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mine wherein they consist, I have endea- terests of true piety and religion, is a player voured to show how some passages are with a still greater imputation of guilt, in beautiful by being sublime, others by being proportion to his depreciating a character soft, others by being natural; which of them more sacred. Consider all the different are recommended by the passion, which pursuits and employments of men, and you by the moral, which by the sentiment, and will find half their actions tend to nothing which by the expression. I have likewise else but disguise and imposture; and all endeavoured to show how the genius of the that is done which proceeds not from a poet shines by a happy invention, a distant man's very self, is the action of a player. allusion, or a judicious imitation; how he For this reason it is that I make so frequent has copied or improved Homer or Virgil, mention of the stage. It is with me a matter and raises his own imaginations by the use of the highest consideration, what parts which he has made of several poetical pas- are well or ill performed, what passions or sages in Scripture. I might have inserted sentiments are indulged or cultivated, and also several passages in Tasso, which our consequently what manners and customs author has imitated: but, as I do not look are transfused from the stage to the world, upon Tasso to be a sufficient voucher, I which reciprocally imitate each other. would not perplex my reader with such As the writers of epic poems introduce quotations as might do more honour to the shadowy persons, and represent vices and Italian than to the English poet. In short, virtues under the character of men and I have endeavoured to particularize those women; so I, who am a Spectator in the innumerable kinds of beauty which it would world, may perhaps sometimes make use be tedious to recapitulate, but which are of the names of the actors of the stage, to essential to poetry, and which may be met represent or admonish those who transact with in the works of this great author. Had affairs in the world. When I am comI thought, at my first engaging in this design, mending Wilks for representing the tenthat it would have led me to so great a derness of a husband and a father in Maclength, I believe I should never have en- beth, the contrition of a reformed prodigal tered upon it; but the kind reception which in Harry the Fourth, the winning emptiness it has met with among those whose judg- of a young man of good-nature and wealth ment I have a value for, as well as the in The Trip to the Jubilee, the officiousuncommon demands which my bookseller ness of an artful servant in the Fox; when tells me have been made for these particu- thus I celebrate Wilks, I talk to all the lar discourses, give me no reason to repent world who are engaged in any of those cirof the pains I have been at in composing cumstances. If I were to speak of merit them. L. neglected, misapplied, or misunderstood, might I not say Estcourt has a great capacity? But it is not the interest of others who bear a figure on the stage, that his talents were understood; it is their business to impose upon him what cannot become him, or keep out of his hands any thing in which he would shine. Were one to raise a suspicion of himself in a man who passes upon the world for a fine thing, in order to alarm him, one might say, If Lord Foppington was not on the stage (Cibber acts the false pretensions to a genteel behaviour so very justly,) he would have in the generality of mankind more that would admire than deride him. When we come to characters directly comical, it is not to be imagined what effect a well-regulated stage would have upon men's manners. The craft of an usurer, the absurdity of a rich fool, the awkward roughness of a fellow of half courage, the ungraceful mirth of a creature of half wit, might for ever be put out of countenance by proper parts for Dogget. Johnson, by acting Corbacchio the other night, must have given all who saw him a thorough detestation of aged avarice. The petulancy of a peevish old fellow, who loves and hates he knows not why, is very excellently performed by the ingenious Mr. William Penkethman, in the Fop's Fortune; where, in the character of Don Choleric Snap Shorto de Testy, he answers no questions but to those whom he likes, and wants
No. 370.] Monday, May 5, 1712.
Totus mundus agit histrionem.
