« AnteriorContinuar »
Spectator, I write this to you thus in haste, (markable for impudence than wit, there to tell you I am so very much at ease here are yet some remaining, who
pass with the that I know nothing but joy; and I will not giddy part of mankind for sufficient sharers return, but leave you in England to hiss all of the latter, who have nothing but the merit of your own growth off the stage. I former qualification to recommend them. know, sir, you were always my admirer, Another timely animadversion is absolutely and therefore am yours, 'CAMILLA.
necessary: be pleased, therefore, once for *P. S. I am ten times better dressed than all, to let these gentlemen know, that there ever I was in England.'
is neither mirth nor good humour in hoot
ing a young fellow out of countenance; nor MR. SPECTATOR,- The project in yours that it will ever constitute a wit, to conclude of the 11th instant, of furthering the cor- a tart piece of buffoonery with a “What respondence and knowledge of that con- makes you blush?” Pray please to inform siderable part of mankind, the trading them again, that to speak what they know world, cannot but be highly commendable. is shocking, proceeds from ill-nature and Good lectures to young traders may have sterility of brain; especially when the subvery good effects on their conduct; but be-ject will not admit of raillery, and their ware you propagate no false notions of discourse has no pretension to satire but trade: 'let none of your correspondents im- what is in their design to disoblige. I pose on the world by putting forth base should be very glad too if you would take methods in a good light, and glazing them notice, that a daily repetition of the same over with improper terms. I would have overbearing insolence is yet more insupno means of profit set for copies to others, portable, and a confirmation of very exbut such as are laudable in themselves. traordinary dulness. The sudden publicaLet not noise be called industry, nor impu- tion of this may have an effect upon a dence courage. Let not good fortune be notorious offender of this kind whose refor imposed on the world for good manage- mation would redound very much to the ment, nor poverty be called folly: impute satisfaction and quiet of your most humble not always bankruptcy to extravagance,
F. B.' nor an estate to foresight. Niggardliness is
T. not good husbandry, nor generosity profusion. • Honestus is a well-meaning and judi
No. 444.] Wednesday, July 30, 1712. cious trader, hath substantial goods, and trades with his own stock, husbands his money to the best advantage, without The mountain labours.* taking all the advantages of the necessities It gives me much despair in the design of his workmen, or grinding the face of the of reforming the world by my speculations, poor. Fortunatus is stocked with igno- when I find there always arise, from one gerance, and consequently with self-opinion; neration to another, successive cheats and the quality of his goods cannot but be suit- bubbles, as naturally as beasts of prey, and able to that of his judgment. Honestus those which are to be their food. "There is pleases discerning people, and keeps their hardly a man in the world, one would custom by good usage; makes modest pro- think, so ignorant, as not to know that the fit by modest means, to the decent support ordinary quack-doctors who publish their of his family; while Fortunatus, blustering great abilities in little brown billets, distrialways, pushes on, promising much and buted to all that pass by, are to a man performing little; with obsequiousness of- impostors and murderers; yet such is the fensive to people of sense, strikes at all, credulity of the vulgar, and the impudence catches much the greater part, and raises of those professors, that the affair still goes a considerable fortune by imposition on on, and new promises, of what was never others, to the discouragement and ruin of done before, are made every day. What those who trade fair in the same way. aggravates the jest is, that even this pro
"I give here but loose hints, and beg you mise has been made as long as the memory to be very circumspect in the province you of man can trace it, yet nothing performed, have now undertaken: if you perform it and yet still prevails. As I was passing successfully, it will be a very great good; along to-day, a paper given into my hand for nothing is more wanting than that me- by a fellow without a nose, tells us as folchanic industry were set forth with the lows what good news is come to town, to freedom and greatness of mind which ought wit, that there is now a certain cure for the always to accompany a man of liberal edu- French disease, by a gentleman just come cation. Your humble servant,
from his travels. • From my shop under
• In Russel-court, over-against the Canthe Royal Exchange, July 14. R. C.' non ball, at the Surgeon's-arms, in Drury
lane, is lately come from his travels, a
July 24, 1712. MR. SPECTATOR,—Notwithstanding the repeated censures that your spectatorial Quid dignum tento feret hic promissor hiatu. Hor. wisdom has passed upon people more re- Great cry and little wool.-English Proverb.
Hor. Ars Poet. v. 139.
* Former motto
surgeon who hath practised surgery and timony of some people that has been physic both by sea and land, these twenty-thirty years lame. When I received my four years.
