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ruins and dilapidations often cast a damp on my spirits, even in the instant when the sun, in all his splendour, gilds my eastern palaces. Add to this, the pensive drudgery in building, and constant grasping aerial trowels, distracts and shatters the mind, and the fond builder of Babels is often cursed with an incoherent diversity and confusion of thoughts. I do not know to whom I can more properly apply myself for relief from this fantastical evil than to yourself; whom I earnestly implore to accommodate me with a method how to settle my head and cool my brain-pan. A dissertation on castlebuilding may not only be serviceable to myself, but all architects who display their skill
in the thin element.
Such a favour would oblige me to make my next soliloquy not contain the praises of my dear self, but of the Spectator, who shall, by complying with this, make me His obliged humble servant, VITRUVIUS.
ANTHONY ASHLEY COOPER,
your paper. I am unhappily far gone in building, and am one of that species of men who are properly denominated castle-builders, who scorn to be beholden to the earth for a foundation, or dig in the bowels of it for materials; but erect their structures in the most unstable of elements, the air; fancy alone laying the line, marking the extent, and shaping the model. It would be difficult to enumerate what august palaces and stately porticos have grown under my forming imagination, or what verdant meadows and shady groves have started into being by the powerful heat of a warm fancy. A castle-builder is even just what he pleases, and as such I have grasped imaginary sceptres, and delivered uncontrollable edicts, from a throne to which conquered nations yielded obeisance. I have made I know not how many inroads into France, and ravaged the ery heart of that kingdom; I have dined in the Louvre and drank champagne at Versailles; and I would have you take notice, I am not only able to vanquish a people al- The Spectator, No. 167, September 11, 1711. ready cowed and accustomed to flight, but I could, Almanzor-like [see Dryden's Conquest of Granada], drive the British general from the field, were I less a Protestant, or had ever been affronted by the confederates. There is no art or profession whose most celebrated masters I have not eclipsed. Wherever I have afforded my salutary presence fevers have ceased to burn and agues to shake the human fabric. When an eloquent fit has been upon me, an apt gesture and proper cadence have animated each sentence, and gazing crowds have found their passions worked up into rage, or soothed into a calm. I am short, and not very well nade; yet upon sight of a fine woman I have stretched into proper stature, and killed with a good air and mien. These are the gay phantoms that dance before my waking eyes, and compose my day-dreams. I should be the most contented man alive were the chimerical happiness which springs from the paintings of fancy less fleeting and transitory. But alas! it is with grief of mind I tell you, the least breath of wind has often demolished my magnificent edifices, swept away my groves, and left no more trace of them than if they had never been. My exchequer has sunk and vanished by a rap on my door; the salutation of a friend has cost me a whole continent; and in the same moment I have been pulled by the sleeve, my crown has fallen from my head. The ill consequences of these reveries is inconceivably great, seeing the loss of imaginary possessions makes impressions of real woe. Besides, bad economy is visible and apparent in builders of invisible mansions. My tenants' advertisements of
"I much question whether several of the rhapsodies called The Characteristics would ever have survived the first edition if they had not discovered so strong a tincture of infidelity, and now and then cast out a profane sneer at our holy religion. I have sometimes indeed been ready to wonder
how a book in the main so loosely written should
"Grace belongs only to natural movements; and beauty of his thoughts and language, has rarely Lord Shaftesbury, notwithstanding the frequent attained it. He had great power of thought and command over words. But he had no talent for inventing character and bestowing life on it.
PLATONIC REPRESENTATION OF THE SCALE OF
I have now a better idea of that melancholy you discovered; and notwithstanding the humorous turn you were pleased to give it, I am persuaded it has a different foundation from any of those fantastical causes I then assigned to it. Love, doubtless, is at the bottom, but a nobler love than such as common beauties inspire.
Here, in my turn, I began to raise my voice, and imitate the solemn way you have been teaching me. Knowing as you are (continued I, well knowing and experienced in all the degrees and orders of beauty, in all the mysterious charms of the particular forms, you rise to what is more general; and with a larger heart, and mind more comprehensive, you generously seek that which is highest in the kind. Not captivated by the lineaments of a fair face, or the welldrawn proportions of a human body, you view the life itself, and embrace rather the mind which adds the lustre, and renders chiefly amiable.
to its native world and higher country, 'tis here it seeks order and perfection, wishing the best, and hoping still to find a wise and just administration. And since all hope of this were vain and idle, if no Universal Mind presided; since, without such a supreme intelligence and providential care, the distracted universe must be condemned to suffer infinite calamities, 'tis here the generous mind labours to discover that healing cause by which the interest of the whole is securely established, the beauty of things, and the universal order, happily sustained.