-All the world's a stage,
MANY of my fair readers, as well as very gay and well-received persons of the other sex, are extremely perplexed at the Latin sentences at the head of my speculations. I do not know whether I ought not to indulge them with translations of each of them: however, I have to-day taken down from the top of the stage in Drury-lane, a bit of Latin, which often stands in their view, and signifies, that 'The whole world acts the player.' It is certain that if we look all around us, and behold the different employments of mankind, you hardly see one who is not, as the player is, in an assumed character. The lawyer, who is vehement and loud in a cause wherein he knows he has not the truth of the question on his side, is a player as to the personated part, but incomparably meaner than he as to the prostitution of himself for hire; because the pleader's falsehood introduces injustice: the player feigns for no other end but to divert or instruct you. The divine, whose passions transport him to say any thing with any view but promoting the in
no account of any thing from those he ap- Among those innumerable sets of whims proves. Mr. Penkethman is also master of which our country produces, there are none as many faces in the dumb scene as can be whom I have regarded with more curiosity expected from a man in the circumstances than those who have invented any particuof being ready to perish out of fear and lar kind of diversion for the entertainment hunger. He wanders through the whole of themselves and their friends. My letter scene very masterly, without neglecting shall single out those who take delight in his victuals. If it be, as I have heard it sorting a company that has something of sometimes mentioned, a great qualification burlesque and ridicule in its appearance. I of the world to follow business and pleasure shall make myself understood by the foltoo, what is it in the ingenious Mr. Pen-lowing example: One of the wits of the kethman to represent a sense of pleasure last age, who was a man of a good estate,* and pain at the same time, as you may see him do this evening?
They had no sooner placed themselves about the table but they began to stare upon one another, not being able to imagine what had brought them together. Our English proverb says,
"Tis merry in the hall, When beards wag all.'
thought he never laid out his money better than in a jest. As he was one year at the As it is certain that a stage ought to be Bath, observing that, in the great confluwholly suppressed or judiciously encour- ence of fine people, there were several aged, while there is one in the nation, men among them with long chins, a part of the turned for regular pleasure cannot employ visage by which he himself was very much their thoughts more usefully, for the diver-distinguished, he invited to dinner half a sion of mankind, than by convincing them score of these remarkable persons who had that it is in themselves to raise this enter- their mouths in the middle of their faces. tainment to the greatest height. It would be a great improvement, as well as embellishment to the theatre, if dancing were more regarded, and taught to all the actors. One who has the advantage of such an agreeable girlish person as Mrs. Bicknell, joined with her capacity of imitation, could in proper gesture and motion represent all the decent characters of female life. amiable modesty in one aspect of a dancer, and assumed confidence in another, a sudden joy in another, a falling off with an impatience of being beheld, a return towards the audience with an unsteady resolution to approach them, and well-acted solicitude to please, would revive in the company all the fine touches of mind raised in observing all the objects of affection and passion they had before beheld. Such elegant enter-packed together a set of oglers, as he called 'The same gentleman some time after tainments as these would polish the town them, consisting of such as had an unlucky into judgment in their gratifications; and cast in their eyes. His diversion on this ocdelicacy in pleasure is the first step people casion was to see the cross bows, mistaken of condition take in reformation from vice. signs, and wrong connivances, that passed Mrs. Bicknell has the only capacity for this amidst so many broken and refracted rays sort of dancing of any on the stage; and I of sight. dare say all who see her performance tomorrow night, when sure the romp will do her best for her own benefit, will be of my
No. 371.] Tuesday, May 6, 1712.
Jamne igitur laudas quod de sapientibus unus
'SIR,-You know very well that our nation is more famous for that sort of men who are called "whims" and "humourists," than any other country in the world; for which reason it is observed, that our English comedy excels that of all other nations in the novelty and variety of its characters.
It proved so in the assembly I am now faces agitated with eating, drinking, and speaking of, who seeing so many peaks of discourse, and observing all the chins that were present meeting together very often over the centre of the table, every one grew sensible of the jest, and gave into it with so much good humour, that they lived in strict friendship and alliance from that day forward.
tleman exhibited was to the stammerers, The third feast which this merry genwhom he got together in a sufficient body to fill his table. He had ordered one of his servants, who was placed behind a screen, to write down their table-talk, which was very easy to be done without the help of short-hand. It appears by the notes which were taken, that though their conversation never fell, there were not above twenty words spoken during the first course; that upon serving up the second, one of the company was a quarter of an hour in telling them that the ducklings and asparagus the same time in declaring himself of the were very good; and that another took up same opinion. This jest did not, however, go
guests being a brave man, and fuller of reoff so well as the former; for one of the sentment than he knew how to express, went out of the room, and sent the facetious
* Villars, Duke of Buckingham.