He (by the blessing) cures the paper, a sagacious fellow took one at the yellow jaundice, green-sickness, scurvy, same time and read till he came to the dropsy, surfeits, long sea-voyages, cam-thirty years' confinement of his friends, and paigns, and women's miscarriages, lying- went off very well convinced of the doctor's in, &c. as some people that has been lame sufficiency. You have many of those prothese thirty years can testify; in short, he digious persons, who have had some excureth all diseases incident to men, women, traordinary accident at their birth, or a or children.'
great disaster in some part of their lives. If a man could be so indolent as to look Any thing, however foreign from the busiupon this havoc of the human species, ness the people want of you, will convince which is made by vice and ignorance, it them of your ability in that you profess, would be a good 'ridiculous work to com- There is a doctor in Mouse-Alley, near ment upon the declaration of this accom- Wapping, who sets up for curing cataplished traveller. There is something racts, upon the credit of having, as his bill unaccountably taking among the vulgar in sets forth, lost an eye in the emperor's serthose who come from a great way off. Ig- vice. His patients come in upon this, and norant people of quality, as many there he shows his muster-roll, which confirms are of such, doat excessively this way; that he was in his imperial majesty's many instances of which every man will troops; and he puts out their eyes with suggest to himself, without my enumera- great success. Who would believe that a tion of them. The ignorants of lower order, man should be a doctor for the cure of who cannot, like the upper ones, be profuse bursten children, by declaring that his faof their money to those recommended by ther and grandfather were both bursten? coming from a distance, are no less com- But Charles Ingolston, next door to the plaisant than the others, for they venture Harp in Barbican, has made a pretty their lives from the same admiration. penny by that asservation. The generality
• The doctor is lately come from his tra- go upon their first conception, and think no vels, and has practised both by sea and farther; all the rest is granted. They take land,' and therefore cures the green-sick- it, that there is something uncommon in ness, long sea-voyages, campaigns, and you, and give you credit for the rest. You lyings-in. Both by sea and land!-I will may be sure it is upon that I go, when not answer for the distempers called sea- sometimes, let it be to the purpose or not, voyages and campaigns; but I dare say I keep a Latin sentence in my front; and I those of green-sickness and lying-in might was not a little pleased, when I observed be as well taken care of if the doctor staid one of my readers say, casting his eye upon ashore. But the art of managing mankind my twentieth paper, More Latin still? is only to make them stare a little, to keep What a prodigious scholar is this man!' up their astonishment, to let nothing be fa- But as I have taken much liberty with this miliar to them, but ever have something in learned doctor, I must make up all I have their sleeve, in which they must think you said by repeating what he seems to be in are deeper than they are. There is an in- earnest in, and honestly promises to those genious fellow, a barber of my acquaint- who will not receive him as a great manance, who, besides his broken fiddle and to wit, “That from eight to twelve, and a dried sea-monster, has a twined-cord, from two to six, he attends, for the good of strained with two nails at each end, over the public, to bleed for three pence.
T. his window, and the words "rainy, dry, wet,' and so forth, written to denote the weather, according to the rising or falling No. 445.] Thursday, July 31, 1712. of the cord. We very great scholars are not apt to wonder at this; but I observed a
Tanti non es, ais. Sapis, Luperce.
Mart. Epig. 118. I. 1. 8. ult. very honest fellow, a chance customer, You say, Lupercus, what I write who sat in the chair before me to be I'nt worth so much: you're in the right. shaved, fix his eye upon this miraculous This is the day on which many eminent performance during the operation upon his authors will probably publish their last chin and face. When those and his head words. I am afraid that few of our weekly also were cleared of all incumbrances and historians, who are men that above all others excrescences, he looked at the fish, then at delight in war, will be able to subsist under the fiddle, still grubbing in his pockets, the weight of a stamp, * and an approachand casting his eye again at the twine, and ing peace. A sheet of blank paper that the words writ on each side; then altered must have this new imprimatur clapt upon his mind as to farthings, and gave my friend a silver sixpence. The business, as August 1, 1712, the stamp duty here alluded to, took I said, is to keep up the amazement; and the queen. Have you seen the red stamp? Methunks
place, and every single half-sheet paid a half-penny to if my friend had had only the skeleton and the stamping is worth a half.penny. The Observator kit, he must have been contented with a is fallen; the Medleys are jumbled together with the less payment. But the doctor we were flying Post; the Examiner is deadly sick. The Spectator
keeps up and doubles its price.' talking of adds to his long voyages the tes
Swift's Works, cr. 8vo. vol. II. p. 173.
