« AnteriorContinuar »
ficial to the author. By whispers I means innocent young woman big with child, those pieces of news which are communi- or fill a healthy young fellow with distem cated as secrets, and which bring a double pers that are not to be named. She can pleasure to the hearer: first, as they are turn a visit into an intrigue, and a distant private history; and, in the next place, as salute into an assignation. She can beggar they have always in them a dash of scan-the wealthy, and degrade the noble. In dal. These are the two chief qualifications short, she can whisper men base or foolish, in an article of news, which recommend it jealous or ill-natured: or, if occasion rein a more than ordinary manner, to the quires, can tell you the slips of their great ears of the curious. Sickness of persons in grandmothers, and traduce the memory of high posts, twilight visits paid and receiv-honest coachmen, that have been in their ed by ministers of state, clandestine court- graves above these hundred years. By ships and marriages, secret amours, losses these and the like helps, I question not but at play, applications for places, with their I shall furnish out a very handsome newsrespective successes and repulses, are the letter. If you approve my project, I shall materials in which I chiefly intend to deal. begin to whisper by the very next post, I have two persons, that are each of them and question not but every one of my custhe representative of a species, who are to tomers will be very well pleased with me, furnish me with those whispers which I when he considers that every piece of news intend to convey to my correspondents. I send him is a word in his ear, and lets The first of these is Peter Hush, descend- him into a secret. ed from the ancient family of the Hushes. Having given you a sketch of this proThe other is the old lady Blast, who has a ject, I shall, in the next place, suggest to very numerous tribe of daughters in the you another for a monthly pamphlet, which two great cities of London and Westmin- I shall likewise submit to your spectatorial ster. Peter Hush has a whispering-hole wisdom. I need not tell you, sir, that there in most of the great coffee-houses about are several authors in France, Germany, town. If you are alone with him in a wide and Holland, as well as in our own counroom, he carries you up into a corner of it, try,* who publish every month what they and speaks in your ear. I have seen Peter call An Account of the Works of the seat himself in a company of seven or eight Learned, in which they give us an abstract persons whom he never saw before in his of all such books as are printed in any part life; and, after having looked about to see of Europe. Now, sir, it is my design to there was no one that overheard him, has publish every month, An Account of the communicated to them in a low voice, and Works of the Unlearned. Several late under the seal of secresy, the death of a productions of my own countrymen, who, great man in the country, who was, per- many of them make a very eminent figure haps, a fox-hunting the very moment this in the illiterate world, encourage.me in this account was given of him. If upon your undertaking. I may, in this work, possibly entering into a coffee-house you see a circle make a review of several pieces which of heads bending over the table, and lying have appeared in the foreign accounts above close to one another, it is ten to one but my mentioned, though they ought not to have friend Peter is among them. I have known been taken notice of in works which bear Peter publishing the whisper of the day by such a title. I may likewise take into coneight o'clock in the morning at Garra-sideration such pieces as appear, from time way's, by twelve at Will's, and before two to time, under the names of those gentle, at the Smyrna. When Peter has thus ef- men who compliment one another in public fectually launched a secret, I have been assemblies, by the title of “The Learned very well pleased to hear people whis- Gentlemen," Our party-authors will also pering it to one another at second-hand, afford me a great variety of subjects, not to and spreading it about as their own; for mention the editors, commentators, and you must know, sir, the great incentive to others, who are often men of no learning, whispering is the ambition which every or, what is as bad, of no knowledge. I shall one has of being thought in the secret, and not enlarge upon this hint; but if you think being looked upon as a man who has ac- any thing can be made of it, I shall set cess to greater people than one would ima- about it with all the pains and application gine. After having given you this account that so useful a work deserves. I am ever, of Peter Hush, I proceed to that virtuous most worthy sir, &c.' lady, the old lady Blast, who is to commu-l. nicate to me the private transactions of the crimp-table, with all the arcana of the No. 458.] Friday, August 15, 1712. fair-sex. The lady Blast, you must under Ai8ws 8x nyx
Hes. stand, has such a particular malignity in
Hor. her whisper, that it blights like an easterly
False modesty. wind, and withers every reputation that it
I COULD not but
I could not but smile at the account tha, breathes upon. She has a particular knack at making private weddings, and last win
was yesterday given me of a modest young ter married above five women of quality to * Mr. Michael de la Roche, 38 vols. 8vo. in Engl. un their footmen. Her whisper can make an der different titles; and in Fr. 8 tomes, 24mo.