inviter a challenge in writing, which, though it was afterwards dropped by the interposition of friends, put a stop to these ludicrous entertainments.
wherein he made use of the same invention to cure a different kind of men, who are the pests of all polite conversation, and murder time as much as either of the two former, 'Now, sir, I dare say you will agree with though they do it more innocently—I mean, me, that as there is no moral in these jests, that dull generation of story-tellers. they ought to be discouraged, and looked friend got together about half a dozen of his upon rather as pieces of unluckiness than acquaintance, who were infected with this wit. However, as it is natural for one man strange malady. The first day one of them to refine upon the thought of another; and sitting down, entered upon the siege of impossible for any single person, how great Namur, which lasted till four o'clock, their soever his parts may be, to invent an art, time of parting. The second day a North and bring it to its utmost perfection; I shall Briton took possession of the discourse, here give you an account of an honest which it was impossible to get out of his gentleman of my acquaintance, who upon hands so long as the company stayed tohearing the character of the wit above-gether. The third day was engrossed after mentioned, has himself assumed it, and endeavoured to convert it to the benefit of mankind. He invited half a dozen of his friends one day to dinner, who were each of them famous for inserting several redundant phrases in their discourse, as "D'ye hear me?-D'ye see?-That is,-And so, sir." Each of his guests making use of his particular elegance, appeared so ridiculous to his neighbour, that he could not but reflect upon himself as appearing equally ridiculous to the rest of the company. By this means, before they had sat long together, every one, talking with the greatest circumspection, and carefully avoiding his favourite expletive, the conversation was cleared of its redundancies, and had a No. 372.] Wednesday, May 7, 1712. greater quantity of sense, though less of sound in it.
the same manner by a story of the same length. They at last began to reflect upon this barbarous way of treating one another, and by this means awakened out of that lethargy with which each of them had been seized for several years.
'As you have somewhere declared, that extraordinary and uncommon characters of mankind are the game which you delight in, and as I look upon you to be the greatest sportsman, or, if you please, the Nimrod among this species of writers, I thought this discovery would not be unacceptable to you. I am, sir, &c.'
-Pudet hæc opprobria nobis
Ovid. Met. i. 759.
To hear an open slander, is a curse;
'May 6, 1712.
'The same well-meaning gentleman took occasion, at another time, to bring together such of his friends as were addicted to a foolish habitual custom of swearing. In order to show them the absurdity of the 'MR. SPECTATOR,-I am sexton of the practice, he had recourse to the invention parish of Covent-garden, and_complained above-mentioned, having placed an amanu- to you some time ago, that as I was tolling ensis in a private part of the room. After in to prayers at eleven in the morning, the second bottle, when men open their crowds of people of quality hastened to asminds without reserve, my honest friend semble at a puppet-show on the other side began to take notice of the many sonorous of the garden. I had at the same time a but unnecessary words that had passed in very great disesteem for Mr. Powell and his house since their sitting down at table, his little thoughtless commonwealth, as if and how much good conversation they had they had enticed the gentry into those wanlost by giving way to such superfluous derings: but let that be as it will, I am conphrases. "What a tax," says he," would vinced of the honest intentions of the said they have raised for the poor, had we put Mr. Powell and company, and send this to the laws in execution upon one another!" acquaint you, that he has given all the Every one of them took this gentle reproof profits which shall arise to-morrow night in good part; upon which he told them, by his play to the use of the poor charitythat, knowing their conversation would have children of this parish. I have been inno secrets in it, he ordered it to be taken formed, sir, that in Holland all persons down in writing, and, for the humour-sake, who set up any show, or act any stage-play, would read it to them, if they pleased. be the actors either of wood and wire, or There were ten sheets of it, which might flesh and blood, are obliged to pay out of have been reduced to two, had there not their gains such a proportion to the honest been those abominable interpolations I have and industrious poor in the neighbourhood: before mentioned. Upon the reading of it by this means they make diversion and in cold blood, it looked rather like a con- pleasure pay a tax to labour and industry. ference of fiends than of men. In short, I have been told also, that all the time of every one trembled at himself upon hear- Lent, in Roman-Catholic countries, the pering calmly what he had pronounced amidst sons of condition administer to the necesthe heat and inadvertency of discourse. sities of the poor, and attend the beds of 'I shall only mention another occasion | lazars and diseased persons. Our Protestant