it, before it is qualified to communicate any malcontentedness, which I am resolved thing to the public, will make its way in that none shall ever justly upbraid me with. the world but very heavily. In short, the No, I shall glory in contributing my utmost necessity of carrying a stamp, and the im- to the public weal; and, if my country reprobability of notifying a bloody battle, will, ceives five or six pounds a day by my laI am afraid, both concur to the sinking of bours, I shall be very well pleased to find those thin folios, which have every other myself so useful a member. It is a received day retailed to us the history of Europe for maxim, that no honest man should enrich several years last past. A facetious friend himself by methods that are prejudicial to of mine, who loves a pun, calls this present the community in which he lives; and by mortality among authors, “The fall of the the same rule I think we may pronounce leaf.'
the person to deserve very well of his counI remember, upon Mr. Baxter's death, trymen, whose labours bring more into the there was published a sheet of very good public coffers than into his own pocket. sayings, inscribed, “The last words of Mr. Since I have mentioned the word eneBaxter.' The title sold so great a number mies, I must explain myself so far as to acof these papers, that about a week after quaint my reader, that I mean only the inthere came out a second sheet, inscribed, significant party zealots on both sides; men • More last words of Mr. Baxter.' In the of such poor narrow souls, that they are not same manner I have reason to think that capable of thinking on any thing but with several ingenious writers, who have taken an eye to whig or tory. During the course their leave of the public, in farewell papers, of this paper, I have been accused by these will not give over so, but intend to appear despicable wretches of trimming, time-servagain, though perhaps under another form, ing, personal reflection, secret satire, and and with a different title. Be that as it will, the like. Now, though in these my compoit is my business, in this place, to give an sitions it is visible to any reader of comaccount of my own intentions, and to ac- mon sense that I consider nothing but my quaint my reader with the motives by subject, which is always of an indifferent which I act, in this great crisis of the re- nature, how it is possible for me to write public of letters.
so clear of party, as not to lie open to the I have been long debating in my own censures of those who will be applying heart, whether I should throw up my pen every sentence, and finding out persons as an author that is cashiered by the act of and things in it, which it has no regard to? parliament which is to operate within this Several paltry scribblers and declaimers four-and-twenty hours, or whether I should have done me the honour to be dull upon still persist in laying my speculations, from me in reflections of this nature; but, notday to day, before the public. The argu- withstanding my name has been sometimes ment which prevails with me most on the traduced by this contemptible tribe of men, first side of the question is, that I am in- I have hitherto avoided all animadversions formed by my bookseller he must raise the upon them. The truth of it is, I am afraid price of every single paper to two pence, of making them appear considerable by or that he shall not be able to pay the duty taking notice of them: for they are like of it. Now, as I am very desirous my rea- those imperceptible insects which are disders should have their learning as cheap as covered by the microscope, and cannot be possible, it is with great difficulty that I made the subject of observation without comply with him in this particular. being magnified.
However, upon laying my reasons toge- Having mentioned those few who have ther in the balance, I find that those who shown themselves the enemies of this paper, plead for the continuance of this work, I should be very ungrateful to the public, have much the greater weight. For in the did I not at the same time testify my grafirst place, in recompence for the expense titude to those who are its friends, in which to which this will put my readers, it is to number I may reckon many of the most be hoped they may receive from every distinguished persons, of all conditions, paper so much instruction as will be a very partics, and professions, in the isle of Great good equivalent. And, in order to this, I | Britain. I am not so vain as to think apwould not advise any one to take it in, who, probation is so much due to the performafter the perusal of it, does not find himself ance as to the design. There is, and ever two pence the wiser, or the better man for will be, justice enough in the world to afit, or who, upon examination, does not be- ford patronage and protection for those lieve that he has had two-penny worth of who endeavour to advance truth and virtue, mirth or instruction for his money.
without regard to the passions and prejuBut I must confess there is another mo- dices of any particular cause or faction. If tive which prevails with me more than the I have any other merit in me it is that I former. I consider that the tax on paper have new pointed all the batteries of ridiwas given for the support of the govern- cule. They have been generally planted ment; and as I have enemies who are apt against persons who have appeared serious to pervert every thing I do or say, I fear rather than absurd: or at best, have aimed. they would ascribe the laying down my rather at what is unfashionable than what paper, on such an occasion, to a spirit of is vicious. For my own part, I have en
Hor. Ars Poet. v. 303.
deavoured to make nothing ridiculous that that Socrates used to frequent the one, and is not in some measure criminal. I have set Cicero the other. up the immoral man as the object of deri- It happened once, indeed, that Cato sion. In short, if I have not formed a new dropped into the Roman theatre when the weapon against vice and irreligion, I have Floralia were to be represented; and as, in at least shown how that weapon may be put that performance, which was a kind of reto a right use, which has so often fought the ligious ceremony, there were several inbattles of impiety and profaneness. decent parts to be acted, the people re
fused to see them whilst Cato was present.
