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abroad, for fear of catching cold; when he | tural depravity of temper it is not in the should have been hunting down a buck, he power, even of religion itself, to preserve was by his mother's side learning how to the character of the person who is possess, season it, or put it in crust; and making ed with it from appearing highly absurd paper boats with his sisters, at an age and ridiculous. when other young gentlemen are crossing An old maiden gentlewoman, whom I the seas, or travelling into foreign coun- shall conceal under the name of Nemesis, tries. He has the whitest hand you ever is the greatest discoverer of judgments that saw in your life, and raises paste better I have met with. She can tell you what sin than any woman in England. These quali- it was that set such a man's house on fire, or fications make him a sad husband. He is blew down his barns. Talk to her of an perpetually in the kitchen, and has a thou- unfortunate young lady that lost her beauty sand squabbles with the cook-maid. He is by the small-pox, she fetches a deep sigh, better acquainted with the milk-score than and tells you, that when she had a fine face his steward's accounts. I fret to death she was always looking on it in her glass. when I hear him find fault with a dish that Tell her of a piece of good fortune that has is not dressed to his liking, and instructing befallen one of her acquaintance, and she his friends that dine with him in the best wishes it may prosper with her, but her pickle for a walnut, or sauce for a haunch mother used one of her nieces very barbaof venison. With all this he is a very good- rously. Her usual remarks turn upon peonatured husband, and never fell out with ple who had great estates, but never enme in his life but once, upon the over- joyed them by reason of some flaw in their roasting of a dish of wild fowi. At the same own or their father's behaviour. She can time I must own, I would rather he was a give you the reason why such a one died man of a rough temper, and would treat me childless; why such a one was cut off in the harshly sometimes, than of such an effemi- flower of his youth; why such a one was nate busy nature, in a province that does unhappy in her marriage; why one broke not belong to him. Since you have given his leg on such a particular spot of ground; us the character of a wife who wears the and why another was killed with a backbreeches, pray say somewhat of a husband sword, rather than with any other kind of that wears the petticoat. Why should not weapon. She has a crime for every misfora female character be as ridiculous in a tune that can befall any of her acquaintman, as a male character in one of our sex? ance; and when she hears of a robbery that I am, &c.
O. has been made, or a murder that has been
committed, enlarges more on the guilt of
the suffering person, than on that of the No. 483.] Saturday, September 13, 1712. thief, or assassin. In short, she is so good
a Christian, that whatever happens to herNec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus self is a trial, and whatever happens to her Inciderit
neighbours is a judgment. Never presume to make a god appear, But for a business worthy of a god.- Roscommon.
The very description of this folly, in or
dinary life, is sufficient to expose it: but, We cannot be guilty of a greater act of when it appears in a pomp and dignity of uncharitableness than to interpret the af- style, it is very apt to amuse and terrify the flictions which befall our neighbours as mind of the reader. Herodotus and 'Plupunishments and judgments. It aggravates tarch very often apply their judgments as the evil to him who suffers, when he looks impertinently as the old woman I have beupon himself as the mark of divine ven- fore mentioned, though their manner of regeance, and abates the compassion of those lating them makes the folly itself appear towards him who regard him in so dread- venerable. Indeed most historians, as well ful a light. This humour, of turning every Christian as pagan, have fallen into this misfortune into a judgment, proceeds from idle superstition, and spoken of ill success, wrong notions of religion, which in its own unforeseen disasters, and terrible events, as nature produces good-will towards men, if they had been let into the secrets of Proviand puts the mildest construction upon dence, and made acquainted with that prievery accident that befalls them. In this vate conduct by which the world is governed. case, therefore, it is not religion that sours One would think several of our own histoa man's temper, but it is his temper that rians in particular had many revelations of sours his religion. People of gloomy, un- this kind made to them. Our old English cheerful imaginations, or of envious malig- monks seldom let any of their kings depart nant tempers, whatever kind of life they in peace, who had endeavoured to diminish are engaged in, will discover their natural the power of wealth of which the ecclesiastincture of mind in all their thoughts, tics were in those times possessed. Wilwords, and actions. As the finest vines liam the Conqueror's race generally found have often the taste of the soil, so even the their judgments in the New Forest where most religious thoughts often draw some- their father had pulled down churches and thing that is particular from the constitu- monasteries. In short, read one of the tion of the mind in which they arise. When chronicles written by an author of this folly or superstition strike in with this na- frame of mind, and you would think you
Hor. Ars Poet. ver. 191.
were reading a history of the kings of If we could look into the effects of every Israel and Judah, where the historians thing, we might be allowed to pronounce were actually inspired, and where, by a boldly upon blessings and judgments; but particular scheme of Providence, the kings for a man to give his opinion of what he were distinguished by judgments, or bless- sees but in part, and in its beginnings, is an ings, according as they promoted idolatry unjustifiable piece of rashness and folly. or the worship of the true God.
