Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Deen more painful to us in the prospect, I been the habitation of some prophetic Phithan by their actual pressure. lomath; it having been usual, time out of mind, for all such people as have lost their wits to resort to that place, either for their cure or for their instruction.

This natural impatience to look into futurity, and to know what accidents may happen to us hereafter, has given birth to many ridiculous arts and inventions. Some found their prescience on the lines of a man's hand, others on the features of his face: some on the signatures which nature has impressed on his body, and others on his own hand-writing: some read men's fortunes in the stars, as others have searched after them in the entrails of beasts, or the flight of birds. Men of the best sense have been touched more or less with these groundless horrors and presages of futurity, upon surveying the most indifferent works of nature. Can any thing be more surprising than to consider Cicero,* who made the greatest figure at the bar and in the senate of the Roman Commonwealth, and at the same time outshined all the philosophers of antiquity in his library, and in his retirements, as busying himself in the college of augurs, and observing with a religious attention after what manner the chickens pecked the several grains of corn which were thrown to them.

'Moorfields, Oct. 4, 1712. 'MR. SPECTATOR,-Having long considered whether there be any trade wanted in this great city, after having surveyed very attentively all kinds of ranks and professions, I do not find in any quarter of the town an oneiro-critic, or, in plain English, an interpreter of dreams. For want of so useful a person, there are several good people who are very much puzzled in this particular, and dream a whole year together, without being ever the wiser for it. I hope I am pretty well qualified for this office, having studied by candle-light all the rules of art which have been laid down upon this subject. My great uncle by my wife's side was a Scotch highlander, and second-sighted. I have four fingers and two thumbs upon one hand, and was born on the longest night of the year. My Christian and surname begin and end with the same letters. I am lodged in Moorfields, in a house that for these fifty years has always been tenanted by a conjurer.

If you had been in company, so much as myself, with ordinary women of the town, you must know that there are many of them who every day in their lives, upon seeing or hearing of any thing that is unexpected, cry, "My dream is out;" and cannot go to sleep in quiet the next night, until something or other has happened which has expounded the visions of the preceding one. There are others who are in very great pain for not being able to recover the circumstances of a dream, that made strong impressions upon them while it lasted. In short, sir, there are many whose waking thoughts are wholly employed on their sleeping ones. For the benefit therefore of this curious and inquisitive part of my fellow-subjects, I shall in the first place tell those persons what they dreamt of, who fancy they never dream at all. In the next place I shall make out any dream, upon hearing a single circumstance of it; and in the last place, I shall expound to them the good or bad fortune which such dreams portend. If they do not presage good luck, I shall desire nothing for my pains; not questioning at the same time, that those who consult me will be so reasonable as to afford me a moderate share out of any considerable estate, profit, or emolument, which I shall discover to them. I interpret to the poor for nothing, on condition that their names may be inserted in public advertisements, to attest the truth of such my interpretations. As for people of quality, or others who are indisposed, and do not care to come in person, I can interpret

* This censure of Cicero seems to be unfounded: for their dreams by seeing their water. I set

it is said of him, that he wondered how one meet another without laughing in his face.

augur could

aside one day in the week for lovers; and

Notwithstanding these follies are pretty well worn out of the minds of the wise and learned in the present age, multitudes of weak and ignorant persons are still slaves to them. There are numberless arts of prediction among the vulgar, which are too trifling to enumerate, and infinite observation of days, numbers, voices, and figures, which are regarded by them as portents and prodigies. In short, every thing prophesies to the superstitious man; there is scarce a straw, or a rusty piece of iron that lies in his way by accident.

It is not to be conceived how many wizzards, gipsies, and cunning men, are dispersed through all the counties and market-towns of Great Britain, not to mention the fortune-tellers and astrologers, who live very comfortably upon the curiosity of several well-disposed persons in the cities of London and Westminster.

Among the many pretended arts of divination, there is none which so universally amuses as that by dreams. I have indeed observed in a late speculation, that there have been sometimes, upon very extraordinary occasions, supernatural revelations made to certain persons by this means; but as it is the chief business of this paper to root out popular errors, I must endeavour to expose the folly and superstition of those persons, who, in the common and ordinary course of life, lay any stress upon things of so uncertain, shadowy, and chimerical a nature. This I cannot do more effectually than by the following letter, which is dated from a quarter of the town that has always

interpret by the great for any gentlewoman | France, the lady tells her that is a secret who is turned of sixty, after the rate of in dress she never knew before, and that half-a-crown per week, with the usual al- she was so unpolished an English woman, lowances for good luck. I have several as to resolve never to learn to dress even rooms and apartments fitted up at reasona- before her husband. ble rates, for such as have not conveniences for dreaming at their own houses.

