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Hor. Lib. 1. Od. xi. 6.
manuals of devotion, nor of scorching their would lead astray weak minds by their false faces with books of housewifery, Florilla pretences to wit and judgment, humour and desires to know if there are any books writ- gallantry, I shall not fail to lend the best ten against prudes, and entreats me, if light I am able to the fair sex for the conthere are, to give them a place in my li- tinuation of these their discoveries, L. brary. Plays of all sorts have their several advocates: All for Love, is mentioned in above fifteen letters; Sophonisba, or Han- No. 93.] Saturday, June 16, 1711. nibal's Overthrow, in a dozen; The Innocent Adultery is likewise highly approved
-Spatio brevi of; Mithridates, King of Pontus, has many
Spem longam reseces; dum loquimur, fugerit invida
Ætas; carpe diem, quam ininimum crædula postero. friends; Alexander the Great and Aurengzebe have the same number of voices; but
Thy lengthen'd hopes with prudence bound 'Theodosius, or the Force of Love, carries Proportion'd to the flying hour: it from all the rest.
While thus we talk in careless ease,
The envious moments wing their flight; I should, in the last place, mention such
Instant the fleeting pleasure seize, books as have been proposed by men of Nor trust to-morrow's doubtful light. learning, and those who appear competent
Francis. judges of this matter, and must here take We all of us complain of the shortness occasion to thank A. B. whoever it is that of time, saith Seneca, and yet have much conceals himself under these two leters, for more than we know what to do with. Our his advice upon this subject. But as I find lives, says he, are spent either in doing the work I have undertaken to be very dif- nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the ficult, I shall defer the executing of it till I purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought am further acquainted with the thoughts to do. We are always complaining our of my judicious contemporaries, and have days are few, and acting as though there time to examine the several books they of- would be no end of them. That noble phifer to me: being resolved, in an affair of losopher has described our inconsistency this moment, to proceed with the greatest with ourselves in this particular, by all caution.
those various turns of expression and In the meanwhile, as I have taken the thought which are peculiar to his writings. ladies under my particular care, I shall I often consider mankind as wholly inmake it my business to find out in the best consistent with itself in a point that bears authors, ancient and modern, such passages some affinity to the former. Though we as may be for their use, and endeavour to seem grieved at the shortness of life in accommodate them as well as I can to their general, we are wishing every period of it taste; not questioning but that the valuable at an end. The minor longs to be at age, part of the sex will easily pardon me, if then to be a man of business, then to make from time to time I laugh at those little up an estate, then to arrive at honours, then vanities and follies which appear in the be- to retire. Thus although the whole life haviour of some of them, and which are is allowed by every one to be short, the more proper for ridicule than a serious cen- several divisions of it appear long and tesure. Most books being calculated for male dious. We are for lengthening our span in readers, and generally written with an eye general, but would fain contract the parts to men of learning, makes a work of this of which it is composed. The usurer would nature the more necessary; besides, I am be very well satisfied to have all the time the more encouraged, because I flatter my- annihilated that lies between the present self that I see the sex daily improving by moment and the next quarter-day. The these my speculations. My fair readers politician would be contented to lose three are already deeper scholars than the beaux. years in his life, could he place things in I could name some of them who talk much the posture which he fancies they will better than several gentleman that make a stand in after such a revolution of time. figure at Will's; and as I frequently receive The lover would be glad to strike out of letters from the fine ladies and pretty fel- his existence all the moments that are to lows, I cannot but observe that the former pass away before the happy meeting. Thus, are superior to the others, not only in the as fast as our time runs, we should be very sense but in the spelling. This cannot but glad in most part of our lives that it ran have a good effect upon the female world, much faster than it does. Several hours and keep them from being charmed by of the day hang upon our hands, nay, we those empty coxcombs that have hitherto wish away whole years; and travel through been admired among the women, though time as through a country filled with many laughed at among the men.