ladies and gentlemen are so much to seek for proper ways of passing time, that they 'MR. SPECTATOR,-I was last Wedare obliged to punchinello for knowing what nesday night at a tavern in the city, among to do with themselves. Since the case is so, a set of men who call themselves "the lawI desire only you would entreat our people yers' club." You must know, sir, this club of quality, who are not to be interrupted in consists only of attorneys; and at this meettheir pleasure, to think of the practice of ing every one proposes the cause he has any moral duty, that they would at least then in hand to the board, upon which each fine for their sins, and give something to member gives his judgment according to these poor children: a little out of their the experience he has met with. If it hapluxury and superfluity would atone, in pens that any one puts a case of which they some measure, for the wanton use of the have had no precedent, it is noted down by rest of their fortunes. It would not, me- their clerk, Will Goosequill (who registers thinks, be amiss, if the ladies who haunt all their proceedings,) that one of them may the cloisters and passages of the play-house go the next day with it to a counsel. This were upon every offence obliged to pay to indeed is commendable, and ought to be the this excellent institution of schools of cha- principal end of their meeting; but had you rity. This method would make offenders been there to have heard them relate their themselves do service to the public. But in methods of managing a cause, their manner the mean time I desire you would publish of drawing out their bills, and, in short, this voluntary reparation which Mr. Powell their arguments upon the several ways does our parish, for the noise he has made of abusing their clients, with the applause in it by the constant rattling of coaches, that is given to him who has done it most drums, trumpets, triumphs, and battles. artfully, you would before now have given The destruction of Troy, adorned with your remarks on them. They are so conHighland dances, are to make up the en-scious that their discourses ought to be tertainment of all who are so well disposed as not to forbear a light entertainment, for no other reason but that it is to do a good action. I am, sir, your most humble servant, RALPH BELFRY.
'I am credibly informed, that all the insinuations which a certain writer made against Mr. Powell at the Bath, are false and groundless.'
kept a secret, that they are very cautious of
Fallit enim vitium specie virtutis et umbra.
Vice oft is hid in Virtue's fair disguise,
'MR. SPECTATOR,-My employment, which is that of a broker, leading me often into taverns about the Exchange, has given me occasion to observe a certain enormity, which I shall here submit to your animadversion. In three or four of these taverns, I have at different times, taken notice of a precise set of people, with grave countenances, short wigs, black clothes, or dark camlet trimmed with black, and mourning No. 373.] Thursday, May 8, 1712. gloves and hat-bands, who meet on certain days at each tavern successively, and keep a sort of moving club. Having often met with their faces, and observed a certain slinking way in their dropping in one after another, I had the curiosity to inquire into their characters, being the rather moved to it by their agreeing in the singularity of their dress; and I find, upon due examination, they are a knot of parish clerks, who have taken a fancy to one another, and perhaps settle the bills of mortality over their half-pints. I have so great a value and veneration for any who have but even an assenting Amen in the service of religion, that I am afraid lest these persons should incur some scandal by this practice; and would therefore have them, without raillery, advised to send the Florence and pullets home to their own houses, and not pretend to live as well as the overseers of the poor. I am, sir, your most humble servant, HUMPHRY TRANSFER.' he, is the only way whereby the pre
MR. LOCKE, in his treatise of Human Understanding, has spent two chapters upon the abuse of words. The first and most palpable abuse of words, he says, is when they are used without clear and distinct ideas; the second, when we are so unconstant and unsteady in the application of them, that we sometimes use them to signify one idea, sometimes another. He adds, that the result of our contemplations and reasonings, while we have no precise ideas fixed to our words, must needs be very confused and absurd. To avoid this inconvenience, more especially in moral discourses, where the same word should be constantly used in the same sense, he earnestly recommends the use of definitions. A definition,' says
cise meaning of moral words can be known.' He therefore accuses those of great negligence who discourse of moral things with the least obscurity in the terms they make use of; since, upon the 'forementioned ground, he does not scruple to say that he thinksmorality is capable of demonstration as well as the mathematics.'
within himself, and from a consciousness of his own integrity, assumes force enough to despise the little censures of ignorance and malice.
