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to be chopped off. Aretine is too trite an in- of charity, which has been generally overlooked stance. Every one knows that all the kings of by divines, because they are but few who can be Europe were his tributaries. Nay, there is a letter guilty of it. of his extant, in which he makes his boasts that he had laid the Sophi of Persia under contribution.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 1710–11.
Accurit quidam, notus mihi nomine tantum ;
Comes up a fop, (I knew him but by fame)
Though in the various examples which I have N° 24. 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 plainly showed that they were very sensible of 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 re- THERE are in this town a great number of insignifiputation he thus assaults, in his body or in his for- cant people, who are by no means fit for the bettune, could he do it with the same security. There ter sort of conversation, and yet have an impertiis, indeed, something very barbarous and inhuman nent ambition of appearing with those to whom in the ordinary scribblers of lampoons. An inno- they are not welcome. If you walk in the Park, cent young lady shall be exposed for an unhappy one of them will certainly join with you, though feature. A father of a family turned to ridicule you are in company with ladies; if you drink a for some domestic calamity. A wife be made un-bottle, they will find your haunts. What makes easy all her life for a misinterpreted word or ac- such fellows the more burdensome is, that they tion. Nay, a good, a temperate, and a just man, neither offend nor please so far as to be taken noshall be put out of countenance by the representa- tice of for either. It is, I presume, for this reason tion of those qualities that should do him honour. that my correspondents are willing by my means So pernicious a thing is wit, when it is not tem- to be rid of them. The two following letters are pered with virtue and humanity. writ by persons who suffer by such impertinence.
I have indeed heard of heedless inconsiderate A worthy old bachelor, who sets in for a dose of writers, that without any malice have sacrificed claret every night at such an hour, is teased by a the reputation of their friends and acquaintance swarm of them; who, because they are sure of to a certain levity of temper, and a silly ambition room and a good fire, have taken it in their heads of distinguishing themselves by a spirit of raillery to keep a sort of club in his company; though the and satire; as if it were not infinitely more ho- sober gentleman himself is an utter enemy to such nourable to be a good-natured man than a wit. meetings. 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 THE aversion I for some years have had to clubs down as a rule, that an indiscreet man is more in general, gave me a perfect relish for your spehurtful than an ill-natured one; for as the latter culation on that subject;* but I have since been will only attack his enemies, and those he wishes extremely mortified, by the malicious_world's ill to; the other injures, indifferently, both friends ranking me amongst the supporters of such imperand foes. I cannot forbear, on this occasion, trans-tinent assemblies. I beg leave to state my case cribing a fable out of Sir Roger l'Estrange, which fairly; and that done, I shall expect redress from accidentally lies before me. A company of wag-your judicious pen.
gish boys were watching of frogs at the side of a 'I am, Sir, a bachelor of some standing, and a pond, and still as any of them put up their heads, traveller: my business, to consult my own humour, they would be pelting them down again with which I gratify without controlling other people's: stones "Children," says one of the frogs, " you I have a room and a whole bed to myself; and I never consider, that though this may be play to have a dog, a fiddle, and a gun; they please me, you, it is death to us."' and injure no creature alive. My chief meal is As this weekt is in a manner set apart and dedi- a supper, which I always make at a tavern. I am cated to serious thoughts, I shall indulge myself in constant to an hour, and not ill-humoured; for such speculations as may not be altogether unsuit-which reasons, though I invite nobody, I have able to the season; and in the mean time, as the no sooner supped, than I have a crowd about me settling in ourselves a charitable frame of mind is of that sort of good company that know not whi a work very proper for the time, I have in this ther else to go. It is true, every man pays his paper endeavoured to expose that particular breach share; yet, as they are intruders, I have an undoubted right to be the only speaker, or at least
* Peter Aretine, a native of Arezzo, who lived in the 16th the loudest; which I maintain, and that to the century, was infamous for his satirical writings; and was so bold great emolument of my audience. I sometimes as to carry his invectives even against sovereigns; whence he fgot the title of the Scourge of Princes. He used to boast, that tell them their own in pretty free language; and bejhis lampoons did more service to the world than sermons; and sometimes divert them with merry tales, according t was said of him, that he had subjected more princes by his as I am in humour. I am one of those who live in as ten, than the greatest warriors had ever done by their arms.