TITUS TROPHONIUS. N. B. I am not dumb.'

O.

No. 506.] Friday, October 10, 1712.

Candida perpetuo reside, concordia, lecto,

Tamque pari semper sit Venus æqua jugo. Diligat illa senem quondam; sed et ipsa marito, Tunc quoque cum fuerit non videatur anus. Mart. Epig. xiii. Lib. 4. 7.

There is so much nicety and discretion required to keep love alive after marriage, and make conversation still new and agreeable after twenty or thirty years, that I know nothing which seems readily to promise it, but an earnest endeavour to please on both sides, and superior good sense on the part of the man.

By a man of sense I mean one acquainted with business and letters.

A woman very much settles her esteem for a man, according to the figuré he makes I have somewhere met with a fable that in the world, and the character he bears made Wealth the father of Love. It is among his own sex. As learning is the certain that a mind ought at least to be free chief advantage we have over them, it is, from the apprehensions of want and poverty, methinks, as scandalous and inexcusable before it can fully attend to all the softnesses for a man of fortune to be illiterate, as for a and endearments of this passion; notwith-woman not to know how to behave herself standing, we see multitudes of married peo- on the most ordinary occasions. It is this ple, who are utter strangers to this delight- which sets the two sexes at the greatest ful passion amidst all the affluence of the distance; a woman is vexed and surprised, most plentiful fortunes. to find nothing more in the conversation of a man, than in the common tattle of her own sex.

It is not sufficient to make a marriage happy, that the humours of two people should be alike. I could instance à hundred pair, who have not the least sentiment of love remaining for one another, yet are so like in their humours, that if they were not already married, the whole world would design them for man and wife.

Some small engagement at least in business, not only sets a man's talents in the fairest light, and allots him a part to act in which a wife cannot well intermeddle, but gives frequent occasion for those little absences, which, whatever seeming uneasi

The spirit of love has something so ex-ness they may give, are some of the best tremely fine in it, that it is very often dis- preservatives of love and desire. turbed and lost, by some little accidents, which the careless and unpolite never attend to, until it is gone past recovery.

The fair-sex are so conscious to themselves that they have nothing in them which can deserve entirely to engross the whole man, that they heartily despise one who, to use their own expression, is always hanging at their apron-strings.

Lætitia is pretty, modest, tender, and has sense enough; she married Erastus, who is in a post of some business, and has a general taste in most parts of polite learning. Lætitia, wherever she visits, has the pleasure to hear of something which was handsomely said or done by Erastus. Erastus, since his marriage, is more gay in his dress than ever, and in all companies is as complaisant to Lætitia as to any other lady. I have seen him give her her fan when it has dropped, with all the gallantry of a lover. When they take the air together, Erastus is continually improving her thoughts, and with a turn of wit and spirit which is peculiar to him, giving her an insight into things

Perpetual harmony their bed attend,
And Venus still the well-match'd pair befriend.
May she, when time has sunk him into years,
Love her old man, and cherish his white hairs;
Nor he perceive her charms thro' age decay,
But think each happy sun his bridal day.

THE following essay is written by the gentleman to whom the world is obliged for those several excellent discourses which have been marked with the letter X.

There is something so gross in the carriage of some wives, that they lose their husband's hearts for faults which, if a man. has either good-nature or good-breeding, he knows not how to tell them of. I am afraid, indeed, the ladies are generally most faulty in this particular; who, at their first giving into love, find the way so smooth and pleasant, that they fancy it is scarce possible to be tired in it.

Nothing has more contributed to banish it from a married state than too great a familiarity, and laying aside the common rules of decency. Though I could give instances of this in several particulars, I shall only mention that of dress. The beaux and belles about town, who dress purely to catch one another, think there is no farther occasion for the bait, when the first design has succeeded. But besides the too common fault, in point of neatness, there are several others which I do not remember to have seen touched upon, but in one of our modern comedies, where a French woman offering to undress and dress herself before the lover of the play, and assuring her mistress that it was very usual in

*

* The Funeral, or Grief Alamode, by Steele.

