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publick is disposed to be. In the mean while I desire my Reader to consider every particular paper or discourse as a distinct tract by itself, and independent of every thing that goes before or after it.
I shall end this paper with the following letter, which was really sent me, as some others have been which I have published, and for which I must own my self indebted to their respective writers.
“I was this morning in a company of your well-wishers, “when we read over, with great satisfaction, Tully's observa“tions on action adapted to the British theatre : though, by “the way, we were very sorry to find that you have disposed “ of another member of your club. Poor Sir Roger is dead, "and the worthy Clergyman dying. Captain Sentry has taken 15 “possession of a fair estate ; Will. Honeycomb has married a “farmer's daughter, and the Templer withdraws himself into “the business of his own profession. What will all this end in ? “We are afraid it portends no good to the publick. Unless
you very speedily fix a day for the election of new members, “we are under apprehensions of losing the British Spectator. “I hear of a party of Ladies who intend to address you on “ this subject, and question not, if you do not give us the slip “ very suddenly, that you will receive addresses from all parts “of the kingdom to continue so useful a work. Pray deliver 25
us out of this perplexity, and among the multitude of your “ readers you will particularly oblige
Your most sincere friend and servant, Philo-Spec.
N° 558. Wednesday, June 23. [1714.]
Qui fit, Mæcenas, ut nemo, quam sibi sortem
It is a celebrated thought of Socrates, that if all the misfortunes of mankind were cast into a publick stock, in order to be equally distributed among the whole species, those who
now think themselves the most unhappy, would prefer the 5 share they are already possessed of, before that which would
fall to them by such a division. Horace has carried this thought a great deal further in the motto of my paper, which implies that the hardships or misfortunes we lie under, are more easy to us than those of any other person would be, in case we could change conditions with him.
As I was ruminating on these two remarks, and seated in my elbow-chair, I insensibly fell asleep; when, on a sudden, methought there was a proclamation made by Jupiter, that
every mortal should bring in his griefs and calamities, and 15 throw them together in a heap. There was a large plain
appointed for this purpose. I took my stand in the center of it, and saw with a great deal of pleasure the whole human species marching one after another, and throwing down their several loads, which immediately grew up into a prodigious mountain that seemed to rise above the clouds.
5 There was a certain Lady of a thin airy shape, who was very active in this solemnity. She carried a magnifying glass in one of her hands, and was cloathed in a loose flowing robe, embroidered with several figures of fiends and spectres, that discovered themselves in a thousand chimerical shapes, as her garment hovered in the wind. There was something wild and distracted in her looks. Her name was FANCY. She led up every mortal to the appointed place, after having very officiously assisted him in making up his pack, and laying it upon his shoulders. My heart melted within me to see my 15 fellow-creatures groaning under their respective burthens, and to consider that prodigious bulk of human calamities which lay before me.
There were however several persons who gave me great diversion upon this occasion. I observed one bringing in a fardel very carefully concealed under an old embroidered cloak, which, upon his throwing it into the heap, I discovered to be Poverty. Another, after a great deal of puffing, threw down his luggage; which upon examining, I found to be his wife.
25 There were multitudes of Lovers saddled with very whimsical burthens, composed of darts and flames; but, what was very odd, though they sighed as if their hearts would break under these bundles of calamities, they could not perswade themselves to cast them into the heap, when they came up 30 to it; but after a few faint efforts, shook their heads and marched away, as heavy loaden as they came. I saw multitudes of old women throw down their wrinkles, and several young ones who stripped themselves of a tawny skin. There
were very great heaps of red noses, large lips, and rusty teeth. The truth of it is, I was surprized to see the greatest part of the mountain made up of bodily deformities. Observing one
advancing towards the heap with a larger cargo than ordinary 5 upon his back, I found upon his near approach, that it was
only a natural hump which he disposed of, with great joy of heart, among his collection of human miseries. There were likewise distempers of all sorts, though I could not but observe,
that there were many more imaginary than real. One little 10 packet I could not but take notice of, which was a compli
cation of all the diseases incident to human nature, and was in the hand of a great many fine people : this was called the Spleen. But what most of all surprized me, remark I
made, that there was not a single vice or folly thrown into 15 the whole heap: at which I was very much astonished, having
concluded within my self, that every one would take this opportunity of getting rid of his passions, prejudices and frailties.
I took notice in particular of a very profligate fellow, who I did not question came loaden with his crimes, but upon searching into his bundle, I found that instead of throwing his guilt from him, he had only laid down his memory. He was followed by another worthless Rogue, who flung away his modesty
instead of his ignorance. 25 When the whole race of mankind had thus cast their bur
dens, the Phantome which had been so busie on this occasion, seeing me an idle spectator of what passed, approached towards
I grew uneasie at her presence, when of a sudden she held her magnifying glass full before my eyes. I no sooner 30
saw my face in it, but was startled at the shortness of it, which now appeared to me in its utmost aggravation. The immoderate breadth of the features made me very much out of humour with my own countenance, upon which I threw it from me like a mask. It happened very luckily, that one who stood by me.
had just before thrown down his visage, which, it seems, was too long for him. It was indeed extended to a most shameful length; I believe the very chin was, modestly speaking, as long as my whole face. We had both of us an opportunity of mending our selves, and, all the contributions being now brought in, every man was at liberty to exchange his misfortune for those of another person. But as there arose many new incidents in the sequel of my vision, I shall reserve them for the subject of my next paper.
No 567. Wednesday, July 14.
- Inceptus clamor frustratur hiantes. Virg.
I have received private advice from some of my correspondents, that if I would give my paper a general run, I should take care to season it with scandal. I have indeed observed of late, that few writings sell which are not filled with great names and illustrious titles. The Reader generally casts his eye upon a new book, and if he finds several letters separated from one another by a dash, he buys it up, and peruses it with great satisfaction. An M and an h, a T and an r, with a short line between them, has sold many an insipid pamphlet. Nay I have known a whole edition go off by vertue of two or three well written @uc-'s.
A sprinkling of the words Faction, Frenchman, Papist, Plunderer, and the like significant terms, in an Italick character, hath also a very good effect upon the eye of the purchaser ; not to mention Scribler, Liar, Rogue, Rascal, Knave, and Villain, without which it is impossible to carry on a modern controversie.
Our party-writers are so sensible of the secret virtue of an innuendo to recommend their productions, that of late they