Richard Steele.

The Spectator, Volume 2 online

. (page 68 of 74)
Online LibraryRichard SteeleThe Spectator, Volume 2 → online text (page 68 of 74)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


of Behaviour I would advise People to practise under some Maxim, and
intimated, that every one almost was governed by his Pride. There was an
old Fellow about forty Years ago so peevish and fretful, though a Man of
Business, that no one could come at him: But he frequented a particular
little Coffee-house, where he triumphed over every body at Trick-track
and Baggammon. The way to pass his Office well, was first to be insulted
by him at one of those Games in his leisure Hours; for his Vanity was to
shew, that he was a Man of Pleasure as well as Business. Next to this
sort of Insinuation, which is called in all Places (from its taking its
Birth in the Housholds of Princes) making one's Court, the most
prevailing way is, by what better-bred People call a Present, the Vulgar
a Bribe. I humbly conceive that such a thing is conveyed with more
Gallantry in a Billet-doux that should be understood at the Bank, than
in gross Money; But as to stubborn People, who are so surly as to accept
of neither Note or Cash, having formerly dabbled in Chymistry, I can
only say that one part of Matter asks one thing, and another another, to
make it fluent; but there is nothing but may be dissolved by a proper
Mean: Thus the Virtue which is too obdurate for Gold or Paper, shall
melt away very kindly in a Liquid. The Island of Barbadoes (a shrewd
People) manage all their Appeals to Great-Britain, by a skilful
Distribution of Citron-Water among the Whisperers about Men in Power.
Generous Wines do every Day prevail, and that in great Points, where ten
thousand times their Value would have been rejected with Indignation.

But to wave the Enumeration of the sundry Ways of applying by Presents,
Bribes, Management of People, Passions and Affections, in such a Manner
as it shall appear that the Virtue of the best Man is by one Method or
other corruptible; let us look out for some Expedient to turn those
Passions and Affections on the side of Truth and Honour. When a Man has
laid it down for a Position, that parting with his Integrity, in the
minutest Circumstance, is losing so much of his very Self, Self-love
will become a Virtue. By this means Good and Evil will be the only
Objects of Dislike and Approbation; and he that injures any Man, has
effectually wounded the Man of this Turn as much as if the Harm had been
to himself. This seems to be the only Expedient to arrive at an
Impartiality; and a Man who follows the Dictates of Truth and right
Reason, may by Artifice be led into Error, but never can into Guilt.

T.





* * * * *





TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES EARL OF SUNDERLAND [1]

My Lord,

Very many Favours and Civilities (received from You in a private
Capacity) which I have no other Way to acknowledge, will, I hope, excuse
this Presumption; but the Justice I, as a Spectator, owe your Character,
places me above the want of an Excuse. Candor and Openness of Heart,
which shine in all your Words and Actions, exacts the highest Esteem
from all who have the Honour to know You, and a winning Condescention to
all subordinate to You, made Business a Pleasure to those who executed
it under You, at the same time that it heightened Her Majesty's Favour
to all who had the Happiness of having it convey'd through Your Hands: A
Secretary of State, in the Interests of Mankind, joined with that of his
Fellow-Subjects, accomplished with a great Facility and Elegance in all
the Modern as well as Ancient Languages, was a happy and proper Member
of a Ministry, by whose Services Your Sovereign and Country are in so
high and flourishing a Condition, as makes all other Princes and
Potentates powerful or inconsiderable in Europe, as they are Friends or
Enemies to Great-Britain. The Importance of those great Events which
happened during that Administration, in which Your Lordship bore so
important a Charge, will be acknowledgd as long as Time shall endure; I
shall not therefore attempt to rehearse those illustrious Passages, but
give this Application a more private and particular Turn, in desiring
Your Lordship would continue your Favour and Patronage to me, as You are
a Gentleman of the most polite Literature, and perfectly accomplished in
the Knowledge of Books and Men, which makes it necessary to beseech Your
Indulgence to the following Leaves, and the Author of them: Who is, with
the greatest Truth and Respect,

My Lord,
Your Lordship's Obliged,
Obedient, and Humble Servant,
THE SPECTATOR.