gentleman, who, being invited to an enter-nature, that men should not be ashamed of tainment, though he was not used to drink, speaking or acting in a dissolute or irrahad not the confidence to refuse his glass in tional manner, but that one who is in their his turn, when on a sudden he grew so flus- company should be ashamed of governing tered, that he took all the talk of the table himself by the principles of reason and into his own hands, abused every one of the virtue. company, and flung a bottle at the gentle- In the second place, we are to consider man's head who treated him. This has false modesty as it restrains a man from given me occasion to reflect upon the ill doing what is good and laudable. My reaeffects of a vicious modesty, and to remem-der's own thoughts will suggest to him ber the saying of Brutus, as it is quoted by many instances and examples under this Plutarch, that the person has had but an head. I shall only dwell upon one reflecill education, who has not been taught to tion, which I cannot make without a secret deny any thing.' This false kind of mo-concern. We have in England a particudesty has, perhaps, betrayed both sexes lar bashfulness in every thing that regards into as many vices as the most abandoned religion. A well-bred man is obliged to impudence; and is the more inexcusable conceal any serious sentiment of this nato reason, because it acts to gratify others ture, and very often to appear a greater rather than itself, and is punished with a libertine than he is, that he may keep himkind of remorse, not only like other vicious self in countenance among the men of mode. habits when the crime is over, but even at Our excess of modesty makes us shamethe very time that it is committed. I faced in all the exercises of piety and devo
Nothing is more amiable than true mo- tion. This humour prevails upon us daily; desty, and nothing is more contemptible insomuch that, at many well-bred tables, than the false. The one guards virtue, the the master of the house is so very modest a other betrays it. True modesty is ashamed man, that he has not the confidence to say to do any thing that is repugnant to the rules grace at his own table: a custom which is of right reason; false modesty is ashamed not only practised by all the nations about to do any thing that is opposite to the hu- us, but was never omitted by the heathens mour of the company. True modesty avoids themselves. English gentlemen, who travel every thing that is criminal, false modesty into Roman-catholic countries, are not a litevery thing that is unfashionable. The latter tle surprised to meet with people of the best is only a general undetermined instinct; the quality kneeling in their churches, and enformer is that instinct, limited and circum- gaged in their private devotions, though it scribed by the rules of prudence and re- be not at the hours of public worship. An
officer of the army, or a man of wit and We may conclude that modesty to be pleasure, in those countries, would be afraid false and vicious which engages a man to of passing not only for an irreligious, but an do any thing that is ill or indiscreet, or ill-bred man, should he be seen to go to bed, which restrains him from doing any thing or sit down at table, without offering up that is of a contrary nature. How many his devotions on such occasions. The same men, in the common concerns of life, lend show of religion appears in all the foreign sums of money which they are not able to reformed churches, and enters so much in spare, are bound for persons whom they their ordinary conversation, that an Enghave but little friendship for, give recom- lishman is apt to term them hypocritical mendatory characters of men whom they are and precise. not acquainted with, bestow places on those This little appearance of a religious de whom they do not esteem, live in such a portment in our nation, may proceed in manner as they themselves do not approve, some measure from that modesty which is and all this merely because they have not natural to us; but the great occasion of it the confidence to resist solicitation, impor- is certainly this. Those swarms of sectatunity, or example!
