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he was so very sensible of his fault, and so sincerely repented of it. The penitent still urged the evil tendency of his book to subvert all religion, and the little ground of hope there could be for one whose writings would continue to do mischief when his body was laid in ashes. The curate, finding no other way to comfort him, told him that he did well - in being afflicted for the evil design with which he published his book; but that he ought to be very thankful that there was no danger of its doing any hurt: that his cause was so very bad, and his arguments so weak, that he did not apprehend any ill effects of it: in short, that he might rest satisfied his book could do no more mischief after his death, than it had done whilst he was living. To which he added, for his farther satisfaction, that be did not believe any besides his particular friends and acquaintance had ever been at the pains of reading it, or that any body after his death would ever inquire after it, The dying man had still so much the frailty of an author in him, as to be.cut to the heart with these consolations; and without ing the good man, asked his friends about him (with a peevishness that is natural to a sick personl) where they had picked up such a blockhead ? And whether they thought lịm a proper person to attend one in his condition? The curate finding that the author did not expect to be dealt with
as a real and sincere penitent, but as a penitent of importance; after a short admonition withdrew; not questioning but he should be again sent for if the sickyess grew desperate, The author however recovered, and has since written two or three other tracts with the same spirit, and, very luckily for his poor soul, with the same success.
N° 167. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1711.
---Fuit haud ignobilis Argis,
Hor. 2 Ep. ii. ver. 128.
A worthy member, no small fool, a lord ;
The unhappy force of an imagination unguided by the check of reason and judgment, was the sub. ject of a former speculation* My reader may remember that he has seen in one of my papers a complaint of an unfortunate gentleman, who was unable to contain himself (when any ordinary matter, was laid before him) from adding a few circumstances to enliven plain narrative. That correspondent was a person of too warm a complexion to be satisfied with things merely as they stood in nature,and therefore formed incidents which should have happened to have pleased him in the story. The same ungoverned fancy which pushed that correspondent on, in spite of himself, to relate public and notorious falsehoods, makes the author of the following letter do the same in private ; one is a prating, the other a silent liar.
* NO 136.
There is little pursued in the errors of either of these worthies, but mere present amusement; but the folly of him who lets his fancy place him in distant scenes untroubled and uninterrupted, is very much preferable to that of him who is ever forcing a belief, and defending his untruths with new inventions. But I shall hasten to let this liar in soliloquy, who calls himself a castle-builder, describe himself with the same unreservedness as, formerly appeared in my correspondent above-mentioned. If a man were to be serious on this subject, he might give very grave admonitions to those who are fols lowing any thing in this life, on which they think to place their hearts, and tell them that they are really castle-builders. Fame, glory, wealth, honour, have in the prospect pleasing illusions, but they who come to possess any of them will find they are ingredients towards happiness, to be regarded only in the second place; and that when they are valued in the first degree, they are as disappointing as any of the phantoms in the following letter: MR. SPECTATOR,
September 6, 1711. I AM a fellow of a very odd frame of mind, as you will find by the sequel; and think myself fool enough to deserve a place in your paper. I am unhappily far gove in building, and am one of that species of men who are properly denominated cas: tle-builders, who scorn to be beholden to the earth for a foundation, or dig in the bowels of it for miaterials; büt erect their structure in the most unsta. ble of elements, the air; faney alone laying the line,
marking the extent, and shaping the model. It would be difficult to enumerate what august palaces and stately porticos have grown under my forming imagination, or what verdant meadows and shady groves have started into being by the powerful feat of a warm fancy. A castle-builder is even just what he pleases, and as such I have grasped imaginary sceptres, and delivered uncontroulable edicts, from a throne to which conquered nations yielded obeis
I have made I know not how many inroads into France, and ravaged the very heart of that kingdom; I have dined in the Louvre, and drank champaign at Versailles; and I would have you take notice, I am not only able to vanquish a people already“ cowed” and accustomed to flight, but I could, Almanzor-like *, drive the British general from the field, were I less a protestant, or had ever been affronted by the confederates. There is no art or profession, whose most celebrated masters I have not eclipsed. Wherever I have afforded my salutary presence, fevers have ceased to burn, and agues to shake the human fabric. When an eloquent fit has been upon me, an àpt gesture and proper cadence has animated each sentence, and gazing crowds have found their passions worked up into rage, or soothed into a calm. I am short, and not very well made; yet upon sight of a fine wonian, I have stretched into proper stature, and killed with a good air and mien. These are the gay phantoms that dance before my waking eyes, and compose my day-dreams. I should be the most contented happy man alive, were the chimerical happiness which springs from the paintings of fancy less fleeting and transitory. But alas ! it is with grief of mind I tell you, the least breath of wind has often demolished my magnificent edifices, swept away my groves, and left no more trace of them than if they had never been. My exchequer has sunk and vanished by a rap on my door, the
* Almanzor is a violent character in Dryden's “ Cenquest of Granada by the Spaniards."
salutation of a friend has cost me a whole continent, and in the same moment I have been pulled by the sleeve, my crown has fallen from my head. The ill consequence of these reveries is inconceivably great, seeing the loss of imaginary possessions makes impressions of real woe. Besides, bad economy is visible and apparent in builders of invisible mansions. My tenants' advertisements of ruins and dilapidations often cast a damp on my spirits, even in the instant when the sun, in all his splendor, gilds my eastern palaces. Add to this the pensive drudgery in building, and constant grasping aerial trowels, distracts and shatters the mind, and the fond builder of Babels is often cursed with an incoherent diversity and confusion of thoughts. I do not know to whom I can more properly apply myself for relief from this fantastical evil, than to yourself; whom I earnestly implore to accommodate me with a method how to settle my head, and cool my brain-pan. A dissertation on castle-building may not only be serviceable to myself, but all architects who display their skill in the thin element. Such a favour would oblige me to make my next soliloquy not contain the praises of my dear self, but of the Spectator, who shall, by complying with this, make me His obliged, humble servant,