wild and empty wastes, which we would I am credibly informed that Tom Tat- fain hurry over, that we may arrive at tle passes for an impertinent fellow, that those several little settlements or imagiWill Trippet begins to be smoked, and that nary points of rest which are dispersed up Frank Smoothly himself is within a month and down in it.. of a coxcomb, in case I think fit to continue If we divide the life of most men into this paper. For my part, as it is my busi- twenty parts, we shall find that at least ness in some measure to detect such as nineteen of them are mere gaps and chasms, which are neither filled with pleasure nor | dead, and perhaps employs even the twen business. I do not however include in this tieth to his ruin or disadvantage? But be calculation the life of those men who are in cause the mind cannot be always in its a perpetual hurry of affairs, but of those fervours, nor strained up to a pitch of vironly who are not always engaged in scenes tue, it is necessary to find out proper emof action; and I hope I shall not do an un- ployments for it in its relaxations. acceptable piece of service to these per- The next method therefore that I would sons, if I point out to them certain methods propose to fill up our time, should be useful for the filling up their empty spaces of life. and innocent diversions. I must confess I The methods shall propose to them are think it is below reasonable creatures to be as follow.
altogether conversant in such diversions as The first is the exercise of virtue, in the are merely innocent, and have nothing else most general acceptation of the word. That to recommend them, but that there is no particular scheme which comprehends the hurt in them. Whether any kind of gamsocial virtues, may give employment to the ing has even thus much to say for itself, I most industrious temper, and find a man in shall not determine; but I think it very business more than the most active station wonderful to see persons of the best sense in life. To advise the ignorant, relieve the passing away a dozen hours together in needy, comfort the afflicted, are duties that shuffling and dividing a pack of cards, with fall in our way almost every day of our no other conversation but what is made up lives. A man has frequent opportunities of a few game phrases, and no other ideas of mitigating the fierceness of a party; of but those of black or red spots ranged todoing justice to the character of a deserv- gether in different figures. Would not a ing man; of softening the envious, quieting man laugh to hear any one of this species the angry, and rectifying the prejudiced; complaining that life is short? which are all of them employments suited The stage might be made a perpetual to a reasonable nature, and bring great source of the most noble and useful entersatisfaction to the person who can busy tainments, were it under proper regulahimself in them with discretion.
tions. There is another kind of virtue that may But the mind never unbends itself so find employment for those retired hours in agreeably as in the conversation of a wellwhich we are altogether left to ourselves, chosen friend. There is indeed no blessing and destitute of company and conversation; of life that is in any way comparable to the I mean that intercourse and communication enjoyment of a discreet and virtuous friend. which every reasonable creature ought to It cases and unloads the mind, clears and maintain with the great Author of his being improves the understanding, engenders The man who lives under an habitual sense thoughts and knowledge, animates virtue of the divine presence keeps up a perpetual and good resolutions, soothes and allays the cheerfulness of temper, and enjoys every passions, and finds employment for most of moment the satisfaction of thinking himself the vacant hours of life. in company with his dearest and best of Next to such an intimacy with a particufriends. The time never lies heavy upon lar person, one would endeavour after a him; it is impossible for him to be alone. more general conversation with such as are His thoughts and passions are the most able to entertain and improve those with busied at such hours when those of other whom they converse, which are qualificamen are the most unactive. He no sooner tions that seldom go asunder. steps out of the world but his heart burns There are many other useful amusewith devotion, swells with hope, and tri-ments of life which one would endeavour umphs in the consciousness of that presence to multiply, that one might on all occasions whích every where surrounds him; or on have recourse to something, rather than the contrary, pours out its fears, its sor- suffer the mind to lie idle, or run adrift rows, its apprehensions, to the great sup- with any passions that chance to rise in it. porter of his existence.
A man that has a taste of music, painting, I have here only considered the necessity or architecture, is like one that has another of a man's being virtuous, that he may have sense, when compared with such as have no something to do; but if we consider further, relish of those arts. The florist, the planter, that the exercise of virtue is not only an the gardener, the husbandman, when they amusement for the time lasts, but that are only as accomplishments to the man of its influence extends to those parts of our fortune, are great reliefs to a country life, existence which lie beyond the grave, and and many ways useful to those who are that our whole eternity is to take its colour possessed of them. from those hours which we here employ, in
But of all the diversions of life, there is virtue or in vice, the argument redoubles none so proper to fill up its empty spaces upon us, for putting in practice this method as the reading of useful and entertaining of passing away our time.
authors. But this I shall only touch upon, When a man has but a little stock to im- because it in some measure interferes with prove, and has opportunities of turning it the third method, which I shall propose in all to good account, what shall we think of another paper, for the employment of our him if he suffers nineteen parts of it to lie dead unactive hours, and which I shall only
mention in general to be the pursuit of subjects, or by entertaining a quick and knowledge.
