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ometimes be overcharged with multitudes, and at others waste away into a desert: we hould be sometimes a populus virorum, as Florus elegantly expresses it, a generaion of males, and at others a species of vomen. We may extend this consideraSion to every species of living creatures, and consider the whole animal world as a uge army made up of innumerable corps, may use that term, whose quotas have been kept entire near five thousand years, n so wonderful a manner, that there is not probably a single species lost during this ong tract of time. Could we have general ills of mortality of every kind of animals, or particular ones of every species in each continent and island, I could almost say in very wood, marsh, or mountain, what stonishing instances would they be of that Providence which watches over all his vorks?

I have heard of a great man in the Ronish church, who upon reading these words in the fifth chapter of Genesis, And ll the days that Adam lived were nine undred and thirty years, and he died; and ll the days of Seth were nine hundred and welve years, and he died; and all the days of Methuselah, were nine hundred and sixtyine years, and he died;' immediately shut imself up in a convent, and retired from he world, as not thinking any thing in this ife worth pursuing, which had not regard

o another.

most ancient and most beaten morals that
has been recommended to mankind. But
its being so very common, and so universally
received, though it takes away from it the
grace of novelty, adds very much to the
weight of it, as it shows that it falls in with
the general sense of mankind. In short, I
would have every one consider that he is in
this life nothing more than a passenger,
and that he is not to set up his rest here,
but to keep an attentive eye upon that state
of being to which he approaches every
moment, and which will be for ever fixed
and permanent. This single consideration
would be sufficient to extinguish the bitter-
ness of hatred, the thirst of avarice, and
the cruelty of ambition.

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I am very much pleased with the passage of Antiphanes, a very ancient poet, who lived near an hundred years before Socrates, which represents the life of a man under this view, as I have here translated it word for word. Be not grieved,' says he, above measure for thy deceased friends. They are not dead, but have only finished that journey which it is necessary for every one of us to take. We ourselves must go to that great place of reception in which they are all of them assembled, and in this general rendezvous of mankind, live together in another state of being.'

I think I have, in a former paper, taken notice of those beautiful metaphors in scripture, where life is termed a pilgrimThe truth of it is, there is nothing in his- age, and those who pass through it are all ory which is so improving to the reader as called strangers and sojourners upon earth. hose accounts which we meet with of the I shall conclude this with a story, which I leaths of eminent persons, and of their be- have somewhere read in the travels of Sir aviour in that dreadful season. I may also John Chardin. That gentleman, after dd, that there are no parts in history having told us that the inns which receive which affect and please the reader in so the caravans in Persia, and the eastern The reason I take to countries, are called by the name of carae this, because there is no other single vansaries, gives us a relation to the followcircumstance in the story of any person, ing purpose.

sensible a manner.

ne who reads it.

which can possibly be the case of every A dervise travelling through Tartary,
A battle or a triumph being arrived at the town of Balk, went into
tre conjunctures in which not one man in a the king's palace by mistake, as thinking it
nillion is likely to be engaged: but when to be a public inn, or caravansary. Having
we see a person at the point of death, we looked about him for some time, he entered
annot forbear being attentive to every into a long gallery, where he laid down his
hing he says or does, because we are sure wallet, and spread his carpet, in order to
hat some time or other we shall ourselves repose himself upon it, after the manner of
e in the same melancholy circumstances. the eastern nations. He had not been long
The general, the statesman, or the philo- in this posture before he was discovered by
Topher, are
perhaps characters which we some of the guards, who asked him what
nay never act in; but the dying man is one was his business in that place? The dervise
whom, sooner or later, we shall certainly told them he intended to take up his night's
lodging in that caravansary. The guards
It is, perhaps, for the same kind of rea- let him know in a very angry manner, that
on, that few books written in English have the house he was in was not a caravansary,
Deen so much perused as Dr. Sherlock's but the king's palace. It happened that
Discourse upon Death; though at the same the king himself passed through the gallery
ime I must own, that he who hath not pe- during this debate, and smiling at the mis-
used this excellent piece, has not perhaps take of the dervise, asked him how he could
ead one of the strongest persuasives to a possibly be so dull as not to distinguish a
eligious life that ever was written in any palace from a caravansary? Sir,' says the
dervise, 'give me leave to ask your majesty
question or two. Who were the persons
that lodged in this house when it was first



