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comic genius can censure him for talking upon such a subject at such a time. This passage, I think, evidently glances upon Aristophanes, who writ a comedy on purpose to ridicule the discourses of that divine philosopher. It has been observed by many writers, that Socrates was so little moved at this piece of buffoonery, that he was several times present at its being acted upon the stage, and never expressed the least resentment of it. But with submission, I think the remark I have here made shows us, that this unworthy treatment made an impression upon his mind, though he had been too wise to discover it. When Julius Cæsar was lampooned by Catullus, he invited him to a supper, and treated him with such a generous civility, that he made the poet his friend ever after. Cardinal Mazarine gave the same kind of treatment to the learned Quillet, who had reflected upon his eminence in a famous Latin poem. The cardinal sent for him, and after some kind expostulations upon what he had written, assured him of his esteem, and dismissed him with a promise of the next good abbey that should fall, which he accordingly conferred upon him a few months after. This had so good an effect upon the author, that he dedicated the second edition of his book to the cardinal, after having expunged the passages which had given him offence. Sextus Quintus was not of so generous and forgiving a temper. Upon his being made pope, the statue of Pasquin was one night dressed in a very dirty shirt, with an excuse written under it, that he was forced to wear foul linen, because his laundress was made a princess. This was a reflection upon the pope's sister, who, before the promotion of her brother, was in these mean circumstances that Pasquin represented her. . As this pasquinade made a great noise in Rome, the pope offered a considerable sum of money to any person that should discover the author of it. The author relying upon his holiness’s generosity, as also on some private overtures which he had received from him, made the discovery himself; upon which the pope gave him the reward he had promised, but at the same time to disable the satirist for the future, ordered histongue to be cut out, and both his hands to be chopped off. Aretine” is too trite an instance. Every one knows that all the kings of Europe were his tributaries. Nay, there is a setter of his extant, in which he makes his boasts that he had laid the Sophi of Persia under contribution. Though in the various examples which I have here drawn together, these several great men behaved themselves very differently towards the wits of the age who had reproached them; they all of them o showed that they were very sensible
* Peter Aretine, commonly called the Scourge of Princes, infamous for his yur. died in 1556.
their reproaches, and consequently that they received them as very great injuries. For my own part, I would never trust a man that I thought was capable of giving these secret wounds; and cannot but think that he would hurt the person, whose reputation he thus assaults, in his body or in his fortune, could he do it with the same security. There is, indeed, something very barbarous and inhuman in the ordi scribblers of lampoons. An innocent young lady shall be exposed for an unhappy feature. A father of a family turned to ridicule, for some domestic calamity. A wife be made uneasy all her life for a misinterpreted word or action. Nay, a good, a temperate, and a just man shall be put out of countenance by the representation of those qualities that should do him honour. So pernicious a thing is wit, when it is not tempered with virtue and humanity. I have indeed heard of heedless inconsiderate writers, that without any malice have sacrificed the reputation of their friends and acquaintance to a certain levity of temper, . a silly ambition of distinguishing themselves by a spirit of raillery and satire; as if it were not infinitely more honourable to be a good-natured man than a wit. Where there is this little petulant humour in an author, he is often very mischievous without designing to be so. For which reason I always lay it down as a rule, that an indiscreet man is more hurtful than an ill-natured one; for as the latter will only attack his enemies, and those he wishes ill to; the other injures indifferently both friends and foes. I cannot forbear, on this occasion, transcribing a fable out of Sir Roger l’Estrange, which accidentally lies before me. A toy of waggish boys were watching of frogs at the side of a pond, and still as any of them put up their heads, they would be pelting them down again with stones. “Children,” says one of the frogs, “you never consider that though this my be play to you it is death to us. s this week is in a manner set apart and dedicated to serious thoughts, I shall indulge myself in such speculations as may not be altogether unsuitable to the season; and in the mean time, as the settling in ourselves a charitable frame of mind is a work very properfor the time, I have in this aper endeavoured to expose that particuarbreach of charity which has been generally overlooked by divines, because they are but few who can be guilty of it. C.
No. 24.] Wednesday, March 28, 1711.