[Footnote 1: Charles Spencer, to whom the Sixth Volume of the Spectator
is here inscribed, represented Tiverton, in 1700, when he took the Lady
Anne Churchill, Marlborough's second daughter, for his second wife. On
the death of his father Robert, in 1702, he became Earl of Sunderland.
He was an accomplished man and founder of the library at Althorpe. In
1705 he was employed diplomatically at the courts of Prussia, Austria,
and Hanover. Early in 1706 he was one of the Commissioners for arranging
the Union with Scotland, and in September of that year he was forced by
the Whigs on Queen Anne, as successor to Sir Charles Hedges in the
office of Secretary of State. Steele held under him the office of
Gazetteer, to which he was appointed in the following May. In 1710
Sunderland shared in the political reverse suffered by Marlborough. In
the summer of that year Sunderland was dismissed from office, but with
an offer from the Queen of a pension of £3000 a year. He replied that he
was glad her Majesty was satisfied that he had done his duty; but if he
could not have the honour to serve his country, he would not plunder it.
The accession of George I. restored him to favour and influence. He
became Lord-lieutenant of Ireland; had, in 1715, a pension of £12,000 a
year settled on him; in April, 1717, was again Secretary of State; and
in the following March, Lord President of the Council. His political
influence was broken in 1721, the year before his death.]





* * * * *





No. 395. Tuesday, June 3, 1712. Budgell.



'Quod nunc ratio est, Impetus ante fuit.'

Ovid.



Beware of the Ides of March, said the Roman Augur to Julius Cæsar:
Beware of the Month of May, says the British Spectator to his fair
Country-women. The Caution of the first was unhappily neglected, and
Cæsar's Confidence cost him his Life. I am apt to flatter my self that
my pretty Readers had much more regard to the Advice I gave them, since
I have yet received very few Accounts of any notorious Trips made in the
last Month.

But tho' I hope for the best, I shall not pronounce too positively on
this point, till I have seen forty Weeks well over, at which Period of
Time, as my good Friend Sir ROGER has often told me, he has more
Business as a Justice of Peace, among the dissolute young People in the
Country, than at any other Season of the Year.

Neither must I forget a Letter which I received near a Fortnight since
from a Lady, who, it seems, could hold out no longer, telling me she
looked upon the Month as then out, for that she had all along reckoned
by the New Style.

On the other hand, I have great reason to believe, from several angry
Letters which have been sent to me by disappointed Lovers, that my
Advice has been of very signal Service to the fair Sex, who, according
to the old Proverb, were Forewarned forearm'd.

One of these Gentlemen tells me, that he would have given me an hundred
Pounds, rather than I should have publishd that Paper; for that his
Mistress, who had promised to explain herself to him about the Beginning
of May, upon reading that Discourse told him that she would give him her
Answer in June.

Thyrsis acquaints me, that when he desired Sylvia to take a Walk in the
Fields, she told him the Spectator had forbidden her.

Another of my Correspondents, who writes himself Mat Meager, complains,
that whereas he constantly used to Breakfast with his Mistress upon
Chocolate, going to wait upon her the first of May he found his usual
Treat very much changed for the worse, and has been forced to feed ever
since upon Green Tea.

As I begun this Critical Season with a Caveat to the Ladies, I shall
conclude it with a Congratulation, and do most heartily wish them Joy of
their happy Deliverance.

They may now reflect with Pleasure on the Dangers they have escaped, and
look back with as much Satisfaction on their Perils that threat'ned
them, as their Great-Grandmothers did formerly on the Burning
Plough-shares, after having passed through the Ordeal Tryal. The
Instigations of the Spring are now abated. The Nightingale gives over
her Love-labourd Song, as Milton phrases it, the Blossoms are fallen,
and the Beds of Flowers swept away by the Scythe of the Mower.

I shall now allow my Fair Readers to return to their Romances and
Chocolate, provided they make use of them with Moderation, till about
the middle of the Month, when the Sun shall have made some Progress in
the Crab. Nothing is more dangerous, than too much Confidence and
Security. The Trojans, who stood upon their Guard all the while the
Grecians lay before their City, when they fancied the Siege was raised,
and the Danger past, were the very next Night burnt in their Beds: I
must also observe, that as in some Climates there is a perpetual Spring,
so in some Female Constitutions there is a perpetual May: These are a
kind of Valetudinarians in Chastity, whom I would continue in a constant
Diet. I cannot think these wholly out of Danger, till they have looked
upon the other Sex at least Five Years through a Pair of Spectacles.
WILL. HONEYCOMB has often assured me, that its much easier to steal one
of this Species, when she has passed her grand Climacterick, than to
carry off an icy Girl on this side Five and Twenty; and that a Rake of
his Acquaintance, who had in vain endeavoured to gain the Affections of
a young Lady of Fifteen, had at last made his Fortune by running away
with her Grandmother.

But as I do not design this Speculation for the Evergreens of the Sex, I
shall again apply my self to those who would willingly listen to the
Dictates of Reason and Virtue, and can now hear me in cold Blood. If
there are any who have forfeited their Innocence, they must now consider
themselves under that Melancholy View, in which Chamont regards his
Sister, in those beautiful Lines.

- Long she flourish'd,
Grew sweet to Sense, and lovely to the Eye;
Till at the last a cruel Spoiler came,
Cropt this fair Rose, and rifled all its Sweetness;
Then cast it like a loathsome Weed away. [1]

On the contrary, she who has observed the timely Cautions I gave her,
and lived up to the Rules of Modesty, will now Flourish like a Rose in
June, with all her Virgin Blushes and Sweetness about her: I must,
however, desire these last to consider, how shameful it would be for a
General, who has made a Successful Campaign, to be surprized in his
Winter Quarters: It would be no less dishonourable for a Lady to lose in
any other Month of the Year, what she has been at the pains to preserve
in May.

There is no Charm in the Female Sex, that can supply the place of
Virtue. Without Innocence, Beauty is unlovely, and Quality contemptible,
Good-breeding degenerates into Wantonness, and Wit into Impudence. It is
observed, that all the Virtues are represented by both Painters and
Statuaries under Female Shapes, but if any one of them has a more
particular Title to that Sex, it is Modesty. I shall leave it to the
Divines to guard them against the opposite Vice, as they may be
overpowerd by Temptations; It is sufficient for me to have warned them
against it, as they may be led astray by Instinct.

I desire this Paper may be read with more than ordinary Attention, at
all Tea-Tables within the Cities of London and Westminster.

X.



[Footnote 1: Otway's Orphan, Act IV.]





* * * * *





No. 396. Wednesday, June 4, 1712. Henley.



'Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Ferio, Baralipton.'



To Mr. SPECTATOR. [1]

From St. John's College Cambridge, Feb. 3, 1712.

SIR,

The Monopoly of Punns in this University has been an immemorial
Privilege of the Johnians; and we can't help resenting the late
Invasion of our ancient Right as to that Particular, by a little
Pretender to Clenching in a neighbouring College, who in an
Application to you by way of Letter, a while ago, styled himself
Philobrune. Dear Sir, as you are by Character a profest Well-wisher to
Speculation, you will excuse a Remark which this Gentleman's Passion
for the Brunette has suggested to a Brother Theorist; 'tis an Offer
towards a mechanical Account of his Lapse to Punning, for he belongs
to a Set of Mortals who value themselves upon an uncommon Mastery in
the more humane and polite Part of Letters. A Conquest by one of this
Species of Females gives a very odd Turn to the Intellectuals of the
captivated Person, and very different from that way of thinking which
a Triumph from the Eyes of another more emphatically of the fair Sex,
does generally occasion. It fills the Imagination with an Assemblage
of such Ideas and Pictures as are hardly any thing but Shade, such as
Night, the Devil, &c. These Portraitures very near over-power the
Light of the Understanding, almost benight the Faculties, and give
that melancholy Tincture to the most sanguine Complexion, which this
Gentleman calls an Inclination to be in a Brown-study, and is usually
attended with worse Consequences in case of a Repulse. During this
Twilight of Intellects, the Patient is extremely apt, as Love is the
most witty Passion in Nature, to offer at some pert Sallies now and
then, by way of Flourish, upon the amiable Enchantress, and
unfortunately stumbles upon that Mongrel miscreated (to speak in
Miltonic) kind of Wit, vulgarly termed, the Punn. It would not be much
amiss to consult Dr. T - W - [2] (who is certainly a very able
Projector, and whose system of Divinity and spiritual Mechanicks
obtains very much among the better Part of our Under-Graduates)
whether a general Intermarriage, enjoyned by Parliament, between this
Sisterhood of the Olive Beauties, and the Fraternity of the People
call'd Quakers, would not be a very serviceable Expedient, and abate
that Overflow of Light which shines within them so powerfully, that it
dazzles their Eyes, and dances them into a thousand Vagaries of Error
and Enthusiasm. These Reflections may impart some Light towards a
Discovery of the Origin of Punning among us, and the Foundation of its
prevailing so long in this famous Body. Tis notorious from the
Instance under Consideration, that it must be owing chiefly to the use
of brown Juggs, muddy Belch, and the Fumes of a certain memorable
Place of Rendezvous with us at Meals, known by the Name of Staincoat
Hole: For the Atmosphere of the Kitchen, like the Tail of a Comet,
predominates least about the Fire, but resides behind and fills the
fragrant Receptacle above-mentioned. Besides, 'tis farther observable
that the delicate Spirits among us, who declare against these nauseous
proceedings, sip Tea, and put up for Critic and Amour, profess
likewise an equal Abhorrency for Punning, the ancient innocent
Diversion of this Society. After all, Sir, tho' it may appear
something absurd, that I seem to approach you with the Air of an
Advocate for Punning, (you who have justified your Censures of the
Practice in a set Dissertation upon that Subject;) yet, I'm confident,
you'll think it abundantly atoned for by observing, that this humbler
Exercise may be as instrumental in diverting us from any innovating
Schemes and Hypothesis in Wit. as dwelling upon honest Orthodox Logic
would be in securing us from Heresie in Religion. Had Mr. W - n's [3]
Researches been confined within the Bounds of Ramus or Crackanthorp,
that learned News-monger might have acquiesced in what the holy
Oracles pronounce upon the Deluge, like other Christians; and had the
surprising Mr. L - y[4] been content with the Employment of refining
upon Shakespear's Points and Quibbles, (for which he must be allowed
to have a superlative Genius) and now and then penning a Catch or a
Ditty, instead of inditing Odes, and Sonnets, the Gentlemen of the Bon
Goust in the Pit would never have been put to all that Grimace in
damning the Frippery of State, the Poverty and Languor of Thought, the
unnatural Wit, and inartificial Structure of his Dramas.
I am, SIR,
Your very humble Servant,
Peter de Quir.



[Footnote 1: This letter was by John Henley, commonly called Orator
Henley. The paper is without signature in first issue or reprint, but
the few introductory lines, doubtless, are by Steele. John Henley was at
this time but 20 years old. He was born at Melton Mowbray in 1692, and
entered St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1709. After obtaining his
degree he was invited to take charge of the Grammar School in his native
place, and raised it from decay. He published Esther, a poem; went to
London; introduced action into pulpit oratory; missing preferment, gave
lectures and orations, religious on Sundays, and political on
Wednesdays; was described by Pope in the Dunciad as the Zany of his age,
and represented by Hogarth upon a scaffold with a monkey by his side
saying Amen. He edited a paper of nonsense called the Hip Doctor, and
once attracted to his oratory an audience of shoemakers by announcing
that he would teach a new and short way of making shoes; his way being
to cut off the tops of boots. He died in 1756.]


[Footnote 2: Percy suggests very doubtfully that this may mean Thomas
Woolston, who was bom in 1669, educated at Sidney College, Cambridge,
published, in 1705, The Old Apology for the Truth against the Jews and
Gentiles revived, and afterwards was imprisoned and fined for levity in
discussing sacred subjects. The text points to a medical theory of
intermarriage. There was a Thomas Winston, of Clare Hall, Cambridge, who
travelled over the continent, took degrees at Basle and Padua, returned
to take his M.D. at Cambridge, and settled in London in 1607.]


[Footnote 3: William Whiston, born 1667, educated at Tamworth School and
Clare Hall, Cambridge, became a Fellow in 1693, and then Chaplain to
Bishop Moore. In 1696 he published his New Theory of the Earth, which
divided attention with Burnet's Sacred Theory of the Earth already
mentioned. In 1700 Whiston was invited to Cambridge, to act as deputy to
Sir Isaac Newton, whom he succeeded in 1703 as Lucasian Professor. For
holding some unorthodox opinions as to the doctrines of the early
Christians, he was, in 1710, deprived of his Professorship, and banished
from the University. He was a pious and learned man, who, although he
was denied the Sacrament, did not suffer himself to be driven out of the
Church of England till 1747. At last he established a small congregation
in his own house in accordance with his own notion of primitive
Christianity. He lived till 1752.]


[Footnote 4: No L - y of that time has written plays that are remembered.
The John Lacy whom Charles II. admired so much that he had his picture
painted in three of his characters, died in 1681, leaving four comedies
and an alteration of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. He was a
handsome man: first dancing-master, then quarter-master, then an admired
comedian. Henley would hardly have used a blank in referring to a
well-known writer who died thirty years before. There was another John
Lacy advertising in the Post Boy, Aug. 3, 1714, The Steeleids, or the
Trial of Wits, a Poem in three cantos, with a motto:

Then will I say, swelled with poetic rage,
That I, John Lacy, have reformed the age.]