The consideration with which I shall lose this essay upon death, is one of the


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No. 290.] Friday, February 1, 1711-12.
Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba.
Hor. Ars Poet. v. 97.*
Forgets his swelling and gigantic words.


built? The king replied, His ancestors.' known only to particular tempers, yet in
'And who,' says the dervise, was the last the above-mentioned considerations, the
person that lodged here? The king re- sorrow of the heroine will move even the
plied, His father.' And who is it," says generality of mankind. Domestic virtues
the dervise, that lodges here at present?' concern all the world, and there is no one
The king told him, that it was he himself. living who is not interested that Androma-
'And who,' says the dervise, will be here che should be an imitable character. The
after you? The king answered, The young generous affection to the memory of the
prince his son.' Ah, sir,' said the dervise, deceased husband, that tender care for her
a house that changes its inhabitants so son, which is ever heightened with the
often, and receives such a perpetual suc- consideration of his father, and these re
cession of guests, is not a palace, but a gards preserved in spite of being tempted
with the possession of the highest great-
ness, are what cannot but be venerable
even to such an audience as at present fre
My friend
quents the English theatre.
Will Honeycomb commended several ten-
der things that were said, and told me they
were very genteel, but whispered me, that
he feared the piece was not busy enough
for the present taste. To supply this, he
THE players, who know I am very much recommended to the players to be very
their friend, take all opportunities to ex- careful in their scenes, and above all things
press a gratitude to me for being so. They that every part should be perfectly new
could not have a better occasion of obliging dressed. I was very glad to find that they
me, than one which they lately took hold of. did not neglect my friend's admonition, be
They desired my friend Will Honeycomb cause there are a great many in this class
to bring me to the reading of a new tragedy; of criticism who may be gained by it; but
it is called The Distressed Mother. I indeed the truth is, that as to the work
must confess, though some days are passed itself, it is every where Nature. The per-
since I enjoyed that entertainment, the pas- sons are of the highest quality in life, even
sions of the several characters dwell strong- that of princes; but their quality is not re
ly upon my imagination; and I congratu- presented by the poet with directions that
late the age that they are at last to see guards and waiters should follow them in
truth and human life represented in the every scene, but their grandeur appears in
incidents which concern heroes and hero- greatness of sentiment, flowing from minds
ines. The style of the play is such as be-worthy their condition. To make a cha
comes those of the first education, and the racter truly great, this author understands
sentiments worthy of those of the highest that it should have its foundation in supe
figure. It was a most exquisite pleasure to rior thoughts and maxims of conduct. It
me to observe real tears drop from the eyes is very certain, that many an honest woman
of those who had long made it their profes- would make no difficulty, though she had
sion to dissemble affliction; and the player been the wife of Hector, for the sake of a
who read, frequently threw down the book, kingdom, to marry the enemy of her hus
until he had given vent to the humanity band's family and country; and indeed who
which rose in him at some irresistible can deny but she might be still an honest
touches of the imagined sorrow. We have woman, but no heroine? That may be de
seldom had any female distress on the stage, fensible, nay, laudable, in one character,
which did not, upon cool examination, ap- which would be in the highest degree ex
pear to flow from the weakness, rather ceptionable in another. When Cato Uticer
than the misfortune of the person repre- cis killed himself, Cottius, a Roman d
sented: but in this tragedy you are not en- ordinary quality and character, did the
tertained with the ungoverned passions of same thing; upon which one said, smiling
such as are enamoured of each other, Cottius might have lived, though Cast
merely as they are men and women, but has seized the Roman liberty.' Cottius's
their regards are founded upon high con- condition might have been the same,
ceptions of each other's virtue and merit; things at the upper end of the world
and the character which gives name to the pass as they would. What is further ver
play, is one who has behaved herself with extraordinary in this work is, that the per
heroic virtue in the most important circum-sons are all of them laudable, and the
stances of a female life, those of a wife, a misfortunes arise rather from unguarded
widow, and a mother. If there be those virtue than propensity to vice. The town
whose minds have been too attentive upon has an opportunity of doing itself jute
the affairs of life, to have any notion of the in supporting the representations of pr
passion of love in such extremes as are sion, sorrow, indignation,
even despair
itself, within the rules of decency, honour,
The original motto to this paper in folio was ' Spi- and good-breeding; and since there is a
rat tragicum satis, et feliciter audet.-Hor.
Ambrose Philips. It was brought out at Drury sorrow
can flatter himself his life will be always



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hey would wish to bear it whenever it critic, whereas one who has not these previous lights is very often an utter stranger to what he reads, and apt to put a wrong interpretation upon it.

