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Hor. Lib. 1. Sat. iv. 1.
small addition to his fame to have each | I think the only improvement beyond piece minuted with the exact number of this, would be that which the late Duke of hours or days it cost him in the composi- Buckingham mentioned to a stupid pre tion. He could taste no praise until he had tender to poetry, as the project of a Dutch acquainted you in how short space of time mechanic, viz. a mill to make verses. This he had deserved it; and was not so much being the most compendious method of all led to an ostentation of his art, as of his which have yet been proposed, may dedespatch :
serve the thoughts of our modern virtuosi, Accipe, si vis,
who are employed in new discoveries for Accipe jam tabulas; detur nobis locus, hora, the public good; and it may be worth the Custodes: videamus uter plus scribere possit.
while to consider, whether in an island
where few are content without being Here's pen and ink, and time, and place; let's try Who can write most, and fastest, you or I.-Creech.
thought wits, it will not be a common
benefit, that wit as well as labour should • This was the whole of his ambition; and be made cheap. I am, sir, your humble therefore I cannot but think the flights of
servant, &c.' this rapid author very proper to be opposed to those laborious nothings which you have
MR. SPECTATOR, I often dine at a observed were the delight of the German gentleman's house where there are two wits, and in which they so rapidly got rid young ladies in themselves very agreeable, of such a tedious quantity of their time. but very cold in their behaviour, because
“I have known a gentleman of another they understand me for a person that is to turn of humour, who despising the name of "break my mind,” as the phrase is, very an author, never printed his works, but con- suddenly to one of them. But I take this tracted his talent, and by the help of a very way to acquaint them that I am not in love fine diamond which he wore on his little with either of them, in hopes they will use finger, was a considerable poet upon glass. me with that agreeable freedom and indifHe had a very good epigrammatic wit; and ference which they do all the rest of the there was not a parlour or tavern window world, and not to drink to one another only, where he visited or dined for some years, but sometimes cast a kind look, with their which did not receive some sketches or service to, sir, your humble servant.' memorials of it. It was his misfortune at MR. SPECTATOR,-I am a young genlast to lose his genius and his ring to a tleman, and take it for a piece of goodsharper at play, and he has not attempted breeding to pull off my hat when I see any to make a verse since. • But of all contractions or expedients for whether I know her or not. I take care
thing peculiarly charming in any woman, wit, I admire that of an ingenious projector that there is nothing ludicrous or arch in whose book I have seen. This virtuoso
my manner, as if I were to betray a woman being à mathematician, has according to into a salutation by way of jest or humcur; his taste, thrown the art of poetry into a and yet, except I am acquainted with her, I short problem, and contrived tables, by find she ever takes it for a rule, that she is which any one without knowing a word of to look upon this civility and homage I pay grammar or sense, may to his great comfort to her supposed merit, as an impertinence be able to compose, or rather to erect, or forwardness which she is to observe and Latin verses. His tables are a kind of neglect. I wish, sir, you would settle the poetical logarithms, which being divided business of salutation; and please to inform into several squares, and all inscribed with me how I shall resist the sudden impulse I so many incoherent words, appear to the have to be civil to what gives an idea of eve somewhat like a fortune-telling screen, merit; or tell these creatures how to beWhat a joy must it be to the unlearned have themselves in return to the esteem I operator to find that these words being have for them. My affairs are such, that carefully collected and writ down in order your decision will be a favour to me, if it be according to the problem, start of them- only to save the unnecessary expense of selves into hexameter and pentameter wearing out my hat so fast as I do at preverses? A friend of mine, who is a student sent, I am, sir, yours,
T. D.' in astrology, ineeting with this book, performed the operation, by the rules there set
'POSTSCRIPT. down; he showed his verses to the next of • There are some that do know me, and his acquaintance, who happened to under- won't bow to me.' stand Latin; and being informed they described a tempest of wind, very luckily prefixed them, together with a translation, No. 221.] Tuesday, November 13, 1711. to an almanack he was just then printing, and was supposed to have foretold the last
Usque ad mala
Hor. Lib. 1. Sat, iii. 6 great storm.f
From eggs, which first are set upon the board, * This crecter of Latin verses was a John Peter, who
To apples ripe, with which it last is stor'd. in 1672 published an 8vo. pamphlet, entitled Artificial When I have finished any of my specuVersifying, a new Way to make Latin verses. November 26th, 1703.