* * * * *





No. 397. Thursday, June 5, 1712. Addison.



' - Dolor ipse disertum
Fecerat - '

Ovid.



As the Stoick Philosophers discard all Passions in general, they will
not allow a Wise Man so much as to pity the Afflictions of another. If
thou seest thy Friend in Trouble, says Epictetus, thou mayst put on a
Look of Sorrow, and condole with him, but take care that thy Sorrow be
not real. [1] The more rigid of this Sect would not comply so far as to
shew even such an outward Appearance of Grief, but when one told them of
any Calamity that had befallen even the nearest of their Acquaintance,
would immediately reply, What is that to me? If you aggravated the
Circumstances of the Affliction, and shewed how one Misfortune was
followed by another, the Answer was still, All this may be true, but
what is it to me?

For my own part, I am of Opinion, Compassion does not only refine and
civilize Humane Nature, but has something in it more pleasing and
agreeable than what can be met with in such an indolent Happiness, such
an Indifference to Mankind as that in which the Stoicks placed their
Wisdom. As Love is the most delightful Passion, Pity is nothing else but
Love softned by a degree of Sorrow: In short, it is a kind of pleasing
Anguish, as well as generous Sympathy, that knits Mankind together, and
blends them in the same common Lot.

Those who have laid down Rules for Rhetorick or Poetry, advise the
Writer to work himself up, if possible, to the Pitch of Sorrow which he
endeavours to produce in others. There are none therefore who stir up
Pity so much as those who indite their own Sufferings. Grief has a
natural Eloquence belonging to it, and breaks out in more moving
Sentiments than be supplied by the finest Imagination. Nature on this
Occasion dictates a thousand passionate things which cannot be supplied
by Art.

It is for this Reason that the short Speeches, or Sentences which we
often meet with in Histories, make a deeper Impression on the Mind of
the Reader, than the most laboured Strokes in a well-written Tragedy.
Truth and Matter of Fact sets the Person actually before us in the one,
whom Fiction places at a greater Distance from us in the other. I do not
remember to have seen any Ancient or Modern Story more affecting than a
Letter of Ann of Bologne, Wife to King Henry the Eighth, and Mother to
Queen Elizabeth, which is still extant in the Cotton Library, as written
by her own Hand.

Shakespear himself could not have made her talk in a Strain so suitable
to her Condition and Character. One sees in it the Expostulations of a
slighted Lover, the Resentments of an injured Woman, and the Sorrows of
an imprisoned Queen. I need not acquaint my Reader that this Princess
was then under Prosecution for Disloyalty to the King's Bed, and that
she was afterwards publickly beheaded upon the same Account, though this
Prosecution was believed by many to proceed, as she her self intimates,
rather from the King's Love to Jane Seymour than from any actual Crime
in Ann of Bologne.


Queen Ann Boleyn's last Letter to King Henry.

[Cotton Libr. Otho C. 10.]

SIR,

Your Grace's Displeasure, and my Imprisonment, are Things so strange
unto me, as what to write, or what to excuse, I am altogether
ignorant. Whereas you send unto me (willing me to confess a Truth, and
so obtain your Favour) by such an one, whom you know to be mine
ancient professed Enemy, I no sooner received this Message by him,
than I rightly conceived your Meaning; and if, as you say, confessing
a Truth indeed may procure my Safety, I shall with all Willingness and
Duty perform your Command.

But let not your Grace ever imagine, that your poor Wife will ever be
brought to acknowledge a Fault, where not so much as a Thought thereof
preceded. And to speak a Truth, never Prince had Wife more Loyal in
all Duty, and in all true Affection, than you have ever found in Ann
Boleyn: with which Name and Place I could willingly have contented my
self, if God and your Grace's Pleasure had been so pleased. Neither
did I at any time so far forget my self in my Exaltation, or received
Queenship, but that I always looked for such an Alteration as now I
find; for the Ground of my Preferment being on no surer Foundation
than your Grace's Fancy, the least Alteration I knew was fit and
sufficient to draw that Fancy to some other [Object. [2]] You have
chosen me, from a low Estate, to be your Queen and Companion, far
beyond my Desert or Desire. If then you found me worthy of such
Honour, good your Grace let not any light Fancy, or bad Counsel of
mine Enemies, withdraw your Princely Favour from me; neither let that



Online LibraryRichard SteeleThe Spectator, Volume 2 → online text (page 68 of 74)