The story of Biton and Clitobus, which I cannot but look upon this manner of was in great reputation among the heajudging upon misfortunes, not only to be thens, (for we see it quoted by all the anvery uncharitable in regard to the person cient authors, both Greek and' Latin, who on whom they fall, but very presumptuous have written upon the immortality of the in regard to him who is supposed to inflict soul,) may teach us a caution in this matter, them. It is a strong argument for a state of These two brothers, being the sons of a retribution hereafter, that in this world vir- lady who was priestess to Juno, drew their tuous persons are very often unfortunate, mother's chariot to temple at the time of a and vicious persons prosperous; which is great solemnity, the persons being absent wholly repugnant to the nature of a Being who, by their office, were to have drawn who appears infinitely wise and good in all her chariot on that occasion. The mother his works, unless we may suppose that such was so transported with this instance of a promiscuous and undistinguished distri- filial duty, that she petitioned her goddess bution of good and evil, which was neces- to bestow upon them the greatest gift that sary for carrying on the designs of Provi- could be given to men; upon which they dence in this life, will be rectified, and were both cast into a deep sleep, and the made amends for, in another. We are not next morning found dead in the temple. therefore to expect that fire should fall This was such an event, as would have been from heaven in the ordinary course of Pro- construed into a judgment, had it happened vidence; nor, when we see triumphant guilt to the two brothers after an act of disobeor depressed virtue in particular persons, dience, and would doubtless have been rethat Omnipotence will make bare his holy presented as such by any ancient historian arm in the defence of one, or punishment who had given us an account of it. O. of the other. It is sufficient that there is a day set apart for the hearing and requiting of both, according to their respective No. 484.] Monday, September 15, 171.. merits.
The folly of ascribing temporal judg- Neque cuiquam tam statim clarum ingenium est, ut ments to any particular crimes, may ap- possit emergere; nisi illi materia, occasio, fautor etiam,
Plin. Epist. pear from several considerations. I shall only mention two: First, that, generally lustrious instantaneously, unless it fortunately meets
Nor has any one so bright a genius as to become il. speaking, there is no calamity or affliction, with occasion and employment, with patronage too, which is supposed to have happened as a and commendation. judgment to a vicious man, which does not • MR SPECTATOR,-Of all the young felsometimes happen to men of approved re-lows who are in their progress through any ligion and virtue. When Diagoras the profession, none seem to have so good a atheist was on board one of the Athenian title to the protection of the men of emiships, there arose a very violent tempest: nence in it as the modest man, not so much upon which the mariners told him, that it because his modesty is a certain indication was a just judgment upon them for having of his merit, as because it is a certain obtaken so impious a man on board. Diagoras stacle to the producing of it. Now, as of begged them to look upon the restof the ships all professions, this virtue is thought to be that were in the same distress, and asked more particularly unnecessary in that of them whether or no Diagoras was on board the law than in any other, I shall only apevery vessel in the fleet. We are all in- ply myself to the relief of such who follow volved in the same calamities, and subject this profession with this disadvantage. to the same accidents: and when we see What aggravates the matter is, that those any one of the species under any particular persons who, the better to prepare themoppression, we should look upon it as selves for this study, have made some proarising from the common lot of human na- gress in others, have, by addicting themture, rather than from the guilt of the per- selves to letters, increased their natural son who suffers.
modesty, and consequently heightened the Another consideration, that may check obstruction to this sort of preferment; so our presumption in putting such a construc- that every one of these may emphatically tion upon a misfortune, is this, that it is im- be said to be such a one as " laboureth and possible for us to know what are calamities taketh pains, and is still the more behind.” and what are blessings. How many acci- It may be a matter worth discussing, then, dents have passed for misfortunes, which why that which made a youth so amiable have turned to the welfare and prosperity to the ancients, should make him appear of the persons to whose lot they have fal- so ridiculous to the moderns? and why, in len! How many disappointments have, in our days, there should be neglect, and even their consequences, saved a man from ruin! oppression of young beginners, instead of
Hor. Ars Poet. v. 370.
