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satisfied in the Settlement we have gain'd? or are we not removing the
Boundary, and marking out new Points of Rest, to which we press
forward with the like Eagerness, and which cease to be such as fast as
we attain them? Our Case is like that of a Traveller upon the _Alps_,
who should fancy that the Top of the next Hill must end his Journey,
because it terminates his Prospect; but he no sooner arrives as it,
than he sees new Ground and other Hills beyond it, and continues to
travel on as before. [1]

This is so plainly every Man's Condition in Life, that there is no
one who has observed any thing, but may observe, that as fast as his
Time wears away, his Appetite to something future remains. The Use
therefore I would make of it is this, That since Nature (as some love
to express it) does nothing in vain, or, to speak properly, since the
Author of our Being has planted no wandering Passion in it, no Desire
which has not its Object, Futurity is the proper Object of the Passion
so constantly exercis'd about it; and this Restlessness in the
present, this assigning our selves over to further Stages of Duration,
this successive grasping at somewhat still to come, appears to me
(whatever it may to others) as a kind of Instinct or natural Symptom
which the Mind of Man has of its own Immortality.

I take it at the same time for granted, that the Immortality of the
Soul is sufficiently established by other Arguments: And if so, this
Appetite, which otherwise would be very unaccountable and absurd,
seems very reasonable, and adds Strength to the Conclusion. But I am
amazed when I consider there are Creatures capable of Thought, who, in
spite of every Argument, can form to themselves a sullen Satisfaction
in thinking otherwise. There is something so pitifully mean in the
inverted Ambition of that Man who can hope for Annihilation, and
please himself to think that his whole Fabrick shall one Day crumble
into Dust, and mix with the Mass of inanimate Beings, that it equally
deserves our Admiration and Pity. The Mystery of such Mens Unbelief is
not hard to be penetrated; and indeed amounts to nothing more than a
sordid Hope that they shall not be immortal, because they dare not be

This brings me back to my first Observation, and gives me Occasion to
say further, That as worthy Actions spring from worthy Thoughts, so
worthy Thoughts are likewise the Consequence of worthy Actions: But
the Wretch who has degraded himself below the Character of
Immortality, is very willing to resign his Pretensions to it, and to
substitute in its Room a dark negative Happiness in the Extinction of
his Being.

The admirable _Shakespear_ has given us a strong Image of the
unsupported Condition of such a Person in his last Minutes, in the
second Part of King _Henry_ the Sixth, where Cardinal _Beaufort_, who
had been concerned in the Murder of the good Duke _Humphrey_, is
represented on his Death-bed. After some short confused Speeches which
shew an Imagination disturbed with Guilt, just as he is expiring, King
_Henry_ standing by him full of Compassion, says,

_Lord Cardinal! if thou thinkst on Heavens Bliss,
Hold up thy Hand, make Signal of that Hope!
He dies, and makes no Sign_! -

The Despair which is here shewn, without a Word or Action on the Part
of the dying Person, is beyond what could be painted by the most
forcible Expressions whatever.

I shall not pursue this Thought further, but only add, That as
Annihilation is not to be had with a Wish, so it is the most abject
Thing in the World to wish it. What are Honour, Fame, Wealth, or Power
when compared with the generous Expectation of a Being without End,
and a Happiness adequate to that Being?

I shall trouble you no further; but with a certain Gravity which
these Thoughts have given me, I reflect upon some Things People say of
you, (as they will of Men who distinguish themselves) which I hope are
not true; and wish you as good a Man as you are an Author.

_I am, SIR, Your most obedient humble Servant_, T. D.


[Footnote 1:

Hills peep o'er Hills, and Alps on Alps arise.

Popes Essay on Criticism, then newly published.]

* * * * *

No. 211 Thursday, November 1, 1711. Addison.

Fictis meminerit nos jocari Fabulis.


