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I AM obliged to my friend, the love casuist, for the following curious piece of antiquity, which I shall communicate to the public in his own words.
she might have further occasion for it, she chased it of the steward.
'Mrs. Sarah Dainty, relict of Mr. John Dainty, who was the greatest prude in the parish, came next in the procession. She at first made some df. ficulty of taking the tail in her hand; and was observed, in pronouncing the form of penance to soften the two most emphatical words into clincan clancum: but the steward took care to make her speak plain English before he would let her have her land again.
'The third widow that was brought to this worldly shame, being mounted upon a vicious ram, bad the misfortune to be thrown by him; upon which she hoped to be excused from going through the rest of the ceremony: but the steward, being well versed in the law, observed very wisely upon thes occasion, that the breaking of the rope does not hinder the execution of the criminal.
The fourth lady upon record was the widow Ogle, a famous coquette, who had kept half score young fellows off and on for the space two years; but having been more kind to her car ter John, she was introduced with the huzzas of all her lovers about her.
Mrs. Sable appearing in her weeds, whic were very new and fresh, and of the same coloc with her whimsical palfrey, made a very decent figure in the solemnity.
"You may remember that I lately transmitted to you an account of an ancient custom in the manors of East and West Enborne, in the county of Berks, and elsewhere. "If a customary tenant die, the widow shall have what the law calls her free-bench, in all his copy-hold lands, dum sola et casta fuerit, that is, while she lives single and chaste; but if she Another, who had been summoned to make he commits incontinency she forfeits her estate; yet appearance, was excused by the steward, as well if she will come into the court riding backward knowing in his heart that the good squire himsel upon a black ram, with his tail in her hand, and had qualified her for the ram. say the words following, the steward is bound by the custom to re-admit her to her free-bench.
"Here I am,
Riding upon a black ram,
And for my crincum crancum,
Have lost my bincum bancum;
Therefore I pray you, Mr. Steward, let me have my
Mrs. Quick, having nothing to object against the indictment, pleaded her belly. But it was re membered that she made the same excuse the ye before. Upon which the steward observed, the she might so contrive it, as never to do the servic of the manor.
'The widow Fidget, being cited into court, i sisted that she had done no more since the death her husband than what she used to do in his time; and withal desired Mr. Steward to conside his own wife's case if he should chance to die be
The widow Maskwell, a woman who had lo lived with a most unblemished character, hav turned off her old chambermaid in a pet, was that revengeful creature brought in upon the blac ram nine times the same day.
After having informed you that my Lord Coke ob-fore her. serves that this is the most frail and slippery te'The next in order was a dowager of a ver nure of any in England, I shall tell you, since the corpulent make, who would have been excused writing of that letter, I have, according to my not finding any ram that was able to carry her promise, been at great pains in searching out the upon which the steward commuted her punst records of the black ram; and have at last met ment, and ordered her to make her entry upon with the proceedings of the court baron, held in black ox. that behalf, for the space of a whole day. The record saith, that a strict inquisition having been made into the right of the tenants to their several estates, by a crafty old steward, he found that many of the lands of the manor were, by default of the several widows, forfeited to the lord, and Several widows of the neighbourhood, be accordingly would have entered on the premises: brought upon their trial, showed that they did upon which the good women demanded the "be- hold of the manor, and were nefit of the ram." The steward, after having pe-ingly. rused their several pleas, adjourned the court to A pretty young creature who closed the pr Barnaby-bright, that they might have day enough cession came ambling in with so bewitching before them. that the steward was observed to cast a sheep'se The court being set, and filled with a great upon her, and married her within a month a concourse of people, who came from all parts to the death of his wife. see the solemnity; the first who entered was the widow Frontly, who had made her appearance in the last year's cavalcade. The register observes, that, finding it an easy pad-ram, and foreseeing
See Nos. 591, 602, 605, 614, and 625.
+ See No. 614.
June 11th; nearly the longest day in the year
N. B. Mrs. Touchwood appeared, according summons, but had nothing laid to her charge: ing lived irreproachable since the decease of husband, who left her a widow in the sixtyyear of her age.
"I am, SIB, &c.'
at the gau
Cardinal Wolsey's complaint, Had I served God with the same application wherewith I served my
N° 624. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1714. king, he would not have forsaken me in my old
Audire, arque togam jubeo componere, quisquis
HOR. Sat. iii. 1. 2. ver. 77.
age.' The cardinal here softens his ambition by the specious pretence of serving his king?' whereas his words, in the proper construction, imply, that, if instead of being acted by ambition he had been acted by religion, he should now have felt the comforts of it, when the whole world turned its back upon him.