ries that overran the nation in the time of Nor does this false modesty expose us the great rebellion, carried their hypocrisy only to such actions as are indiscreet, but so high, that they had converted our whole very often to such as are highly criminal. language into a jargon of enthusiasm: inWhen Xenophanes was called timorous, somuch, that upon the restoration, men because he would not venture his money in thought they could not recede too far from a game of dice: “I confess,' said he, that the behaviour and practice of those perI am exceeding timorous, for I dare not do sons who had made religion a cloak to so an ill thing.' On the contrary, a man of many villanies. This led them into the vicious modesty complies with every thing, other extreme; every appearance of devoand is only fearful of doing what may look tion was looked upon as puritanical, and singular in the company where he is en- falling into the hands of the ridiculers' gaged. He falls in with the torrent, and who flourished in that reign, and attacked lets himself go to every action or discourse, every thing that was serious, it has ever however unjustifiable in itself, so it be in since been out of countenance among us. vogue among the present party. This, By this means we are gradually fallen into though one of the most common, is one of that vicious modesty, which has in some the most ridiculous dispositions in human I measure worn out from among us the yp
pearance of Christianity in ordinary life Fourthly, Because the rule of morality and conversation, and which distinguishes is much more certain than that of faith, all us from all our neighbours
the civilized nations of the world agreeing Hypocrisy cannot indeed be too much in the great points of morality, as much as detested, but at the same time it is to be they differ in those of faith. preferred to open impiety. They are both Fifthly, Because infidelity is not of so maequally destructive to the person who is lignant a nature as immorality; or, to put possessed with them; but, in regard to the same reason in another light, because others, hypocrisy is not so pernicious as it is generally owned, there may be salvabare-faced irreligion. The due mean to be tion for a virtuous infidel, (particularly in observed is, 'to be sincerely virtuous, and the case of invincible ignorance,) but none at the same time to let the world see we are for a vicious believer. so,' I do not know a more dreadful me- Sixthly, Because faith seems to draw its nace in the holy writings, than that which principal, if not all its excellency, from the is pronounced against those who have this influence it has upon morality; as we shall perverted modesty to be ashamed before see more at large, if we consider wherein men in a particular of such unspeakable consists the excellency of faith, or the beimportance.
lief of revealed religion; and this I think is,
First, In explaining, and carrying to
greater height, several points of morality. No. 459.] Saturday, August 16, 1712.
Secondly, In furnishing new and stronger
motives to enforce the practice of morality, -Quicquid dignum sapiente bonoque est. Thirdly, in giving us more amiable ideas
Hor. Ep. iv. Lib. 1.5.
of the Supreme Being, more endearing no-Whate'er befits the wise and good.-Creech. tions of one another, and a truer state of RELIGION may be considered under two ourselves, both in regard to the grandeur general heads. The first comprehends what and vileness of our natures. we are to believe, the other what we are to Fourthly, By showing us the blackness practise. By those things which we are to and deformity of vice, which in the Chrisbelieve, I mean whatever is revealed to us tian system is so very great, that he who is in the holy writings, and which we could possessed of all perfection, and the sovenot have obtained the knowledge of by the reign judge of it, is represented by several light of nature; by the things which we are of our divines as hating sin to the same deto practise, I mean all those duties to which gree that he loves the sacred person who we are directed by reason or natural reli- was made the propitiation of it. gion. The first of these I shall distinguish Fifthly, In being the ordinary and pre by the name of faith, the second by that of scribed method of making morality effectual morality.
to salvation. If we look into the more serious part of I have only touched on these several mankind, we find many who lay so great a heads, which every one who is conversant stress upon faith, that they neglect mo- in discourses of this nature will easily enrality; and many who build so much upon large upon in his own thoughts, and draw morality, that they do not pay a due regard conclusions from them which may be useful to faith. The perfect man should be defec- to him in the conduct of his life. One I am tive in neither of these particulars, as will sure is so obvious that he cannot miss it, be very evident to those who consider the namely, that a man cannot be perfect in his benefits which arise from each of them, and scheme of morality, who does not strengthen which I shall make the subject of this day's and support it with that of the Christian paper.
faith. . . Notwithstanding this general division of Besides this, I shall lay down two or three Christian duty into morality and faith, and other maxims, which I think we may dethat they have both their peculiar excel- duce from what has been said. lencies, the first has the pre-eminence in First, That we should be particularly several respects.
cautious of making any thing an article of First, Because the greatest part of mo- faith, which does not contribute to the conrality (as I have stated the notion of it,) is firmation or improvement of morality. of a fixed eternal nature, and will endure Secondly, That no article of faith can be when faith shall fail, and be lost in convic-true and authentic, which weakens or sub
| verts the practical part of religion, or what Secondly, Because a person may be qua- I have hitherto called morality. lified to do greater good to mankind, and Thirdly, That the greatest friend of mo become more beneficial to the world, by rality and natural religion cannot possibly morality without faith, than by faith with apprehend any danger from embracing out morality.
Christianity, as it is preserved pure and Thirdly, Because morality gives a greater uncorrupt in the doctrines of our national perfection to human nature, by quieting the church. * mind, moderating the passions, and advanc- ! There is likewise another maxim which ing the happiness of every man in his private capacity.
• The Gospel.