Having lately translated the Fragment of an old Poet which describes
Womankind under several Characters, and supposes them to have drawn
their different Manners and Dispositions from those Animals and Elements
out of which he tells us they were compounded; I had some Thoughts of
giving the Sex their Revenge, by laying together in another Paper the
many vicious Characters which prevail in the Male World, and shewing the
different Ingredients that go to the making up of such different Humours
and Constitutions. _Horace_ has a Thought [1] which is something akin to
this, when, in order to excuse himself to his Mistress, for an Invective
which he had written against her, and to account for that unreasonable
Fury with which the Heart of Man is often transported, he tells us that,
when _Prometheus_ made his Man of Clay, in the kneading up of his Heart,
he season'd it with some furious Particles of the Lion. But upon turning
this Plan to and fro in my Thoughts, I observed so many unaccountable
Humours in Man, that I did not know out of what Animals to fetch them.
Male Souls are diversify'd with so many Characters, that the World has
not Variety of Materials sufficient to furnish out their different
Tempers and Inclinations. The Creation, with all its Animals and
Elements, would not be large enough to supply their several

Instead therefore of pursuing the Thought of _Simonides_, I shall
observe, that as he has exposed the vicious Part of Women from the
Doctrine of Præexistence, some of the ancient Philosophers have, in a
manner, satirized the vicious Part of the human Species in general, from
a Notion of the Souls Postexistence, if I may so call it; and that as
_Simonides_ describes Brutes entering into the Composition of Women,
others have represented human Souls as entering into Brutes. This is
commonly termed the Doctrine of Transmigration, which supposes that
human Souls, upon their leaving the Body, become the Souls of such Kinds
of Brutes as they most resemble in their Manners; or to give an Account
of it as Mr. _Dryden_ has described it in his Translation of
_Pythagoras_ his Speech in the fifteenth Book of _Ovid_, where that
Philosopher dissuades his Hearers from eating Flesh:

Thus all things are but alter'd, nothing dies,
And here and there th' unbody'd Spirit flies:
By Time, or Force, or Sickness dispossess'd,
And lodges where it lights, in Bird or Beast,
Or hunts without till ready Limbs it find,
And actuates those according to their Kind:
From Tenement to Tenement is toss'd:
The Soul is still the same, the Figure only lost.
Then let not Piety be put to Flight,
To please the Taste of Glutton-Appetite;
But suffer inmate Souls secure to dwell,
Lest from their Seats your Parents you expel;
With rabid Hunger feed upon your Kind,
Or from a Beast dislodge a Brothers Mind.

_Plato_ in the Vision of _Erus_ the _Armenian_, which I may possibly
make the Subject of a future Speculation, records some beautiful
Transmigrations; as that the Soul of _Orpheus_, who was musical,
melancholy, and a Woman-hater, entered into a Swan; the Soul of _Ajax_,
which was all Wrath and Fierceness, into a Lion; the Soul of
_Agamemnon_, that was rapacious and imperial, into an Eagle; and the
Soul of _Thersites_, who was a Mimick and a Buffoon, into a Monkey. [2]

Mr. _Congreve_, in a Prologue to one of his Comedies, [3] has touch'd
upon this Doctrine with great Humour.

Thus_ Aristotle's _Soul of old that was,
May now be damn'd to animate an Ass;
Or in this very House, for ought we know,
Is doing painful Penance in some Beau.

I shall fill up this Paper with some Letters which my last _Tuesdays_
Speculation has produced. My following Correspondents will shew, what I
there observed, that the Speculation of that Day affects only the lower
Part of the Sex.

_From my House in the_ Strand, October 30, 1711.


Upon reading your _Tuesdays_ Paper, I find by several Symptoms in my
Constitution that I am a Bee. My Shop, or, if you please to call it
so, my Cell, is in that great Hive of Females which goes by the Name
of _The New Exchange_; where I am daily employed in gathering together
a little Stock of Gain from the finest Flowers about the Town, I mean
the Ladies and the Beaus. I have a numerous Swarm of Children, to whom
I give the best Education I am able: But, Sir, it is my Misfortune to
be married to a Drone, who lives upon what I get, without bringing any
thing into the common Stock. Now, Sir, as on the one hand I take care
not to behave myself towards him like a Wasp, so likewise I would not
have him look upon me as an Humble-Bee; for which Reason I do all I
can to put him upon laying up Provisions for a bad Day, and frequently
represent to him the fatal Effects [his [4]] Sloth and Negligence may
bring upon us in our old Age. I must beg that you will join with me in
your good Advice upon this Occasion, and you will for ever oblige

_Your humble Servant_,


_Picadilly, October_ 31, 1711.


I am joined in Wedlock for my Sins to one of those Fillies who are
described in the old Poet with that hard Name you gave us the other
Day. She has a flowing Mane, and a Skin as soft as Silk: But, Sir, she
passes half her Life at her Glass, and almost ruins me in Ribbons. For
my own part, I am a plain handicraft Man, and in Danger of breaking by
her Laziness and Expensiveness. Pray, Master, tell me in your next
Paper, whether I may not expect of her so much Drudgery as to take
care of her Family, and curry her Hide in case of Refusal.