Every one ought to cherish and encourage in himself the modesty and assurance I have here mentioned.
A man without assurance is liable to be made uneasy by the folly or ill-nature of every one he converses with. A man without modesty is lost to all sense of honour and virtue.
I know no two words that have been more abused by the different and wrong interpretations which are put upon them, than those two, modesty and assurance. To say such a one is a modest man, sometimes indeed It is more than probable that the prince passes for a good character; but at present above-mentioned possessed both these quais very often used to signify a sheepish, awk-lifications in a very eminent degree. Withward fellow, who has neither good breed-out assurance he would never have undering, politeness, nor any knowledge of the world.
Again, a man of assurance, though at first it only denoted a person of a free and open carriage, is now very usually applied to a profligate wretch, who can break through all the rules of decency and morality without a blush.
I shall endeavour therefore in this essay to restore these words to their true meaning, to prevent the idea of modesty from being confounded with that of sheepishness, and to kinder impudence from passing for assur
taken to speak before the most august assembly in the world: without modesty he would have pleaded the cause he had taken upon him, though it had appeared ever so scandalous.
From what has been said, it is plain that modesty and assurance are both amiable, and may very well meet in the same person. When they are thus mixed and blended together, they compose what we endeavour to express when we say 'a modest assurance; by which we understand the just mean between bashfulness and impudence.
I shall conclude with observing, that as the same man may be both modest and assured, so it is also possible for the same to be both impudent and bashful.
We have frequent instances of this odd kind of mixture in people of depraved minds, and mean education, who, though they are not able to meet a man's eyes, or pronounce a sentence without confusion, can voluntarily commit the greatest villanies or most indecent actions.
If I was put to define modesty, I would call it 'the reflection of an ingenious mind, either when a man has committed an action for which he censures himself, or fancies that he is exposed to the censure of others.' For this reason a man truly modest is as much so when he is alone as in company, and as subject to a blush in his closet as when the eyes of multitudes are upon him. I do not remember to have met with any instance of modesty with which I am so well pleased as that celebrated one of the young prince, whose father being a tributary king to the Romans, had several complaints laid against him before the senate, as a tyrant and oppressor of his subjects. The prince went to Rome to defend his father; but Upon the whole I would endeavour to escoming into the senate, and hearing a multi-tablish this maxim, that the practice of virtude of crimes proved upon him, was so oppressed when it came to his turn to speak, that he was unable to utter a word. The story tells us, that the fathers were more moved at this instance of modesty and ingenuity than they could have been by the most pathetic oration, and, in short, pardoned the guilty father, for this early promise of vir- No. 374.] Friday, May 9, 1712. tue in the son.
I take assurance to be the faculty of possessing a man's self, or of saying and doing indifferent things without any uneasiness or emotion in the mind.' That which generally gives a man assurance is a moderate knowledge of the world, but above all, a mind fixed and determined in itself to do nothing against the rules of honour and decency. An open and assured behaviour is the natural consequence of such a resolution. A man thus armed, if his words or actions are at any time misrepresented, retires
Such a person seems to have made a resolution to do ill even in spite of himself, and in defiance of all those checks and restraints his temper and complexion seem to have laid in his way.
tue is the most proper method to give a man a becoming assurance in his words and actions. Guilt always seeks to shelter itself in one of the extremes, and is sometimes attended with both.
Nil actum reputans si quid superesset agendum.
THERE is a fault, which, though common, wants a name. It is the very contrary to procrastination. As we lose the present hour by delaying from day to day to execute what we ought to do immediately, so most of us take occasion to sit still and throw away the time in our possession, by retrospect on what is passed, imagining we have