I think may be drawn from the foregoing I heads; two that dwelt in sorcery, and were considerations, which is this, that we should, famous for bewitching people with the love in all dubious points, consider any ill con- of themselves. To these repaired a multisequences that may arise from them, sup- tude from every side, by two different paths posing they should be erroneous, before we which lead towards each of them. Some give up our assent to them.
who had the most assuming air went directly For example, In that disputable point of of themselves to Error, without expecting perseciiting men for conscience sake, be- a conductor; others of a softer nature went sides the embittering their minds with first to Popular Opinion, from whence, as hatred, indignation, and all the vehemence she influenced and engaged them with their of resentment, and ensnaring them to pro- own praises, she delivered them over to his fess what they do not believe, we cut them government. off from the pleasures and advantages of When we had ascended to an open part society, afflict their bodies, distress their of the summit where Opinion abode, we fortunes, hurt their reputations, ruin their found her entertaining several who had arfamilies, make their lives painful, or put rived before us. Her voice was pleasing; an end to them. Sure when I see such she breathed odours as she spoke. She dreadful consequences rising from a princi- seemed to have a tongue for every one; ple, I would be as fully convinced of the every one thought he heard of something truth of it, as of a mathematical demonstra- that was valuable in himself, and expected a tion, before I would venture to act upon it, paradise which she promised as the reward or make it a part of my religion.
of his merit. Thus were we drawn to folIn this case the injury done our neighbour low her, till she should bring us where it is plain and evident; the principle that puts was to be bestowed; and it was observable us upon doing it, of a dubious and disputable that, all the way we went, the company nature. Morality seems highly violated by was either praising themselves in their the one; and whether or no a zeal for what qualifications, or one another for those a man thinks the true system of faith may qualifications which they took to be conjustify it, is very uncertain. I cannot but spicuous in their own characters, or disthink, if our religion produces charity as praising others for wanting theirs, or vying well as zeal, it will not be for showing itself in the degrees of them. by such cruel instances. But to conclude At last we approached a bower, at the with the words of an excellent author, We entrance of which Error was seated. The have just enough of religion to make us trees were thick woven, and the place hate, but not enough to make us love one where he sat artfully contrived to darken another.'
him a little. He was disguised in a whitish robe, which he had put on, that he might
appear to us with a nearer resemblance to No. 460.] Monday, August 18, 1712. Truth; and as she has a light whereby she Decipimur specie recti Hor. Ars Poet. v. 25.
manifests the beauties of nature to the eyes
of her adorers, so he had provided himself Deluded by a seeming excellence.- Roscommon.
with a magical wand, that he might do Our defects and follies are too often un- something in imitation of it, and please with known to us; nay, they are so far from being delusions. This he lifted solemnly, and, known to us, that they pass for demonstra- muttering to himself, bid the glories which tions of our worth. This makes us easy in he kept under enchantment to appear bethe midst of them, fond to show them, fond fore us. Immediately we cast our eyes on to improve them, and to be esteemed for that part of the sky to which he pointed, them. Then it is that a thousand unac and observed a thin blue prospect, which countable conceits, gay inventions, and ex- cleared as mountains in a summer morning travagant actions, must afford us pleasures, when the mist goes off, and the palace of and display us to others in the colours which Vanity appeared to sight. we ourselves take a fancy to glory in. In- The foundation seemed hardly a foundadeed there is something so amusing for the tion, but a set of curling clouds, which it time in this state of vanity and ill-grounded stood upon by magical contrivance. The satisfaction, that even the wiser world has way by which we ascended was painted chosen an exalted word to describe its en-like a rainbow; and as we went, the breeze chantments and called it, “The Paradise that played about us bewitched the senses. of Fools.'