Accurrit quidam notus mihi nomine tantum;
THERE are in this town a great number of insignificant people, who are by no means
fit for the better sort of conversation, and yet have an impertinent ambition of appearing with those to whom they are not welcome. If you walk in the Park, one of them will certainly join with you, though you are in company with ladies! If you drink a bottle they will find your haunts. What makes such fellows the more burdensome is, that they neither offend nor please so far as to be taken notice of for either. It is, I presume, for this reason, that my correspondents are willing o my means to be rid of them. The two following letters are writ by persons who suffer by such impertinence. A worthy old bachelor, who sets in for a dose of . every night, at such an hour, is teased by a swarm of them; who, because they are sure of room and good fire, have en it in their heads to keep a sort of club in his company; though the sober, gentleman himself is an utter enemy to such meetings,
“MR. SPECTAtoR, “The aversion I for some years have had to clubs in general, gave me a perfect relish for your speculation on that subject; but I have since been extremely mortified, by the malicious world’s ranking me amongst the supporters of such impertinent assemblies. I beg leave to state my case fairly; and that done, I shall expect redress from your judicious pen. * I am, sir, a bachelor of some standing, and a traveller; my business, to consult my own humour, which I gratify without controlling other people’s: I have a room and a whole bed to myself; and I have a dog, a fiddle, and a gun; they please me, and injure no creature alive. My chief meal is a supper, which I always make at a tavern. I am constant to an hour, and not ill-humoured; for which reasons though I invite nobody, I have no sooner supped, than I have a crowd about me of that sort of good company that know not whither else to go. It is true every man pays his share; yet as they are intruders, P }. an undoubted right to be the only speaker, or at least the loudest; which I maintain, and that to the great emolument of my audience. I sometimes tell them their own in pretty free language; and sometimes divert them with merry tales, according as I am in humour. I am one of those who live in taverns to a great age, by a sort of regular intemperance; I never go to bed drunk, but always flustered; I wear away very gently; am apt to be poevish, but never angry. Mr. Spectator, if you have kept various company, you know there is in every tavern in town some old humourist or other, who is master of the house as much as he that keeps it. The drawers are all in awe of him; and all the customers who frequent his company, yield him a sort of comical obedience. I do not know but I may be such a fellow as this myself. But I appeal to you, whether this is to be called a club,
* Good SIR, “You and I were pressed against each other last winter in a crowd, in which uneasy posture we suffered together for almost half an hour. I thank you for all your civilities ever since, in being of my acquaintance wherever you meet me. But the other day you pulled off your hat to me in the Park, when I was walking with my mistress. She did not like your air, and said she wondered what strange fellows I was acquainted with. ... Dear sir, consider it is as much as my life is worth, if she should think we were intimate: therefore I earnestly entreat you for the future to take no manner of notice of, Sir, your obliged
humble servant, • WILL FASHION.”
‘MADAM, “I take this way to *: you with what common rules and forms would never permit me to tell you otherwise; to wit, that you and I, though equals in quality and fortune, are by no means suitable companions. You are, it is true, very pretty, can dance, and make a very good figure in a public assembly; but, alas, madam, ou must go no further; distance and sience are your best recommendations, therefore let me beg of you never to make me any more visits. You come in a literal sense to see one, for you have nothing to say. I do not say this, that I would by any means lose your acquaintance; but I would keep it up with the strictest forms of goodbreeding. Let us pay visits, but never see one another. If you will be so good as to deny yourself always to me, I shall return
the obligation, by giving the same orders to my servants. When accident makes us meet at a third place, we may mutually lament the misfortune of never finding one another at home, go in the same party to a benefit play, and smile at each other, and #. down glasses as we pass in our coaches. hus, we may enjoy as much of each other’s friendship as we are capable: for there are some people who are to be known only by sight, with which sort of friendship I hope you will always honour, Madam, your most obedient humble servant, • MARY TUESDAY.
• P. S. I subscribe myself by the name of the day I keep, that my supernumerary friends may know who I am.”