constant succession of ideas. Accordingly, Monsieur Malebranche, in his Inquiry after
Truth, (which was published several years No 94.] Monday, June 18, 1711. before Mr. Locke's Essay on Human Un
derstanding,) tells us, that it is possible Vivere bis, vita posse priore frui.
some creatures may think half an hour as
Mart. Epig. xxiii. 10. long as we do a thousand years; or look The present joys of life we doubly taste,
upon that space of duration which we call By looking back with pleasure on the past. a minute, as an hour, a week, a month, or a The last method which I proposed in whole age.' my Saturday's paper, for filling up those The notion of Monsieur Malebranche is empty spaces of life which are so tedious capable of some little explanation from and burdensome to idle people, is the em- what I have quoted out of Mr. Locke; for ploying ourselves in the pursuit of know- if our notion of time is produced by our reledge. I remember Mr. Boyle, speaking filecting on the succession of ideas in our of a certain mineral, tells us, that a man mind, and this succession may be infinitely may consume his whole life in the study of accelerated or retarded, it will follow, that it, without arriving at the knowledge of all different beings may have different notions its qualities. The truth of it is, there is of the same parts of duration, according as not a single science, or any branch of it, their ideas, which we suppose are equally that might not furnish a man with business distinct in each of them, follow one another for life, though it were much longer than in a greater or less degree of rapidity. it is.
There is a famous passage in the AlcoI shall not here engage on those beaten ran, which looks as if Mahomet had been subjects of the usefulness of knowledge, nor possessed of the notion we are now speak, of the pleasure and perfection it gives the ing, of. It is there said, that the angel mind; nor on the methods of obtaining it, Gabriel took Mahomet out of his bed one nor recommend any particular branch of it; morning to give him a sight of all things in all which have been the topics of many the seven heavens, in paradise, and in hell, other writers; but shall indulge myself in a which the prophet took a distinct view of; speculation that is more uncommon, and and after having held ninety thousand conmay therefore perhaps be more enter- ferences with God, was brought back again tajning.
to his bed. All this, says the Alcoran, was I have before shown how the unemployed transacted in so small a space of time, that parts of life appear long and tedious, and Mahomet at his return found his bed still shall here endeavour to show how those warm, and took up an earthen pitcher parts of life which are exercised in study, which was thrown down at the very instant reading, and the pursuits of knowledge, are that the angel Gabriel carried him away, long, but not tedious, and by that means before the water was all spilt. * discover a method of lengthening our lives, There is a very pretty story in the Turkand at the same time of turning all the parts ish Tales, which relates to this passage of of them to our advantage.
that famous impostor, and bears some affiMr. Locke observes, 'That we get the nity to the subject we are now upon. A idea of time or duration, by reflecting on sultan of Egypt, who was an infidel, used that train of ideas which succeed one an- to laugh at this circumstance in Mahomet's other in our minds; that for this reason, life, as what was altogether impossible and when we sleep soundly without dreaming, absurd: but conversing one day with a great we have no perception of time, or the length doctor in the law, who had the gift of workof it while we sleep; and that the moment ing miracles, the doctor told him he would wherein we leave off to think, till the mo- quickly convince him of the truth of this ment we begin to think again, seems to passage in the history of Mahomet, if he have no distance.' To which the author would consent to do what he would desire adds, 'And so I doubt not but it would be of him. Upon this the sultan was directed to a waking man, if it were possible for him to place himself by a huge tub of water, to keep only one idea in his mind, without which he did accordingly; and as he stood variation, and the succession of others; and by the tub amidst a circle of his great men, we see, that one who fixes his thoughts the holy man bid him plunge his head into very intently on one thing, so as to take but the water, and draw it up again. The king little notice of the succession of ideas that accordingly thrust his head into the water, pass in his mind whilst he is taken up with and at the same time found himself at the that earnest contemplation, lets slip out of foot of a mountain on the sea-shore. The his account a good part of that duration, king immediately began to rage against his and thinks that time shorter than it is.' doctor for this piece of treachery and witch
We might carry this thought further, and consider a man as, on one side, shorten- * This story is not to be found in the Alcoran, nor ing his time by thinking on nothing, or but can I meet with any life of the prophet where it is told a few things; so on the other, as lengthen- Critical History of the Belief of the Eastern Nations , ing it, by employing his thoughts on many but it is less particular.
craft; but at length, knowing it was in vain | beautiful and spacious landscape divided to be angry, he set himself to think on pro- into delightful gardens, green meadows, per methods for getting a livelihood in this fruitful fields, and can scarce cast his eye strange country. Accordingly he applied on a single spot of his possessions, that is himself to some people whom he saw at not covered with some beautiful plant or work in a neighbouring wood: these peo- flower.
