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But now that good heart bursts, and he | I never fail of being highly diverted or imis at rest. With that breath expired a soul proved. The variety of your subjects surwho never indulged a passion unfit for the prises me as much as a box of pictures did place he is gone to. Where are now thy formerly, in which there was only one face, plans of justice, of truth, of honour? Of that by pulling some pieces of isinglass over what use the volumes thou hast collated, it, was changed into a grave senator or a the arguments thou hast invented, the ex- Merry-Andrew, a patched lady or a nun, amples thou hast followed? Poor were the a beaù or a blackamoor, a prude or a coexpectations of the studious, the modest,quette, a country 'squire or a conjurer, and the good, if the reward of their labours were only to be expected from man. No, my friend, thy intended pleadings, thy intended good offices to thy friends, thy intended services to thy country, are already performed (as to thy concern in them,) in his sight, before whom, the past, present, and future appear at one view. While others with thy talents were tormented with ambition, with vain-glory, with envy, with emulation, how well didst thou turn thy mind to its own improvement in things out of the power of fortune; in probity, in integrity, in the practice and study of justice! How silent thy passage, how private thy journey, how glorious thy end! Many have I known more famous, some more knowing, not one so innocent." R.
No. 134.] Friday, August 3, 1711.
-Opiferque per orbem
Dicor Orid, Met. Lib. i. 521. And am the great physician call'd below.-Dryden. DURING my absence in the country, several packets have been left for me, which were not forwarded to me, because I was expected every day in town. The author of the following letter, dated from Tower-hill, having sometimes been entertained with some learned gentlemen in plush doublets, who have vended their wares from a stage in that place, has pleasantly enough addressed to me, as no less a sage in morality than those are in physic. To comply with his kind inclination to make my cures famous, I shall give you his testimonial of my great abilities at large in his own words.
'Tower-hill, July 5, 1711. 'SIR,-Your saying the other day there is something wonderful in the narrowness of those minds which can be pleased, and be barren of bounty to those who please them, makes me in pain that I am not a man in power. If I were, you should soon see how much I approve your speculations. In the mean time, I beg leave to supply that inability with the empty tribute of an honest mind, by telling you plainly I love and thank you for your daily refreshments. I constantly peruse your paper as I smoke my morning's pipe, (though I cannot forbear reading the motto before I fill and light,) and really it gives a grateful relish to every whiff; each paragraph is fraught either with useful or delightful notions, and
* Quack Doctors.
with many other different representations very entertaining, (as you are,) though still the same at the bottom. This was a childish amusement, when I was carried away with outward appearance, but you make a deeper impression, and affect the secret springs of the mind; you charm the fancy, soothe the passions, and insensibly lead the reader to that sweetness of temper that you so well describe; you rcuse generosity with that spirit, and inculcate humanity with that ease, that he must be miserably stupid that is not affected by you. I cannot say, indeed, that you have put impertinence to silence, or vanity out of countenance; but, methinks you have bid as fair for it as any man that ever appeared upon a public stage; and offer an infallible cure of vice and folly, for the price of one penny. And since it is usual for those who receive benefit by such famous operators, to publish an advertisement, that others may reap the same advantage, I think myself obliged to declare to all the world, that having for a long time been splenetic, ill-natured, froward, suspicious, and unsociable, by the application of your medicines, taken only with half an ounce of right Virginia tobacco, for six successive mornings, I am become open, obliging, officious, frank and hospitable. I am, your humble servant and great admirer,
The careful father and humble petitioner hereafter-mentioned, who are under difficulties about the just management of fans, will soon receive proper advertisements relating to the professors in that behalf, with their places of abode and methods of teaching.
July 5, 1711.
'SIR,-In your Spectator of June 27th, you transcribe a letter sent to you from a new sort of muster-master, who teaches ladies the whole exercise of the fan; I have a daughter just come to town, who though she has always held a fan in her hand at proper times, yet she knows no more how to use it according to true discipline than an awkward school-boy does to make use of his new sword. I have sent for her on purpose to learn the exercise, she being already very well accomplished in all other arts which are necessary for a young lady to understand; my request is, that you will speak to your correspondent on my behalf, and in your next paper let me know what he expects, either by the month or the quarter, for teaching: and where he keeps his place of rendezvous. I have a son, too,
whom I would fain have taught to gallant our writings is thrown much closer together, fans, and should be glad to know what the and lies in a narrower compass than is usual gentleman will have for teaching them both, in the works of foreign authors: for, to faI finding fans for practice at my own ex-vour our natural taciturnity, when we are pence. This information will in the highest manner oblige, sir, your most humble servant, WILLIAM WISEACRE.
"The humble Petition of BENJAMIN
EASY, Gent. showeth,
"That it was your petitioner's misfortune to walk to Hackney church last Sunday, where, to his great amazement, he met with a soldier of your own training; she furls a fan, recovers a fan, and goes through the whole exercise of it to admiration. This well-managed officer of your's has, to my knowledge, been the ruin of above five young gentlemen besides myself, and still goes on laying waste wheresoever she comes, whereby the whole village is in great danger. Our humble request is, therefore, that this bold Amazon be ordered immediately to lay down her arms, or that you would issue forth an order, that we who have been thus injured may meet at the place of general rendezvous, and there be taught to manage our snuff-boxes in such a manner as we may be an equal match for her. And your petitioner shall ever pray, &c.' R.
No. 135.] Saturday, August 4, 1711.
Est brevitate opus, ut currat sententia
Hor. Lib. 1. Sat. x. 9.
Let brevity despatch the rapid thought. I HAVE Somewhere read of an eminent person, who used in his private offices of devotion to give thanks to heaven that he was born a Frenchman: for my own part, I look upon it as a peculiar blessing that I was born an Englishman. Among many other reasons, I think myself very happy in my country, as the language of it is wonderfully adapted to a man who is sparing of his words, and an enemy to loquacity.
As I have frequently reflected on my good fortune in this particular, I shall communicate to the public my speculations upon the English Tongue, not doubting but they will be acceptable to all my cu
obliged to utter our thoughts, we do it in the shortest way we are able, and give as quick a birth to our conceptions as possible. marks that we may make upon the English This humour shows itself in several relanguage. As first of all by its abounding in monosyllables, which gives us an opportunity of delivering our thoughts in few sounds. This indeed takes off from the elegance of our tongue, but at the same time expresses our ideas in the readiest manner, and consequently answers the first design of speech better than the multitude of syllables, which make the words of other languages more tunable and sonorous. The sounds of our English words are commonly like those of string music, short and transient, which rise and perish upon a single touch; those of other languages are like the notes of wind instruments, sweet and swelling, and lengthened out into variety of modulation.
In the next place we may observe, that where the words are not monosyllables, we often make them so, as much as lies in our power, by our rapidity of pronunciation; as it generally happens in most of our long words which are derived from the Latin, where we contract the length of the syllables that gives them a grave and sofemn air in their own language, to make them more proper for despatch, and more conformable to the genius of our tongue. This we may find in a multitude of words, as 'liberty, conspiracy, theatre, orator,' &c.
The same natural aversion to loquacity has of late years made a very considerable alteration in our language, by closing in one syllable the termination of our præterperfect tense, as in these words, drown'd, walk'd, arriv'd,' for 'drowned, walked, arrived,' which has very much disfigured the tongue, and turned a tenth part of our smoothest words into so many clusters of consonants. This is the more remarkable, because the want of vowels in our language. has been the general complaint of our politest authors, who nevertheless are the men that have made these retrenchments, and consequently very much increased our former scarcity.
This reflection on the words that end in ed, I have heard in conversation, from one of the greatest geniuses this age has produced. I think we may add to the foregoing observation, the change which has happened in our language, by the abbreviation of several words that are terminated in eth, by substituting an 8 in the room of the last syllable, as in 'drowns, walks, arrives,' and innumerable other words, which
The English delight in silence more than any other European nation, if the remarks which are made on us by foreigners are true. Our discourse is not kept up in conversation, but falls into more pauses and *This was probably Dean Swift, who has made the intervals than in our neighbouring coun-ing, and ascertaining the English Tongue, &c.—See same observation in his proposal for correcting, improvtries; as it is observed, that the matter of Swift's Works.
in the pronunciation of our forefathers were! 'drowneth, walketh, arriveth.' This has wonderfully multiplied a letter which was before too frequent in the English tongue, and added to that hissing in our language, which is taken so much notice of by foreigners; but at the same time humours our taciturnity, and eases us of many superfluous syllables.
I might here observe, that the same single letter on many occasions does the office of a whole word, and represents the 'his' and 'her' of our forefathers. There is no doubt but the ear of a foreigner, which is the best judge in this case, would very much disapprove of such innovations, which indeed we do ourselves in some measure, by retaining the old termination in writing, and in all the solemn offices of our religion. As in the instances I have given we have epitomized many of our particular words to the detriment of our tongue, so on other occasions we have drawn two words into one, which has likewise very much untuned our language, and clogged it with consonants, as 'mayn't, can't, shan't, won't,' and the like, for may not, can not, shall not, will not,' &c.
It is perhaps this humour of speaking no more than we needs must, which has so
whether they may have admission or not; and will never be decided until we have something like an academy, that by the best authorities and rules drawn from the analogy of languages shall settle all controversies between grammar and idiom.
I have only considered our language as it shows the genius and natural temper of the English, which is modest, thoughtful, and sincere, and which, perhaps, may recommend the people, though it has spoiled the tongue. We might, perhaps, carry the same thought into other languages, and deduce a great part of what is peculiar to them from the genius of the people who speak them. It is certain, the light talkative humour of the French has not a little infected their tongue, which might be shown by many instances; as the genius of the Italians, which is so much addicted to music and ceremony, has moulded all their words and phrases to those particular uses. The stateliness and gravity of the Spaniards shows itself to perfection in the solemnity of their language; and the blunt honest humour of the Germans sounds better in the roughness of the High-Dutch, than it would in a politer tongue. C.
Hor. Lib. 2. Ep. i. 112.
A greater liar Parthia never bred. ACCORDING to the request of this strange fellow, I shall print the following letter:
miserably curtailed some of our words, that No. 136.] Monday, August 6, 1711. in familiar writings and conversations they often lose all but their first syllables, as in 'mob. rep. pos. incog.' and the like; and as all ridiculous words make their first entry into a language by familiar phrases, I dare not answer for these, that they will not in time be looked upon as a part of our tongue. We see some of our poets have been so in'MR. SPECTATOR,-I shall without any discreet as to imitate Hudibras's doggrel manner of preface or apology acquaint you, expressions in their serious compositions, that I am, and ever have been from my by throwing out the signs of our substan- youth upward one of the greatest liars this tives, which are essential to the English island has produced. I have read all the language. Nay, this humour of shortening find any effect their discourses had upon moralists upon the subject, but could never our language had once run so far, that some of our celebrated authors, among whom we me, but to add to my misfortune by new may reckon Sir Roger L'Estrange in par- thoughts and ideas, and making me more ticular, began to prune their words of all ready in my language, and capable of somesuperfluous letters, as they termed them, times mixing seeming truths with my imin order to adjust the spelling to the pro-wards falsehood in this kind, there does not probabilities. With this strong passion tonunciation; which would have confounded all our etymologies, and have quite destroyed our tongue.
We may here likewise observe that our proper names when familiarized in English, generally dwindle to monosyllables, whereas in other modern languages they receive a softer turn on this occasion, by the addition of a new syllable.-Nick in Italian is Nicolina; Jack in French Janot; and so of the rest.
live an honester man, or a sincerer friend; but my imagination runs away with me, and whatever is started, I have such a scene of adventures appears in an instant before me, that I cannot help uttering them, though to my immediate confusion, I cannot but know I am liable to be detected by the first man I meet.
Upon occasion of the mention of the battle of Pultowa, I could not forbear giving an account of a kinsman of mine, a young merchant who was bred at Moscow, that had too much mettle to attend books of entries and accounts, when there was so
There is another particular in our language which is a great instance of our frugality of words, and that is, the suppressing of several particles which must be produced in other tongues to make a sentence intelligible. This often perplexes the best Fought July & 1709, between Charles XII. of Swewriters, when they find the relatives, was entirely defeated, and compelled to seek refuge in I den and Peter 1. emperor of Russia: wherein Charles whom, which,' or 'they,' at their mercy, Turkey.
miles about it, have been three nights together dogged by bravos, for an intrigue with a cardinal's mistress at Rome.
active a scene in the country where he re- consequently been subject to the more ridisided, and followed the Czar as a volunteer. cule. I once endeavoured to cure myself of This warm youth (born at the instant the this impertinent quality, and resolved to thing was spoke of) was the man who un- hold my tongue for seven days together; I horsed the Swedish general, he was the did so, but then I had so many winks and occasion that the Muscovites kept their fire unnecessary distortions of my face upon in so soldier-like a manner, and brought up what any body else said, that I found I only those troops which were covered from the forbore the expression, and that I still lied enemy at the beginning of the day; besides in my heart to every man I met with. You this, he had at last the good fortune to be are to know one thing, (which I believe you the man who took Count Piper. With all will say is a pity, considering the use I this fire I knew my cousin to be the civilest should have made of it,) I never travelled creature in the world. He never made any in my life; but I do not know whether I impertinent show of his valour, and then he could have spoken of any foreign country had an excellent genius for the world in with more familiarity than I do at present, every other kind. I had letters from him in company who are strangers to me. I (here I felt in my pockets) that exactly have cursed the inns in Germany; comspoke the Czar's character, which I knew mended the brothels at Venice; the freeperfectly well; and I could not forbear con-dom of conversation in France; and though cluding, that I lay with his imperial majesty I never was out of this dear town, and fifty twice or thrice a week all the while he lodged at Deptford.† What is worse than all this, it is impossible to speak to me, but you give me some occasion of coming out 'It were endless to give you particulars with one lie or other, that has neither wit, of this kind; but I can assure you, Mr. Spechumour, prospect of interest, or any other tator, there are about twenty or thirty of motive that I can think of in nature. The us in this town: I mean, by this town, the other day, when one was commending an cities of London and Westminster; Í say eminent and learned divine, what occasion there are in town a sufficient number of us in the world had I to say, 'Methinks he to make a society among ourselves; and would look more venerable if he were not since we cannot be believed any longer, I so fair a man?' I remember the company beg of you to print this my letter, that we smiled. I have seen the gentleman since, may meet together, and be under such and he is coal-black. I have intimations regulation as there may be no occasion for every day in my life that nobody believes belief or confidence among us. If you think me, yet I am never the better. I was say- fit, we might be called "The Historians," ing something the other day to an old friend for liar is become a very harsh word. And at Will's coffee-house, and he made no that a member of the society may not heremanner of answer; but told me that an ac-after be ill received by the rest of the world, quaintance of Tully the orator having two I desire you would explain a little this sort or three times together said to him, without receiving any answer, "that upon his honour he was but that very month forty years of age;" Tully answered, "Surely you think me the most incredulous man in the world, if I do not believe what you have told me every day these ten years. The mischief of it is, I find myself wonderfully inclined to have been present at every occurrence that is spoken of before me; this has led me into many inconveniences, but indeed they have been the fewer, because I am no ill-natured man, and never speak things to any man's disadvantage. I never directly defame, but I do what is as bad in the consequence, for I have often made a man say such and such a lively expression, who was born a mere elder brother. When one has said in my hearing, "Such a one is no wiser than he should be," I immediately have replied, "Now, 'faith, I cannot see that, he said a very good thing to my lord Such-a-One, upon such an occasion, and the like." Such an honest dolt as this has been watched in every expression he uttered, upon my recommendation of him, and
Prime Minister of Charles XII.
of men, and not let us historians be ranked,
he extremely wants parts; as people send children (before they can learn any thing,) to school, to keep them out of harm's way. He tells things which have nothing at all in them, and can neither please nor displease, but merely take up your time to no manner of purpose, no manner of delight; but he is good-natured, and does it because he loves to be saying something to you, and entertain you.
"I could name you a soldier that hath done very great things without slaughter; he is prodigiously dull and slow of head, but what he can say is for ever false, so that we must have him.
Give me leave to tell you of one more, who is a lover; he is the most afflicted creature in the world, lest what happened between him and a great beauty should ever be known. Yet again he comforts himself. -"Hang the jade, her woman. If money can keep the slut trusty I will do it, though I mortgage every acre; Anthony and Cleopatra for that; all for love and the world well lost."
together; the master knows not how to preserve respect, nor the servant how to give it. It seems this person is of a sullen nature, that he knows but little satisfaction in the midst of a plentiful fortune, and secretly frets to see any appearance of content in one that lives upon the hundredth part of his income, while he is unhappy in the possession of the whole. Uneasy persons, who cannot possess their own minds, vent their spleen upon all who depend upon them; which, I think, is expressed in a lively manner in the following letters.
*August 2, 1711.
third of the last month, and wish I had the 'SIR,-I have read your Spectator of the happiness of being preferred to serve so good a master as Sir Roger. The character of my master is the very reverse of that good and gentle knight's. All his directions are given, and his mind revealed, by way of contraries: as when any thing is to be remembered, with a peculiar cast of face he cries, "Be sure to forget now." If I am Then, sir, there is my little merchant, two hours; be sure to call by the way upon to make haste back, "Do not come these honest Indigo, of the 'Change, there is my some of your companions." Then another man for loss and gain; there is tare and tret, excellent way of his is, if he sets me any there is lying all round the globe; he has thing to do, which he knows must necessasuch a prodigious intelligence, he knows all rily take up half a day, he calls ten times the French are doing, or what we intend in a quarter of an hour to know whether I or ought to intend, and has it from such have done yet. This is his manner; and hands-But, alas, whither am I running! the same perverseness runs through all his while I complain, while I remonstrate to actions, according as the circumstances you, even all this is a lie, and there is not vary. Besides all this, he is so suspicious, one such person of quality, lover, soldier, that he submits himself to the drudgery of or merchant, as I have now described in a spy. He is as unhappy himself as he the whole world, that I know of. But I will makes his servants: he is constantly watchcatch myself once in my life, and in spite ing us, and we differ no more in pleasure of nature speak one truth, to wit, that I am and liberty than as a jailer and a prisoner. your humble servant, &c.' He lays traps for faults, and no sooner makes a discovery, but falls into such language, as I am more ashamed of for coming from him, than for being directed to me. This, sir, is a short sketch of a master I have served upwards of nine years; and though I have never wronged him, I confess my Even slaves were always at liberty to fear, rejoice, despair of pleasing him has very much and grieve, at their own rather than another's pleasures. abated my endeavour to do it. If you will It is no small concern to me, that I find give me leave to steal a sentence out of my so many complaints from that part of man-master's Clarendon, I shall tell you my kind whose portion it is to live in servitude, case in a word-" Being used worse than I that those whom they depend upon will deserved, I cared less to deserve well than not allow them to be even as happy as their I had done." I am, sir, your humble sercondition will admit of. There are, as these vant, RALPH VALET.”
No 137.] Tuesday, August 7, 1711.
unhappy correspondents inform me, mas- DEAR MR. SPECTER,-I am the next ters who are offended at a cheerful counte- thing to a lady's woman, and am under both nance, and think a servant has broke loose my lady and her woman. I am so used by from them, if he does not preserve the ut- them both, that I should be very glad to most awe in their presence. There is one see them both in the Specter. My lady who says, if he looks satisfied, his master herself is of no mind in the world, and for asks him,What makes him so pert this that reason her woman is of twenty minds morning? if a little sour, Hark ye, sirrah, in a moment. My lady is one that never are not you paid your wages? The poor knows what to do with herself; she pulls on creatures live in the most extreme misery
This is an allusion to Dryden's play of All for Love
or the World well Lost. It is generally considered the best dramatic production of that great man.
and puts off every thing she wears twenty day. I stand at one end of the room, and times before she resolves upon it for that reach things to her woman. When my