Martial, on this hint, made the following No. 446.] Friday, August 1, 1712. epigram, which we must suppose was ap.
plied to some grave friend of his, that had Quid deceat, quid non; quo virtus, quo ferat error.
been accidentally present at some such enWhat fit, what not: what excellent, or ill.
* Nosses jocosæ dulce com sacrum Flora, SINCE two or three writers of comedy, Festosque Jusus, et licentium vulgi, who are living, have taken their farewell Cur in theatrum, Cato severe, venisti?
An ideo tantum veneras, ut exires ?' Epig. 3 1. of the stage, those who succeed them, finding themselves incapable of rising up to
Why dost thou come, great censor of thy age,
To see the loose diversions of the stage? their wit, humour, and good sense, have With awful countenance, and brow severe, only imitated them in some of those loose What in the name of goodness dost thou here? unguarded strokes, in which they complied
See the mixt crowd! how giddy, lewd, and vain!
Didst thou come in but to go out again? with the corrupt taste of the more vicious part of their audience. When persons of a An accident of this nature might happens low genius attempt this kind of writing, once in an age among the Greeks and Rothey know no difference between being mans; but they were too wise and good to merry and being lewd. It is with an eye let the constant nightly entertainment be of to some of these degenerate compositions such a nature, that people of the most sense that I have written the following discourse. and virtue could not be at it. Whatever
Were our English stage but half so vir- vices are represented upon the stage, they tuous as that of the Greeks and Romans, ought to be so marked and branded by the we should quickly see the influence of it in poet, as not to appear either laudable or the behaviour of all the politer part of man- amiable in the son who is tainted with kind. It would not be fashionable to ridi- them. But if we look into the English comecule religion; or its professors; the man of dies above-mentioned, we would think they pleasure would not be the complete gentle-were formed upon a quite contrary maxim, man; vanity would be out of countenance; and that this rule, though it held good upon and every quality which is ornamental to the heathen stage, was not to be regarded human nature would meet with that esteem in christian theatres. There is another which is due to it.
rule likewise, which was observed by auIf the English stage were under the same thors of antiquity; and which these modern regulations the Athenian was formerly, it geniuses have no regard to, and that was, would have the same effect that had, in re- never to choose an improper subject for commending the religion, the government, ridicule. Now a subject is improper for riand public worship of its country. Were dicule, if it is apt to stir up horror and comour plays subject to proper inspections and miseration rather than laughter. For this imitations, we might not only pass away reason, we do not find any comedy, in so several of our vacant hours in the highest polite an author as Terence, raised upon entertainments, but should always rise from the violations of the marriage-bed. The them wiser and better than we sat down to falsehood of the wife or husband has given them.
occasion to noble tragedies; but a Scipio It is one of the most unaccountable things and Lelius would have looked upon incest in our age, that the lewdness of our theatre or murder to have been as proper subjects should be so much complained of, so well for comedy. On the contrary, cuckoldom exposed, and so little redressed. It is to be is the basis of most of our modern plays. hoped, that some time or other we may be If an alderman appears upon the stage, you at leisure to restrain the licentiousness of may be sure it is in order to be cuckolded. the theatre, and make it contribute its A husband that is a little grave or elderly, assistance to the advancement of morality, generally meets with the same fate. Knights and to the reformation of the age. As mat- and baronets, country 'squires, and justices ters stand at present, multitudes are shut of the quorum, come up to town for no out from this noble diversion, by reason of other purpose. I have seen poor Dogget those abuses and corruptions that accom- cuckolded in all these capacities. In short, pany it. A father is often afraid that his our English writers are as frequently severe daughter should be ruined by those enter- upon this innocent unhappy creature, comtainments, which were invented for the ac- monly known by the name of a cuckold, as complishment and refining of human na- the ancient comic writers were upon an ture. The Athenian and Roman plays were eating parasite, or a vain-glorious soldier. written with such a regard to morality, At the same time the poet so contrives matters, that the two criminals are the fa- served, may lead us into very useful rules vourites of the audience. We sit still, and of life.' What I shall here take notice of in wish well to them through the whole play, custom, is its wonderful efficacy in making are pleased when they meet with proper every thing pleasant to us. A person who opportunities, and out of humour when they is addicted to play or gaming, though he are disappointed. The truth of it is, the took but little delight in it at first, by deaccomplished gentleman upon the English grees contracts so strong an inclination tostage, is the person that is familiar with wards it, and gives himself up so entirely other men's wives, and indifferent to his to it, that it seems the only end of his being. own; as the fine woman is generally a com- The love of a retired or busy life will grow position of sprightliness and falsehood. I upon a man insensibly, as he is conversant do not know whether it proceeds from bar- in the one or the other, till he is utterly renness of invention, depravation of man- unqualified for relishing that to which he ners, or ignorance of mankind, but I have has been for some time disused. Nay, a often wondered that our ordinary poets man may smoke, or drink, or take snuff, cannot frame to themselves the idea of a till he is unable to pass away his time withfine man who is not a whore-master, or a out it; not to mention how our delight in fine woman that is not a jilt.