Thirdly, let us compare the pains of the sensual with those of the virtuous, and see which are heaMANKIND is divided into two parts, the busy and vier in the balance. It may seem strange, at the the idle. The busy world may be divided into the first view, that the men of pleasure should be advirtuous and the vicious. The vicious again into vised to change their course, because they lead a the covetous, the ambitious, and the sensual. The painful life. Yet when we see them so active and idle part of mankind are in a state inferior to any vigilant in quest of delight; under so many disone of these. All the other are engaged in the quiets, and the sport of such various passions; let pursuit of happiness, though often misplaced, and them answer, if they can, if the pains they underare therefore more likely to be attentive to such go do not outweigh their enjoyments. The infimeans as shall be proposed to them for that end. delities on the one part between the two sexes, The idle, who are neither wise for this world nor and the caprices on the other, the debasement of the next, are emphatically called by Doctor Tillot-reason, the pangs of expectation, the disappointson fools at large. They propose to themselves ments in possession, the stings of remorse, the va no end, but run adrift with every wind. Advice nities and vexations attending even the most retherefore would be but thrown away upon them, fined delights, that make up this business of life, since they would scarce take the pains to read it. render it so silly and uncomfortable, that no man I shall not fatigue any of this worthless tribe with is thought wise until he hath got over it, or a long harangue; but will leave them with this happy, but in proportion as he hath cleared himshort saying of Plato, that labour is preferable to self from it. idleness, as brightness to rust.'
The pursuits of the active part of mankind are either in the paths of religion and virtue; or, on the other hand, in the roads to wealth, honours, or pleasure. I shall, therefore, compare the pursuits of avarice, ambition, and sensual delight, with their opposite virtues; and shall consider which of these principles engages men in a course of the greatest labour, suffering, and assiduity. Most men, in their cool reasonings, are willing to allow that a course of virtue will in the end be rewarded the most amply; but represent the way to it as rugged and narrow. If therefore it can be made appear, that men struggle through as many troubles to be miserable, as they do to be happy, my readers may perhaps be persuaded to be good when they find they shall lose nothing by it.
First, for avarice. The miser is more industrious than the saint: the pains of getting, the fears of losing, and the inability of enjoying his wealth, have been the mark of satire in all ages. Were
The sum of all is this. Man is made an active being. Whether he walks in the paths of virtue or vice, he is sure to meet with many difficulties to prove his patience and excite his industry. The same, if not greater labour, is required in the service of vice and folly as of virtue and wisdom; and he hath this easy choice left him, whether, with the strength he is master of, he will purchase happiness or repentance.
N° 625. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1714.
De tenero meditatur ungui.
his repentance upon his neglect of a good bargain, THE love-casuist† hath referred to me the followhis sorrow for being overreached, his hope of iming letter of queries, with his answers to each proving a sum, and his fear of falling into want, considered the several matters therein contained, question, for my approbation. I have accordingly directed to their proper objects, they would make so many different Christian graces and virtues. He and hereby confirm and ratify his answers, and may apply to himself a great part of Saint Paul's require the gentle querist to conform herself catalogue of sufferings. In journeyings often:
in perils of water, in perils of robbers, in perils
ness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in I was thirteen the 9th of November last, and
of verses; for he is one of the greatest wits in been an hour in the air. I love, if I may so speak, town. My eldest sister, who with her good will to have it fresh from the tree, and to convey it to would call me Miss as long as I live, must be mar- my friends before it is faded. Accordingly my er ried before me they say. She tells them that Mr. penses in coach-hire make no small article: which Fondle makes a fool of me, and will spoil the you may believe when I assure you that I post child, as she calls me, like a confident thing as she away from coffee-house to coffee-house, and foreis. In short, I am resolved to marry Mr. Fondle, stal the Evening Post by two hours. There is a if it be but to spite her. But, because I would certain gentleman, who hath given me the sip do nothing that is imprudent, I beg of you to give twice or thrice, and hath been beforehand with me me your answers to some questions I will write at Child's. But I have played him a trick. I hate down, and desire you to get them printed in the purchased a pair of the best coach-horses I could Spectator, and I do not doubt but you will give buy for money, and now let him outstrip me if te such advice, as, I am sure, I shall follow. When Mr. Fondle looks upon me for half an to deal in news. You may depend upon my assis can. Once more, Mr. Spectator, let me advise yo hour together, and calls me an angel, is he not in ance. love?' But I must break off abruptly, for I have twenty letters to write.
