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I HAPPENED the other day, as my way is, to stroll into a little coffee-house beyond Aldgate; and as I sat there, two or three very plain sensible men were talking of the Spectator. One said, he had that morning drawn the great benefit ticket; another wished he had; but a third shook his head and said, "It was a pity that the writer of that paper was such a sort of man, that it was no great matter whether he had it or no. He is, it seems," said the good man, "the most extravagant creature in the world; has run through vast gams, and yet been in continual want a man, for all he talks so well of economy, unfit for any of the offices of life by reason of his profuseness. It would be an unhappy thing to be his wife, his child, or his friend; and yet he talks as well of those duties of life as any one." Much reflection has brought me to so easy a contempt for every thing which is false, that this heavy accusation gave me no manner of uneasiness; but at the same time it threw me into deep thought upon the subject of fame in general; and I could not but pity such as were so weak, as to value what the common people say out of their own talkative temper to the advantage or diminution of those whom they mention, without being moved either by malice or good-will. It will be too long to expatiate upon the sense all mankind have of fame, and the inexpressible pleasure which there is in the approbation of worthy men, to all who are capable of worthy actions; but methinks one may divide the general word fame, into three different species, as it regards the different orders of mankind who have anything to do with it. Fame therefore may be divided into glory, which respects the hero; reputation, which is preserved by every gentleman; and credit, which must be supported by every tradesman. These possessions in fame are dearer than life to those characters of then, or rather are the life of these characters. Glory, while the hero pursues great and noble enterprises, is impregnable; and all the assailants of his renown do but show their pain and impatience of its brightness, without throwing the least shade upon it. If the foundation of a high
man has his defense in his own arm; and reproach is soon checked, put out of countenance, and overtaken by disgrace.
The most unhappy of all men, and the most exposed to the malignity or wantonness of the common voice, is the trader. Credit is undone in whispers. The tradesman's wound is received from one who is more private and more cruel than the ruffian with the lantern and dagger. The manner of repeating a man's name,-As: "Mr. Cash, Oh! do you leave your money at his shop? Why, do you know Mr. Searoom? He is indeed a general merchant." I say, I have seen, from the iteration of a man's name hiding one thought of him, and explaining what you hide, by saying something to his advantage when you speak, a merchant hurt in his credit; and him who, every day he lived, literally added to the value of his native country, undone by one who was only a burden and a blemish to it. Since everybody who knows the world is sensible of this great evil, how careful ought a man to be in his language of a merchant? It may possibly be in the power of a very shallow creature to lay the ruin of the best family in the most opulent city; and the more so, the more highly he deserves of his country; that is to say, the further he places his wealth out of his hands, to draw home that of another climate.
In this case an ill word may change plenty into want, and by a rash sentence a free and generous fortune may in a few days be reduced to beggary. How little does a giddy prater imagine, that an idle phrase to the disfavor of a merchant, may be as pernicious in the consequence, as the forgery of a deed to bar an inheritance would be to a gentleman? Land stands where it did before a gentleman was calumniated, and the state of a great action is just as it was before calumny was offered to diminish it, and there is time, place, and occasion expected to unravel all that is contrived against those characters: but the trader who is ready only for probable demands upon him, can have no armor against the inquisitive, the malicious and the envious, who are prepared to fill the cry to his dishonor. Fire and sword are slow engines of destruction, in comparison of the babbler in the case of the merchant.
For this reason, I thought it an inimitable piece of humanity of a gentleman of my acquaintance, who had great variety of affairs, and used to talk with warmth enough against gentlemen by whom he thought himself ill dealt with; that he would never let anything be urged against a merchant (with whom he had any difference) except in a court of justice. He used to say, that to speak ill of a merchant was to begin his suit with judgment and execution. One cannot, I think, say more on this occasion, than to repeat, that the merit of the merchant is above that of all other subjects; for while he is untouched in his credit, his hand-writing is a more portable coin for the service of his fellow-citizens, and his word the gold of Ophir to the country wherein he resides.-T.
name be virtue and service, all that is offered No. 219.] SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1711. against it is but rumor, which is too short-lived to stand up in competition with glory, which is everlasting.
