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No. 329.] TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 1711–12.
My friend Sir Roger de Coverley told me t'other night, that he had been reading my paper upon Westminster-abbey, in which, says he, there are a great many ingenious fancies. He told me at the same time, that he observed, I had promised another paper upon the tombs, and that he should be glad to go and see them with me, not having visited them since he had read history. I could not imagine at first how this came into the knight's head, till I recollected that he had been busy all last summer upon Baker's Chronicle, which he has quoted several times in his disputes with Sir Andrew Freeport since his last coming to town. Accordingly I promised to call upon him the next morning, that we might go together to the abbey.
I found the knight under the butler's hands, who always shaves him. He was no sooner dressed, than he called for a glass of the widow Truby's water, which he told me he always drank before he went abroad. He recommended me a dram of it at the same time with so much heartiness, that I could not forbear drinking it. As soon as I had got it down, I found it very unpalatable; upon which the knight, observing that I had made several wry faces, told me that he knew I should not like it at first, but that it was the best thing in the world against the stone or gravel.
I could have wished indeed that he had acquainted me with the virtues of it sooner; but it was too late to complain, and I knew what he had done was out of good-will. Sir Roger told me further, that he looked upon it to be very good for a man while he stayed in town, to keep off
* In a MS. written by Dr. Birch, now before the annotator, it is said, that an original number of the Spectator in folio was withdrawn at the time of its republication in volumes, on the remonstrance of a family who conceived themselves injured by its appearance in print. It was, most probably,
this very paper.
The following short letter, with the desire annexed to it, are subjoined to No. 330 in the original publication of the Spectator in folio: as they evidently relate to this paper which was suppressed very soon after its original date, they are here reprinted for the first time.
infection, and that he got together a quantity of it upon the first news of the sickness being at Dantzick: when of a sudden turning short to one of his servants, who stood behind him, he bid him call a hackney-coach, and take care it was an elderly man that drove it.
He then resumed his discourse upon Mrs. Truby's water, telling me that the widow Truby was one who did more good than all the doctors and apothecaries in the country; that she distilled every poppy that grew within five miles of her; that she distributed her water gratis among all sorts of people: to which the knight added, that she had a very great jointure, and that the whole country would fain have it a match between him and her; "and truly," says Sir Roger," if I had not been engaged, perhaps I could not have done better."
His discourse was broken off by his man's telling him he had called a coach. Upon our going to it, after having cast his eye upon the wheels, he asked the coachman if his axletree was good; upon the fellow's telling him he would warrant it, the knight turned to me, told me he looked like an honest man, and went in without further ceremony.
We had not gone far, when Sir Roger, popping out his head, called the coachman down from his box, and, upon presenting himself at the window, asked him if he smoked. As I was considering what this would end in, he bid him stop by the way at any good tobacconist's, and take in a roll of their best Virginia. Nothing material happened in the remaining part of our journey, till we were set down at the west end of the abbey.
As we went up the body of the church, the knight pointed at the trophies upon one of the new monuments, and cried out, "A brave man, I warrant him!" Passing afterward by Sir Cloudesly Shovel, he flung his hand that way, and cried,
Sir Cloudesly Shovel! a very gallant man." As we stood before Busby's tomb, the knight uttered himself again after the same manner: "Dr. Busby a great man! he whipped my grandfather; a very great man! I should have gone to him myself, if I had not been a blockhead: a very great man!"
We were immediately conducted into the little chapel on the right hand. Sir Roger planting himself at our historian's elbow, was very attentive to everything he said, particularly to the account he gave us of the lord who had cut off the king of Morocco's head. Among several other figures, he was very well pleased to see the statesman Cecil upon his knees; and concluding them all to be great men, was conducted to the figure which represents that martyr to good housewifery who died by the prick of a needle. Upon our interpreter's telling us that she was a maid of honor to Queen Elizabeth, the knight was very inquisitive into her name and family; and, after having regarded her finger for some time, "I wonder," says he, "that Sir Richard Baker has said nothing of her in his Chronicle."