lations, it is my method to consider which
of the ancient authors have touched upon | adding however such explications to it as the subject that I treat of. By this means he thought might be for the benefit of his I meet with some celebrated thought upon people. He afterwards entered upon As in it, or a thought of my own expressed in bet. Præsenti, which he converted in the same ter words, or some similitude for the illus- manner to the use of his parishioners. This tration of my subject. This is what gives in a very little time thickened his audience, birth to the motto of a speculation, which I filled his church, and routed his antagonist. rather choose to take out of the poets than The natural love to Latin, which is so the prose writers, as the former generally prevalent in our common people, makes gives a finer turn to a thought than the lat- me think that my speculations fare never ter, and by couching it in few words and in the worse among them for that little scrap harmonious numbers, make it more portable which appears at the head of them; and to the memory.
what the more encourages me in the use of My reader is therefore sure to meet with quotations in an unknown tongue, is, that I at least one good line in every paper, and hear the ladies, whose approbation I value very often finds his imagination entertained more than that of the whole learned world, by a hint that awakens in his memory some declare themselves in a particular manner beautiful passage of a classic author. pleased with my Greek mottos.
It was a saying of an ancient philoso- Designing this day's work for a dissertapher, * which 'I find some of our writers tion upon the two extremities of my papers, have ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, who and having already despatched my motto, I perhaps might have taken occasion to re- shall, in the next place, discourse upon peat it, that a good face is a letter of re- those single capital letters, which are placed commendation. It naturally makes the at the end of it, and which have afforded beholders inquisitive into the person who great matter of speculation to the curious. is the owner of it, and generally prepos- I have heard various conjectures upon this sesses them in his favour. A handsome subject. Some tell us that C is the mark motto has the same effect. Besides that it of those papers that are written by the always gives a supernumerary beauty to a clergyman, though others ascribe them to paper, and is sometimes in a manner neces- the club in general: that the papers marked sary, when the writer is engaged in what with R were written by my friend Sir Roger: may appear a paradox to vulgar minds, as that L signifies the lawyer, whom I have it shows, that he is supported by good au- described in my second speculation; and thorities, and is not singular in his opinion. that T stands for the trader or merchant.
I must confess, the motto is of little use to But the letter X, which is placed at the end an unlearned reader, for which reason I con- of some few of my papers, is that which has sider it only as "a word to the wise.' But as puzzled the whole town, as they cannot for my unlearned friends, if they cannot re- think of any name which begins with that lish the motto, I take care to make provision letter, except Xenophon and Xerxes, who for them in the body of my paper. If they can neither of them be supposed to have do not understand the sign that is hung out, had any hand in these speculations. they know very well by it that they may In answer to these inquisitive gentlemen, meet with entertainment in the house; and who have many of them made inquiries of I think I was never better pleased than me by letter, I must tell them the reply of with a plain man's compliment, who upon an ancient philosopher, who carried somehis friends telling him that he would like thing hidden under his cloak. A certain the Spectator much better if he understood acquaintance desiring him to let him know the motto, replied, that “good wine needs what it was he covered so carefully: 'I no bush.'t
cover it,' says he, "on purpose that you I have heard of a couple of preachers in should not know.' I have made use of a country town, who endeavoured which these obscure marks for the same purpose. should outshine one another, and draw to- They are, perhaps, little amulets or charms gether the greatest congregation. One of to preserve the paper against the fascinathem being well versed in the Fathers, used tion and malice of evil eyes: for which reato quote every now and then a Latin sen
son I would not have my reader surprised tence to his illiterate hearers, who it seems if hereafter he sees any of my papers marked found themselves so edified by it, that they with a Q, a Z, Y, an &c. or with the word flocked in greater numbers to this learned Abracadabra. man than to his rival. The other finding I shall, however, so far explain myself to his congregation mouldering every Sunday, the reader, as to let him know that the letand hearing at length what was the occa- ters C, L, and X, are cabalistical, and carry sion of it, resolved to give his parish a little more in them than it is proper for the world Latin in his turn; but being unacquainted to be acquainted with. Those who are with any of the Fathers, he digested into versed in the philosophy of Pythagoras, his sermons the whole book of Quæ Genus, and swear by the Tetrachtys, that is the
number four, * will know very well that the • Aristotle, or, according to some, Diogenes. See Diogenes Laertius, lib. 5. cap. 1. n. 11.
+ The mottos in the original publication were not * See Stanley's Lives of the Philosophers, page 527, translated.