Reputation, which is the portion of every man who would live with the elegant and knowing part of mankind, is as stable as glory, if it be as well founded; and the common cause of human society is thought concerned when we hear a man of good behavior calumniated. Beside which, according to a prevailing custom among us, every
Vix ea nostra voco.
OVID. Met., xiii, 141.
THERE are but few men who are not ambitious
of distinguishing themselves in the nation or country where they live, and of growing considerable among those with whom they converse. There is a kind of grandeur and respect, which the meanest and most insignificant part of mankind endeavor to procure in the little circle of their
friends and acquaintance. The poorest mechanic, nay, the man who lives upon common alms, gets him his set of admirers, and delights in that superiority which he enjoys over those who are in some respects beneath him. This ambition, which is natural to the soul of man, might, methinks, receive a very happy turn; and, if it were rightly directed, contribute as much to a person's advantage, as it generally does to his uneasiness and disquiet.
I shall therefore put together some thoughts on this subject, which I have not met with in other writers; and shall set them down as they have occurred to me, without being at the pains to connect or methodize them.
All superiority and pre-eminence that one man oan have over another, may be reduced to the notion of quality, which, considered at large, is either, that of fortune, body, or mind. The first is that which consists in birth, title, or riches: it is the most foreign to our natures, and what we can the least call our own of any of the three kinds of quality. In relation to the body, quality arises from health, strength, or beauty; which are nearer to us, and more a part of ourselves than the former. Quality, as it regards the mind, has its rise from knowedge or virtue; and is that which is more essential to us, and more intimately united with us than either of the other two.
The quality of fortune, though a man has less reason to value himself upon it than on that of the body or mind, is however the kind of quality which makes the most shining figure in the eye of the world.
As virtue is the most reasonable and genuine source of honor, we generally find in titles an intimation of some particular merit that should recommend men to the high stations which they possess. Holiness is ascribed to the pope; majesty to kings: serenity or mildness of temper to princes; excellence or perfection to ambassadors; grace to archbishops; honor to peers; worship or venerable behavior to magistrates; and reverence, which is of the same import as the former, to the inferior clergy.
In the founders of great families, such attributes of honor are generally correspondent with the virtues of the person to whom they are applied; but in the descendants, they are too often the marks rather of grandeur than of merit. The stamp and denomination still continues, but the intrinsic value is frequently lost.
veral heathen, as well as Christian authors, u the same kind of metaphor, have represented world as an inn, which was only designed to nish us with accommodations in this our pass It is therefore very absurd to think of settin our rest before we come to our journey's end, not rather to take care of the reception we there meet with, than to fix our thoughts on little conveniences and advantages which we joy one above another in the way to it.
Epictetus makes use of another kind of allu which is very beautiful, and wonderfully prop incline us to be satisfied with the post in w Providence has placed us. We are here, say as in a theater, where every one has a part all to him. The great duty which lies upon a n to act his part in perfection. We may indeed that our part does not suit us, and that we d act another better. But this, says the ph pher, is not our business. All that we are cerned in is to excel in the part which is give If it be an improper one, the fault is not i but in Him who has cast our several parts, a the great disposer of the drama.*
The part that was acted by this philos himself was but a very indifferent one, fo lived and died a slave. His motive to con ment in this particular, receives a very grea forcement from the above-mentioned consi tion, if we remember that our parts in the world will be new cast, and that mankind w there ranged in different stations of super and pre-eminence, in proportion as they have excelled one another in virtue, and perform their several posts of life the duties which b to them.
There are many beautiful passages in the apocryphal book, entitled, The Wisdom of mon, to set forth the vanity of honor, and the temporal blessings which are in so great r among men, and to comfort those who hav the possession of them. It represents in warm and noble terms this advancement of a man in the other world, and the great su which it will produce among those who ar superiors in this. Then shall the righteous stand in great boldness before the face of su have afflicted him, and made no account of b bors. When they see it they shall be tro with terrible fear, and shall be amazed a strangeness of his salvation, so far beyond al they looked for. And they repenting and g The death-bed shows the emptiness of titles in ing for anguish of spirit, shall say within a true light. A poor dispirited sinner lies tremb-selves, This was he whom we had some ti ling under the apprehensions of the state he is entering on: and is asked by a grave attendant how his holiness does? Another hears himself addressed to under the title of highness or excellency, who lies under such mean circumstances of mortality as are the disgrace of human nature. Titles at such a time look rather like insults and mockery than respect.