1

she had no notions of before. Lætitia is transported at having a new world thus opened to her, and hangs upon the man that gives her such agreeable informations. Erastus has carried this point still farther, as he makes her daily not only more fond of him, but infinitely more satisfied with herself. Erastus finds a justness or beauty in whatever she says or observes, that Latitia herself was not aware of; and by his assistance she has discovered a hundred good qualities and accomplishments in herself, which she never before once dreamed of. Erastus, with the most artful complaisance in the world, by several remote hints, finds the means to make her say or propose almost whatever he has a mind to, which he always receives as her own discovery, and gives her all the reputation of it.

Erastus has a perfect taste in painting, and carried Lætitia with him the other day to see a collection of pictures. I sometimes visit this happy couple. As we were last week walking in the long gallery before dinner, I have lately laid out some money in paintings,' says Erastus: 'I bought that Venus and Adonis purely upon Lætitia's judgment; it cost me threescore guineas; and I was this morning offered a hundred for it. I turned towards Lætitia, and saw her cheeks glow with pleasure, while at the same time she cast a look upon Erastus, the most tender and affectionate I ever beheld.

Flavilla married Tom Tawdry, she was taken with his laced-coat and rich swordknot; she has the mortification to see Tom despised by all the worthy part of his own sex. Tom has nothing to do after dinner, but to determine whether he will pare his nails at St. James's, White's, or his own house. He has said nothing to Flavilla since they were married which she might not have heard as well from her own woman. He however takes great care to keep up the saucy ill-natured authority of a husband. Whatever Flavilla happens to assert, Tom immediately contradicts with an oath by way of preface, and, My dear, I must tell you you talk most confoundedly silly.' Flavilla had a heart naturally as well disposed for all the tenderness of love as that of Lætitia; but as love seldom continues long after esteem, it is difficult to determine, at present whether the unhappy Flavilla hates or despises the person most whom she is obliged to lead her whole life with. X.

light his shadow.' According to this definition, there is nothing so contradictory to his nature as error and falsehood. The Platonists have so just a notion of the Almighty's aversion to every thing which is false and erroneous, that they looked upon truth as no less necessary than virtue to qualify a human soul for the enjoyment of a separate state. For this reason, as they recommended moral duties to qualify and season the will for a future life, so they prescribed several contemplations and sciences to rectify the understanding. Thus Plato has called mathematical demonstrations the cathartics, or purgatives of the soul, as being the most proper means to cleanse it from error, and give it a relish of truth; which is the natural food and nourishment of the understanding, as virtue is the perfection and happiness of the will.

No. 507.]
Saturday, October 11, 1712.
Defendit numerus, junctæque umbone phalanges.
Juv. Sat. ii. 46.
Preserv'd from shame by numbers on our side.

THERE is something very sublime, though very fanciful, in Plato's description of the Supreme Being; that 'truth is his body, and

There are many authors who have shown wherein the malignity of a lie consists, and set forth in proper colours the heinousness of the offence. I shall here consider one particular kind of this crime, which has not been so much spoken to; I mean that abominable practice of party-lying. This vice is so very predominant among us at present, that a man is thought of no principle, who does not propagate a certain system of lies. The coffee-houses are supported by them, the press is choked with them, eminent authors live upon them. Our bottle conversation is so infected with them, that a party-lie is grown as fashionable an entertainment as a lively catch, or a merry story. The truth of it is, half the great talkers in the nation would be struck dumb were this fountain of discourse dried up. There is however one advantage resulting from this detestable practice: the very appearances of truth are so little regarded, that lies are at present discharged in the air, and begin to hurt nobody. When we hear a party-story from a stranger, we consider whether he is a whig or a tory that relates it, and immediately conclude they are words of course, in which the honest gentleman designs to recommend his zeal, without any concern for his veracity. A man is looked upon as bereft of common sense, that gives credit to the relations of party writers; nay, his own friends shake their heads at him, and consider him in no other light than an officious tool, or a wellmeaning idiot. When it was formerly the fashion to husband a lie, and trump it up in some extraordinary emergency, it generally did execution, and was not a little serviceable to the faction that made use of it; but at present every man is upon his guard: the artifice has been too often repeated to take effect.

I have frequently wondered to see men of probity, who would scorn to utter a falsehood for their own particular advantage, give so readily into a lie, when it is become the voice of their faction, notwithstanding they are thoroughly sensible of it as such.

