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others from the best use they can make of them, even looking up to heaven.
“THERE never was (I believe) an acceptable man, but had some awkward imitators. Ever since the Spectator appeared, have I remarked a kind of men, whom I choose to call Starers; that without any regard to time, place, or modesty, disturb a large company with their impertinent eyes. Spectators make up a proper assembly for a puppet-show or a bear-garden ; but devout supplicants and attentive hearers are the audience one ought to expect in churches. I am, Sir, member of a small pious congregation near one of the north gates of this city ; much the greater part of us indeed are females, and used to behave ourselves in a regular attentive manner, till very lately one whole aisle has been disturbed by one of these monstrous starers: he is the head taller than any one in the church; but for the greater advantage of exposing himself, stands upon a hassock, and commands the whole congregation, to the great annoyance of the devoutest part of the auditory; for what with blushing, confusion, and vexation, we can neither mind the prayers nor sermon. Your animadversion upon this insolence would be a great favor to, “SIR, your most humble servant,
• S. Ci
I have frequently seen of this sort of fellows, and do not think there can be a greater aggravation of an
offence, than that it is committed where the criminal is protected by the sacredness of the place which he violates. Many reflections of this sort might be very justly made upon this kind of behaviour ; but a starer is not usually a person to be convinced by the reason of the thing; and a fellow that is capable of shewing an impudent front before a whole congregation, and can bear being a public spectacle, is not so easily rebuked as to amend by admonitions. If, therefore, my correspondent does not inform me, that within seven days after this date the barbarian does not at least stand upon his own legs only, without an eminence, my friend Will Prosper has promised to take an hassock opposite to him, and stare against him in defence of the ladies. I have given him directions, according to the most exact rules of optics, to place himself in such a manner, that he shall meet his eyes wherever he throws them. I have hopes that when Will confronts him, and all the ladies, in whose behalf he engages him, cast kind looks and wishes of success at their champion, he will have some shame, and feel a little of the pain he has so often put others to, of being out of countenance.
It has, indeed, been time out of mind generally remarked, and as often lamented, that this family of Starers have infested public assemblies : and I know no other way to obviate so great an evil, except, in the case of fixing their eyes upon woman, some male friend will take the part of such as are under the oppression of impudence, and encounter the eyes of the Starers whereever they meet them. While we suffer our women to be
thus impudently attacked, they have no defence, but in the end to cast yielding glances at the Starers : and in this case, a man who has no sense of shame has the same advantage over his mistress, as he who has no regard for his own life has over his adversary. While the generality of the world are fettered by rules, and move by proper and just methods, he who has no respect to any of them, carries away the reward due to that propriety of behaviour, with no other merit but that of having neglected it.
I take an impudent fellow to be a sort of outlaw in good breeding, and therefore what is said of him no nation or person can be concerned for.
For this reason, one may be free upon him. I have put myself to great pains in considering this prevailing quality which we call impudence, and have taken notice that it exerts itself in a different manner, according to the different soils wherein such subjects of these dominions, as are masters of it, were born. Impudence in an Englishman is sullen and insolent; in a Scotchman, it is untractable and rapacious; in an Irishman, absurd and fawning. As the course of the world now runs, the impudent Englishman behaves like a surly landlord, the Scot like an ill-received guest, and the Irishman like a stranger, who knows he is not welcome. There is seldom any thing entertaining either in the impudence of a South or North Briton; but that of an Irishman is always comic. A true and genuine impudence is ever the effect of ignorance without the least sense of it.
Those who are downright impudent, and go on with
out reflection that they are such, are more to be tolerated,' than a set of fellows among us who profess impudence with an air of humour, and think to carry off the most inexcusable of all faults in the world, with no other apology than saying in a gay tone, 'I put an impudent face upon the matter. No; no man shall be allowed the advantages of impudence, who is conscious that he is such. If he knows he is impudent, he may as well be otherwise ; and it shall be expected that he blush, when he sees he makes another do it. For nothing car atone for the want of modesty ; without which, beauty is ungraceful, and wit detestable.
TUESDAY, March 27, 1711.
THERE is nothing that more betrays a base ungenerous spirit, than the giving of secret stabs to a man's reputation. Lampoons and satires, that are written with wit and spirit, are like poisoned darts, which not only inflict a wound, but make it incurable. For this reason I am very much troubled when I see the talents of humour and ridicule in the possession of an ill-natured man. There cannot be a greater gratification to a barbarous and inhuman wit, than to stir up sorrow in the heart of a private person, to raise uneasiness among near relations, and to expose whole families to derision, at the same time that he remains unseen and undiscovered. If, besides the accomplishments of being witty and ill-natured, a man
is vicious into the bargain, he is one of the most mischievous creatures that can enter into a civil society. His satire will then chiefly fall upon those who ought to be most exempt from it. Virtue, merit, and every thing that is praiseworthy will be made the subject of ridicule and buffoonery. It is impossible to enumerate the evils which arise from these arrows that fly in the dark; and I know no other excuse that is or can be made for them, than that the wounds they give are only imaginary, and produce nothing more than a secret shame or sorrow in the mind of the suffering person. It must indeed be confessed, that a lampoon or a satire do not carry in them robbery or murder ; but at the same time, how many are there that would not rather lose a considerable sum of money, or even life itself, than be set up as a mark of infamy and derision ? And in this case a man should consider, that an injury is not to be measured by the notions of him that gives, but of him that receives it. Those who can put the best countenance upon
the outrages of this nature which are offered to them, are not without their secret anguish. I have often observed a passage in Socrates's behaviour at his death, in a light wherein none of the critics have considered it. That excellent man, entertaining his friends, a little before he drank the bowl of poison, with a discourse on the immortality of the soul, at his entering upon it says, that he does not believe any the most comic genius can censure him for talking upon such a subject at such a time. This passage, I think, evidently glances upon Aristophanes, who writ a comedy on purpose to ridicule the discourses