This, Palemon, is the labour of your soul; and this its melancholy: when unsuccessfully pursuing the supreme beauty, it meets with darkening clouds which intercept the sight. Monsters arise, not those from Libyan deserts, but from the heart of man moro fertile, and with their horrid aspect cast an unseemly reflection upon nature. She, helpless as she is thought, and working thus absurdly, is contemned, the government of the world arraigned, and Deity made void. Much is alleged in answer to show why nature errs; and when she seems most ignorant or perverse in her productions, I assert her even then as wise and provident as in her goodliest works. For 'tis not then that men complain of the world's order, or abhor the face of things, when they see various interests mixed and interfering; natures subordinate, of different kinds, opposed one to another, and in their different operations submitted, the higher to the lower. Tis, on the contrary, from this order of inferior and superior things that we admire the world's beauty, founded thus on contrarieties; whilst from such various and disagreeing principles a universal concord is established.
Thus in the several orders of terrestrial
Nor is the enjoyment of such a single beauty sufficient to satisfy such an aspiring soul. It seeks how to combine more beauties, and by what coalition of these to form a beautiful society. It views communities, friendships, relations, duties; and considers by what harmony of particular minds the forms a resignation is required,―a sacrigeneral harmony is composed, and common fice and mutual yielding of natures one to weal established. Not satisfied even with another. The vegetables by their death public good in one community of men, it sustain the animals, and animal bodies disframes itself a nobler object, and with en- solved enrich the earth, and raise again the larged affection seeks the good of mankind. vegetable world. The numerous insects are It dwells with pleasure amidst that reason reduced by the superior kinds of birds and and those orders on which this fair corre-beasts; and these again are checked by man, spondence and goodly interest is established. Laws, constitutions, civil and religious rites; whatever civilizes or polishes rude mankind; the sciences and arts, philosophy, morals, virtue; the flourishing state of human affairs, and the perfection of human nature: these are its delightful prospects, and this the charm of beauty which attracts it.
Still ardent in this pursuit (such is its love of order and perfection), it rests not here, nor satisfies itself with the beauty of a part, but extending further its communicative bounty, seeks the good of all, and affects the interest and prosperity of the whole. True
who in his turn submits to other natures, and resigns his form, a sacrifice in common to the rest of things. And if in natures so little exalted or pre-eminent above each other the sacrifice of interests can appear so just, how much more reasonably may all inferior natures be subjected to the superior nature of the world!-that world, Palemon, which even now transported you, when the sun's fainting light gave way to those bright constellations, and left you this wide system to contemplate.
Here are those laws which ought not nor can submit to anything below. The central
powers which hold the lasting orbs in their just poise and movement, must not be controlled to save a fleeting form, and rescue from the precipice a puny animal, whose brittle frame, however protected, must of itself so soon dissolve. The ambient air, the inward vapours, the impending meteors, or whatever else is nutrimental or preservative of this earth, must operate in a natural course; and other good constitutions must submit to the good habit and constitution of the all-sustaining globe. Let us not wonder, therefore, if by earthquakes, storms, pestilential blasts, nether or upper fires, or floods, the animal kinds are oft afflicted, and whole species perhaps involved at once in common ruin. Nor need we wonder if the interior form, the soul and temper, partakes of this occasional deformity, and sympathises often with its close partner. Who is there that can wonder either at the sicknesses of sense or the depravity of minds enclosed in such frail bodies, and dependent on such pervertible organs?
Here, then, is that solution you require, and hence those seeming blemishes cast upon nature. Nor is there ought in this beside what is natural and good. 'Tis good which is predominant; and every corruptible and mortal nature, by its mortality and corruption, yields only to some better, and all in common to that best and highest nature which is incorruptible and immortal. The Moralists.
born 1672, acquired a high reputation for Latin poetry at King's College, Oxford, and for English poetry by his poem on the battle of Blenheim; but will always be best known by his admirable papers in The Spectator (he also contributed to The Tatler, The Whig Examiner, The Guardian, and The Freeholder, 1709-15, which range from No. 1, March 1, 1710-11, to No. 600, September 29, 1714); married the dowager Countess of Warwick, 1716; died June 17, 1719. From his essays in The Spectator, which may known by the letters C, L, I, or O (CLIO), we give some specimens.
"Mr. Addison wrote very fluently; but he was sometimes very slow and scrupulous in correcting. He would show his verses to several friends; and would alter almost everything that any of them hinted as wrong. He seemed to be too diffident of himself; and too much concerned about his character as a poet; or (as he worded it) too solicitous for that kind of praise which is but a very little matter after all! Many of his Spectators he wrote very fast, and sent them to the press as soon as they were written. It seems to have been best
for him not to have had too much time to correct. Addison was perfectly good company with intimates; and had something more charming in his conversation than I ever knew in any other man; but with any mixture of strangers, and sometimes only with one, he seemed to preserve his dignity much, with a stiff sort of silence."-POPE: Spence's Anecdotes.