To prevent all mistakes that may happen among gentlemen of the other end of the town, who come but once a week to St. James's coffee-house, either by miscalling the servants, or requiring such things from them as are not properly within their respective provinces; this is to give notice, that Kidney, keeper of the bookdebts of the outlying customers, and observer of those who go off without paying, having resigned that employment, is succeeded by John Sowton; to whose place of enterer of messages and first coffee-grinder, William Bird is promoted ; and Samuel Burdock comes as shoe-cleaner in the room of the said Bird. R.
No. 25.] Thursday, March 29, 1711. —AEgrescitaue medendo. Virg. JEn. xii. 46. And sickens by the very means of health.
THE following letter will explain itself, and needs no apology.
‘SIR-I am one of that sickly tribe who are commonly known by the name of valetudinarians; and do confess to you, that I first contracted this ill habit of body, or rather of mind, by the study of physic. I no sooner began to peruse books of this nature, but I found my pulse was irregular; and scarce ever read the account of any disease that I did not fancy myself afflicted with. Dr. Sydenham’s learned treatise of fevers threw me into a lingering hectic, which hung upon me all the while I was reading that excellent piece. I then applied myself to the study of several authors, who have written upon phthisical distempers, and by that means fell into a consumption; till at length, growing very fat, I was in a manner shamed out of that imagination. Not long after this I found in myself all the symptoms of the gout, except pain; but was cured of it by a treatise upon the gravel, written by a very ingenious author, who, §: it is usual for physicians to convert one istemper into another) eased me of the gout by giving me the stone. I at length studied myself into a complication of distempers; but, accidently taking into my hand that ingenious discourse written b Sanctorius, I was resolved to direct myself by a scheme of rules, which I had collected from his observations. The learned world
are very well acquainted with that gentleman’s invention; who, for the better carrying on his experiments, contrived a certain mathematical chair, which was so artificially hung upon springs, that it would weigh anything as well as a pair of scales. By this means he discovered how many ounces of his food, passed by perspiration, what quantity of it was turned into nourishment, and how much went away by the other channels and distributions of nature. “Having provided myself with this chair, I used to study, eat, drink, and sleep in it; insomuch that I may be said, for these last three years, to have lived in a pair of scales. I compute myself, when I amin full health, to be precisely two hundred weight, falling short of it about a pound after a day’s fast, and exceeding it as much after a very full meal; so that it is my continual employment to trim the balance between these two volatile pounds in my constitution. In my ordinary meals I fetch myself up to two hundred weight and oa pound; and if, after having; dined, I find myself fall short of it, Idrink just so much small beer, or eat such a quantity of bread, as is sufficient to make me weight. In my greatest excesses I do not transgress more than the other half pound; which, for my health’s sake, I do the first Monday in every month. As soon as I find myself duly poised after dinner, I walk till I have perspired five ounces and four scruples; and when I discover, by my chair, that I am so far reduced, I fall to my books, and study away three ounces more. As for the remaining parts of the pound, I keep no account of them. I do not dine and sup by the clock, but by my chair; for when that informs me my pound of food is exhausted, I conclude myself to be o and lay in another with all diligence. In my days of abstinence I lose a pound and a half, and on solemn fasts am two pounds lighter than on the other days in the year. ‘I allow myself, one night with another, a quarter of a pound of sleep, within a few grains more or less; and if, upon my rising, I find that I have not consumed my who e quantity, I take out the rest in my chair. Upon an exact calculation of what I expended and received the last year, which I always register in a book, I find the me: dium to be two hundred weight, so that I cannot discover that I am impaired one ounce in my health during a whole twelvemonth. And yet, sir, notwithstanding this my great caré to ballast myself equally every day, and to keep my body in its proper poise, so it is, that I find myself in a sick and languishing condition. y comlexion is grown very sallow, my pulse P. and my body hydropical...Let me, therefore, beg you, sir, to consider me as your patient, and to give me more certain rules to walk by than those I have already observed, and you will very much oblige * Your humble servant.”
This letter puts me in mind of an Italian epitaph, written on the monument of a valetudinarian: “Stavo ben, ma fier star meglio, sto qui:' which it is impossible to translate.” The fear of death often proves mortal, and sets people on methods to save their lives, which infallibly destroy them. This is a reflection made by some historians, upon observing that there are many more thousands killed in a flight, than in a battle; and may be applied to those multitudes of imaginary sick persons that break their constitutions by physic, and throw themselves into the arms of death, by endeavouring to escape it. This method is not only dangerous, but below the practice of a reasonable creature. To consult the preservation of life, as the only end of it, to make our health our business, to engage in no action that is not part of a regimen, or course of physic; are pur}. so abject, so mean, so unworthy uman nature, that a generous soul would rather die than submit to them. Besides that a continual anxiety for life vitiates all the relishes of it, and casts a gloom over the whole face of nature; as it is impossible we should take delight in any thing that we are every moment afraid of losing. I do not mean, by what I have here said, that I think any one to blame for taking due care of their health. On the contrary, as cheerfulness of mind, and capacity for business, are in a great measure the effects of a well-tempered constitution, a man cannot be at too much pains to cultivate and preserve it. But this care, which we are rompted to, not only by common sense, ut by duty and instinct, should never engage us in groundless fears, melancholy apprehensions, and imaginary distempers, which are natural to every man who is more anxious to live, than how to die. In short, the preservation of life should be only a secondary concern, and the direction of it our principal. If we have this frame of mind, we shall take the best means to preserve life, without being over solicitous about the event; and shall arrive at that point of felicity which Martial has mentioned as the perfection of happiness, of neither fearing nor wishing for death. . In answer to the gentlemán, who tempers his health by ounces and by scruples, and instead of complying with those natural solicitations of hunger and thirst, drowsiness or love of exercise, governs himself by the prescriptions of his chair, I shall tell him a short fable. ... Jupiter, says the mythologist, to reward the piety of a certain countryman, promised to give him whatever he would ask. The countryman desired that he might have the management of the weather in his own estate. He obtained his request, and immediately distributed rain, snow, and sunshine among his several
* The following translation, however, may give an English reader some idea of the Italian epitaph:"I was well, but striving to be better, I am hero.'
fields, as he thought the nature of the soil required. At the end of the year, when he expected to see a more than ordinary crop, his harvest fell infinitely short of that of his neighbours. Upon which (says the fable) he desired Jupiter to take the weather again into his own hands, or .# otherwise he should utterly ruin \m. self.
No. 26.] Friday, March 30, 1711.
Pallida mors acquo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas, Regumque turres. O beate Sexti,
Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam, Jam te premet nox, fabulaeque manes,
Et domus exilis Plutonia.--Hor. Lib. 1. Od. iv. 13.
with equal foot, rich friend, impartial fate Knocks at the cottage, and the palace gate: Life's span forbids thee to extend thy cares, And stretch thy hopes beyond thy years: Night soon will seize, and you must quickly go To story'd ghosts, and Pluto's house below. WHEN I am in a serious humour, I very often walk by myself in Westminster, Abbey; where the gloominess of the place, and the use to which it is applied, with the solemnity of the building, and the condition of the ple who lie in it, are apt to fill the mind with a kind of melancholy, or rather thoughtfulness, that is not disagreeable. I yesterday passed a whole afternoon in the church-yard, the cloisters, and the church, amusing myself with the tombstones and inscriptions that I met with in those several regions of the dead. Most of them recorded nothing else of the buried rson, but that he was born upon one day, and died upon, another; the whole history of his life being comprehended in those two circumstances that are common to all mankind. I could not but look upon these registers of existence, whether of brass or marble, as a kind of satire upon the departed persons; who had left no other memorial of them but that they were born, and that they died. They put me in mind of several persons mentioned in the battles of heroic, poems, who have sounding names given them, for no other reason but that they may be killed, and are celebrated for nothing but being knocked on the head. ‘Tx auxov ro, Ms?ovra rs, 8terixozov re."