How is it possible for those who are men of honour in their persons, thus to become notorious liars in their party? If we look into the bottom of this matter, we may find, I think, three reasons for it, and at the same time discover the insufficiency of these reasons to justify so criminal a practice.

In the first place, men are apt to think that the guilt of a lie, and consequently the punishment may be very much diminished, if not wholly worn out, by the multitudes of those who partake in it. Though the weight of a falsehood would be too much for one to bear, it grows light in their imaginations when it is shared among many. But in this case a man very much deceives himself; guilt, when it spreads through numbers, is not so properly divided as multiplied. Every one is criminal in proportion to the offence which he commits, not to the number of those who are his companions in it. Both the crime and the penalty lie as

heavy upon every individual of an offending No. 508.] Monday, October 13, 1712. multitude, as they would upon any single person, had none shared with him in the offence. In a word, the division of guilt is like to that of matter: though it may be separated into infinite portions, every portion shall have the whole essence of matter in it, and consist of as many parts as the whole did before it was divided.

world. When Pompey was desired not to
set sail in a tempest that would hazard his
life, It is necessary for me,' says he, 'to
sail, but it is not necessary for me to live.'
Every man should say to himself, with the
same spirit, It is my duty to speak truth,
though it is not my duty to be in an office.'
One of the fathers has carried this point so
high as to declare he would not tell a lie,
though he were sure to gain heaven by it.
However extravagant such a protestation
may appear, every one will own that a man
may say, very reasonably, he would not
tell a lie if he were to gain hell by it; or, if
you have a mind to soften the expression,
that he would not tell a lie to gain any tem-
poral reward by it, when he should run the
hazard of losing much more than it was
possible for him to gain.
0.

Omnes autem et habentur et dicuntur tyranni, qui potestate sunt perpetua, in ea civitate quæ libertate

usa est.

Corn. Nepos in Milt. c. 8. For all those are accounted and denominated tyrants who exercise a perpetual power in that state, which

was before free.

THE following letters complain of what I have frequently observed with very much indignation; therefore I shall give them to the public in the words with which my correspondents, who suffer under the hardships mentioned in them, describe them.

'MR. SPECTATOR,-In former ages all pretensions to dominion have been supported and submitted to, either upon account of inheritance, conquest, or election; and all such persons, who have taken upon them any sovereignty over their fellowcreatures upon any other account, have

But in the second place, though multitudes, who join in a lie, cannot exempt themselves from the guilt, they may from the shame of it. The scandal of a lie is in a manner lost and annihilated, when diffused among several thousands; as a drop of the blackest tincture wears away and vanishes, when mixed and confused in a considerable body of water; the blot is still in it, but is not able to discover itself. This is certainly a very great motive to several party-offenders, who avoid crimes, not as they are prejudicial to their virtue, but to their reputation. It is enough to show the weak-been always called tyrants, not so much ness of this reason, which palliates guilt because they were guilty of any particular without removing it, that every man who barbarities, as because every attempt to is influenced by it declares himself in effect such a superiority was in its nature tyranan infamous hypocrite, prefers the appear-nical. But there is another sort of potenance of virtue to its reality, and is deter- tates, who may with greater propriety be mined in his conduct neither by the dictates called tyrants than those last mentioned, of his own conscience, the suggestions of both as they assume a despotic dominion true honour, nor the principles of religion. over those as free as themselves, and as The third and last great motive for men's they support it by acts of notable oppresjoining in a popular falsehood, or, as I have sion and injustice; and these are the rulers hitherto called it, a party-lie, notwith- in all clubs and meetings. In other governstanding they are convinced of it as such, ments the punishments of some have been is the doing good to a cause which every alleviated by the rewards of others: but party may be supposed to look upon as the what makes the reign of these potentates most meritorious. The unsoundness of this so particularly grievous is, that they are principle has been so often exposed, and is exquisite in punishing their subjects, at the so universally acknowledged, that a man same time that they have it not in their must be an utter stranger to the principles power to reward them. That the reader either of natural religion or Christianity, may the better comprehend the nature of who suffers himself to be guided by it. If a these monarchs, as well as the miserable man might promote the supposed good of state of those that are their vassals, I shall his country by the blackest calumnies and give an account of the king of the company falsehoods, our nation abounds more in I am fallen into, whom, for his particular patriots than any other of the Christian tyranny, I shall call Dionysius: as also of

the seeds that sprung up to this odd sort of empire.