correctine wrote also many irreligious and obscene pieces. Some taverns to a great age, by a sort of regular intemthat he afterwards changed his loose, libertine principles; perance: I never go to bed drunk, but always however this may be, it is certain that he composed several Austered; I wear away very gently; am apt to be seven, eminen were esteemed pretty good of their kind; and died in the peevish, but never angry. Mr. Spectator, if you totale 356, being about 65 years old. It is said by some, that he have kept various company, you know there is in 3 such a fit of laughter, on hearing some obscene conver him in that he overturned the chair upon which he sat, and that, every tavern in town some old humourist or other, 1 bit head, and died upon the spot.
at leass of devotion. He was author likewise of some comedies,
• See N° 9.
who is master of the house as much as he that Jing one another at home, go in the same party to n be keeps it. The drawers are all in awe of him; and a benefit play, and smile at each other, and put
all the customers who frequent his company, yield down glasses as we pass in our coaches. Thus we him a sort of comical obedience. I do not know may enjoy as much of each other's friendship as but I may be such a fellow as this myself. But I we are capable of: for there are some people who appeal to you, whether this is to be called a club, are to be known only by sight, with which sort of because so many impertinents will break in upon friendship, I hope you will always honour, me, and come without appointment? Clinch of Barnet has a nightly meeting, and shows to every one that will come in and pay; but then he is the
only actor. Why should people miscall things? If his is allowed to be a concert, why may not mine
'Your most obedient humble servant,
'P. S. I subscribe myself by the name of the
be a lecture? However, sir, I submit it to you, day I keep, that my supernumerary friends may
"Your most obedient, &c.
" THOMAS KIMBOW.'
To prevent all mistakes that may happen among gentlemen of the other end of the town, who come but
You and I were pressed against each other last once a week to St. James's coffee-house, either by Pat winter in a crowd, in which uneasy posture we miscalling the servants, or requiring such things from suffered together for almost half an hour. I thank them as are not properly within their respective proyou for all your civilities ever since, in being of vinces; this is to give notice, that Kidney, keeper of nake my acquaintance wherever you meet me. But the the book debts of the outlying customers, and observer other day you pulled off your hat to me in the of those who go off without paying, having resigned Park, when I was walking with my mistress. She that employment, is succeeded by John Sowton; to did not like your air, and said she wondered what whose place of enterer of messages and first coffeemeas strange fellows I was acquainted with. Dear sir, grinder, William Bird is promoted; and Samuel consider it is as much as my life is worth, if she Burdock comes as shoe-cleaner in the room of the should think we were intimate; therefore I earn-said Bird.
those of the meanest capacities will pretend to THE following letter will explain itself, and needs make visits, though indeed they are qualified rather no apology :
into when they visit. A friend of mine hopes for I AM one of that sickly tribe who are commonly redress in this case, by the publication of her let-known by the name of Valetudinarians; and do ter in my paper; which she thinks those she would confess to you, that I first contracted this ill habit be rid of will take to themselves. It seems to be of body, or rather of mind, by the study of physic. written with an eye to one of those pert, giddy, I no sooner began to peruse books of this nature, unthinking girls, who, upon the recommendation but I found my pulse was irregular: and scarce only of an agreeable person and a fashionable air, ever read the account of any disease that I did not take themselves to be upon a level with women of fancy myself afflicted with. Dr. Sydenham's the greatest merit. learned treatise of fevers threw me into a lingering hectic, which hung upon me all the while I IITAKE this way to acquaint you with what com-was reading that excellent piece. I then applied mon rules and forms would never permit me to myself to the study of several authors, who have tell you otherwise; to wit, that you and I, though written upon phthisical distempers, and by that equals in quality and fortune, are by no means means fell into a consumption; till at length, growitable companions. You are, it is true, very ing fat, I was in a manner shamed out of this ima pretty, can dance, and make a very good figure gination. Not long after this I found in myself all a public assembly; but alas, madam, you the symptoms of the gout, except pain; but was must go no further; distance and silence are cured of it by a treatise upon the gravel, written your best recommendations; therefore let me by a very ingenious author, who (as it is usual for beg of you never to make me any more visits. physicians to convert one distemper into another) You come in a literal sense to see one, for you eased me of the gout by giving me the stone. I at have nothing to say. I do not say this, that 1 length studied myself into a complication of dis would by any means lose your acquaintance; but tempers; but, accidentally taking into my han I would keep it up with the strictest forms of that ingenious discourse written by Sanctorius, good-breeding. Let us pay visits, but never see
one another. If you will be so good as to deny Addison never had a regular pulse.' Mr. Tickell, in his preface to Addison's works, says, yourself always to me, I shall return the obliga- The inventor of the thermometer. He was profes tion by giving the same orders to my servants. medicine in the university of Padua in the beginning the When accident makes us meet at a third place, we own invention, made many curious and important discoves reseventeenth century; and, by means of a weighing-chair his ay mutually lament the misfortune of never find-lative to insensible perspiration. He published at Vece, in 1634, an ingenious book, entitled "De Medicina Staties which is the work here alluded to.
* See No. 31.
was resolved to direct myself by a scheme of rules, in a flight than in a battle; and may be applied to which I had collected from his observations. The those multitudes of imaginary sick persons tha learned world are very well acquainted with that break their constitutions by physic, and throw gentleman's invention; who, for the better carry- themselves into the arms of death, by endeavouring ing on of his experiments, contrived a certain to escape it. This method is not only dangerous mathematical chair, which was so artificially hung but below the practice of a reasonable creature upon springs, that it would weigh any thing as well To consult the preservation of life, as the only end as a pair of scales. By this means he discovered of it, to make our health our business, to engage how many ounces of his food passed by perspira-in no action that is not part of a regimen, or course tion, what quantity of it was turned into nourish-of physic, are purposes so abject, so mean, so unment, and how much went away by the other chan. worthy human nature, that a generous soul would nels and distributions of nature. rather die than submit to them. Besides, that a Having provided myself with this chair, I used continual anxiety for life vitiates all the relishes of to study, eat, drink, and sleep in it: insomuch that it, and casts a gloom over the whole face of naI may be said, for these last three years, to have ture, as it is impossible we should take delight in lived in a pair of scales. I compute myself, when any thing that we are every moment afraid of I am full in health, to be precisely two hundred losing. weight, falling short of it about a pound after a I do not mean, by what I have here said, that I day's fast, and exceeding it as much after a full think any one to blame for taking due care of meal; so that it is my continual employment to trim their health. On the contrary, as cheerfulness of the balance between these two volatile pounds in mind, and capacity for business, are in a great my constitution. In my ordinary meals I fetch measure the effects of a well-tempered constitumyself up to two hundred weight and half a tion, a man cannot be at too much pains to culti pound: and if, after having dined, I find myself fall vate and preserve it. But this care, which we are short of it, I drink just so much small beer, or eat prompted to, not only by common sense, but by such a quantity of bread, as is sufficient to make duty and instinct, should never engage us in groundme weight. In my greatest excesses I do not trans-less fears, melancholy apprehensions, and imaginary gress more than the other half pound: which, for distempers, which are natural to every man who is my health's sake, I do the first Monday in every more anxious to live than how to live. In short, month. As soon as I find myself duly poised after the preservation of live should be only a secondary dinner, I walk till I have perspired five ounces concern, and the direction of it our principal. If and four scruples; and when I discover, by my we have this frame of mind, we shall take the best chair, that I am so far reduced, I fall to my books, means to preserve life, without being over solicitand study away three ounces more. As for the ous about the event; and shall arrive at that point remaining parts of the pound, I keep no account of felicity which Martial has mentioned as the perof them. I do not dine and sup by the clock, but|fection of happiness, of neither fearing nor wishby my chair; for when that informs me my pounding for death.
of food is exhausted, I conclude myself to be In answer to the gentleman who tempers his hungry, and lay in another with all diligence. In health by ounces and by scruples, and instead of my days of abstinence I lose a pound and a half, complying with those natural solicitations of hunger and on solemn fasts am two pounds lighter than on and thirst, drowsiness or love of exercise, governs other days in the year. himself by the prescriptions of his chair, I shall tell 'I allow myself, one night with another, a quar-him a short fable. Jupiter, says the mythologist, ter of a pound of sleep, within a few grains more to reward the piety of a certain countryman, proor less; and if, upon my rising, I find that I have mised to give him whatever he would ask. The not consumed my whole quantity, I take out the countryman desired that he might have the manage. rest in my chair. Upon an exact calculation of ment of the weather in his own estate. He ob what I expended and received the last year, which tained his request, and immediately distributed I always register in a book, I find the medium to rain, snow, and sunshine, among his several fields, be two hundred weight, so that I cannot discover as he thought the nature of the soil required. At that I am impaired one ounce in my health during the end of the year, when he expected to see a a whole twelvemonth. And yet, sir, notwithstand-more than ordinary crop, his harvest fell infinitely ing this my great care to ballast myself equally short of that of his neighbours. Upon which (says every day, and to keep my body in its proper the fable) he desired Jupiter to take the weather poise, so it is, that I find myself in a sick and lan-again into his own hands, or that otherwise he guishing condition. My complexion is grown very should utterly ruin himself. sallow, my pulse low, 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 per star meglio, sto qui: which it is impossible to translate.* The fear of death often Doves mortal, and sets people on methods to save their lives, which infallibly destroys them. This is a reflection made by some historians, upon observing that there are many more thousands killed
I was well; I would be better; and here I am; is nearly a verbal translation.
No 26. FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 1711.
Pallida mors æquo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas,
Vita summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam.
HOR. 1 Od, iv. 13.
plied to gloominess of the place, and the use to which it is conceive an idea of the ignorance or politeness of Ons that applied, with the solemnity of the building, and a nation from the turn of their public monuments the condition of the people who lie in it, are apt and inscriptions, they should be submitted to the to fill the mind with a kind of melancholy, or ra-perusal of men of learning and genius before they ther thoughtfulness, that is not disagreeable. I are put in execution. Sir Cloudesly Shovel's mo yesterday passed a whole afternoon in the church-nument has very often given me great offence. Only end yard, the cloisters, and the church, amusing myself Instead of the brave rough Euglish admiral, which with the tomb-stones and inscriptions that I met was the distinguishing character of that plain galwith in those several regions of the dead. Most of lant man, he is represented on his tomb by the them recorded nothing else of the buried person, figure of a beau, dressed in a long periwig, and rebut that he was born upon one day, and died upon posing himself upon velvet cushions under a caanother: the whole history of his life being com- nopy of state. The inscription is answerable to the lishes prehended in those two circumstances that are monument; for, instead of celebrating the many common to all mankind. I could not but look upon remarkable actions he had performed in the service these registers of existence, whether of brass or of his country, it acquaints us only with the manner marble, as a kind of satire upon the departed per- of his death, in which it was impossible for him to sons; who had left no other memorial of them, reap any honour. The Dutch, whom we are apt 1, that but that they were born, and that they died. They to despise for want of genius, show an infinitely put me in mind of several persons mentioned in greater taste of antiquity and politeness in their the battles of heroic poems, who have sounding buildings and works of this nature, than what we names given them, for no other reason but that meet with in those of our own country. The mothey may be killed, and are celebrated for nothing numents of their admirals, which have been erectbut being knocked on the head.
I would s, that i
TE, Msforta τε, Θερσίλοχον τε
Glaucamque, Medontaque, Thersilochumque.'
Glaucus, and Medon, and Thersilochus.'
The life of these men is finely described in holy writ by the path of an arrow, which is immediately closed up and lost.
ed 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 dismal thoughts in timorous minds and Upon my going into the church, I entertained gloomy imaginations; but for my own part, though myself with the digging of a grave: and saw in I am always serious, I do not know what it is to every shovel full of it that was thrown up, the frag- be melancholy; and can therefore take a view of ment of a bone or skull intermixed with a kind of nature in her deep and solemn scenes, with the resh mouldering earth, that some time or other same pleasure as in her most gay and delightful had a place in the composition of an human body. ones. By this means I can improve myself with Upon this I began to consider with myself what those objects, which others consider with terror. numerable multitudes of people lay confused to- When I look upon the tombs of the great, every gether under the pavement of that ancient cathe-emotion of envy dies in me: when I read the epiiral; how men and women, friends and enemies, taphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes priests and soldiers, monks and prebendaries, out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon were crumbled amongst one another, and blended a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion: ogether in the same common mass; how beauty, when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I strength, and youth, with old age, weakness, and eformity, lay undistinguished in the same promis ous heap of matter.
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 After having thus surveyed this great magazine wits placed side by side, or the holy men that dimortality, as it were in the lump, I examined vided the world with their contests and disputes, more particularly by the accounts which I found I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little a several of the monuments which are raised in competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. ery quarter of that ancient fabric. Some of them When I read the several dates of the tombs, of were covered with such extravagant epitaphs, that some that died yesterday, and some six hundred it were possible for the dead person to be ac-years ago, I consider that great day when we shall quainted with them, he would blush at the praises all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearwhich his friends have bestowed upon him. There ance together.
re others so excessively modest, that they deliver
the character of the person departed in Greek or
I could not but be very much delighted with several modern epitaphs, which are written with great elegance of expression and justness of bought, and therefore do honour to the living as ell as the dead. As a foreigner is very apt to
HOR. 1 Ep. i. 20.
Long as to him, who works for debt, the day;
So slow th' unprofitable moments roll,
I KNOW not with what words to express to you the sense I have of the high obligation you have laid upon me, in the penance you enjoined me, of doing some good or other to a person of worth every day I live. The station I am in furnishes me with daily opportunities of this kind: and the THERE is scarce a thinking man in the world, who noble principle with which you have inspired me, is involved in the business of it, but lives under a of benevolence to all I have to deal with, quickens secret impatience of the hurry and fatigue he suf-my application in every thing I undertake. When fers, and has formed a resolution to fix himself, I relieve merit from discountenance, when I assist one time or other, in such a state as is suitable to a friendless person, when I produce concealed the end of his being. You hear men every day in worth, I am displeased with myself for having deconversation profess, that all the honour, power, signed to leave the world in order to be virtuous. and riches, which they propose to themselves, can-I am sorry you decline the occasions which the connot give satisfaction enough to reward them for dition I am in might afford me of enlarging your half the anxiety they undergo in the pursuit or pos-fortunes; but know I contribute more to your sa session of them. While men are in this temper tisfaction, when I acknowledge I am the better man. (which happens very frequently) how inconsistent from the influence and authority you have over, are they with themselves! They are wearied with the toil they bear, but cannot find in their hearts to relinquish it; retirement is what they want, but they cannot betake themselves to it. While they pant after shade and covert, they still affect to appear in the most glittering scenes of life: but I AM entirely convinced of the truth of what you sure this is but just as reasonable as if a man should were pleased to say to me, when I was last with call for more light when he has a mind to go to you alone. You told me then of the silly way sleep. was in; but you told me so, as I saw you loved Since then it is certain, that our own hearts de-me, otherwise I could not obey your commands in ceive us in the love of the world, and that we can- letting you know my thoughts so sincerely as I do not command ourselves enough to resign it, though at present. I know "the creature, for whom I we every day wish ourselves disengaged from its allurements; let us not stand upon a formal taking of leave, but wean ourselves from them while we are in the midst of them.
It is certainly the general intention of the greater part of mankind to accomplish this work, and live according to their own approbation, as soon as they possibly can. But since the duration of life is so uncertain, and that has been a common topic of discourse ever since there was such a thing as life itself, how is it possible that we should defer a moment the beginning to live according to the rules of reason?
The man of business has ever some one point to carry, and then he tells himself he will bid adieu to all the vanity of ambition. The man of pleasure resolves to take his leave at least, and part civilly with his mistress; but the ambitious man is entangled every moment in a fresh pursuit, and the lover sees new charms in the object he fancied he could abandon. It is therefore a fantastical way of thinking, when we promise ourselves an alteration in our conduct from change of place, and dif. ference of circumstances; the same passions will attend us wherever we are, till they are conquered; and we can never live to our satisfaction in the deepest retirement, unless we are capable of living so, in some measure, amidst the noise and business of the world.
resign so much of my character," is all that you said of her; but then the trifler has something in her so undesigning and harmless, that her guilt in one kind disappears by the comparison of her innocence in another. Will you virtuous men allow no alteration of offences? Must dear Chloe be called by the hard name you pious people give to common women? I keep the solemn promise I made you, in writing to you the state of my mind, after your kind admonition; and will endeavour to get the better of this fondness, which makes me so much her humble servant, that I am almost ashamed to subscribe myself yours,
THERE is no state of life so anxious as that of a man who does not live according to the dictates of his own reason. It will seem odd to you, when I assure you that my love of retirement first of all brought me to court; but this will be no riddle, when I acquaint you that I placed myself here with a design of getting so much money as might enable me to purchase a handsome retreat in the country. At present my circumstances enable me, and my duty prompts me, to pass away the remain ing part of my life in such a retirement as I at first proposed to myself: but to my great misfortune I have entirely lost the relish of it, and should now return to the country with greater reluctance than I have ever thought men were better known by at first came to court. I am so unhappy, as to what could be observed of them from a perusal of know that what I am fond of are trifles, and that their private letters, than any other way. My what I neglect is of the greatest importance: in friend the clergyman, the other day, upon serious short, I find a contest in my own mind between discourse with him concerning the danger of pro-reason and fashion. I remember you once told crastination, gave me the following letters from me, that I might live in the world, and out of it, at persons with whom he lives in great friendship and the same time. Let me beg of you to explain this ntimacy, according to the good breeding and good paradox more at large to me, that I may conform nse of his character. The first is from a man of my life, if possible, both to my duty and my incli siness, who is his convert: the second from one nation.
Ο hom he conceives good hopes: the third from
who is in no state at all, but carried one way
and other by starts.