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met with among their several ranks and degrees of readers. Will Honeycomb told me, in the softest manner he could, that there were some ladies (but for your comfort, says Will, they are not those of the most wit) that were of5 fended at the liberties I had taken with the opera and the puppet-show; that some of them were likewise very much surprised that I should think such serious points. as the dress and equipage of persons of quality, proper subjects for raillery.
ΙΟ He was going on, when Sir Andrew Freeport took him up short, and told him, that the papers he hinted at had done great good in the city, and that all their wives and daughters were the better for them; and further added, that the whole city thought themselves very much obliged 15 to me for declaring my generous intentions to scourge vice and folly as they appear in a multitude, without condescending to be a publisher of particular intrigues. "In short," says Sir Andrew, "if you avoid that foolish beaten road of falling upon aldermen and citizens, and employ 20 your pen upon the vanity and luxury of courts, your paper must needs be of general use."
Upon this my friend the Templar told Sir Andrew that he wondered to hear a man of his sense talk after that manner; that the city had always been the province for 25 satire; and that the wits of King Charles's time jested upon nothing else during his whole reign. He then shewed, by the examples of Horace, Juvenal, Boileau, and the best writers of every age, that the follies of the stage and court had never been accounted too sacred for 30 ridicule, how great soever the persons might be that patronised them. "But after all," says he, "I think your
raillery has made too great an excursion in attacking several persons of the Inns of Court; and I do not believe you can shew me any precedent for your behaviour in that particular."
My good friend Sir Roger de Coverley, who had said 5 nothing all this while, began his speech with a pish! and told us that he wondered to see so many men of sense so very serious upon fooleries. "Let our good friend,” says he," attack every one that deserves it: I would only advise you, Mr. Spectator," applying himself to me, "to 10 take care how you meddle with country squires: they are the ornaments of the English nation; men of good heads and sound bodies! and let me tell you, some of them take it ill of you that you mention fox-hunters with so little respect."
Captain Sentry spoke very sparingly on this occasion. What he said was only to commend my prudence in not touching upon the army, and advised me to continue to act discreetly in that point.
By this time I found every subject of my speculations 20 was taken away from me by one or other of the club; and began to think myself in the condition of the good man that had one wife who took a dislike to his grey hairs, and another to his black, till by their picking out what each of them had an aversion to, they left his head 25 altogether bald and naked.
While I was thus musing with myself, my worthy friend the clergyman, who, very luckily for me, was at the club that night, undertook my cause. He told us that he wondered any order of persons should think 30 themselves too considerable to be advised: that it was
not quality, but innocence, which exempted men from reproof that vice and folly ought to be attacked wherever they could be met with, and especially when they were placed in high and conspicuous stations of life. 5 He further added, that my paper would only serve to aggravate the pains of poverty, if it chiefly exposed those who are already depressed, and in some measure turned into ridicule, by the meanness of their conditions and circumstances. He afterwards proceeded to take notice 10 of the great use this paper might be of to the public, by reprehending those vices which are too trivial for the chastisement of the law, and too fantastical for the cognisance of the pulpit. He then advised me to prosecute my undertaking with cheerfulness, and assured me, that 15 whoever might be displeased with me, I should be approved by all those whose praises do honour to the persons on whom they are bestowed.
The whole club pays a particular deference to the discourse of this gentleman, and are drawn into what he says 20 as much by the candid ingenuous manner with which he delivers himself, as by the strength of argument and force of reason which he makes use of. Will Honeycomb immediately agreed, that what he had said was right; and that, for his part, he would not insist upon the quarter 25 which he had demanded for the ladies. Sir Andrew gave up the city with the same frankness. The Templar would not stand out; and was followed by Sir Roger and the Captain; who all agreed that I should be at liberty to carry the war into what quarter I pleased; provided I 30 continued to combat with criminals in a body, and to assault the vice without hurting the person.
This debate which was held for the good of mankind, put me in mind of that which the Roman triumvirate were formerly engaged in for their destruction. Every man at first stood hard for his friend, till they found that by this means they should spoil their proscription: and at last 5 making a sacrifice of all their acquaintance and relations, furnished out a very decent execution.
Having thus taken by resolutions, to march out boldly in the cause of virtue and good sense, and to annoy their adversaries in whatever degree or rank of men they may 10 be found, I shall be deaf for the future to all the remonstrances that shall be made to me on this account. If Punch grows extravagant, I shall reprimand him very freely if the stage becomes a nursery of folly and impertinence, I shall not be afraid to animadvert upon it. 15 In short, if I meet with anything in city, court, or country, that shocks modesty or good manners, I shall use my utmost endeavours to make an example of it. I must however intreat every particular person who does me the honour to be-a reader of this paper, never to think 20 himself, or any of his friends or enemies, aimed at in what is said: for I promise him, never to draw a faulty character which does not fit at least a thousand people : or to publish a single paper, that is not written in the spirit of benevolence, and with a love to mankind.
SIR ROGER AT HOME. [ADDISON.]
No. 106. MONDAY, JULY 2, 1711.
HINC tibi copia
Manabit ad plenum, benigno
Ruris honorum opulenta cornu.
- HOR. LIB. I. OD. xvii. 14.
HERE plenty's liberal horn shall pour
HAVING often received an invitation from my friend Sir Roger de Coverley to pass away a month with him in the country, I last week accompanied him thither, and am settled with him for some time at his country-house, 5 where I intend to form several of my ensuing speculations. Sir Roger, who is very well acquainted with my humour, lets me rise and go to bed when I please; dine at his own table or in my chamber, as I think fit, sit still and say nothing without bidding me be merry. To When the gentlemen of the country come to see him, he only shews me at a distance: as I have been walking in his fields I have observed them stealing a sight of me over an hedge, and have heard the knight desiring them not let me see them, for that I hated to be 15 stared at.
I am the more at ease in Sir Roger's family, because it consists of sober and staid persons: for as the knight