'May not I be certain he will be a kind husband, that has promised me half my portion in pin money, and to keep me a coach and six in the bargain?
Whether I am not old enough to choose for myself?"
'Yours, in haste,
N° 626. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1714
Dulcique animos novitate tenebo,
Whether it would not have been rude in me their birth to the most trifling occurrences of life
to refuse a lock of his hair?"
I HAVE seen a little work of a learned man, coosisting of extemporary speculations, which owed His usual method was, to write down any sudden Should not I be a very barbarous creature if sight of any odd gesticulation in a man, any whin start of thought which arose in his mind upon the I did not pity a man who is always sighing for my sical mimicry of reason in a beast, or whatever sake ? peared remarkable in any object of the vis No. creation. He was able to moralize upon a s Whether you would not advise me to run away box, would flourish eloquently upon a tucker ori with the poor man!'
pair of ruffles, and draw practical inferences from a full-bottomed periwig. This I thought it Whether you do not think, that if I will not mention, by way of excuse for my ingenious have him, he will drown himself?
respondent who hath introduced the following letter by an image which, I will beg leave to tel What shall I say to him the next time he asks him, is too ridiculous in so serious and noble me if i will marry him?'
The following letter requires neither introduc- WHEN I have seen young puss playing her want
tion nor answer.
gambols, and with a thousand antic shapes expres her own gaiety at the same time that she moved "I WONDER that in the present situation of affairs, most exemplary gravity, unmoved at all that p mine, while the old grannum hath set by with dep you can take pleasure in writing any thing but ed, it hath made me reflect what should be the news; for, in a word, who minds any thing else?casion of humours so opposite in two creatures, The pleasure of increasing in knowledge, and tween whom there was no visible difference learning something new every hour of life, is the that of age; and I have been able to resolve noblest entertainment of a rational creature. I into nothing else but the force of novelty. have a very good ear for a secret, and am na- In every species of creatures, those who have turally of a communicative temper; by which been least time in the world appear best please means I am capable of doing you great services in with their condition; for, besides that to a ne this way. In order to make myself useful, I am comer the world hath a freshness on it that strikes early in the antichamber, where I thrust my head the sense after a most agreeable manner, bel into the thick of the press, and catch the news at itself unattended with any great variety of enjoy the opening of the door, while it is warm. Some-ments, excites a sensation of pleasure; but, as times I stand by the beef-eaters, and take the buz advances, every thing seems to wither, the sense as it passes by me. At other times I lay my ear are disgusted with their old entertainments, close to the wall, and suck in many a valuable existence turns flat and insipid. We may see th whisper, as it runs in a straight line from corner to exemplified in mankind: the child, let him befe and corner. When I am weary with standing, I repair from pain, and gratified in his change of tors to one of the neighbouring coffee-houses, where I diverted with the smallest trifle. Nothing dista sit sometimes for a whole day, and have the news the mirth of the boy but a little punishment or as it comes from court fresh and fresh. In short, finement. The youth must have more violent pl sir, I spare no pains to know how the world goes sures to employ his time; the man loves the lur A piece of news loseth its flavour when it th of an active life, devoted to the pursuits of we
in the air f
ork of a be
rose in he
or ambition; and, lastly, old age, having lost its tired of health, because not enlivened with altercapacity for these avocations, becomes its own in-nate pain; and prefer the first reading of an indifsupportable burthen. This variety may in part be ferent author to the second or third perusal of one ch-hire male accounted for by the vivacity and decay of the whose merit and reputation are established rehenfaculties; but I believe is chiefly owing to this, "Our being thus formed serves many useful purthat the longer we have been in possession of be- poses in the present state. It contributes not a ing, the less sensible is the gust we have of it; and little to the advancement of learning; for, as Ciman, who be the more it requires of adventitious amusements to cero takes notice, that which makes men willing relieve us from the satiety and weariness it brings to undergo the fatigues of philosophical disquisiI have play along with it. tions, is not so much the greatness of objects as of the best And as novelty is of a very powerful, so is it of their novelty. It is not enough that there is field and via most extensive influence. Moralists have long and game for the chase, and that the understand-* Mr. Spetsince observed it to be the source of admiration, ing is prompted with a restless thirst of knowledge, You may dee which lessens in proportion to our familiarity with effectually to rouse the soul, sunk into the state of st break of objects, and upon a thorough acquaintance is ut- sloth and indolence; it is also necessary that there terly extinguished. But I think it hath not been be an uncommon pleasure annexed to the first apIso commonly remarked, that all the other passions pearance of truth in the mind. This pleasure bedepend considerably on the same circumstances. ing exquisite for the time it lasts, but transient, it What is it but novelty that awakens desire, en-hereby comes to pass that the mind grows into an hances delight, kindles anger, provokes envy, in-indifference to its