—Hom. * ci lue, Med que, Thersiloch '—Pirg. “Glaucus, and Medon, and Thersilochus." The life of these men is finely described in holy writ by “the E. of an arrow,” which is immediately closed up and lost. Upon my going into the church, I entertained myself with the digging of a grave; and saw in every shovel-full . it that was thrown up, the fragment of a bone or skull intermixt with a kind of fresh mouldering earth that some time or other had a place in the composition of an human body. Upon this I began to consider with myself, what innumerable multitudes of people lay confused together under the pavement of that ancient cathedral; how men and women, friends and enemies, priests and soldiers, monks and prebendaries, were crumbled amongst one another, and blended together in the same common mass; how beauty, strength, and youth, with old age, weakness, and deformity, lay undistinguished, in the same promiscuous heap of matter. After having thus surveyed this great magazine of mortality, as it were in the lump, I examined it more particularly by the accounts which I found on several of the monuments which are raised in eve quarter of that ancient fabric. Some o them were covered with such extravagant epitaphs, that if it were possible for the dead person to be acquainted with them, he would blush at the praises which his friends have bestowed upon him. There are others so excessively modest, that they deliver the character of the person departed in Greek or Hebrew, and by that means are not understood once in a twelvemonth. In the poetical quarter, I found there were poets who had no monuments, and monuments which had no poets. I observed, indeed, that the present war had filled the church with many of these uninhabited monuments, which had been erected to the memory of persons whose bodies were perhaps buried in the plains of Blenheim, or in the bosom of the ocean. I could not but be very much delighted with several modern epitaphs, which are written with great elegance of expression and justness of thought, and therefore do honour to the living as well as to the dead. As a foreigner is very apt to conceive an idea of the ignorance or politeness of a nation from the turn of their public monuments and inscriptions, they should be submitted to the perusal of men of learning and genius before they are put in execution. Sir Cloudesly Shovel's monument has very often given me great offence. Instead of the brave rough English admiral, which was the distinguishing character of that ain, gallant man, he is represented on is tomb by the figure of a beau, dressed in a long periwig, and reposing himself upon velvet cushions, under a canopy of state. The inscription is answerable to the monument: for instead of celebrating the many remarkable actions he had performed in the service of his country, it acquaints us only with the manner of his death, in which it was impossible for him to reap any honour. The Dutch, whom we are apt to despise for want of genius, show an infinitely greater taste of antiquity and politeness in their buildings and works of this nature, than what we meet with in those of our own country. The monuments of their admirals, which have been erected at the public expense, represent them like themselves, and are adorned with rostral crowns and naval ornaments, with beautiful festoons of sea-weed, shells, and coral. But to return to our subject. I have left
the repository of our English kings for the contemplation of another day, when I shall find my mind disposed for so serious an amusement. I know that entertainments of this nature are apt to raise dark and dismalthoughts in timorous minds, and gloom imaginations; but for my own part, though I am always serious, I do not know what it is to be melancholy; and can therefore take a view of nature, in her deep and solemn scenes, with the same pleasure as in her most gay and delightful ones. By this means I can io myself with those objects, which others consider with terror. hen I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow. When I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together. C.
No. 27.] Saturday, March 31, 1711.
Ut mox longa, quibus mentitur amica, diesque Longa videtur opus debentibus; ut piger annus Pupillis, quos dura premit custodia matrum: Sic mihi tarda fluunt ingrataque tempora, quae spem Consilium que morantur agendi gnawiter id, quod AEque pauperibus prodest, locupletibus aeque; AEque neglectum pueris senibusque nocebit. - Hor. Lib. 1. Ep. i. 23. IMITATED. Long as to him, who works for debt, the day; Long as the night to her, whose love's away; Long as the year's dull circle seems to run, When the brisk minor pants for twenty-one; So slow th' unprofitable moments roll, That lock up all the functions of my soul; That keep me from myself, and still delay Life's instant business to a future day: That task, which as we follow, or despise, The eldest is a fool, the youngest wise: Which done, the poorest can no wants cndure; And which not done, the richest must be poor. Pope. THERE is scarce a thinking man in the world, who is involved in the business of it, but lives under a secret impatience of the hurry and fatigue he suffers, and has formed a resolution to fix himself, one time or other, in such a state as is suitable to the end of his being. You hear men every day, in conversation, profess, that all the honour, power, and riches, which they propose to themselves, cannot give satisfaction enough to reward them for half the anxiety they undergo in the pursuit or possession of