that protection which was the pride of expressed himself in the same favourable theirs. In the profession spoken of, it is strain of modesty, when he says, obvious to every one whose attendance is required at Westminster-hall, with what
In the modesty of fearful duty
I read as much as from the rattling tongue difficulty a youth of any modesty has been
Of saucy and audacious eloquencepermitted to make an observation, that could in no wise detract from the merit of his • Now, since these authors have professed elders, and is absolutely necessary for the themselves for the modest man, even in the advancing of his own. I have often seen utmost confusions of speech and counteone of these not only molested in his utter- nance, why should an intrepid utterance ance of something very pertinent, but even and a resolute vociferation thunder so sucplundered of his question, and by a strong cessfully in our courts of justice? And why sergeant shouldered out of his rank, which should that confidence of speech and behe has recovered with much difficulty and haviour, which seems to acknowledge no confusion. Now, as great part of the busi- superior, and to defy all contradiction, preness of this profession might be despatched vail over that deference and resignation by one that perhaps
with which the modest man implores that
favourable opinion which the other seems --Abest virtute diserti, Messalæ, nec scit quantum Causellius Aulus;
*As the case at present stands, the best -wants Messala's powerful eloquence, consolation that I can administer to those And is less read than deep Causellius:
who cannot get into that stroke of business
(as the phrase is) which they deserve, is so I cannot conceive the injustice done to to reckon every particular acquisition of the public, if the men of reputation in this knowledge in this study as a real increase calling would introduce such of the young of their fortune; and fully to believe, that ones into business, whose application in this one day this imaginary gain will certainly study will let them into the secrets of it, as be made out by one more substantial. I much as their modesty will hinder them wish you would talk to us a little on this from the practice: I say, it would be laying head; you would oblige, sir, your humble an everlasting obligation upon a young man, servant.' to be introduced at first only as a mute, till by this countenance, and a resolution to The author of this letter is certainly a support the good opinion conceived of him man of good sense; but I am perhaps parin his betters, his complexion shall be so ticular in my opinion on this occasion: for I well settled, that the litigious of this island have observed that, under the notion of may be secure of this obstreperous aid. If modesty, men have indulged themselves in I might be indulged to speak in the style of spiritless sheepishness, and been for ever a lawyer, I would say, that any one about lost to themselves, their families, their thirty years of age might make a common friends, and their country. When a man motion to the court with as much elegance has taken care to pretend to nothing but and propriety as the most aged advocates what he may justly aim at, and can execute in the hall.
as well as any other, without injustice to I cannot advance the merit of modesty any other, it is ever want of breeding or by any argument of my own so powerfully courage to be brow-beaten or elbowed out as by inquiring into the sentiments the of his honest ambition. I have said often, greatest among the ancients of different modesty must be an act of the will, and yet ages entertained upon this virtue. If we go it always implies self-denial; for, if a man back to the days of Solomon, we shall find has an ardent desire to do what is laudable favour a necessary consequence to a shame- for him to perform, and, from an unmanly faced man. Pliny the greatest lawyer and bashfulness, shrinks away, and lets his most elegant writer of the age he lived in, merit languish in silence, he ought not to in several of his epistles is very solicitous be angry at the world that a more unskilful in recommending to the public some young actor succeeds in his part, because he has men, of his own profession, and very often not confidence to come upon the stage himundertakes to become an advocate, upon self. The generosity my, correspondent condition that some one of these his favour- mentions of Pliny cannot be enough apites might be joined with him, in order to plauded. To cherish the dawn of merit, produce the merit of such, whose modesty and hasten its maturity, was a work worthy otherwise would have suppressed it. It may a noble Roman and a liberal scholar. That seem very marvellous to a saucy modern, concern which is described in the letter, is that mulium sanguinis, multum verecun- to all the world the greatest charm imagindiæ, multum sollicitudinis in ore, “to have able; but then the modest man must prothe face first full of blood, then the counte- ceed, and show a latent resolution in himnance dashed with modesty, and then the self; for the admiration of modesty arises whole aspect as of one dying with fear, from the manifestation of his merit. “I must when a man begins to speak,” should be confess we live in an age wherein a few esteemed by Pliny the necessary qualifica- empty blusterers carry away the praise of tions of a fine speaker. Shakspeare also has speaking, while a crowd of fellows over