'MR. SPECTATOR,-I am appointed to ct a part in the new tragedy called the Distressed Mother. It is the celebrated rief of Orestes which I am to personate; ut I shall not act it as I ought, for I shall eel it too intimately to be able to utter it. was last night repeating a paragraph to myself, which I took to be an expression frage, and in the middle of the senence there was a stroke of self-pity which Be pleased, sir, to rint this letter, that when I am oppressed this manner at such an interval, a cerain part of the audience may not think I m out; and I hope, with this allowance, O do it with satisfaction. I am, sir, your our most humble servant, 'GEORGE POWELL.'

uite unmanned me.

'MR. SPECTATOR,-As I was walking he other day in the Park, I saw a gentleman with a very short face; I desire to now whether it was you. Pray inform e as soon as you can, lest I become the post heroic Hecatissa's rival. Your humde servant to command, SOPHIA.' DEAR MADAM,-It is not me you are in ove with, for I was very ill, and kept my hamber all that day. Your most humble




Nor is it sufficient that a man, who sets perused the authors above-mentioned, unup for a judge in criticism, should have less he has also a clear and logical head. Without this talent he is perpetually puzzled and perplexed amidst his own blunders, mistakes the sense of those he would confute, or, if he chances to think right, does not know how to convey his thoughts Aristotle, who was the best critic, was also to another with clearness and perspicuity. one of the best logicians that ever appeared

in the world.

Mr. Locke's Essay on Human Understanding would be thought a very odd book for a man to make himself master of, who would get a reputation by critical writings; though at the same time it is very certain, that an author who has not learned the art of distinguishing between words and things, and of ranging his thoughts and setting them in proper lights, whatever notions he may have, will lose himself in confusion and obscurity.. I might further observe, that there is not a Greek or Latin critic, who has not shown, even in the style of his criticism, that he was a master of all the elegance and delicacy of his native tongue.

The truth of it is, there is nothing more absurd, than for a man to set up for a critic,

■a 291.] Saturday, February 2, 1711-12. without a good insight into all the parts of

-Ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis
Offendor maculis, quas aut incuria fudit,
Aut humana parum cavit natnra.-

Hor. Ars Poct. ver. 351.

But in a poem elegantly writ, I will not quarrel with a slight mistake, Such as our nature's frailty may excuse.-Roscommon. I HAVE now considered Milton's Parase Lost under those four great heads, of ne fable, the characters, the sentiments, nd the language; and have shown that he xcels in general, under each of these heads. hope that I have made several discoveries hich may appear new even to those who e versed in critical learning. Were I deed to choose my readers, by whose dgment I would stand or fall, they should t be such as are acquainted only with e French and Italian critics, but also ith the ancient and modern who have ritten in either of the learned languages. bove all, I would have them well versed the Greek and Latin poets, without hich a man very often fancies that he unErstands a critic, when in reality he does t comprehend his meaning.

It is in criticism as in all other sciences d speculations; one who brings with him implicit notions and observations, which has made in his reading of the poets, find his own reflections methodized explained, and perhaps several little nts that had passed in his mind, perted and improved in the works of a good

learning; whereas many of those, who have
endeavoured to signalize themselves by
works of this nature, among our English
writers, are not only defective in the above-
mentioned particulars, but plainly discover
and by their confused way of thinking,
by the phrases which they make use of,
that they are not acquainted with the
most common and ordinary systems of arts
and sciences. A few general rules ex-
tracted out of the French authors, with a
certain cant or words, has sometimes set
up an illiterate heavy writer for a most
judicious and formidable critic.


One great mark, by which you may dis-
cover a critic who has neither taste nor
learning, is this, that he seldom ventures
to praise any passage in an author which has
not been before received and applauded by
the public, and that his criticism turns
wholly upon little faults and errors.
part of a critic is so very easy to succeed
in, that we find every ordinary reader upon
the publishing of a new poem, has wit and
ill-nature enough to turn several passages
of it into ridicule, and very often in the
right place. This Mr. Dryden has very
agreeably remarked in these two celebra-
ted lines;

Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls, must dive below.
A true critic ought to dwell rather upon
excellences than imperfections, to discover
the concealed beauties of a writer, and