We were then conveyed to the two coronation chairs, where my old friend, after having heard that the stone under the most ancient of them, which was brought from Scotland, was called Jacob's pillar, sat himself down in the chair, and, looking like the figure of an old Gothic king, asked our interpreter, what authority they had to say that Jacob had ever been in Scotland? The fellow, instead of returning him an answer, told him, that he hoped his honor would pay his forfeit. I could observe Sir Roger a little ruffled upon being thus trepanned; but our guide not insisting upon his demand, the knight soon re
covered his good humor, and whispered in my a very luxuriant trade and credit to very narrow ear, that if Will Wimble were with us, and saw circumstances, in comparison to that of his former those chairs, it would go hard but he would get a tobacco stopper out of one or t'other of them. Sir Roger in the next place, laid his hand upon Edward the Third's sword, and leaning upon the pommel of it, gave us the whole history of the Black Prince: concluding, that in Sir Richard Baker's opinion, Edward the third was one of the greatest princes that ever sat upon the English throne.
We were then shown Edward the Confessor's tomb; upon which Sir Roger acquainted us, that he was the first who touched for the evil: and afterward Henry the Fourth's; upon which he shook his head, and told us there was fine reading in the casualties of that reign.
Our conductor then pointed to that monument where there is the figure of one of our English kings without a head; and upon giving us to know, that the head, which was of beaten silver, had been stolen away several years since; "Some whig, I'll warrant you," says Sir Roger; "you ought to lock up your kings better; they will carry off the body too, if you don't take care."
abundance. This took away the vigor of his mind, and all manner of attention to a fortune which he now thought desperate; insomuch that he died without a will, having before buried my mother, in the midst of his other misfortunes. I was sixteen years of age when I lost my father; and an estate of 2001. a-year came into my possession, without friend or guardian to instruct me in the management or enjoyment of it. The natural consequence of this was (though I wanted no director, and soon had fellows who found me out for a smart young gentleman, and led me into all the debaucheries of which I was capable), that my companions and I could not well be supplied without running into debt, which I did very frankly, till I was arrested, and conveyed, with a guard strong enough for the most despe rate assassin, to a bailiff's house, where I lay four days surrounded with very merry, but not very agreeable company. As soon as I had extricated myself from this shameful confinement, I reflected upon it with so much horror, that I deserted all my old acquaintance, and took chambers in an inn of court, with a resolution to study the law with all possible application. I trifled away whole year in looking over a thousand intricacies, without a friend to apply to in any case of doubt: so that I only lived there among men as little children are sent to school before they are capable of improvement, only to be out of harm's way. In the midst of this state of suspense, not knowing how to dispose of myself, I was sought for by a relation of mine; who, upon observing a good I must not omit, that the benevolence of my inclination in me, used me with great familiarity, good old friend, which flows out toward every and carried me to his seat in the country. When one he converses with, made him very kind to I came there he introduced me to all the good our interpreter, whom he looked upon as an extra-company in the county; and the great obligation ordinary man: for which reason he shook him I have to him for this kind notice, and residence by the hand at parting, telling him, that he with him ever since, has made so strong an imshould be very glad to see him at his lodgings in pression upon me, that he has an authority of a Norfolk buildings, and talk over these matters father over me, founded upon the love of a browith him more at leisure.-L. ther. I have a good study of books, a good stable of horses always at my command; and, though I am not now quite eighteen years of age, familiar converse on his part, and a strong inclination to
The glorious name of Henry the Fifth and Queen Elizabeth gave the knight great opportunities of shining, and of doing justice to Sir Richard Baker, who, as our knight observed with some surprise, had a great many kings in him, whose monuments he had not seen in the abbey.
For my own part, I could not but be pleased to see the knight show such an honest passion for the glory of his country, and such a respectful gratitude to the memory of its princes.
No. 330.] WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 1711-12. exert myself on mine, have had an effect upon me
Maxima debetur pueris reverentia-
THE following letters, written by two very considerate correspondents, both under twenty years of age, are very good arguments of the necessity of taking into consideration the many incidents which affect the education of youth.