The truth of it is, honors are in this world under no regulation; true quality is neglected, virtue is oppressed, and vice triumphant. The last day will rectify this disorder, and assign to every one a station suitable to the dignity of his character. Ranks will be then adjusted, and precedency set right.
Methinks we should have an ambition, if not to advance ourselves in another world, at least to preserve our post in it, and outshine our inferiors in virtue here, that they may not be put above us in a state which is to settle the distinction for eternity.
Men in Scripture are called strangers and sojourners upon earth, and life a pilgrimage. Se
derision, and a proverb of reproach. We accounted his life madness, and his end without honor. How is he numbered amon children of God, and his lot among the sain
If the reader would see the description of that is passed away in vanity and among shadows of pomp and greatness, he may, very finely drawn in the same place. I meantime, since it is necessary, in the pr constitution of things, that order and distin should be kept up in the world, we shou happy if those who enjoy the upper stations would endeavor to surpass others in virt much as in rank, and by their humanity and descension make their superiority easy and a able to those who are beneath them, and if, contrary, those who are in meaner posts of would consider how they may better their c tion hereafter, and by a just deference and mission to their superiors, make them hap
*Vid. Epicteti Enchirid., cap. 23.
those blessings with which Providence has thought fit to distinguish them.-C.
and his ring to a sharper at play, and he has not attempted to make a verse since.
"But of all contractions or expedients for wit, I admire that of an ingenious projector whose book I have seen. This virtuoso being a mathemati
No. 220.] MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1711. cian, has, according to his taste, thrown the art of
Rumoresque serit varios
A thousand rumors spreads.
VIRG. Æn., xii, 228.
poetry into a short problem, and contrived tables, by which any one, without knowing a word of grammar or sense, may to his great comfort be able to compose, or rather to erect, Latin verses.* His tables are a kind of poetical logarithms, which "WHY will you apply to my father for my love? being divided into several squares, and all inscribed with so many incoherent words, appear to I cannot help it if he will give you my person; the eye somewhat like a fortune-telling screen. but I assure you it is not in his power, nor even What a joy must it be to the unlearned operator to in my own, to give you my heart. Dear Sir, do find that these words being carefully collected and but consider the ill-consequence of such a match; written down in order according to the problem, start you are fifty-five, I twenty-one. You are a man of themselves into hexameter and pentameter of business, and mightily conversant in arithmetic and making calculations; be pleased therefore verses? A friend of mine, who is a student in astroto consider what proportion your spirits bear to logy, meeting with this book, performed the opermine; and when you have made a just estimate of ation, by the rules there set down; he showed his the necessary decay on one side, and the redund-verses to the next of his acquaintance, who hapance on the other, you will act accordingly. This perhaps is such language as you may not expect from a young lady; but my happiness is at stake, and I must talk plainly. I mortally hate you; and so, as you and my father agree, you may take me or leave me: but if you will be so good as never to see me more, you will forever oblige, 'Sir, your most humble Servant,
"There are so many artifices and modes of false wit, and such a variety of humor discovers itself among its votaries, that it would be impossible to exhaust so fertile a subject, if you would think fit to resume it. The following instances may, if you think fit, be added by way of appendix to your discourses on that subject.