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communicate to the world such things as it had been just thrashed out of the sheaf
are worth their observation. The most He then bid him pick out the chaff from
exquisite words and finest strokes of an among the corn, and lay it aside by itself
author, are those which very often appear The critic applied himself to the task with
the most doubtful and exceptionable to a great industry and pleasure, and after hav-
man who wants a relish for polite learn- ing made the due separation, was present-
ing; and they are these, which a soured by Apollo with the chaff for his pains
undistinguishing critic generally attacks
with the greatest violence. Tully ob-
serves, that it is very easy to brand or fix No. 292.] Monday, February 4, 1711-12
a mark upon what he calls verbum ardens,
or as it may be rendered into English, a
glowing bold expression, and to turn it into
ridicule by a cold ill-natured criticism. A
little wit is equally capable of exposing a
beauty, and of aggravating a fault: and
though such treatment of an author natur-
ally produces indignation in the mind of an
understanding reader, it has however its
effect among the generality of those whose
hands it falls into, the rabble of mankind
being very apt to think that every thing
which is laughed at, with any mixture of
wit, is ridiculous in itself.

Such a mirth as this is always unseason-
able in a critic, as it rather prejudices the
reader than convinces him, and is capable
of making a beauty, as well as a blemish,
the subject of derision. A man who can
not write with wit on a proper subject, is
dull and stupid; but one who shows it in
an improper place, is as impertinent and
absurd. Besides, a man who has the gift
of ridicule is apt to find fault with any thing
that gives him an opportunity of exerting
his beloved talent, and very often censures
a passage, not because there is any fault in
it, but because he can be merry upon it.
Such kinds of pleasantry are very unfair
and disingenuous in works of criticism, in
which the greatest masters, both ancient
and modern, have always appeared with a
serious and instructive air.

As I intend in my next paper to show the defects in Milton's Paradise Lost, I thought fit to premise these few particulars, to the end that the reader may know I enter upon it as on a very ungrateful work, and that I shall just point at the imperfections, without endeavouring to inflame them with ridicule. I must also observe with Longinus, that the productions of a great genius, with many lapses and inadvertencies, are infinitely preferable to the works of an inferior kind of author, which are scrupulously exact, and conformable to all the rules of correct writing.

I shall conclude my paper with a story out of Boccalini, which sufficiently shows us the opinion that judicious author entertained of the sort of critics I have been here mentioning. A famous critic, says he, having gathered together all the faults of an eminent poet, made a present of them to Apollo, who received them very graciously, and resolved to make the author a suitable return for the trouble he had been at in collecting them. In order to this, he set before him a sack of wheat, as

Illam, quicquid agit, quoquo vestigia flettit,
Componit furtim, subsequiturque decor.
Tibul. Eleg. ii. Lib. 4. &
Whate'er she does, where'er her steps she bends,
Grace on each action silently attends.

As no one can be said to enjoy health who is only not sick, without he feel within himself a lightsome and invigorating prin ciple, which will not suffer him to remain idle, but still spurs him on to action; so in the practice of every virtue, there is some additional grace required, to give a claim of excelling in this or that particular ac tion. A diamond may want polishing, though the value be still intrinsically the same; and the same good may be done with different degrees of lustre. No man should be contented with himself that he barely does well, but he should perform every thing in the best and most becoming man ner that he is able.

Tully tells us he wrote his book of Offices, because there was no time of life in which some corresponding duty might not be prac tised; nor is there a duty without a certain decency accompanying it, by which every virtue it is joined to will seem to be doubled Another may do the same thing, and yet the action want that air and beauty which distinguish it from others; like that inimit able sunshine Titian is said to have dif fused over his landscapes; which denotes them his, and has been always unequalled by any other person.

There is no one action in which this quality I am speaking of will be more sen sibly perceived, than in granting a request, or doing an office of kindness. Mummius, by his way of consenting to a benefaction, shall make it lose its name; while Carus doubles the kindness and the obligation From the first, the desired request drops in deed at last, but from so doubtful a brow, that the obliged has almost as much reason to resent the manner of bestowing it, as be thankful for the favour itself. Carus in vites with a pleasing air, to give him an opportunity of doing an act of humanity, meets the petition half way, and consents to a request with a countenance which pr claims the satisfaction of his mind in assist ing the distressed.