L. ple conducted him to a town that stood at a little distance from the wood, where after some adventures, he married a woman of No. 95.] Tuesday, June 19, 1711. great beauty and fortune. He lived with this woman so long, that he had by her se- Curæ leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent.-- Senecæ Trag ven sons and seven daughters. He was af- Light sorrows loose the tongue, but great enchain.-P terwards reduced to great want, and forced to think of plying in the streets as a porter with much pleasure, I cannot but think the
Having read the two following letters for his livelihood. One day as he was walking alone by the sea-side, being seized with good sense of them will be as agreeable to
the town as any thing I could say either on many melancholy reflections upon his former and his present state of life, which had both allude to former papers of mine, and I
the topics they treat of, or any other; they raised a fit of devotion in him, he threw off do not question but the first, which is upon his clothes with a design to wash himself, inward mourning, will be thought the proaccording to the custom of the Mahometans, duction of a man who is well acquainted before he said his prayers. After his first plunge into the sea, he no
with the generous yearnings of distress in a sooner raised his head above the water but manly temper, which is above the relief of
tears. he found himself standing by the side of the subject I shall defer till another occasion.
A speculation of my own on that tub, with the great men of his court about
The second letter is from a lady of a mind him, and the holy man at his side. He immediately upbraided his teacher for having perhaps something in the beginning of it
as great as her understanding. There is sent him on such a course of adventures, which I ought in modesty to conceal; but I and betrayed him into so long a state of mi- have so much esteem
for this corresponsery and servitude; but was wonderfully surprised when he heard that the state he dent, that I will not alter a tittle of what talked of was only a dream
and a delusion; the price of being ridiculous.
she writes, though I am thus scrupulous at that he had not stirred from the place where he then stood; and that he had only •MR. SPECTATOR,–I was very well dipped his head into the water, and imme- pleased with your discourse upon general diately taken it out again.
mourning, and should be obliged to you if The Mahometan doctor took this occa- you would enter into the matter more deepsion of instructing the sultan, that nothing ly, and give us your thoughts upon the comwas impossible with God; and that He, mon sense the ordinary people have of the with whom a thousand years are but as one demonstrations of grief, who prescribe rules day, can, if he pleases, make a single day, and fashions to the most solemn affliction; nay, a single moment, appear to any of his such as the loss of the nearest relations and creatures as a thousand years.
dearest friends. You cannot go to visit a I shall leave my reader to compare these sick friend, but some impertinent waiter eastern fables with the notions of those two about him observes the muscles of your great philosophers whom I have quoted in face, as strictly as if they were prognostics this paper; and shall only, by way of appli- of his death or recovery. If he happens to cation, desire him to consider how we may be taken from you, you are imniediately extend life beyond its natural dimensions, surrounded with numbers of these spectaby applying ourselves diligently to the pur- tors, who expect a melancholy shrug of suits of knowledge.
your shoulders, a pathetical shake of your The hours of a wise man are lengthened head, and an expressive distortion of your by his ideas, as those of a fool are by his face, to measure your affection and value passions. The time of the one is long, be- for the deceased. But there is nothing, on cause he does not know what to do with it; these occasions, so much in their favour as so is that of the other, because he distin- immoderate weeping. As all their pasguishes every moment of it with useful or sions are superficial, they imagine the seat amusing thoughts; or, in other words, be- of love and friendship to be placed visibly cause the one is always wishing it away, in the eyes. They judge what stock of and the other always enjoying it.