"That feat of poetical activity mentioned by Horace, of an author who could compose two hundred verses while he stood upon one leg, has been imitated (as I have heard) by a modern writer; who, priding himself on the hurry of his invention, thought it no small addition to his fame to have each piece minuted with the exact number of hours or days it cost him in the composition. He could taste no praise until he had acquainted you in how short space of time he had deserved it; and was not so much led to an ostentation of his art, as of his dispatch:
-Accipe, si vis,
Accipe jam tabulas; detur nobis locus, hora, Custodes: videamus uter plus scribere possit. HOR. 1 Sat. iv, 14. Here's pen and ink, and time, and place; let's try, Who can write most, and fastest, you or I.-CREECH. "This was the whole of his ambition; and therefore I cannot but think the flights of this rapid author very proper to be opposed to those laborious nothings which you have observed were the delight of the German wits, and in which they so happily got rid of such a tedious quantity
of their time.
pened to understand Latin; and being informed
would be that which the late Duke of Bucking-
"I often dine at a gentleman's house where there are two young ladies in themselves very agreeable, but very cold in their behavior, because they understand me for a person that is to break my mind,' as the phrase is, very suddenly to one of them. But I take this way to acquaint them that I am not in love with either of them, in hopes they will use me with that agreeable freedom and indifference which they do all the rest of the world, and not to drink to one another only, but sometimes cast a kind look, with their service to, "Sir, your humble Servant."
"I am a young gentleman, and take it for a piece of good-breeding to pull off my hat when I see anything peculiarly charming in any are that whether I know her or not. there is nothing ludicrous or arch in my manner, as if I were to betray a woman into a salutation by way of jest or humor; and yet except I am acquainted with her, I find she ever takes it for a rule, that she is to look upon this civility and homage I pay to her supposed merit, as an impertinence or forwardness which she is to observe and neglect. I wish, Sir, you would settle the business of salutation; and please to inform me how I shall resist the sudden impulse I have to be civil to what gives an idea of merit; or tell
"I have known a gentleman of another turn of humor, who, despising the name of an author, never printed his works, but contracted his talent, and by the help of a very fine diamond which he wore on his little finger, was a considerable poet upon glass. He had a very good epigrammatic *This is no fiction of the Spectator's, as might naturally be wit; and there was not a parlor or tavern window where he visited or dined for some years, which did not receive some sketches or memorials of it. It was his misfortune at last to lose his genius
imagined. There was a projector of this kind named John Peter, who published a very thin pamphlet in 8vo., entitled, artificial Versifying, a New Way to make Latin verses, Lond.,
† Viz: November 26, 1703.
Usque ad malaHOR., Sat. 3, 1. 1, v. 6. From eggs, which first set are upon the board, To apples ripe, with which it last is stor❜d. WHEN I have finished any of my speculations it is my method to consider which of the ancient authors have touched upon the subject that I treat of. By this means I meet with some celebrated thought upon it, or a thought of my own expressed in better words, or some similitude for the illustration of my subject. This is what gives birth to the motto of a speculation, which I rather choose to take out of the poets than the prosewriters, as the former generally give a finer turn to a thought than the latter, and by couching it in few words, and in harmonious numbers, make it more portable to the memory.
My reader is therefore sure to meet with at least one good line in every paper, and very often finds his imagination entertained by a hint that awakens in his memory some beautiful passage of a classic author.
It was a saying of an ancient philosopher, which I find some of our writers have ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, who perhaps might have taken occasion to repeat it, that a good face is a letter of recommendation. It naturally makes the beholders inquisitive into the person who is the owner of it, and generally prepossesses them in his favor. A handsome motto has the same effect. Beside that it always gives a supernumerary beauty to a paper, and is sometimes in a manner necessary, when the writer is engaged in what may appear a paradox to vulgar minds, as it shows that he is supported by good authorities, and is not singular in his opinion.
I must confess the motto is of little use to an unlearned reader, for which reason I consider it only as "a word to the wise." But as for my unlearned friends, if they cannot relish the motto, I take care to make provision for them in the body of my paper. If they do not understand the sign that is hung out, they know very well by it that they may meet with entertainment in the house; and I think I was never better pleased than with a plain man's compliment, who upon his friend's telling him that he would like the Spectator much better if he understood the motto, replied that "good wine needs no bush."