any particular study, art, or science, rises I have sometimes thought of compiling and improves, in proportion to the applicaa system of ethicks out of the writings tion which we bestow upon it. Thus, what of those corrupt poets under the title of was at first an exercise becomes at length' Stage Morality. But I have been diverted an entertainment. Our employments are from this thought by a project which has changed into our diversions. The mind been executed by an ingenious gentleman grows fond of those actions she is accusof my acquaintance. He has composed, it tomed to, and is drawn with reluctancy seems, the history of a young fellow who from those paths in which she has been has taken all his notions of the world from used to walk. the stage, and who has directed himself in Not only such actions as were at first inevery circumstance of his life and conver- different to us, but even such as are painful, sation, by the maxims and examples of the will by custom and practice become pleafine gentleman in English comedies. If I sant. Sir Francis Bacon observes, in his can prevail upon him to give me a copy of Natural Philosophy, that our taste is never this new-fashioned novel, I will bestow on pleased better than with those things which it a place in my works, and question not at first created disgust in it. He gives parbut it may have as good an effect upon the ticular instances, of claret, coffee, and other drama as Don Quixote had upon romance. liquors, which the palate seldom approves
C. upon the first taste; but, when it has once
got a relish of them, generally retains it
for life. The mind is constituted after the No. 447.] Saturday, August 2, 1712. same manner, and after having habituated
herself to any particular exercise or emΦημι πολυχρονιην μελετην εμεναι, φιλε» και δη ployment, not only loses her first aversion Ταυτην ανθρωποισι τελευτωσαν φυσιν ειναι. towards it, but conceives a certain fondness Long exercise, my friend, inures the mind;
and affection for it. I have heard one of the And what we once dislik'd we pleasing find.
greatest geniuses this age has produced, * THERE is not a common saying which who had been trained up in all the polite has a better turn of sense in it, than what studies of antiquity, assure me, upon his we often hear in the mouths of the vulgar, being obliged to search into several rolls that custom is a second nature.' It is in- and records, that notwithstanding such an deed able to form the man anew, and to employment was at first very dry and irkgive him inclinations and capacities alto- some to him, he at last took an incredible gether different from those he was born pleasure in it, and preferred it even to the with. Dr. Plot, in his History of Stafford reading of Virgil or Cicero. The reader shire, tells us of an idiot that, chancing to will obserre, that I have not here consilive within the sound of a clock, and always dered custom as it makes things easy, but amusing himself with counting the hour of as it renders them delightful; and though the day whenever the clock struck, the others have often made the same reflecclock being spoiled by accident, the idiot tions, it is possible they may not have continued to strike and count the hour drawn those uses from it, with which I inwithout the help of it, in the same manner tend to fill the remaining part of this paper. as he had done when it was entire. Though If we consider attentively this property I dare not vouch for the truth of this story, of human nature, it may instruct us in very it is very certain that custom has a me- fine moralities. In the first place, I would chanical effect upon the body at the same have no man discouraged with that kind of time that it has a very extraordinary influ-life, or series of action, in which the choice ence upon the mind.
of others or his own necessities may have I shall in this paper consider one very engaged him. It may, perhaps, be very remarkable effect which custom has upon human nature, and which, if rightly ob
* Dr. Atterbury. Vol. II.