a priest of Jupiter, who enters with a remon- man, knowing how his abilities were impaired by strance, that since this late innovation he was re-age, and that it was impossible for him to recollect duced to a starving condition, and could not live all those reasons which had directed, him in the upon his office. Chremylus, who in the beginning choice of his religion, left his companions, who of the play was religious in his poverty, concludes were in the full possession of their parts and learnit with a proposal, which was relished by all the ing, to baffle and confound their antagonists by the good men who were now grown rich as well as him-force of reason. As for himself, he only repeated self, that they should carry Plutus in a solemn pro- to his adversaries the articles in which he firmly cession to the temple, and instal him in the place of believed, and in the profession of which he was deJupiter. This allegory instructed the Athenians in termined to die. It is in this manner that the matwo points; first, as it vindicated the conduct of thematician proceeds upon propositions which he Providence in its ordinary distributions of wealth; has once demonstrated; and though the demonstra and, in the next place, as it showed the great ten- tion may have slipped out of his memory, he builds dency of riches to corrupt the morals of those who upon the truth, because he knows it was demonpossessed them. strated. This rule is absolutely necessary for weaker minds, and in some measure for men of the greatest abilities; but to these last I would propose, in the second place, that they should lay up in their inemories, and always keep by them in readiness, those arguments which appear to them of the greatest strength, and which cannot be got over by all the doubts and cavils of infidelity.
No. 465.] SATURDAY, AUGUST 23, 1712.
Qua ratione queas traducere leniter ævum;
How you may glide with gentle ease
But, in the third place, there is nothing which strengthens faith more than morality. Faith and morality naturally produce each other. A man is quickly convinced of the truth of religion, who finds For things but little worth your care.-FRANCIS. it is not against his interest that it should be true. HAVING endeavoured in my last Saturday's pa- The pleasure he receives at present, and the happer to show the great excellency of faith, I shall piness which he promises himself from it hereafter, here consider what are the proper means of strength-will both dispose him very powerfully to give credit ening and confirming it in the mind of man. Those to it, according to the ordinary observation, that we who delight in reading books of controversy, which are easy to believe what we wish. It is very cer are written on both sides of the question on points tain, that a man of sound reason cannot forbear of faith, do very seldom arrive at a fixed and settled closing with religion upon an impartial examina habit of it. They are one day entirely convinced tion of it; but at the same time it is as certain that of its important truths, and the next meet with faith is kept alive in us, and gathers strength from something that shakes and disturbs them. The practice more than from speculation. doubt which was laid revives again, and shows itself There is still another method, which is more perin new difficulties, and that generally for this rea-suasive than any of the former; and that is an habison, because the mind, which is perpetually tost in tual adoration of the Supreme Being, as well in concontroversies and disputes, is apt to forget the rea- stant acts of mental worship, as in outward forms. soas which had once set it at rest, and to be dis-The devout man does not only believe, but feels quieted with any former perplexity, when it appears there is a Deity. He has actual sensations of him; in a new shape, or is started by a different hand. his experience concurs with his reason; he sees As nothing is more laudible than an inquiry after him more and more in all his intercourses with him, truth, so nothing is more irrational than to pass and even in this life almost loses his faith in conaway our whole lives, without determining our-viction. selves one way or other, in those points which are The last method which I shall mention for the of the last importance to us. There are indeed many giving life to a man's faith, is frequent retirement things from which we may withhold our assent; but, from the world, accompanied with religious mediin cases by which we are to regulate our lives, it is tation. When a man thinks of any thing in the the greatest absurdity to be wavering and unset- darkness of the night, whatever deep impressions it tled, without closing with that side which appears may make in his mind, they are apt to vanish as the most safe and the most probable. The first soon as the day breaks about him. The light and rule, therefore, which I shall lay down, is this; that noise of the day, which are perpetually soliciting when by reading or discourse we find ourselves his senses, and calling off his attention, wear out of thoroughly convinced of the truth of any article, and his mind the thoughts that imprinted themselves in of the reasonableness of our belief in it, we should it, with so much strength, during the silence and never after suffer ourselves to call it in question. darkness of the night. A man finds the same difWe may perhaps forget the arguments which occa- ference as to himself in a crowd and in a solitude soned our conviction, but we ought to remember the the mind is stunned and dazzled amidst that variety: strength they had with us, and therefore still to of objects which press upon her in a great city. She retain the conviction which they once produced. cannot apply herself to the consideration of those This is no more than what we do in every common things which are of the utmost concern to her. The at or science; nor is it possible to act otherwise, cares or pleasures of the world strike in with every considering the weakness and limitation of our in-thought, and a multitude of vicious examples gives telectual faculties. It was thus that Latimer, one a kind of justification to our folly. In our retire the glorious army of martyrs, who introduced ments every thing disposes us to be serious, le reformation in England, behaved himself in that courts and cities we are entertained with the worksta