"I have long expected that, in the course of your observations upon the several parts of human life, you would one time or other fall upon a subject, which, since you have not, I take the liberty to recommend to you. What I mean is, the patronage of young modest men to such as are able to countenance, and introduce them into the world. For want of such assistances, a youth of merit languishes in obscurity or poverty when his circumstances are low, and runs into riot and excess when his fortunes are plentiful. I cannot make myself better understood, than by sending you a history of myself, which I shall desire you to insert in your paper, it being the only way I have of expressing my gratitude for the highest obligations imaginable.
"I am the son of a merchant of the city of London, who, by many losses, was reduced from
that makes me acceptable wherever I go. Thus, Mr. Spectator, by this gentleman's favor and patronage, it is my own fault if I am not wiser and richer every day I live. I speak this as well by subscribing the initial letters of my name to thank him, as to incite others to an imitation of his virtue. It would be a worthy work to show what great charities are to be done without expense, and how many noble actions are lost, out of inadvertency, in persons capable of performing them, if they were put in mind of it. If a gentleman of figure in a county would make his family a pattern for sobri ety, good sense, and breeding, and would kindly endeavor to influence the education and growing prospects of the younger gentry about him. I am apt to believe it would save him a great deal of stale beer on a public occasion, and render him the leader of his country from their gratitude to him, instead of being a slave to their riots and tumults, in order to be made their representative. The same thing might be recommended to al who have made any progress in any parts of knowledge, or arrived at any degree in a profes sion: others may gain preferments and fortune from their patrons; but I have, I hope, received from mine good habits and virtues. I repea: to you, Sir, my request to print this, in return for all the evil a helpless orphan shall ever escape and all the good he shall receive in this life
both which are wholly owing to this gentleman's they were of my age, I cannot forbear regarding favor to
"Sir, your most obedient Servant,
"I am a lad of about fourteen. I find a mighty pleasure in learning. I have been at the Latin school four years. I don't know I ever played truant, or neglected any task my master set me in my life. I think on what I read in school as I go home at noon and night, and so intently, that I have often gone half a mile out of my way, not minding whither I went. Our maid tells me she often hears me talk Latin in my sleep, and I dream two or three nights in a week I am reading Juvenal and Homer. My master seems as well pleased with my performances as any boy's in the same class. I think, if I know my own mind, I would choose rather to be a scholar than a prince without learning. I have a very good, affectionate father; but though very rich, yet so mighty near, that he thinks much of the charges of my education. He often tells me he believes my schooling will ruin him; that I cost him God knows what in books. I tremble to tell him I want one. I am forced to keep my pocket-money, and lay it out for a book now and then, that he don't know of. He has ordered my master to buy no more books for me, but says he will buy them himself. I asked him for Horace t'other day, and he told me in a passion he did not believe I was fit for it, but only my master had a mind to make him think I had got a great way in my learning. I am sometimes a month behind other boys in getting the books my master gives orders for. All the boys in the school, but I, have the classic authors in usum Delphini, gilt and lettered on the back. My father is often reckoning up how long I have been at school, and tells me he fears I do little good. My father's carriage so discourages me, that he makes me grow dull and melancholy. My master wonders what is the matter with me; I am afraid to tell him; for he is a man that likes to encourage learning, and would be apt to chide my father, and, not knowing his temper, may make him worse. Sir, if you have any love for learning, I beg you would give me some instructions in this case, and persuade parents to encourage their children when they find them diligent and desirous of learning. I have heard some parents say, they would do anything for their children, if they would but mind their learning: I would be glad to be in their place. Dear Sir, pardon my boldness. If you will but consider and pity my case, I will pray for your prosperity as long as I live.
"Your humble Servant,
** London, March 2, 1711."
No. 331.] THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 1711-12.