stocked with knowledge are run down by | bestirs himself to distress his enemy by them: I say, over-stocked, because they methods probable and reducible to reason, certainly are so, as to their service of man- so the same reason will fortify his enemy to kind, if from their very store they raise to elude these his regular efforts; but your fool themselves ideas of respect, and greatness projects, acts, and concludes, with such of the occasion, and I know not what, to notable inconsistency, that no regular course disable themselves from explaining their of thought can evade or counterplot his thoughts. I must confess, when I have seen prodigious machinations. My frontispiece, Charles Frankair rise up with a command-I believe, may be extended to imply, that ing mien, and torrent of handsome words, several of our misfortunes arise from things, talk a mile off the purpose, and drive down as well as persons, that seem of very little twenty bashful boobies of ten times his consequence. Into what tragical extravasense, who at the same time were envying gances does Shakspeare hurry Othello, his impudence, and despising his under- upon the loss of a handkerchief only! And standing, it has been matter of great mirth what barbarities does Desdemona suffer, to me; but it soon ended in a secret lamenta- from a slight inadvertency in regard to this tion, that the fountains of every thing praise- fatal trifle! If the schemes of all enterprisworthy in these realms, the universities, ing spirits were to be carefully examined, should be so muddled with a false sense of some intervening accident, not considerable this virtue, as to produce men capable of enough to occasion any debate upon, or give being so abused. I will be bold to say, that them any apprehension of ill consequence it is a ridiculous education which does not from it, will be found to be the occasion of qualify a man to make his best appearance their ill success, rather than any error in before the greatest man, and the finest wo- points of moment and difficulty, which natuman, to whom he can address himself. rally engaged their maturest deliberations. Were this judiciously corrected in the If you go to the levee of any great man, you nurseries of learning, pert coxcombs would will observe him exceeding gracious to know their distance: but we must bear with several very insignificant fellows; and upon this false modesty in our young nobility and this maxim, that the neglect of any person gentry, till they cease at Oxford and Cam- must arise from the mean opinion you have bridge to grow dumb in the study of elo- of his capacity to do you any service or quence.
prejudice; and that this calling his sufficiency in question must give him inclination, and where this is there never wants
strength, or opportunity to annoy you. No. 485.] Tuesday, September 16, 1712.
There is nobody so weak of invention that Nihil tam firmum est, cui periculum non sit
, etiam stories to vilify his enemy; there are very
cannot aggravate, or make some little ab invalido.
. c The strongest things are not so well established as to
few but have good inclinations to hear be out of danger from the weakest.
them; and it is infinite pleasure to the ma
jority of mankind to level a person superior *MR. SPECTATOR,,My Lord Clarendon to his neighbours. Besides, in all matter has observed, that few men have done more of controversy, that party which has the harm than those who have been thought to greatest abilities labours under this prejube able to do least; and there cannot be a dice, that he will certainly be supposed, greater error, than to believe a man, whom upon account of his abilities, to have done we see qualified with too mean parts to do an injury, when perhaps he has received good, to be therefore incapable of doing one. It would be tedious to enumerate the Hurt. There is a supply of malice, of strokes that nations and particular friends pride, of industry, and even of folly, in the have suffered from persons very contemptiweakest, when he sets his heart upon it, ble. that makes a strange progress in mischief. I think Henry IV. of France, so formidaWhat may seem to the reader the greatest ble to his neighbours, could no more be paradox in the reflection of the historian is, secured against the resolute villany of I suppose, that folly which is generally Ravillac, than Villiers duke of Buckingthought incapable of contriving or execut- ham could be against that of Felton. And ing any design, should be so formidable to there is no incensed person so destitute, but those whom exerts itself to molest. But can provide himself with a knife or a pistol, this will appear very plain, if we remem- if he finds stomach to apply them. That ber that Solomon says, “It is a sport to a things and persons of no moment should fool to do mischief;" and that he might the give such powerful revolutions to the promore emphatically express the calamitous gress of those of the greatest, seems a procircumstances of him who falls under the vidential disposition to baffle and abate the displeasure of this wanton person, the same pride of human sufficiency; as also to enauthor adds farther, that “A stone is heavy, gage the humanity and benevolence of and the sand weighty, but a fool's wrath is superiors to all below them, by letting them heavier than them both.” It is impossible into this secret, that the stronger depends to suppress my own illustration upon this upon the weaker. I am, sir, your very matter, which is that as the man of sagacity | humble servant.'
I am C.
Temple, Paper-buildings. I shall have a fair chance to divide the pas• Dear Sir,-I received a letter from sengers by the irresistible force of mine. you some time ago, which I should have 'I expect sudden despatches from you, answered sooner, had you informed me in with advice of the family you are in now, yours to what part of this island I might how to deport myself upon this so delicate have directed my impertinence; but having a conjuncture; with some comfortable rebeen let into the knowledge of that matter, solutions in favour of the handsome black this handsome excuse is no longer service- man against the handsome fair one. able. My neighbour Prettyman shall be sir, your most humble servant.' the subject of this letter; who, falling in with the Spectator's doctrine concerning two pair of stairs; the gentleman of whom
N. B. He who writ this is a black man, the month of May, began from that season he writes is fair, and one pair of stairs. to dedicate himself to the service of the fair, in the following manner. I observed • Mr. SPECTATOR,—I only say, that it at the beginning of the month he bought is impossible for me to say how much I am him a new night-gown, either side to be yours,
ROBIN SHORTER. worn outwards, both equally gorgeous and attractive; but till the end of the month I •P. S. I shall think it is a little hard, if did not enter so fully into the knowledge of you do not take as much notice of this his contrivance as the use of that garment epistle as you have of the ingenious Mr. has since suggested to me. Now you must Short's. I am not afraid of letting the world know, that all new clothes raise and warm see which is the deeper man of the two.' the wearer's imagination into a conceit of
ADVERTISEMENT. his being a much finer gentleman than he
London, September 15. was before, banishing all sobriety and re
Whereas a young woman on horseback, flection, and giving him up to gallantry and in an equestrian habit
, on the 13th instant amour. Inflamed, therefore, with this way in the evening, met the Spectator within a of thinking, and full of the spirit of the mile and a half of this town,
and flying in month of May, did this merciless youth re: the face of justice, pulled off her hat, in solve upon the business of captivating. At which there was a feather, with the mien first he confined himself to his room, only and air of a young officer, saying at the same now and then appearing at his window, in time, “Your servant, Mr. Spec,' or words his night-gown, and practising that easy to that purpose: this is to give notice, that posture which expresses the very top and if any person can discover the name and see him diversify his loveliness, sometimes place of abode of the said offender, so as
she can be brought to justice, the informobliging the passengers only with a side
ant shall have all fitting encouragement. face, with a book in his hand; sometimes being so generous as to expose the whole in the fulness of its beauty; at other times, by a judicious throwing back his periwig, he No. 486.] Wednesday, September 17, 1712. would throw in his ears. You know he is
Audire est operæ pretium, procedcre recte that sort of person which the mob call a handsome jolly man; which appearance cannot miss of captives in this part of the
IMITATED. town. Being emboldened by daily success, All you who think the city ne'er can thrive he leaves his room with a resolution to Till ev'ry cuckold-maker's flead alive,
Pope. extend his conquests; and I have apprehended him in his night-gown smiting in all MR. SPECTATOR,—There are very parts of this neighbourhood.
many of my acquaintance followers of Som “This I, being of an amorous complexion, crates, with more particular regard to that saw with indignation, and had thoughts of part of his philosophy which we among purchasing a wig in these parts; into which, ourselves call his domestics; under which being at a greater distance from the earth, denomination, or title, we include all the I might have thrown a very liberal mix- conjugal joys and sufferings. We have inture of white horse-hair, which would deed, with very great pleasure, observed make a fairer, and consequently a hand- the honour you do the whole fraternity of somer, appearance, while my situation the hen-pecked in placing that illustrious would secure me against any discoveries. man at our head, and it does in a very But the passion of the handsome gentle- great measure baffle the raillery of pert man seems to be so fixed to that part of the rogues, who have no advantage above us, building, that it must be extremely dif- but in that they are single. But, when you ficult to divert it to mine; so that I am re- look about into the crowd of mankind, you solved to stand boldly to the complexion of will find the fair-sex reigns with greater my own eyebrow, and prepare me an im- tyranny over lovers than husbands. You mense black wig of the same sort of struc- shall hardly meet one in a thousand who is ture with that of my rival. Now, though wholly exempt from their dominion, and by this I shall not, perhaps, lessen the those that are so are capable of no taste of number of the admirers of his complexion, life, and breathe and walk about the earth
Qui machis non vultis
Hor. Sat. ii. Lib. 1. 38.