I have heard of a couple of preachers in a country town, who endeavored which should outshine one another, and draw together the greatest congregation. One of them being well versed in the Fathers, used to quote every now and then a Latin sentence to his illiterate hearers, who it seems found themselves so edified by it, that they flocked in greater numbers to this learned man than to his rival. The other finding his congregation mouldering every Sunday, and hearing at length what was the occasion of it, resolved to give his parish a little Latin in his turn; but being
*Aristotle, or, according to some Diogenes. See Diogenes Laertius, lib. v, cap. 1, n. 11.
unacquainted with any of the Fathers, he diges into his sermon the whole book of Qua Genus, ding however such explications to it as he thou might be for the benefit of his people. He at ward entered upon As in Præsenti, which he c verted in the same manner to the use of his pari ioners. This in a very little time thickened audience, filled his church, and routed his anta nist.
The natural love to Latin, which is so pre lent in our common people, makes me think my speculations fare never the worse among t for that little scrap which appears at the head them; and what the more encourages me in use of quotations in an unknown tongue, is, I hear the ladies, whose approbation I value than that of the whole learned world, dec themselves in a more particular manner ple with my Greek mottoes.
Designing this day's work for a disserta upon the two extremities of my paper, and ha already dispatched my motto, I shall, in the place, discourse upon those single capital let which are placed at the end of it, and which afforded great matter of speculation to the curi I have heard various conjectures upon this sub Some tell us that C is the mark of those pa that are written by the clergymen, though ot ascribe them to the club in general: that papers marked with R were written by my fri Sir Roger; that L signifies the lawyer, who have described in my second speculation; that T stands for the trader or merchant. But letter X, which is placed at the end of some of my papers, is that which has puzzled the w town, as they cannot think of any name w begins with that letter, except Xenophon Xerxes, who can neither of them be suppose have had any hand in these speculations.
In answer to these inquisitive gentlemen, have many of them made inquiries of me by ter, I must tell them the reply of an ancient losopher, who carried something hidden under cloak. A certain acquaintance desiring hin let him know what it was he covered so caref "I cover it," says he, "on purpose that you sh not know." I have made use of these obs marks for the same purpose. They are, perh little amulets or charms to preserve the p against the fascination and malice of evil e for which reason I would not have my reader prised, if hereafter he sees any of my pa marked with a Q, a Z, a Y, etc., or with the w Abracadabra.*
I shall however so far explain myself to reader, as to let him know that the letters and X, are cabalistical, and carry more int than it is proper for the world to be acquai with. Those who are versed in the philosoph Pythagoras, and swear by the Tetrarchtys, th the number four,† will know very well that number ten, which is signified by the lette (and which has so much perplexed the town), in it many particular powers; that it is called the Platonic writers the complete number; one, two, three, and four put together make the number ten; and that ten is all. But t are not mysteries for ordinary readers to b into. A man must have spent many years in
* A noted charm for agues: said to have been invent Basilides, a heretic of the second century, who taught very sublime mysteries were contained in the number (viz: not only the days of the year, but the different o of celestial beings, etc.), to which number the Hebrew le that compose the word Abracadabra, are said to amount +See Stanley's-Lives of the Philosophers, page 527, 21 1687, folio.
study before he can arrive at the knowledge of them.
We had a rabbinical divine in England, who was chaplain to the Earl of Essex, in Queen Elizabeth's time, that had an admirable head for secrets of this nature. Upon his taking the doctor of divinity's degree, he preached before the university of Cambridge, upon the first verse of the first chapter of the first book of Chronicles, "in which," says he, "you have the three following words:
'Adam, Sheth, Enosh.""
He divided this short text into many parts, and by discovering several mysteries in each word, made a most learned and elaborate discourse. The name of this profound preacher was Dr. Alabaster, of whom the reader may find a more particular account in Dr. Fuller's book of English Worthies. This instance will, I hope, convince my readers that there may be a great deal of fine writing in the capital letters which bring up the rear of my paper, and give them some satisfaction in that particular. But as for the full explication of these matters, I must refer them to time, which discovers all things.-C.
No. 222.] WEDNESDAY, NOV. 14, 1711. Cur alter fratrum, cessare, et ludere, et ungi, Præferat Herodis palmetis pinguibus
HOR. 2 Ep. ii, 133. Why, of two brothers, one his pleasure loves, Prefers his sports to Herod's fragrant groves.-CREECH.