_Your loving Friend_,

Barnaby Brittle.

_Cheapside, October_ 30.


I am mightily pleased with the Humour of the Cat, be so kind as to
enlarge upon that Subject.

_Yours till Death_,

Josiah Henpeck.

P.S. You must know I am married to a _Grimalkin_.

_Wapping, October_ 31, 1711.


Ever since your _Spectator_ of _Tuesday_ last came into our Family,
my Husband is pleased to call me his _Oceana_, because the foolish old
Poet that you have translated says, That the Souls of some Women are
made of Sea-Water. This, it seems, has encouraged my Sauce-Box to be
witty upon me. When I am angry, he cries Prythee my Dear _be calm_;
when I chide one of my Servants, Prythee Child _do not bluster_. He
had the Impudence about an Hour ago to tell me, That he was a
Sea-faring Man, and must expect to divide his Life between _Storm_ and
_Sunshine_. When I bestir myself with any Spirit in my Family, it is
_high Sea_ in his House; and when I sit still without doing any thing,
his Affairs forsooth are _Wind-bound_. When I ask him whether it
rains, he makes Answer, It is no Matter, so that it be _fair Weather_
within Doors. In short, Sir, I cannot speak my Mind freely to him, but
I either _swell_ or _rage_, or do something that is not fit for a
civil Woman to hear. Pray, _Mr_. SPECTATOR, since you are so sharp
upon other Women, let us know what Materials your Wife is made of, if
you have one. I suppose you would make us a Parcel of poor-spirited
tame insipid Creatures; but, Sir, I would have you to know, we have as
good Passions in us as your self, and that a Woman was never designed
to be a Milk-Sop.



[Footnote 1: Odes, I. 16. ]

[Footnote 2: In the Timæus Plato derives woman and all the animals
from man, by successive degradations. Cowardly or unjust men are born
again as women. Light, airy, and superficial men, who carried their
minds aloft without the use of reason, are the materials for making
birds, the hair being transmuted into feathers and wings. From men
wholly without philosophy, who never looked heavenward, the more brutal
land animals are derived, losing the round form of the cranium by the
slackening and stopping of the rotations of the encephalic soul. Feet
are given to these according to the degree of their stupidity, to
multiply approximations to the earth; and the dullest become reptiles
who drag the whole length of their bodies on the ground. Out of the very
stupidest of men come those animals which are not judged worthy to live
at all upon earth and breathe this air, these men become fishes, and the
creatures who breathe nothing but turbid water, fixed at the lowest
depths and almost motionless, among the mud. By such transitions, he
says, the different races of animals passed originally and still pass
into each other.]

[Footnote 3: In the Epilogue to Love for Love.]

[Footnote 4: that his]

* * * * *

No. 212. Friday, November 2, 1711. Steele.

- Eripe turpi
Colla jugo, liber, liber dic, sum age -



I Never look upon my dear Wife, but I think of the Happiness Sir
ROGER DE COVERLEY enjoys, in having such a Friend as you to expose in
proper Colours the Cruelty and Perverseness of his Mistress. I have
very often wished you visited in our Family, and were acquainted with
my Spouse; she would afford you for some Months at least Matter enough
for one _Spectator_ a Week. Since we are not so happy as to be of your
Acquaintance, give me leave to represent to you our present
Circumstances as well as I can in Writing. You are to know then that I
am not of a very different Constitution from _Nathaniel Henroost_,
whom you have lately recorded in your Speculations; and have a Wife
who makes a more tyrannical Use of the Knowledge of my easy Temper
than that Lady ever pretended to. We had not been a Month married,
when she found in me a certain Pain to give Offence, and an Indolence
that made me bear little Inconveniences rather than dispute about
them. From this Observation it soon came to that pass, that if I
offered to go abroad, she would get between me and the Door, kiss me,
and say she could not part with me; and then down again I sat. In a
Day or two after this first pleasant Step towards confining me, she
declared to me, that I was all the World to her, and she thought she
ought to be all the World to me. If, she said, my Dear loves me as
much as I love him, he will never be tired of my Company. This
Declaration was followed by my being denied to all my Acquaintance;
and it very soon came to that pass, that to give an Answer at the Door
before my Face, the Servants would ask her whether I was within or
not; and she would answer No with great Fondness, and tell me I was a
good Dear. I will not enumerate more little Circumstances to give you
a livelier Sense of my Condition; but tell you in general, that from
such Steps as these at first, I now live the Life of a Prisoner of
State; my Letters are opened, and I have not the Use of Pen, Ink and
Paper, but in her Presence. I never go abroad, except she sometimes
takes me with her in her Coach to take the Air, if it may be called
so, when we drive, as we generally do, with the Glasses up. I have
overheard my Servants lament my Condition, but they dare not bring me
Messages without her Knowledge, because they doubt my Resolution to
stand by em. In the midst of this insipid Way of Life, an old
Acquaintance of mine, _Tom Meggot_, who is a Favourite with her, and
allowed to visit me in her Company because he sings prettily, has
roused me to rebel, and conveyed his Intelligence to me in the
following Manner. My Wife is a great Pretender to Musick, and very
ignorant of it; but far gone in the _Italian_ Taste. _Tom_ goes to
_Armstrong_, the famous fine Writer of Musick, and desires him to put
this Sentence of _Tully_ [1] in the Scale of an _Italian_ Air, and
write it out for my Spouse from him. _An ille mihi liber cui mulier
imperat? Cui leges imponit, praescribit, jubet, vetat quod videtur?
Qui nihil imperanti negare, nihil recusare audet? Poscit? dandum est.
Vocat? veniendum. Ejicit? abeundum. Minitatur? extimiscendum. Does he
live like a Gentleman who is commanded by a Woman? He to whom she
gives Law, grants and denies what she pleases? who can neither deny
her any thing she asks, or refuse to do any thing she commands_?

To be short, my Wife was extremely pleased with it; said the
_Italian_ was the only Language for Musick; and admired how
wonderfully tender the Sentiment was, and how pretty the Accent is of
that Language, with the rest that is said by Rote on that Occasion.
Mr. _Meggot_ is sent for to sing this Air, which he performs with
mighty Applause; and my Wife is in Ecstasy on the Occasion, and glad
to find, by my being so much pleased, that I was at last come into the
Notion of the _Italian_; for, said she, it grows upon one when one
once comes to know a little of the Language; and pray, Mr. _Meggot_,
sing again those Notes, _Nihil Imperanti negare, nihil recusare_. You
may believe I was not a little delighted with my Friend _Toms_
Expedient to alarm me, and in Obedience to his Summons I give all this
Story thus at large; and I am resolved, when this appears in the
_Spectator_, to declare for my self. The manner of the Insurrection I
contrive by your Means, which shall be no other than that _Tom
Meggot_, who is at our Tea-table every Morning, shall read it to us;
and if my Dear can take the Hint, and say not one Word, but let this
be the Beginning of a new Life without farther Explanation, it is very
well; for as soon as the _Spectator_ is read out, I shall, without
more ado, call for the Coach, name the Hour when I shall be at home,
if I come at all; if I do not, they may go to Dinner. If my Spouse
only swells and says nothing, _Tom_ and I go out together, and all is
well, as I said before; but if she begins to command or expostulate,
you shall in my next to you receive a full Account of her Resistance
and Submission, for submit the dear thing must to,


_Your most obedient humble Servant_,

Anthony Freeman.

_P. S._ I hope I need not tell you that I desire this may be in your
very next.


[Footnote 1: Paradox V. on the Thesis that All who are wise are Free,
and the fools Slaves.]

* * * * *

No. 213. Saturday, November 3, 1711. Addison.

- Mens sibi conscia recti.


It is the great Art and Secret of Christianity, if I may use that
Phrase, to manage our Actions to the best Advantage, and direct them in
such a manner, that every thing we do may turn to Account at that great
Day, when every thing we have done will be set before us.

In order to give this Consideration its full Weight, we may cast all our
Actions under the Division of such as are in themselves either Good,
Evil, or Indifferent. If we divide our Intentions after the same Manner,
and consider them with regard to our Actions, we may discover that great
Art and Secret of Religion which I have here mentioned.

A good Intention joined to a good Action, gives it its proper Force and
Efficacy; joined to an Evil Action, extenuates its Malignity, and in
some Cases may take it wholly away; and joined to an indifferent Action
turns it to a Virtue, and makes it meritorious as far as human Actions
can be so.

In the next Place, to consider in the same manner the Influence of an
Evil Intention upon our Actions. An Evil Intention perverts the best of
Actions, and makes them in reality, what the Fathers with a witty kind
of Zeal have termed the Virtues of the Heathen World, so many _shining
Sins_. It destroys the Innocence of an indifferent Action, and gives an
evil Action all possible Blackness and Horror, or in the emphatical
Language of Sacred Writ, makes _Sin exceeding sinful_. [1]

If, in the last Place, we consider the Nature of an indifferent
Intention, we shall find that it destroys the Merit of a good Action;
abates, but never takes away, the Malignity of an evil Action; and
leaves an indifferent Action in its natural State of Indifference.

It is therefore of unspeakable Advantage to possess our Minds with an
habitual good Intention, and to aim all our Thoughts, Words, and Actions
at some laudable End, whether it be the Glory of our Maker, the Good of
Mankind, or the Benefit of our own Souls.

This is a sort of Thrift or Good-Husbandry in moral Life, which does not
throw away any single Action, but makes every one go as far as it can.
It multiplies the Means of Salvation, increases the Number of our
Virtues, and diminishes that of our Vices.

There is something very devout, though not solid, in _Acosta's_ Answer
to _Limborch_, [2] who objects to him the Multiplicity of Ceremonies in
the _Jewish_ Religion, as Washings, Dresses, Meats, Purgations, and the
like. The Reply which the _Jew_ makes upon this Occasion, is, to the
best of my Remembrance, as follows: There are not Duties enough (says
he) in the essential Parts of the Law for a zealous and active
Obedience. Time, Place, and Person are requisite, before you have an
Opportunity of putting a Moral Virtue into Practice. We have, therefore,
says he, enlarged the Sphere of our Duty, and made many Things, which
are in themselves indifferent, a Part of our Religion, that we may have
more Occasions of shewing our Love to God, and in all the Circumstances
of Life be doing something to please him.

Monsieur _St. Evremond_ has endeavoured to palliate the Superstitions of
the Roman Catholick Religion with the same kind of Apology, where he
pretends to consider the differing Spirit of the Papists and the
Calvinists, as to the great Points wherein they disagree. He tells us,
that the former are actuated by Love, and the other by Fear; and that in
their Expressions of Duty and Devotion towards the Supreme Being, the
former seem particularly careful to do every thing which may possibly
please him, and the other to abstain from every thing which may possibly
displease him. [3]

But notwithstanding this plausible Reason with which both the Jew and
the Roman Catholick would excuse their respective Superstitions, it is
certain there is something in them very pernicious to Mankind, and
destructive to Religion; because the Injunction of superfluous
Ceremonies makes such Actions Duties, as were before indifferent, and by
that means renders Religion more burdensome and difficult than it is in
its own Nature, betrays many into Sins of Omission which they could not
otherwise be guilty of, and fixes the Minds of the Vulgar to the shadowy
unessential Points, instead of the more weighty and more important
Matters of the Law.

This zealous and active Obedience however takes place in the great Point
we are recommending; for, if, instead of prescribing to our selves
indifferent Actions as Duties, we apply a good Intention to all our most
indifferent Actions, we make our very Existence one continued Act of
Obedience, we turn our Diversions and Amusements to our eternal
Advantage, and are pleasing him (whom we are made to please) in all the
Circumstances and Occurrences of Life.

It is this excellent Frame of Mind, this _holy Officiousness_ (if I may
be allowed to call it such) which is recommended to us by the Apostle in
that uncommon Precept, wherein he directs us to propose to ourselves the
Glory of our Creator in all our most indifferent Actions, _whether we
eat or drink, or whatsoever we do._ [4]

A Person therefore who is possessed with such an habitual good
Intention, as that which I have been here speaking of, enters upon no
single Circumstance of Life, without considering it as well-pleasing to
the great Author of his Being, conformable to the Dictates of Reason,
suitable to human Nature in general, or to that particular Station in
which Providence has placed him. He lives in a perpetual Sense of the
Divine Presence, regards himself as acting, in the whole Course of his
Existence, under the Observation and Inspection of that Being, who is
privy to all his Motions and all his Thoughts, who knows all his
_Down-sitting and his Up-rising, who is about his Path, and about his

Online LibraryRichard SteeleThe Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 With Translations and Index for the Series → online text (page 79 of 228)