The walls were gilded all for show; the Perhaps the latter part of this reflection lowest set of pillars were of the slight fine may seem a false thought to some, and bear Corinthian order, and the top of the buildanother turn than what I have given; but it ing being rounded, bore so far the resemis at present none of my business to look blance of a bubble. after it, who am going to confess that I have At the gate the travellers neither met been lately amongst them in a vision. with a porter, nor waited till one should
Methought I was transported to a hill, appear; every one thought his merits a sufgreen, flowery, and of an easy ascent. ficient passport, and pressed forward. In Upon the broad top of it resided squint-eyed the hall we met with several phantoms, Error, and Popular Opinion with many that roved amongst us, and ranged the
company according to their sentiments. I and I heard it firmly resolved, that he There was decreasing Honour, that had should be used no better wherever they nothing to show but an old coat of his an- met with him hereafter. cestor's achievements. There was Ostenta-l I had already seen the meaning of most tion, that made himself his own constant part of that warning which he had given, subject; and Gallantry strutting upon his and was considering how the latter words tiptoes. At the upper end of the hall stood should be fulfilled, when a mighty noise a throne, whose canopy glittered with all was heard without, and the door was blackthe riches that gayety could contrive to ened by a numerous train of harpies crowdlavish on it; and between the gilded arms / ing in upon us. Folly and Broken-Credit sat Vanity, decked in the peacock's fea- were seen in the house before they entered, thers, and acknowledged for another Venus Trouble, Shame, Infamy, Scorn, and Poby her votaries. The boy who stood beside verty, brought up the rear. Vanity, with her for a Cupid, and who made the world her Cupid and Graces, disappeared; her to bow before her, was called Self-Conceit. subiects ran into holes and corners; but His eyes had every now and then a cast many of them were found and carried off inwards, to the neglect of all objects about (as I was told by one who stood near me) him; and the arms which he made use of either to prisons or cellars, solitude, or little for conquest, were borrowed from those company, the mean arts or the viler crafts against whom he had a design. The arrow of life. But these,' added he, with a diswhich he shot at the soldier, was fledged dainful air, ‘are such who would fondly live from his own plume of feathers; the dart here, when their merits neither matched he directed against the man of wit, was the lustre of the place, nor their riches its winged from the quills he writ with; and expenses. We have seen such scenes as that which he sent against those who pre- these before now; the glory you saw will all sumed upon their riches, was headed with return when the hurry is over.' I thanked gold out of their treasuries. He made nets him for his information; and believing him for statesmen from their own contrivances; so incorrigible as that he would stay till it he took fire from the eyes of the ladies, was his turn to be taken, I made off to the with which he melted their hearts; and door, and overtook some few, who, though lightning from the tongues of the eloquent, they would not hearken to Plain-Dealing, to inflame them with their own glories. At were now terrified to good purpose by the the foot of the throne sat three false Graces; example of others. But when they had Flattery with a shell of paint, Affectation touched the threshold, it was a strange with a mirror to practise at, and Fashion shock to them to find that the delusion of ever changing the posture of her clothes. Error was gone, and they plainly discerned These applied themselves to secure the the building to hang a little up in the air conquests which Self-Conceit, had gotten, without any real foundation. “At first we and had each of them their particular saw nothing but a desperate leap remained polities. Flattery gave new colours and for us, and I a thousand times blamed my complexions to all things; Affectation new unmeaning curiosity that had brought me airs and appearances, which, as she said, into so much danger. But as they began to were not vulgar; and Fashion both con- sink lower in their own minds, methought cealed some home defects, and added some the palace sunk along with us, till they foreign external beauties.
were arrived at the due point of esteem As I was reflecting upon what I saw, I which they ought to have for themselves, heard a voice in the crowd bemoaning the then the part of the building in which they condition of mankind, which is thus managed stood touched the earth, and we departing by the breath of Opinion, deluded by Error, out, it retired from our eyes. Now, whether fired by Self-Conceit, and given up to be they who stayed in the palace were sensible trained in all the courses of Vanity, till of this descent, I cannot tell: it was then Scorn or Poverty come upon us. These ex- my opinion that they were not. However pressions were no sooner handed about, but it be, my dream broke up at it, and has I immediately saw a general disorder, till given me occasion all my life to reflect upon at last there was a parting in one place, and the fatal consequences of following the suga grave old man, decent and resolute, was gestions of Vanity. led forward to be punished for the words he had uttered. He appeared inclined to have MR. SPECTATOR,- I write to you to despoken in his own defence, but I could not sire that you would again touch upon a cerobserve that any one was willing to hear tain enormity, which is chiefly in use among him. Vanity cast a scornful smile at him; the politer and better-bred part of mankind; Self-Conceit" was angry; Flattery, who I mean the ceremonies, bows, courtesies, knew him for Plain-Dealing, put on a whisperings, smiles, winks, nods, with vizard, and turned away; Affectation tossed other familiar arts of salutation, which take her fan, made mouths, and called him Envy up in our churches so much time that might or Slander: and Fashion would have it, that be better employed, and which seem so at least he must be Ill-manners. Thus utterly inconsistent with the duty and true slighted and despised by all, he was driven intent of our entering into those religious out for abusing people of merit and figure; assemblies. The resemblance which this