2nd edition, 1687, folio.
number ten, which is signified by the letter morals, as a monstrous birth in naturals; X, (and which has so much perplexed the with this difference only, which greatly town,) has in it many particular powers: aggravates the wonder, that it happens that it is called by Platonic writers the com- much more frequently; and what a blemish plete number; that one, two, three, and does it cast upon wit and learning in the four put together make up the number ten; general account of the world and in how and that ten is all. But these are not mys- disadvantageous a light does it expose them teries for ordinary readers to be let into. to the busy class of mankind, that there A man must have spent many years in hard should be so many instances of persons who study before he can arrive at the know- have so conducted their lives in spite of ledge of them.
these transcendent advantages, as neither We had a rabbinical divine in England, to be happy in themselves nor useful to who was chaplain to the Earl of Essex, in their friends; when every body sees it was Queen Elizabeth's time, that had an admi- entirely in their own power to be eminent rable head for secrets of this nature. Upon in both these characters? For my part, I his taking the doctor of divinity's degree, think there is no reflection more astonishhe preached before the university of Cam- ing, than to consider one of these gentlebridge, upon the first verse of the first men spending a fair fortune, running in chapter of the first book of Chronicles, in every body's debt without the least apprewhich,' says he, ‘you have the three fol- hension of a future reckoning; and at last lowing words:
leaving not only his own children, but pos“Adam, Seth, Enosh.”
sibly those of other people, by his means, He divided this short text into many parts, in starving circumstances; while a fellow, and by discovering several mysteries in whom one would scarce suspect to have a each word, made a most learned and elabo- human soul, shall perhaps raise a vast rate discourse. The name of this profound estate out of nothing, and be the founder preacher was Dr. Alabaster, of whom the of a family capable of being very considerareader may find a more particular account ble in their country, and doing many illusin Dr. Fuller's book of English Worthies. trious services to it. That this observation This instance will, I hope, convince my is just, experience has put beyond all disreaders that there may be a great deal of pute. But though the fact be so evident fine writing in the capital letters which and glaring, yet the causes of it are still in bring up the rear of my paper, and give the dark; which makes me persuade mythem some satisfaction in that particular. self, that it would be no unacceptable piece But as for the full explication of these of entertainment to the town, to inquire matters, I must refer them to time, which into the hidden sources of so unaccountable discovers all things.
C. an evil. I am, sir, your most humble ser
What this correspondent wonders at, has No. 222.] Wednesday, November 14, 1711. been matter of admiration ever since there Cur alter fratrum cessare, et ludere, et ungi,
was any such thing as human life. Horace Præferat Herodis palmetis pinguibus
reflects upon this inconsistency very agreeHor. Lib. 2. Ep. ii. 183.
ably in the character of Tigellius whom he Why, of two brothers, one his pleasure loves,
makes a mighty pretender to economy, and Prefers his sports to Herod’s fragrant groves.-- Creech. tells you, you might one day hear him speak
• Mr. SPECTATOR, --There is one thing the most philosophic things imaginable conI have often looked for in your papers, and cerning being contented with a little, and have as often wondered to find myself dis- his contempt of every thing but mere neappointed; the rather, because I think it a cessaries; and in half a week after spend a subject every way agreeable to your design, thousand pounds. When he says this of and by being left unattempted by others, him with relation to expense, he describes seems reserved as a proper employment him as unequal to himself in every other for you; I meana disquisition, from whence it circumstance of life; and, indeed, if we conproceeds, that men of the brightest parts, sider lavish men carefully, we shall find it and most comprehensive genius, completely always proceeds from a certain incapacity furnished
with talents for any province in of possessing themselves, and finding enhuman affairs; such as by their wise les-joyment in their own minds. Mr. Dryden sons of economy to others, have made it has expressed this very excellently in the evident that they have the justest notions character of Zimri: of life, and of true sense in the conduct “A man so various, that he seemed to be of it;—from what unhappy contradictious
Not one, but all mankind's epitome.
Stiff in opinion, always in the wrong, cause it proceeds, that persons thus finished Was every thing by starts, and nothing long! by nature and by art, should so often fail in the management of that which they so well
Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon. understand, and want the address to make
Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking,
Besides ten thousand freaks, that died in thinking; a right application of their own rules. This Bless'd madman, who could every hour employ is certainly a prodigious inconsistency in
In something new to wish, or to enjoy! behaviour, and makes such a figure in
In squandering wealth was his peculiar art,
But in the course of one revolving moon,
This loose state of the soul hurries the Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto. extravagant from one pursuit to another;
Virg. Æn. i. ver. 122.
One here and there floats on the vast abyss. and the reason that his expenses are greater than another's, is, that his wants are also there is none whose fragments are so beau
Among the mutilated poets of antiquity more numerous. But what makes so many go on in this way to their lives' end, is, that tiful as those of Sappho. They give us a they certainly do not know.how contempti- fectly conformable with that extraordinary
taste of her way of writing, which is perble they are in the eyes of the rest of man- character we find of her in the remarks of kind, or rather, that indeed they are not so contemptible as they deserve. Tully says, with her works when they were entire.
those great critics who were conversant it is the greatest of wickedness to lessen One may see by what is left of them, that your paternal estate. And if a man would thoroughly consider how much worse than she followed nature in all her thoughts, banishment it must be to his child, to ride without descending to those little points, by the estate which should have been his, conceits, and turns of wit with which many had it not been for his father's injustice to fected. Her soul seems to have been made
of our modern lyrics are so miserably inhim, he would be smitten with reflection more deeply than can be understood by any in all its warmth, and described it in all its
up of love and poetry. She felt the passion but one who is a father. Sure there can be nothing more afflicting, than to think it symptoms. She is called by ancient auhad been happier for his son to have been thors the tenth muse; and by Plutarch is born of any other man living than himself. compared to Cacus the son of Vulcan, who
It is not perhaps much thought of, but it breathed out nothing but fame. I do not is certainly a very important lesson, to know by the character that is given of her learn how to enjoy ordinary life, and to be works, whether it is not for the benefit of able to relish your being without the trans- mankind that they are lost. They were port of some passion, or gratification of filled with such bewitching tenderness and some appetite. For want of this capacity, rapture, that it might have been dangerous the world is filled with whetters, tipplers, to have given them a reading. cutters, sippers, and all the numerous train sioned great calamities to this poetical lady;
An inconstant lover called Phaon, occaof those who for want of thinking, are forced She feil desperately in love with him, and to be ever exercising their feeling, or tasting. took a voyage into Sicily, in pursuit of him, It would be hard on this occasion to men, he having withdrawn himself thither on tion the harmless smokers of tobacco, and takers of snuff.
purpose to avoid her. It was in that island, The slower part of mankind, whom my have made the Hymn to Venus, with a
and on this occasion, she is supposed to correspondent wonders should get estates, translation of which I shall present my are the more immediately formed for that
reader. pursuit. They can expect distant things
Her Hymn was ineffectual for without impatience, because they are not procuring that happiness which she prayed carried out of their way either by violent for in it. Phaon was still obdurate, and passion or keen appetite to any thing. To Sappho so transported with the violence of men addicted to delights, business is an in- her passion, that she was resolved to get terruption; to such as are cold to delights,
rid of it at any price. business is an entertainment. For which
There was a promontory in Acarnania reason it was said to one who commended called Leucate, on the top of which was a a dull man for his application, "No thanks little temple dedicated to Apollo. In this to him; if he had no business he would have temple it was usual for despairing lovers nothing to do.'
to make their vows in secret, and afterwards to Aling themselves from the top of the precipice into the sea, where they were
sometimes taken up alive. This place was No. 223.] Thursday, November 15, 1711. therefore called the Lover's Leap; and
whether or no the fright they had been in, O suavis anima! qualem te dicam bonam,
or the resolution that could push them to Antehac fuisse, tales cum sint reliqua!
so dreadful a remedy, or the bruises which
they often received in their fall, banished O sweet soul! how good must you have been hereto. all the tender sentiments of love, and gave fore when your remains are so delicious.
their spirits another turn; those who had When I reflect upon the various fate of taken this leap were observed never to rethose multitudes of ancient writers who lapse into that passion. Sappho tried the flourished in Greece and Italy, I consider cure, but perished in the experiment. time as an immense ocean, in which many
After having given this short account of noble authors are entirely swallowed up, Sappho, so far as it regards the following many very much shattered and damaged, de, I shall subjoin the translation of it as some quite disjointed and broken into it was sent me by a friend, whose admirapieces, while some have wholly escaped ble Pastorals and Winter-pieces have been the common wreck; but the number of the already so well received. * The reader will last is very small,
Phædr. Lib. 3. Fab. i. 5.
* Ambrose Philips.
find in it that pathetic simplicity which is that these two finished pieces have never so peculiar to him, and so suitable to the been attempted before by any of our own ode he has here translated. This ode in countrymen. But the truth of it is, the the Greek (besides those beauties observed compositions of the ancients, which have by Madam Dacier,) has several harmo- not in them any of those unnatural wittinious turns in the words, which are not lost cisms that are the delight of ordinary in the English. I must farther add, that readers, are extremely difficult to render the translation has preserved every image into another tongue, so as the beauties of and sentiment of Sappho, notwithstanding the original may not appear weak and faded it has all the ease and spirit of an original in the translation.
C. In a word, if the ladies have a mind to know the manner of writing practised by the so much celebrated Sappho, they may No. 224.] Friday, November 16, 1711. here see it in its genuine and natural beauty,
-Falgente trahit constrictos gloria curru without any foreign or affected ornaments. Non minus ignotos generosis
Hor. Lib. 1. Sat. vi. 23. A HYMN TO VENUS.
Chain'd to her shining car, Fame draws along O Venus, beauty of the skies,
With equal whirl the great and vulgar throng.' To whom a thousand temples rise, Gaily false in gentle smiles,
If we look abroad upon the great multiFull of love.perplexing wiles;
tude of mankind, and endeavour to trace O goddess! from my heart remove
out the principles of action in every inThe wasting cares and pains of love.
dividual, it will, I think, seem highly proIf ever thou hast kindly heard
bable that ambition runs through the whole A song in soft distress preferr'd,
species, and that every man in proportion Propitious to my tuneful vow, O gentle goddess! hear me now,
to the vigour of his complexion is more or Descend, thou bright, immortal guest,
less actuated by it. It is indeed no unconiIn all thy radiant charms confess'd.
mon thing to meet with men, who, by the Thou once didst leave almighty Jove,
natural bent of their inclinations, and withAnd all the golden roofs above;
out the discipline of philosophy, aspire not The car thy wanton sparrows drew, Hov'ring in air they lightly flew;
to the heights of power and grandeur; who As to my bower they wing'd their way, never set their hearts upon a numerous I saw their quiv'ring pinions play.
train of clients and dependencies, nor other The birds dismiss'd (while you remain)
gay appendages of greatness; who are conBore back their empty car again;
tented with a competency, and will not Then you with looks divinely mild, In ev'ry heavenly feature smild,
molest their tranquillity to gain an abunAnd ask'd what new complaints I made,
dance. But it is not therefore to be conAnd why I call’d you to my aid ?
cluded that such a man is not ambitious; his What frenzy in my bosom rag'd,
desires may have cut out another channel, And by what cure to be assuag'd?
and determined him to other pursuits; the What gentle youth I would allure,
motive however may be still the same; and Whom in my artful toils secure? Who does thy tender heart subdue,
in these cases likewise the man may be Tell me, my Sappbo, tell me, who?
equally pushed on with the desire of disThough now he shuns thy longing arms,
tinction. He soon shall court thy slighted charms;
Though the pure consciousness of worthy Though now thy off" rings he despise,
actions, abstracted from the views of popuHe soon to thee shall sacrifice; Though now he freeze, he soon shall burn,
lar applause, be to a generous mind an am And be tby vietim in his turn,
ple reward, yet the desire of distinction was Celestial visitant, once more
doubtless implanted in our natures as an Thy needful presence I implore!
additional incentive to exert ourselves in In pity come and ease my grief,
virtuous excellence. Bring my distemper'd soul relief, Favour ihy suppliant's hidden fires,
This passion, indeed, like all others, is And give me all my heart desires.
frequently perverted to evil and ignoble
purposes, so that we may account for many Madam Dacier observes, there is some of the excellences and follies of life upon thing very pretty in that circumstance of the same innate principle, to wit, the desire this ode, wherein Venus is described as of being remarkable; for this, as it has been sending away her chariot upon her arrival differently cultivated by education, study, at Sappho's lodgings, to denote that it was and converse, will bring forth suitable efnot a short transient visit which she in- fects as it falls in with an ingenuous dispositended to make her. This ode was pre- tion, or a corrupt mind. It does accordingly served by an eminent Greek critic, who express itself in acts of magnanimity or inserted it entire in his works, as a pattern selfish cunning, as it meets with a good or at of perfection in the structure of it. weak understanding. As it has been em
Longinus has quoted another ode of this ployed in embellishing the mind, or adorngreat poetess, which is likewise admirable ing the outside, it renders the man eminently in its kind, and has been translated by the praiseworthy or ridiculous. Ambition there. same hand with the foregoing one. I shall fore is not to be confined only to one passion oblige my reader with it in another paper. or pursuit; for as the same humours in conIn the meanwhile, I cannot but wonder Istitutions otherwise different, affect the