former notions, and passes on spires horror? To this cause we must ascribe it, after new discoveries, in hope of repeating the de. that love languishes with fruition, and friendship light. It is with knowledge as with wealth, the itself is recommended by intervals of absence: pleasure of which lies more in making endless adhence monsters, by use, are beheld without loath-ditions than in taking a review of our old store. ing, and the most enchanting beauty without rap- There are some inconveniences that follow this ture. That emotion of the spirits, in which passion temper, if not guarded against, particularly this, consists, is usually the effect of surprise, and, as that through a too great eagerness of something long as it continues, heightens the agreeable or new, we are many times impatient of staying long disagreeable qualities of its object; but as this emo-enough upon a question that requires some time to tion ceases (and it ceases with the novelty) things resolve it; or, which is worse, persuade ourselves appear in another light, and affect us even less than that we are masters of the subject before we are might be expected from their proper energy, for so, only to be at the liberty of going upon a fresh having moved us too much before. scent; in Mr. Locke's words, "we see a little, pre'It may not be an useless inquiry, how far the sume a great deal, and so jump to the conclusion." love of novelty is the unavoidable growth of na- A further advantage of our inclination for noture, and in what respects it is peculiarly adapted velty, as at present circumstantiated, is, that it to the present state. To me it seems impossible annihilates all the boasted distinctions among manthat a reasonable creature should rest absolutely kind. Look not up with envy to those above thee! satisfied in any acquisitions whatever, without en- Sounding titles, stately buildings, fine gardens, gilddeavouring further; for, after its highest improve-ed chariots, rich equipages, what are they? They ments, the mind hath an idea of an infinity of dazzle every one but the possessor: to him that is things still behind, worth knowing, to the know-accustomed to them they are cheap and regardless ledge of which therefore it cannot be indifferent; things: they supply him not with brighter images, as by climbing up a hill in the midst of a wide or more sublime satisfactions, than the plain man plain a man hath his prospect enlarged, and, to- may have, whose small estate may just enable him gether with that, the bounds of his desires. Upon to support the charge of a simple unencumbered this account, I cannot think he detracts from the life. He enters heedless into his rooms of state, as state of the blessed, who conceives them to be per-you or I do under our poor sheds. The noble paintpetually employed in fresh searches into nature, ings and costly furniture are lost on him; he sees and to eternity advancing into the fathomless them not: as how can it be otherwise, when by depths of the divine perfections. In this thought custom, a fabric, infinitely more grand and finished, there is nothing but what doth honour to these glo- that of the universe, stands unobserved by the inrified spirits, provided still it be remembered, that habitants, and the everlasting lamps of heaven are their desire of more proceeds not from their disrel- lighted up in vain, for any notice that mortals take ishing what they possess; and the pleasure of a new of them! Thanks to indulgent nature, which not enjoyment is not with them measured by its novel- only placed her children originally upon a level, ty (which is a thing merely foreign and accidental) but still, by the strength of this principle, in a but by its real intrinsic value. After an acquaint- great measure preserves it, in spite of all the care ance of many thousand years with the works of of man to introduce artificial distinctions. God, the beauty and magnificence of the creation To add no more-is not this fondness for nofills them with the same pleasing wonder and pro- velty, which makes us out of conceit with all we found awe which Adam felt himself seized with as already have, a convincing proof of a future state? he first opened his eyes upon this glorious scene. Either man was made in vain, or this is not the Truth captivates with unborrowed charms, and only world he was made for: for there cannot be a whatever hath once given satisfaction will always greater instance of vanity than that to which man is do it. In all which they have manifestly the ad-liable, to be deluded from the cradle to the grave vantage of us who are so much governed by sickly with fleeting shadows of happiness. His pleasures, and changeable appetites, that we can with the and those not considerable neither, die in the posgreatest coldness behold the stupendous display of session, and fresh enjoyments do not rise fast enough Omnipotence, and be in transports at the puny to fill up half his life with satisfaction. When I essays of human skill; throw aside speculations of see persons sick of themselves any longer than they the sublimest nature and vastest importance into are called away by something that is of force to some obscure corner of the mind, to make room chain down the present thought; when I see them for new notions of no consequence at all, are even hurry from country to town, and then fr
town back again into the country, continually shift- I promise ten thousand satisfactions to myself ing postures, and placing life in all the different your conversation. I already take my evening' lights they can think of; "surely," say I to my. turn in it, and have worn a path upon the edge self, "life is vain, and the man beyond expression this little alley, while I soothed myself with the stupid or prejudiced, who from the vanity of life thought of your walking by my side. I have he cannot gather that he is designed for immorta- many imaginary discourses with you in this retire lity."