kindness you had 'for the living, by the How different is the view of past life, in quantity of tears you pour out for the dead; the man who is grown old in knowledge and so that if one body wants that quantity of saltwisdom, from that of him who is grown old water another abounds with, he is in great in ignorance and folly! The latter is like danger of being thought insensible or illthe owner of a barren country, that fills his natured. They are strangers to friendship eye with the prospect of naked hills and whose grief happens not to be moist enough plains, which produce nothing either pro- to wet such a parcel of handkerchiefs. fitable or ornamental; the other beholds a | But experience has told us, nothing is so fallacious as this outward sign of sorrow; than the beaux, and that you could name and the natural history of our bodies will some of them that talk much better than teach us that this flux of the eyes, this fa- several gentlemen that make a figure at culty of weeping, is peculiar only to some Will's. This may possibly be, and no great constitutions. We observe in the tender compliment, in my opinion, even supposing bodies of children, when crossed in their your comparison to reach' Tom's and the little wills and expectations, how dissolva-|Grecian. Surely you are too wise to think ble they are into tears. If this were what that the real commendation of a wornan. grief is in men, nature would not be able to Were it not rather to be wished we imsupport them in the excess of it for one proved in our own sphere, and approved moment. Add to this observation, how ourselves better daughters, wives, mothers, quick is their transition from this passion and friends? to that of their joy! I will not say we see I cannot but agree with the judicious often, in the next tender things to children, trader in Cheapside (though I am not at all tears shed without much grieving. Thus prejudiced in his favour) in recommending it is common to shed tears without much the study of arithmetic; and must dissent sorrow, and as common to suffer much sor- even from the authority which you menrow without shedding tears. Grief and tion, when it advises the making of our sex weeping are indeed frequent companions: scholars. Indeed a little more philosophy, but, I believe, never in their highest ex- in order to the subduing our passions to our cesses. As laughter does not proceed from reason, might be sometimes serviceable, profound joy, so neither does weeping from and a treatise of that nature I should approfound sorrow. The sorrow which ap- prove of, even in exchange for Theodosius, pears so easily at the eyes, cannot have or the Force of Love; but as I well know pierced deeply into the heart. The heart you want not hints, I will proceed no furdistended with grief, stops all the passages ther than to recommend the Bishop of Cam-, for tears or lamentations.
bray's Education of a Daughter, as it is Now, sir, what I would incline you to translated into the only language I have in all this is, that you would inform the any knowledge of, though perhaps very shallow critics and observers upon sorrow, much to its disadvantage. I have heard it that true affliction labours to be invisible, objected against that piece, that its instructhat it is a stranger to ceremony, and that tions are not of general use, but only fitted it bears in its own nature a dignity much for a great lady; but I confess I am not of above the little circumstances which are that opinion; for I do not remember that affected under the notion of decency. You there are any rules laid down for the exmust know, sir, I have lately lost' a dear penses of a woman, in which particular only friend, for whom I have not yet shed a tear, I think a gentlewoman ought to differ from and for that reason your animadversions on a lady of the best fortune, or highest quathat subject would be the more acceptable lity, and not in their principles of justice, to, sir, your most humble servant, gratitude, sincerity, prudence, or modesty.
B. D.' I ought perhaps to make an apology for this
long epistle; but as I rather believe you a
June the 15th. friend to sincerity, than ceremony, shall MR. SPECTATOR, -As I hope there are only assure you I am, sir, your 'humble but few who have so little gratitude as not servant, to acknowledge the usefulness of your pen,
"ANNABELLA.' and to esteem it a public benefit; so I am sensible, be that as it will, you must nevertheless find the secret and incomparable No. 96.] Wednesday, June 20, 1711. pleasure of doing good, and be a great sharer in the entertainment you give. I acknowledge our sex to be much obliged,
Mancipium domino, et frugiand I hope improved by your labours, and
-The faithful servant, and the true.-Creech. even your intentions more particularly for our service. If it be true, as it is sometimes MR. SPECTATOR, I have frequently said, that our sex have an influence on the read your discourse upon servants, and as I other, your paper may be yet a more ge- am one myself, have been much offended, neral good. Your directing us to reading, that in that variety of forms wherein you is certainly the best means to our instruc- considered the bad, vou found no place to tion; but I think, with you, caution in that mention the good. There is however one particular very useful, since the improve-observation of yours I approve, which is, ment of our understandings may, or may
“That there are men of wit and good sense not, be of service to us, according as it is among all orders of men, and that servants managed. It has been thought we are not report most of the good or ill which is generally so ignorant as ill-taught, or that spoken of their masters." That there are cur sex does not so often want wit, judgment, men of sense who live in servitude, I have of knowledge, as the right application of the vanity to say I have felt to my woful them. You are so well-bred, as to say your experience. You attribute very justly the fair readers are already deeper scholars source of our general iniquity to board
Hor. Lib. 2. Bat. vii. 2.