"His sentences have neither studied amplitude nor affected brevity; his periods, though not diliWhoever gently rounded, are voluble and easy. wishes to obtain an English style, familiar, but not coarse, and elegant, but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the study of Addison." DR. JOHNSON.
"Never, not even by Dryden, not even by Temple, had the English language been written with such sweetness, grace, and facility. But this was the smallest part of Addison's praise. . . . As a moral satirist he stands unrivalled. If ever the best Tatlers and Spectators were equalled in their own kind, we should be inclined to guess that it must have been by the lost comedies of Menander. In wit, properly so called, Addison was not inferior to Cowley or Butler. . . . But what shall we say of Addison's humour? . . . We own that the humour of Addison is, in our opinion, of a more delicious flavour than the humour of either Swift or Voltaire."-LORD MACAULAY: Edin. Review, July, 1843, and in his Essays, and Works.
DIVINITY, LAW, AND PHYSIC.
I am sometimes very much troubled when I reflect upon the three great professions of divinity, law, and physic; how they are each of them overburdened with practitioners, and filled with multitudes of ingenious gentlemen that starve one another.
We may divide the clergy into generals, field-officers, and subalterns. Among the first we may reckon bishops, deans, and archdeacons. Among the second are doctors of divinity, prebendaries, and all that wear scarfs. The rest are comprehended under the subalterns. As for the first class, our constitution preserves it from any redundancy of incumbents, notwithstanding competitors are numberless. . . . The body of the law is no less encumbered with superfluous members, that are like Virgil's army, which he tells us was so crowded that many of them had not room to use their weapons. This prodigious society of men may be divided into the litigious and peaceable. Under the first are comprehended
all those who are carried down in coach-fulls to Westminster-hall every morning in term time. Martial's description of this species of lawyers is full of humour:
Iras et verba locant.
"Men that hire out their words and anger;" that are more or less passionate according as they are paid for it, and allow their client a quantity of wrath proportionable to the fee which they receive from him.
I must, however, observe to the reader, that above three parts of those whom I reckon among the litigious are such as are only quarrelsome in their hearts, and have no opportunity of shewing their passion at the bar. Nevertheless, as they do not know what strifes may arise, they appear at the hall every day, that they may shew themselves in readiness to enter the lists whenever there shall be occasion for them.
The peaceable lawyers are, in the first place, many of the benchers of the several inns of court, who seem to be the dignitaries of the law, and are endowed with those qualifications of mind that accomplish a man rather for a ruler than a pleader. These men live peaceably in their habitations, eating once a day, and dancing once a year, for the honour of their respective societies.
Another numberless branch of peaceable lawyers are those young men who, being placed at the inns of court in order to study the laws of their country, frequent the playhouse more than Westminster-hall, and are seen in all public assemblies except in a court of justice. I shall say nothing of those silent and busy multitudes that are employed within-doors in the drawing up of writings and conveyances; nor of those greater numbers that palliate their want of business with a pretence to such chamber practice.
When I am in a serious humour I very often walk by myself in Westminster-abbey; where the gloominess of the place, and the use to which it is applied, with the solemnity of the building, and the condition of the people who lie in it, are apt to fill the mind with a kind of melancholy, or rather thoughtfulness, that is not disagreeable. I yesterday passed a whole afternoon in the churchyard, the cloisters, and the church, amusing myself with the tombstones and inscriptions that I met with in those several regions of the dead. Most of them recorded nothing else of the buried person but that he was born upon one day, and died upon another; the whole history of his life being comprehended in those two circumstances that are common to all mankind. I could not but look upon these registers of existence, whether of brass or marble, as a kind of satire upon the departed persons; who had left no other memorial of them but that they were born and that they died. They put me in mind of several persons mentioned in the battles of heroic poems, who have sounding names given them, for no other reason but that they may be killed, and are celebrated for nothing but being knocked on the head.
The life of these men is finely described in holy writ by "the path of an arrow," which is immediately closed up and lost.
If, in the third place, we look into the profession of physic, we shall find a most formidable body of men. The sight of them is Upon my going into the church I enterenough to make a man serious, for we may tained myself with the digging of a grave; lay it down as a maxim, that when a nation and saw in every shovel-full of it that was abounds in physicians it grows thin of thrown up, the fragment of a bone or skull people. Sir William Temple is very much intermixed with a kind of fresh mouldering puzzled to find out a reason why the North-earth that some time or other had a place ern Hive, as he calls it, does not send out such prodigious swarms, and overrun the world with Goths and Vandals as it did formerly; but had that excellent author observed that there were no students in physic among the subjects of Thor and Woden, and that this science very much flourishes in the north at present, he might have found a better solution for this difficulty than any of those he has made use of. This body of men in our own country may be described like the British army in Cæsar's time. Some of them slay in chariots, and some on foot. If the infantry do less execution than the charioteers, it is because they cannot be carried so soon into all quarters of the town, and despatch so much business in so short a time. Besides this body of regular troops, there are stragglers who, without being duly listed and enrolled, do infinite mischief to those who are so unlucky as to fall into
The Spectator, No. 21, Saturday, March 24, 1710-11.
in the composition of a human body. Upon this I began to consider with myself what innumerable multitudes of people lay confused together under the pavement of that ancient cathedral: how men and women, friends and enemies, priests and soldiers, monks and prebendaries, were crumbled amongst one another, and blend together in the same common mass; how beauty, strength, and youth, with old age, weakness, and deformity, lay undistinguished in the same promiscuous heap of matter. After having thus surveyed the great magazine of mortality, as it were in the lump, I examined it more particularly by the accounts which I found on several of the monuments which are raised in every quarter of that ancient fabric. Some of them were covered with such extravagant epitaphs, that if it were possible for the dead person to be acquainted with them, he would blush at the praises which his friends have bestowed upon him. There are others so excessively modest, that they deliver the char
acter of the person departed in Greck or Hebrew, and by that means are not understood once in a twelvemonth. In the poetical quarter I found there were poets who had no monuments, and monuments which had no poets. I observed, indeed, that the present war had filled the church with many of these uninhabited monuments, which had been erected to the memory of persons whose bodies were perhaps buried in the plains of Blenheim, or in the bosom of the
But to return to our subject. I have left the repository of our English kings for the contemplation of another day, when I shall find my mind disposed for so serious an amusement. I know that entertainments of this nature are apt to raise dark and dismal thoughts in timorous minds and gloomy imaginations; but for my own part, though I am always serious, I do not know what it is to be melancholy; and can, therefore, take a view of nature in her deep and solemn scenes with the same pleasure as in her most gay and delightful ones. By this means I can improve myself with those objects which others consider with terror. When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow. When I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together.
The Spectator, No. 26, Friday, March 30,
THE CREATOR AND HIS WORKS.
I was yesterday about sunset walking in the open fields, until the night insensibly fell upon me. I at first amused myself with all the richness and variety of colours which appeared in the western parts of heaven; in proportion as they faded away and went out, several stars and planets appeared one after another, until the whole firmament was in a glow. The blueness of the ether was exceedingly heightened and enlivened by the season of the year, and by the rays of all those luminaries that passed through it.
The galaxy appeared in its most beautiful white. To complete the scene, the full moon rose at length in that clouded majesty which Milton takes notice of, and opened to the eye a new picture of nature, which was more finely shaded and disposed among softer lights than that which the sun had before discovered to us.
As I was surveying the moon walking in her brightness, and taking her progress among the constellations, a thought rose in me which I believe very often perplexes and disturbs men of serious and contemplative natures. David himself fell into it in that reflection, "When I consider the heavens the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou regardest him!" In the same manner when I considered that infinite host of stars, or, to speak more philosophically, of suns which were then shining upon me, with those innumerable sets of planets or worlds which were moving round their respective suns; when I still enlarged the idea, and supposed another heaven of suns and worlds rising still above this which we discovered, and these still enlightened by a superior firmament of luminaries, which are planted at so great a distance, that they may appear to the inhabitants of the former as the stars do to us; in short, whilst I pursued this thought, I could not but reflect on that little insignificant figure which I myself bore amidst the immensity of God's works.
Were the sun, which enlightens this part of the creation, with all the host of planetary worlds that move about him, utterly extinguished and annihilated, they would not be missed more than a grain of sand upon the sea-shore. The space they possess is so exceedingly little in comparison of the whole, that it would scarce make a blank in the creation. The chasm would be imperceptible to an eye that could take in the whole compass of nature, and pass from one end of the creation to the other; as it is possible there may be such a sense in ourselves hereafter, or in creatures which are at present more exalted than ourselves. We see many stars by the help of glasses, which we do not discover with our naked eyes; and the finer our telescopes are, the more still are our discoveries. Huygenius carries this thought so far, that he does not think it impossible there may be stars whose light is not yet travelled down to us since their first creation. There is no question but the universe has certain
bounds set to it: but when we consider that it is the work of an infinite power, prompted by infinite goodness, with an infinite space to exert itself in, how can our imagination set any bounds to it?