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Coffee-house, near the MR. SPECTATOP,
Temple, Aug. 12, 1711. • Here's a young gentleman that sings opera-tunes or whistles in a full house. Pray let him know that he has no right to act here as if he were in an empty-room. Be pleased to divide the spaces of a public room, and certify whistlers, singers, and common orators, that are heard farther than their portion of the room comes to, that the law is open, and that there is an equity which will relieve us from such as interrupt us in our lawful discourse, as much as against such who stop us on the road. I take these persons, Mr. Spectator, to be such trespassers as the officer in your stage-coach, and am of the same sentiment with counsellor Ephraim*. It is true the young man is rich, and, as the vulgar say, needs not care for any body; but sure that is no authority for him to go whistle where he pleases.
I am, SIR,
Your most humble servant.
P. S. I have chambers in the Temple, and here are students that learn upon the hautboy'; pray desire the Benchers, that all lawyers who are proficients in wind-music may lodge to the Thames.'
MR. SPECTATOR, We are a company of young women who pass our time very much together, and obliged by the mercenary humour of the men to be as mercenarily inclined as they are There visits among us an old bachelor whom each of us has a mind to. The fel. low is rich, and knows he may have any of us, therefore is particular to none, but excessively ill-bred. His pleasantry consists in romping, he snatches kisses by surprisé, puts his hands in our necks, tears our fans, robs us of ribands, forces letters out of our hands, looks in to any of our papers, and a thousand other rudenesses. Now what I will desire of you is, to acquaint him, by printing this, that if he does not
* See No 132.
marry one of us very suddenly, we have all agreed, the next time he pretends to be merry, to affront him, and use him like a clown as he is. In the name of the sisterhood I take
and am, as they all are,
" Your constant reader and well-wisher.'
( MR. SPECTATOR, "I AND several others of your female readers, have conformed ourselves to your rules, even to our very dress. There is not one of us but has reduced our outward petticoat to its ancient sizeable circumference, though indeed we retain still a quilted one underneath ; which makes us not altogether unconforınable to the fashion ; but it is on condition, Mr. Spectator extends not his censure so far. But we find you men secretly approve our practice, by imitating our pyramidical form. The skirt of your fashionable coats forms as large a circumference as our petticoats; as these are set out with whalebone, so are those with wire, to increase and sustain the bunch of fold that hangs down on each side ; and the hat, I perceive, is decreased in just proportion to our head-dresses. We make a regular figure, but I defy your mathematics to give name to the form you appear in. Your arehitecture is mere gothic, and betrays a worse genius than ours; therefore if you are partial to your own sex, I shall be less than I am now "Your humble servant.'
NO. 146. FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 1711.
Nemo vir magnus sine aliquo afflatu divino unquam fuit.
All great men are in some degree inspir'd. WE
e know the highest pleasure our minds are capable of enjoying with composure, when we read sublime thoughts communicated to us by men of great genius and eloquence. Such is the entertainment we meet within the philosophic parts of Cicero's writings. Truth and good sense have there so charming a dress, that they could hardly be more agreeably represented with the addition of poetical fiction, and the power of numbers. This ancient author, and a modern one, have fallen into my hands within these few days; and the impressions they have left upon me, have at the present quite spoiled me for a merry fellow, The modern is that admirable writer the author of The Theory of the Earth. The subjects with which I have lately been entertained in them, both bear a near affinity; they are upon inquiries into hereafter, and the thoughts of the latter seein to me to be raised above those of the former, in proportion to his advantages of scripture and revelation. If I had a
I mind to it, I could not at present talk of any thing else; therefore I shall translate a passage in the one, and transcribe a paragraph out of the other, for the speculation of this day. Cicero tells us*, that Plato reports Socrates, upon receiving his sentence, to have spoken to his judges in the following manner :
I have great hopes, () my judges, that it is infinitely to my advantage that I am sent to death : for it must of necessity be, that one of these two things must be the consequence. Death must take away all these senses, or convey mne to another life. If all sense is to be taken away, and death is no more
* Tusculan Questions, Book 1.
than that profound sleep without dreams, in which we are sometimes buried, oh, heavens ! how desirable is it to die ! How many days do we know in life preferable to such a state ? But if it be true that death is but a passage to places which they who lived before us do now inhabit, how much still happier is it to go from those who call themselves judges to appear before those that really are such ; before Minos, Rhadamanthus, Æacus, and Triptolemus, and to meet men who have lived with justice and truth? Is this, do you think, no happy journey ; Do you think it nothing to speak with Orpheus, Musæus, Homer, and Hesiod? I would, indeed, suffer many deaths to enjoy these things. With what particular delight should I talk to Palamedes, Ajax, and others, who like me have suffered by the iniquity of their judges. I should examine the wisdom of that great prince, who carried such mighty forces against Troy ; and argue with Ulysses and Sisyphus, upon difficult points, as I have in conversation here, without being in danger of being condemned. But let not those among you who bave pronounced me an innocent man be afraid of death. No harm can arrive at a good man, whether dead or living ; his affairs are always under the direction of the gods; nor will I believe the fate which is allot:ed to me myself this day to have arrived by chance; nor have I aught to say either against my judges or accusers, but that they thought they did me an injury. But I detain you too long, it is time that I retire to death, and you to your affairs of life; which of us has the better, is known to the gods, but to no mortal man.'
The divine Socrates is here represented in a figure worthy his great wisdom and philosophy, worthy the greatest mere man that ever breathed.
But the modern discourse is written upon a subject no less than the dissolution of nature itself. Oh how glorious is the old age of that great man, who has spent his time in such contemplations as has made this being, what only it should be, an education for heaven! He has, according to the lights of reason and revelation, which seemed to him clearest, traced the steps of Omnipotence. He has, with a celestial ambition, as far as it is consistent with humility and devotion, examined the ways of provi- . dence, from the creation to the dissolution of the visible world. How pleasing must have been the speculation, to observe Nature and Providence move together, the physical and moral world march the same pace; to observe paradise and eternal spring the seat of innocence, troubled seasons and angry skies the portion of wickedness and vice. When this admirable author has reviewed all that has past, or is to come, which relates to the habitable world, and run through the whole fate of it, how could a guardian angel, that had attended it through all its courses or changes, speak more emphatically at the end of his charge, than does our author when he makes, as it were, a funeral oration over this globe, looking to the point were it once stood ?
. Let us only, if you please, to take leave of this subject, reflect upon this occasion on the vanity and transient glory of this habitable world. How by the force of one element breaking loose upon the rest, all the vanities of nature, all the works of art, all the labours of men are reduced to nothing: All that we admired and adored before as great and magnificent, is obliterated or vanished; and another form and face of things, plain, simple, and every where the same, overspreads the whole earth. Where are now the great empires of the world, and their great imperial cities? Their pillars, trophies, and monuments of glory? Shew me where they stood, read the inscription, tell me the victor's name. What remains, what impressions, what difference, or distinction, do you see in this mass of fire ? Rome itself, eternal Rome, the great city, the empress of the world, whose domination and superstition, artcient and modern, make a great part of the history of this earth, what is become of her now. She laid