train of each is equal in number, rather than give battle, the superiority is soon adUpon all meetings at taverns, it is ne-justed by a desertion from one of them. cessary some one of the company should Now, the expulsion of these unjust take it upon him to get all things in such rulers out of all societies, would gain a man order and readiness, as may contribute as as everlasting a reputation as either of the much as possible to the felicity of the con- Brutus's got for their endeavours to extirvention; such as hastening the fire, getting pate tyranny from among the Romans. I a sufficient number of candles, tasting the confess myself to be in a conspiracy against wine with a judicious smack, fixing the sup- the usurper of our club; and to show my per, and being brisk for the despatch of it. reading, as well as my merciful disposition Know, then, that Dionysius went through shall allow him until the ides of March to these offices with an air that seemed to dethrone himself. If he seems to affect express a satisfaction rather in serving the empire until that time, and does not gradepublic that in gratifying any particular in-ally recede from the incursions he has made clination of his own. We thought him a upon our liberties, he shall find a dinner person of an exquisite palate, and therefore dressed which he has no hand in, and shail by consent beseeched him to be always our be treated with an order, magnificence, and proveditor; which post, after he had hand- luxury, as shall break his proud heart; at somely denied, he could do no otherwise the same time that he shall be convinced than accept. At first he made no other use in his stomach he was unfit for his pos of his power than in recommending such and a more mild and skilful prince receive and such things to the company, ever allow- the acclamations of the people, and be set ing these points to be disputable; insomuch up in his room: but, as Milton says, that I have often carried the debate for partridge, when his majesty has given intimation of the high relish of duck, but at the same time has cheerfully submitted, and devoured his partridge with most gracious resignation. This submission on his side naturally produced the like on ours; of which he in a little time made such barbarous advantage, as in all those matters, which before seemed indifferent to him, to issue out certain edicts as uncontrollable and unalterable as the laws of the Medes and Persians. He is by turns outrageous, peevish, forward, and jovial. He thinks it our duty for the little offices, as proveditor, that in return all conversation is to be in-ble on the part of the family; but there is a terrupted or promoted by his inclination gentleman here, a visitant as I am, whose for or against the present humour of the behaviour has given me great uneasiness company. We feel, at present, in the utmost | When I first arrived here, he used me with extremity, the insolence of office; however, the utmost complaisance; but, forsooth, that I, being naturally warm, ventured to op- was not with regard to my sex; and since he pose him in a dispute about a haunch of has no designs upon me, he does not know venison. I was altogether for roasting, but why he should distinguish me from a man Dionysius declared himself for boiling with in things indifferent. He is, you must know, so much prowess and resolution, that the one of those familiar coxcombs, who have cook thought it necessary to consult his own observed some well-bred men with a good safety, rather than the luxury of my pro- grace converse with women, and say no position. With the same authority that he fine things, but yet treat them with that orders what we shall eat and drink, he also sort of respect which flows from the heart commands us where to do it: and we change and the understanding, but is exerted in no our taverns according as he suspects any professions or compliments. This puppy, treasonable practices in the settling the bill to imitate this excellence, or avoid the coby the master, or sees any bold rebellion in trary fault of being troublesome in compisipoint of attendance by the waiters. Another sance, takes upon him to try his talent upon reason for changing the seat of empire, I me, insomuch that he contradicts me up a conceive to be the pride he takes in the all occasions, and one day told me I lied promulgation of our slavery, though we pay If I had struck him with my bodkin, and our club for our entertainments, even in behaved myself like a man, since he will these palaces of our grand monarch. When not treat me as a woman, I had, I think. he has a mind to take the air, a party of us served him right. I wish, sir, you would are commanded out by way of life-guard, please to give him some maxims of beha and we march under as great restrictions viour in these points, and resolve me if all as they do. If we meet a neighbouring maids are not in point of conversation to be king, we give or keep the way, according treated by all bachelors as their mistresses? as we are out-numbered or not; and if the If not so, are they not to be used as gently

MR. SPECTATOR,-I am a young woman at a gentleman's seat in the country, who is a particular friend of my father's and came hither to pass away a month or two with his daughters. I have been en tertained with the utmost civility by the whole family, and nothing has been omitted which can make my stay easy and agreea

**

-These thoughts

Full counsel must mature. Peace is despair ¿
And who can think submission? War then, war,
Open, or understood, must be resolved.”

'I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant.'

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »