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5 his poem

enemy of mankind, notwithstanding his wit and angelic faculties, is the most odious being in the whole creation.” He goes on soon after to say, very generously, that he undertook the writing of

to rescue the Muses out of the hands of ravishers, to restore them to their sweet and chaste mansions, and to engage them in an employment suitable to their dignity." This certainly ought to

be the purpose of every man who appears in public, 10 and whoever does not proceed upon that founda

tion, injures his country as fast as he succeeds in his studies. When modesty ceases to be the chief ornament of one sex, and integrity of the other,

society is upon a wrong basis, and we shall be ever 15 after without rules to guide our judgment in what

is really becoming and ornamental. Nature and reason direct one thing, passion and humor another. To follow the dictates of these two latter, is going

into a road that is both endless and intricate; when 20 we pursue the other, our passage is delightful, and what we aim at easily attainable.

I do not doubt but England is at present as polite a nation as any in the world; but any man who

thinks, can easily see, that the affectation of being 25 gay and in fashion, has very near eaten up our good

sense, and our religion. Is there anything so just as that mode and gallantry & should be built upon exerting ourselves in what is proper and agreeable to the institutions of justice and piety among us?

And yet is there anything more common, than that we run in perfect contradiction to them? All which is supported by no other pretension, than that it is done with what we call a good grace.

Nothing ought to be held laudable or becoming, 5 but what nature itself should prompt us to think so. Respect to all kind of superiors is founded, I think, upon instinct; and yet what is so ridiculous as age! I make this abrupt transition to the mention of this vice, more than any other, in order to introduce a 10 little story, which I think a pretty instance that the most polite age is in danger of being the most vicious.

“It happened at Athens, during a public representation of some play exhibited in honor of the 15 commonwealth, that an old gentleman came too late for a place suitable to his age and quality.” Many of the young gentlemen, who observed the difficulty and confusion he was in, made signs to him that they would accommodate him if he came 20 where they sat. The good man bustled through the crowd accordingly; but when he came to the seats to which he was invited, the jest was to sit close and expose him, as he stood, out of countenance, to the whole audience. The frolic went round the 25 Athenian benches. But on those occasions there were also particular places assigned for foreigners. When the good man skulked towards the boxes appointed for the Lacedæmonians, that honest

people, more virtuous than polite, rose up all to a man, and with the greatest respect received him among them. The Athenians being suddenly touched with

a sense of the Spartan virtue and their own degen5 eracy, gave a thunder of applause; and the old man

cried out, The Athenians understand what is good, but the Lacadæmonians practice it.'”

No. 4. Sir Roger at the Club
SPECTATOR No. 34. Monday, April 9, 1711

parcit Cognatis maculis similis feral

Juv. Sat. xv. 159.

The club of which I am a member, is very luckily composed of such persons as are engaged in different 10 ways of life, and deputed as it were out of the most

conspicuous classes of mankind. By this means I am furnished with the greatest variety of hints and materials, and know everything that passes in the

different quarters and divisions, not only of this 15 great city, but of the whole kingdom. My readers

too have the satisfaction to find that there is no rank or degree among them who have not .their representative in this club, and that there is always

somebody present who will take care of their respec20 tive interests, that nothing may be written or

published to the prejudice or infringement of their just rights and privileges,

I last night sat very late in company with this select body of friends, who entertained me with several remarks which they and others had made upon these my speculations, as also with the various success which they had met with among their several 5 ranks and degrees of readers. Will Honeycomb told me, in the softest ? manner he could, that there were some ladies (but for your comfort, says Will, they are not those of the most with that were offended at the liberties I had taken with the opera and the 10 puppet-show; that some of them were likewise very much surprised, that I should think such serious points as the dress and equipage of persons of quality, proper subjects for raillery.

He was going on, when Sir Andrew Freeport took 15 him up short, and told him that the papers he hinted at, had done great good in the city, and that all their wives and daughters were the better for them; and further added, that the whole city thought themselves very much obliged to me for declaring 20 my generous intentions to scourge vice and folly as they appear in a multitude, without condescending to be a publisher of particular intrigues and cuckoldoms. "In short," says Sir Andrew, "if you avoid that foolish beaten road of falling upon aldermen 25 and citizens, and employ your pen upon the vanity and luxury of courts, your paper must needs be of general use.”

Upon this my friend the Templar 5 told Sir An


drew, that he wondered to hear a man of his sense talk after that manner; that the city had always been the province for satire; and that the wits of

King Charles's time jested upon nothing else during 5 his whole reign. He then showed, by the examples of Horace, Juvenal, Boileau, and the best writers

every age, that the follies of the stage and court had never been accounted too sacred for ridicule,

how great soever the persons might be that patron10 ized them. “But after all,” says he, "I think your

raillery has made too great an excursion, in attacking several persons of the inns of court; and I do not believe you can show me any precedent for your

behavior in that particular.” 15 My good friend Sir Roger de Coverley, who had

said nothing all this while, began his speech with a pish! and told us, that he wondered to see so many men of sense so very serious upon fooleries. “Let

our good friend,” says he, "attack every one that 20 deserves it; I would only advise you, Mr. Spectator,"

applying himself to me, "to take care how you meddle with country 'squires. They are the ornaments of the English nation; men of good heads

and sound bodies! and, let me tell you, some of 25 them take it ill of you, that you mention fox-hunters with so little respect.”

Captain Sentry spoke very sparingly on this occasion. What he said was only to commend my prudence in not touching upon the army, and

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