Holls out his foolish beard for thee to pluck. WHEN I was last with my friend Sir Roger in Westminster-abbey, I observed that he stood longer than ordinary before the bust of a venerable old man. I was at a loss to guess the reason of it; when, after some time, he pointed to the figure, and asked me if I did not think that our forefathers looked much wiser in their beards than we do without them? "For my part," says he, when I am walking in my gallery in the country, and see my ancestors, who many of them died before
them as so many old patriarchs, and, at the same time, looking upon myself as an idle smock-faced young fellow. I love to see your Abrahams, your Isaacs, and your Jacobs, as we have them in old pieces of tapestry, with beards below their girdles, that cover half the hangings." The knight added, "if I would recommend beards in one of my papers, and endeavor to restore human faces to their ancient dignity, that, upon a month's warning, he would undertake to lead up the fashion himself in a pair of whiskers."
I smiled at my friend's fancy; but, after we parted, could not forbear reflecting on the metamorphosis our faces have undergone in this particular.
The beard, conformable to the notion of my friend Sir Roger, was for many ages looked upon as the type of wisdom. Lucian more than once rallies the philosophers of his time, who endeavored to rival one another in beards; and represents a learned man who stood for a professorship in philosophy, as unqualified for it by the shortness of his beard.
Elian, in his account of Zoilus, the pretended critic, who wrote against Homer and Plato, and thought himself wiser than all who had gone before him, tells us that this Zoilus had a very long beard that hung down upon his breast, but no hair upon his head, which he always kept close shaved, regarding, it seems, the hairs of his head as so many suckers, which, if they had been suffered to grow, might have drawn away the nourishment from his chin, and by that means have starved his beard.
I have read somewhere, that one of the popes refused to accept an edition of a saint's works, which were presented to him, because the saint, in his effigies before the book, was drawn without a beard.
We see by these instances what homage the world has formerly paid to beards; and that a barber was not then allowed to make those depredations on the faces of the learned, which have been permitted him of late years.
Accordingly several wise nations have been so extremely jealous of the least ruffle offered to their beards, that they seem to have fixed the point of honor principally in that part. The Spaniards were wonderfully tender in this particular. Don Quevedo, in his third vision on the last judgment, has carried the humor very far, when he tells us that one of his vain-glorious countrymen after having received sentence, was taken into custody by a couple of evil spirits; but that his guides happening to disorder his mustachios, they were forced to recompense them with a pair of curlingirons, before they could get him to file off.
If we look into the history of our own nation, we shall find that the beard flourished in the Saxon heptarchy, but was very much discouraged under the Norman line. It shot out, however, from time to time, in several reigns under different shapes. The last effort it made seems to have been in Queen Mary's days, as the curious reader may find, if he pleases to peruse the figures of Cardinal Pole and Bishop Gardiner; though, at the same time, I think it may be questioned, if zeal against popery has not induced our Protestant painters to extend the beards of these two persecutors beyond their natural dimensions, in order to make them appear the more terrible.
I find but few beards worth taking notice of in the reign of King James the First.
During the civil wars there appeared one, which makes too great a figure in story to be passed over in silence; I mean that of the redoubted Hudibras,
an account of which Butler has transmitted to dreamt he would have merited any reputation by posterity in the following lines: his activity.
His tawny beard was th' equal grace
The whisker continued for some time among us after the extirpation of beards; but this is a subject which I shall not here enter upon, having discussed it at large in a distinct treatise, which I keep by me in manuscript, upon the mustachio. If my friend Sir Roger's project of introducing beards should take effect, I fear the luxury of the present age would make it a very expensive fashion. There is no question but the beaux would soon provide themselves with false ones of the lightest colors, and the most immoderate lengths. A fair beard of the tapestry size, which Sir Roger seems to approve, could not come under twenty guineas. The famous golden beard of Esculapius would hardly be more valuable than one made in the extravagance of the fashion.
Beside, we are not certain that the ladies would not come into the mode, when they take the air on horseback. They already appear in hats and feathers, coats and periwigs: and I see no reason why we may not suppose that they would have their riding-beards on the same occasion.
I may give the moral of this discourse in another paper.-X.
No. 332.] FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 1712.