ment; and when I have been weary have sat dow with you in the midst of a row of jessamines. Th many expressions of joy and rapture I use in thes silent conversations have made me for some time the talk of the parish; but a neighbouring your
N° 627. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 1714. fellow, who makes love to the farmer's daughter
THE following account, which came to my hands
bath found me out, and made my case known the whole neighbourhood.
"In planting of the fruit-trees, I have not forg the peach you are so fond of. I have made a val of elms along the river side, and intend to sow the place about with cowslips, which I hope y will like as well as that I have heard you talk of by your father's house in the country.
drawn up in my imagination! What day-dream "Oh! Zelinda, what a scheme of delight hare! some time ago, may be no disagreeable entertain- do I indulge myself in! When will the six week ment to such of my readers as have tender hearts, be at an end, that lie between me and my promise and nothing to do.
"How could you break off so abruptly in you last, and tell me you must go and dress for the
“I am, &c.”
A FRIEND of mine died of a fever last week, which play? If you loved as I do, you would find he caught by walking too late in a dewy evening more company in a crowd than I have in mys amongst his reapers. I must inform you that his litude. greatest pleasure was in husbandry and gardening. He had some humours which seemed inconsistent with that good sense he was otherwise master of. "On the back of this letter is written, in the ha His uneasiness in the company of women was of the deceased, the following piece of history. very remarkable in a man of such perfect good breeding; and his avoiding one particular walk in answer to this letter, I hurried to town, whe "Mem. Having waited a whole week for his garden, where he had used to pass the greatest I found the perfidious creature married to my part of his time, raised abundance of idle conjec- val. I will bear it as becomes a man, and ende tures in the village where he lived. Upon looking vour to find out happiness for myself in that ret over his papers we found out the reason, which he ment which I had prepared in vain for a f never intimated to his nearest friends. He was, it ungrateful woman." seems, a passionate lover in his youth, of which a large parcel of letters he left behind him are a witness. I send you a copy of the last he ever wrote upon that subject, by which you will find that be concealed the true name of his mistress under that of Zelinda.
'I am, ke'
N° 628. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1714.
Labitur et labetur in amne volubilis avum.
It rolls, and rolls, and will for ever roll.
THERE are none of your speculations which p
"A LONG month's absence would be insupportable to me, if the business I am employed in were not for the service of my Zelinda, and of such a nature as to place her every moment in my mind. have furnished the house exactly according to your fancy, or, if you please, my own; for I have long since learned to like nothing but what you do.me more than those upon infinitude and etern You have already considered that part of eter The apartment designed for your use is so exact a copy of that which you live in, that I often think which is past, and I wish you would give us myself in your house when I step into it, but sigh thoughts upon that which is to come. when I find it without its proper inhabitant. You will have the most delicious prospect from your closet-window that England affords: I am sure I should think it so, if the landscape that shows such variety did not at the same time suggest to me the greatness of the space that lies between us.
Your readers will perhaps receive greater pl since we have every one of us a concern in sure from this view of eternity than the forme which is past is rather curious than useful. which is to come: whereas a speculation on
'Besides, we can easily conceive it possible successive duration never to have an end; thou "The gardens are laid out very beautifully; I have dressed up every hedge in woodbines, sprin- never had a beginning is altogether incomp as you have justly observed, that eternity wh kled bowers and arbours in every corner, and sible; that is, we can conceive an eternal dar made a little paradise around me; yet I am still like the first man in his solitude, but half blessed which may be, though we cannot an eternal d without a partner in my happiness. I have di- tion which hath been; or, if I may use the ph rected one walk to be made for two persons, where sophical terms, we may apprehend a though not an actual eternity. This notion of a future eternity, which i
* Dr. Johnson thought this essay one of the finest pieces in the English language. Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. iii. p. 32. 3d
* See Nos, 565, 571, 580, and 590.