The decency, then, that is to be observed in liberality, seems to consist, in its being performed with such cheerfulness, as may express the godlike pleasure to be me with, in obliging one's fellow creatures that may show good-nature and benevo

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ence overflowed, and do not, as in some men, run upon the tilt, and taste of the sediments of a grudging, uncommunicative The comeliness of person, and the dedisposition. cency of behaviour, add infinite weight to Since I have intimated that the greatest what is pronounced by any one. It is the Hecorum is to be preserved in the bestow-want of this that often makes the rebukes ng our good offices, I will illustrate it a and advice of old rigid persons of no effect, ittle by an example drawn from private and leave a displeasure in the minds of ife, which carries with it such a profusion those they are directed to: but youth and of liberality, that it can be exceeded by beauty, if accompanied with a graceful and nothing but the humanity and good-nature becoming severity, is of mighty force to which accompanies it. It is a letter of raise, even in the most profligate, a sense of Pliny's, which I shall here translate, be- shame. In Milton, the devil is never deCause the action will best appear in its first scribed ashamed but once, and that at the ress of thought, without any foreign or rebuke of a beauteous angel;

full of numberless nameless graces, the other of as many nameless faults.

ambitious ornaments.

Pliny to Quintilian.

So spake the cherub; and his grave rebuke,
Severe in youthful beauty, added grace
Invincible. Abash'd the devil stood,
And felt how awful Goodness is, and saw
Virtue in her own shape how lovely! saw, and pin'd
His loss.

"Though I am fully acquainted with the Contentment and just moderation of your nind, and the conformity the education The care of doing nothing unbecoming you have given your daughter bears to your has accompanied the greatest minds to own character; yet since she is suddenly their last moments. They avoided even to be married to a person of distinction, an indecent posture in the very article of whose figure in the world makes it neces- death. Thus Cæsar gathered his robe sary for her to be at a more than ordinary about him, that he might not fall in a expense, in clothes and equipage suitable manner unbecoming of himself; and the to her husband's quality; by which, though greatest concern that appeared in the beer intrinsic worth be not augmented, yet haviour of Lucretia when she stabbed herwill it receive both ornament and lustre: self, was, that her body should lie in an and knowing your estate to be as moderate attitude worthy the mind which had ins the riches of your mind are abundant, I habited it: must challenge to myself some part of the Durden; and as a parent of your child, I present her with twelve hundred and fifty Crowns, towards these expenses; which sum had been much larger, had I not feared che smallness of it would be the greatest nducement with you to accept of it.-Farewell.'

-Ne non procumbat honeste,
Extrema hæc etiam cura cadentis erat.

Ovid. Fast. Lib. 3. 833. 'Twas her last thought how decently to fall. without a fortune; but of a very high mind: 'MR. SPECTATOR,-I am a young woman that is, good sir, I am to the last degree proud and vain. I am ever railing at the Thus should a benefaction be done with a rich, for doing things which, upon search good grace, and shine in the strongest point into my heart, I find I am only angry at, of light; it should not only answer all the because I cannot do the same myself. I opes and exigencies of the receiver, but wear the hooped petticoat, and am all in even outrun his wishes. It is this happy calicoes when the finest are in silks. It is manner of behaviour which adds new a dreadful thing to be poor and proud; Charms to it, and softens those gifts of art therefore, if you please, a lecture on that and nature, which otherwise would be subject for the satisfaction of your uneasy ather distasteful than agreeable. Without humble servant,

t valour would degenerate into brutality,

earning into pedantry, and the genteelest demeanour into affectation. Even Religion



Πασιν γαρ ευφρονεσι συμμάχει τύχη.

tself, unless Decency be the handmaid No. 293.] Tuesday, February 5, 1711-12. which waits upon her, is apt to make people appear guilty of sourness and illFrag. Vet. Poet. umour: but this shows Virtue in her first The prudent still have fortune on their side. original form, adds a comeliness to Religion, and gives its professors the just title THE famous Grecian, in his little book o the beauty of holiness.' A man fully wherein he lays down maxims for a man's nstructed in this art, may assume a thou- advancing himself at court, advises his reaand shapes, and please in all; he may do der to associate himself with the fortunate, thousand actions shall become none other and to shun the company of the unfortunate; ut himself; not that the things themselves which, notwithstanding the baseness of the Te different, but the manner of doing them. precept to an honest mind, may have someyou examine each feature by itself, thing useful in it, for those who push their glaura and Calliclea are equally hand- interest in the world. It is certain a great ome, but take them in the whole, and you part of what we call good or ill fortune, annot suffer the comparison: the one is rises out of right or wrong measures and


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