-Minus aptus acutis
Naribus horum hominum-HOR. 1 Sat. iii, 29. He cannot bear the raillery of the age.-CREECH. "DEAR SHORT FACE,
"In your speculation of Wednesday last, you have given us some account of that worthy society of brutes, the Mohocks; wherein you have particularly specified the ingenious performances of the lion tippers, the dancing-masters, and the tumblers: but as you acknowledged you had not then a perfect history of the whole club, you might very easily omit one of the most notable species of it, the sweaters, which may be reckoned a sort of dancing-masters too. It is, it seems, the custom for half a dozen, or more, of these well-disposed savages, as soon as they have inclosed the persons upon whom they design the favor of a sweat, to whip out their swords, and holding them parallel to the horizon, they describe a sort of magic circle round about him with the points. As soon as this piece of conjuration is performed, and the patient without doubt already beginning to wax warm, to forward the operation, that member of the circle toward whom he is so rude as to turn his back first, runs his sword directly into that part of the patient whereon school-boys are punished; and as it is very natural to imagine this will soon make him tack about to some other point, every gentleman does himself the same justice as often as he receives the affront. After this jig has gone two or three times round, and the patient is thought to have sweat sufficiently, he is very handsomely rubbed down by some attendants, who carry with them instruments for that purpose, and so discharged. This relation I had from a friend of mine, who has lately been under this discipline. He tells me he had the honor to dance before the emperor himself, not without the applause and acclamations both of his imperial majesty and the whole ring; though I dare say, neither I, nor any of his acquaintance, ever
"I can assure you, Mr. Spectator, I was very near being qualified to have given you a faithful and painful account of this walking bagnio, if I may so call it, myself. Going the other night along Fleet-street, and having, out of curiosity, just entered into discourse with a wandering fe male who was traveling the same way, a couple of fellows advanced toward us, drew their swords, and cried out to each other, A sweat! a sweat!' Whereupon, suspecting they were some of the ringleaders of the baguio, I also drew my sword, and demanded a parley; but finding none would be granted me, and perceiving others behind them filing off with great diligence to take me in flank, I began to sweat for fear of being forced to it: but very luckily betaking myself to a pair of heels, which I had good reason to believe would do me justice, I instantly got possession of a very snug corner in a neighboring alley that lay in my rear; which post I maintained for above half an hour with great firmness and resolution, though not letting this success so far overcome me as to make me unmindful of the circumspection that was necessary to be observed upon my advancing again toward the street; by which prudence and good management I made a handsome and orderly retreat, having suffered no other damage in this action than the loss of my baggage, and the dislocation of one of my shoe-heels, which last I am just now informed is in a fair way of recovery. These sweaters, by what I can learn from my friend, and by as near a view as I was able to take of them myself, seem to me to have at present but a rude kind of discipline among them. It is probable, if you would take a little pains with them, they might be brought into better order. But I'll leave this to your own discretion; and will only add, that if you think it worth while to insert this by way of caution to those who have a mind to preserve their skins whole from this sort of cupping, and tell them at the same time the hazard of treating with night-walkers, you will perhaps oblige others, as well as
Your very humble Servant,
"P. S. My friend will have me acquaint you, that though he would not willingly detract from the merit of that extraordinary strokesman, Mr. Sprightly, yet it is his real opinion, that sotne of those fellows who are employed as rubbers to this new-fashioned bagnio, have struck as bold strokes as ever he did in his life.
"I had sent this four-and-twenty hours sooner, if I had not had the misfortune of being in s great doubt about the orthography of the word bagnio. I consulted several dictionaries, bet found no relief: at last having recourse both to the bagnio in Newgate-street, and to that in Chancery-lane, and finding the original manuscripts upon the sign-posts of each to agree liter ally with my own spelling, I returned home full of satisfaction, in order to dispatch this epistle." 'MR SPECTATOR,
"As you have taken most of the circumstances o human life into your consideration, we the under written thought it not improper for us also to re present to you our condition. We are three Ladies who live in the country, and the greatest improve ment we make is by reading. We have taken a small journal of our lives, and find it extremely opposite to your last Tuesday's speculation. We rise by seven, and pass the beginning of each day in devotion, and looking into those affairs that
fall within the occurrences of a retired life; in the afternoon we sometimes enjoy the good company of some friend or neighbor, or else work or read: at night we retire to our chambers, and take leave of each other for the whole night at ten o'clock. We take particular care never to be sick of a Saturday. Mr. Spectator, we are all very good maids, but ambitious of characters which we think more laudable, that of being very good wives. If any of your correspondents in*quire for a spouse for an honest country gentleman, #whose estate is not dipped, and wants a wife that can save half his revenue, and yet make a better figure than any of his neighbors of the same estate, with finer-bred women, you shall have farther notice from,
Sir, your courteous Readers,
No. 333.] SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 1711-12.
-vocat în certamina divos.-VIRG.
He calls embattled deities to arms.
We are now entering upon the sixth book of Paradise Lost, in which the poet describes the battle of the angels; having raised his reader's expectation, and prepared him for it by several passages in the preceding books. I omitted quoting these passages in my observations on the former books, having purposely reserved them for the opening of this, the subject of which gave occasion to them. The Author's imagination was so inflamed with this great scene of action, that wherever he speaks of it, he rises, if possible, above himself. Thus, where he mentions Satan in the beginning of his poem:
-Him the Almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky,
Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms.
Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,
Made head against heaven's King, tho' overthrown.
Confusion worse confounded; and heaven's gates
It required great pregnancy of invention, and strength of imagination to fill this battle with such circumstances as should raise and astonish the mind of the reader; and at the same time an exactness of judgment, to avoid everything that might appear light or trivial. Those who look into Homer are surprised to find his battles still rising one above another, and improving in horror to the conclusion of the Iliad. Milton's fight of angels is wrought up with the same beauty. It is ushered in with such signs of wrath as are suitable to Omnipotence incensed. The first engagement is carried on under a cope of fire, occasioned by the flights of innumerable burning darts and arrows which are discharged from either host. The second onset is still more terrible, as it is filled with those artificial thunders, which seem to make the victory doubtful, and produce a kind of consternation even in the good angels. This is followed by the tearing up of mountains and promontories; till in the last place the Messiah comes forth in the fullness of majesty and terror. The pomp of his appearance, amidst the roarings of his thunders, the flashes of his lightnings, and the noise of his chariot-wheels, is described with the utmost flights of human imagination.
There is nothing in the first and last day's engagement which does not appear natural, and agreeable enough to the ideas most readers would conceive of a fight between two armies of angels.
The second day's engagement is apt to startle an imagination which has not been raised and qualified for such a description, by the reading of the ancient poets, and of Homer in particular. It was certainly a very bold thought in our author, to ascribe the first use of artillery to the rebel angels. But as such a pernicious invention may
We have likewise several noble hints of it in be well supposed to have proceeded from such
the infernal conference:
O prince! O chief of many-throned powers,
What when we fled amain, pursued and struck
authors, so it enters very probably into the thoughts of that being, who is all along described as aspiring to the majesty of his Maker. Such engines were the only instruments he could have made use of to imitate those thunders, that in all poetry both sacred and profane, are represented as the arms of the Almighty. The tearing up the hills was not altogether so daring a thought as the former. We are, in some measure, prepared for such an incident by the description of the giants' war, which we meet with among the ancient poets. What still made this circumstance the more proper for the poet's use, is the opinion of many learned men, that the fable of the giants' war which makes so great a noise in antiquity, and gave birth to the sublimest description in Hesiod's works, was an allegory founded upon this very tradition of a fight between the good and bad angels.
It may, perhaps, be worth while to consider with what judgment Milton, in this narration, has avoided everything that is mean and trivial In short, the poet never mentions anything of in the descriptions of the Latin and Greek poets; this battle, but in such images of greatness and and at the same time improved every great hint terror as are suitable to the subject. Among which he met with in their works upon this subseveral others I cannot forbear quoting that pas- ject. Homer, in that passage which Longinus has sage where the Power, who is described as pre-celebrated for its sublimeness, and which Virgil siding over the chaos, speaks in the second and Ovid have copied after him, tells us that the giants threw Ossa upon Olympus, and Pelion