"THERE is one thing I have often looked for in your papers, and have as often wondered to find myself disappointed; the rather, because I think it a subject every way agreeable to your design, and by being left unattempted by others, it seems reserved as a proper employment for you; I mean a disquisition, from whence it proceeds, that men of the brightest parts, and most comprehensive genius, completely furnished with talents for any province in human affairs; such as by their wise lessons of economy to others, have made it evident that they have the justest notions of life, and of true sense in the conduct of it; from what unhappy contradictious cause it proceeds, that persons thus finished by nature and by art, should so often fail in the management of that which they so well understand, and want the address to make a right application of their own rules. This is certainly a prodigious inconsistency in behavior, and makes much such a figure in morals, as a monstrous birth in naturals; with this difference only, which greatly aggravates the wonder, that it happens much more frequently: and what a blemish does it cast upon wit and learning in the general account of the world! In how disadvantageous a light does it expose them to the busy class of mankind, that there should be so many instances of persons who have so conducted their lives in spite of these transcendent advantages, as neither to be happy in themselves nor useful to their friends; when everybody sees it was entirely in their own power to be eminent in both these characters! For my part, I think there is no reflection more astonishing, than to consider one of these gentlemen spending a fair fortune, running in everybody's debt without the least apprehension of a future reckoning, and at last leaving not only his own children, but possibly those of other people, by his means, in starving circumstances; while a fellow, whom one would scarce suspect to bave a human soul, shall perhaps raise a vast es
tate out of nothing, and be the founder of a family capable of being very considerable in their country, and doing many illustrious services to it. That this observation is just, experience has put beyond all dispute. But though the fact be so evident and glaring, yet the causes of it are still in the dark; which makes me persuade myself, that it would be no unacceptable piece of entertainment to the town, to inquire into the hidden sources of so unaccountable an evil.
"I am, Sir, your most humble servant." What this correspondent wonders at, has been matter of admiration ever since there was any such thing as human life. Horace reflects upon this inconsistency very agreeably in the character of Tigellius, whom he makes a mighty pretender to economy, and tells you, you might one day hear him speak the most philosophic things imaginable concerning being contented with a little, and his contempt of everything but mere necessaries; and in half a week after spend a thousand pounds. When he says this of him with relation to expense, he describes him as unequal to himself in every other circumstance of life. Indeed, if we consider lavish men carefully, we shall find it always proceeds from a certain incapacity of possessing themselves, and finding enjoyment in their own minds. Mr. Dryden has expressed this very excellently in the character of Zimri:
A man so various that he seem'd to be
In squandering wealth was his peculiar art,
This loose state of the soul hurries the extravagant from one pursuit to another; and the reason that his expenses are greater than another's, is, that his wants are also more numerous. But what makes so many go on in this way to their lives' end, is, that they certainly do not know how contemptible they are in the eyes of the rest of mankind, or, rather, that indeed they are not so contemptible as they deserve. Tully says, it is the greatest of wickedness to lessen your paternal estate. And if a man would thoroughly consider how much worse than banishment it must be to his child, to ride by the estate which should have been his, had it not been for his father's injustice to him, he would be smitten with the reflection more deeply than can be understood by any but one who is a father. Sure there can be nothing more afflicting, than to think it had been happier for his son to have been born of any other man living than himself.
It is not perhaps much thought of, but it is certainly a very important lesson, to learn how to enjoy ordinary life, and to be able to relish your being without the transport of some passion, or gratification of some appetite. For want of this capacity, the world is filled with whetters, tipplers, cutters, sippers, and all the numerous train of those who, for want of thinking, are forced to be ever exercising their feeling or tasting. It would be hard on this occasion to mention the harmless smokers of tobacco, and takers of snuff.
The slower part of mankind, whom my correspondent wonders should get estates, are the more immediately formed for that pursuit. They can expect distant things without impatience, because they are not carried out of their way either sy violent passion, or keen appetite to anything. To