Abbildungen der Seite

King Latinus to the Spectator, greeting. • THOUGH some may think we descend from • our imperial dignity in holding correspondence with 6 a private Litterato; yet, as we have great respect . to all good intentions for our service, we do not es• teem it beneath us to return you our royal thanks for + what you published in our behalf

, while under con. « finement in the enchanted castle of the Savoy, and • for your mention of a subsidy for a prince in misfor• tune. This your timely zeal has inclined the hearts • of divers to be aiding unto us, if we could propose o the means. We have taken their good-will into I consideration, and have contrived a method which

will be easy to those who shall give the aid, and not

unacceptable to us who receive ií. A concert of ( music shall be prepared at Haberdashers-Hall for • Wednesday the second of May; and we will honour

the said entertainment with our own presence, where ' each person shall be assessed but at two shillings and + six pence. What we expect from you is, that you "publish these our royal intentions, with injunction • that they be read at all tea-tables within the cities of

London and Westminster: and so we bid you hear. tily farewell.

(LATINUS, King of the Volcians.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6 Given at our Court in Vinegar-yard, story the third

from the earth, April 28, 1711.'


......... Strenua nos exercet inertia.


Laborious idleness our powers employs.


THE following letter being the first that I have received from the learned University of Cambridge, I could not but do myself the honour of publishing it. It gives an account of a new sect of philosophers which has arose in that famous residence of learning, and is perhaps the only sect this age is likely to proluce.

Cambridge, April 26. Mr. Spectator, • BELIEVING you to be an universal encourager * of liberal arts and sciences, and glad of any informa• tion from the learned world. I thought an account of

a sect of philosophers very frequent among us, but not taken notice of, as far as I can remember, by any writers either ancient or modern, would not be unacceptable to you. The philosophers of this sect are, in the language of the University, called Loungers: I am of opinion, that, as in many other things,

so likewise in this, the ancients have been defective; 'viz. in mentioning no philosophers of this sort. Some

indeed will affirm that they are a kind of Peripate'tics, because we see them continually walking about. " But I would have these gentlemen consider, that

though the ancient Peripatetics walked much, yet 'they wrote much also ; witness, to the sorrow of "this sect, Aristotle and others: whereas it is noto• rious that most of our professors never lay out a far

thing either in pen, ink, or paper. Others are for

deriving them from Diogenes, because several of " the leading men of the seçt have a great deal of the.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'cynical humour in them, and delight much in suin

shine. But then again, Diogenes was content to have his constant habitation in a narrow tub, whilst our

philosophers are so far from being of his opinion, " that it is death to them to be confined within the li' mits of a good, handsome, convenient chamber but ' for half an hour: others there are, who, from the "clearness of their heads, deduce the pedigree of • Loungers from that great man; I think it was ei'ther Plato or Socrates, who after all his study and • learning, professed, That all he then knew was, that • he knew nothing. You easily see this is but a shal• low argument, and be soon confuted.

' I have with great pains and industry made my ob. servations, from time to time, upon these sages; ' and having now all materials ready, in compiling

a treatise, wherein I shall set forth the rise and progress of this famous sect, together with their max

ims, austerities, manner of living, &c. Having pre• vailed with a friend, who designs shortly to publish

a new edition of Diogenes Laertius, to add this trea

tise of mine by way of supplement; I shall now, to • let the world see what may be expected from me, ' first begging Mr. Spectator's leave that the world

may see it, briefly touch upon some of my chief oh

servations, and then subscribe myself your humble ( servant. In the first place I shall give you two or

three of their maxims; the fundamental one, upon (which their whole system is built, is this, viz.--That ' time being an implacalle enemy to and destroyer • of all things, ought to be paid in his own coin, and 'be destroyed and murdered without mercy, by all ' the ways that can be invented. Another favourite ' saying of theirs is, That business was designed only • for knares, and study for blockheads: a third seems

to be a ludicrous one, but has a great effect upon their lives; and is this, That the devil is at home.

[ocr errors]

6 Now for their manner of living: and here I have a « large field to expatiate in; but I shall reserve parti6 ticulars for my intended discourse, and now only ! mention one or two of their principal exercises. The • elder proficients employ themselves in inspecting

mores hominum multorum, in getting acquainted with ( all the signs and windows in the town.

Some are 6 arrived to so great a knowledge, that they can tell

every time any butcher kills a calf, every time an cold woman's cat is in the straw; and a thousand 0(ther matters as important. One ancient philosophed « contemplates two or three hours every day over a < sun-dial; and is true to the dial

....As the dial to the sun, Although it be not shone upon.

« Our younger students are content to carry their spe

culations as yet no farther than bowling greens, 6 billiard-tables, and such like places. This may serve • for a sketch of my design ; in which I hope I shall have your encouragement.

I am, Sir, Yours.

I MUST be so just as to observe, I have formerly seen of this sect at our other university; though not distinguished by the appellation which the learned historian, my correspondent, reports they bear at Cam-bridge: they were ever looked upon as a people that impaired themselves more by their strict applications to the rules of their order, than any other students whatever. Others seldom hurt themselves any further than to gain weak eyes, and sometimes headachs; but these philosophers are seized all over with a general inability, indolence and weariness, and a certain impatience of the place they are in, with an hea.. viness in removing to another.

The Loungers are satisfied with being merely part of the number of mankind, without distinguishing themselves from amongst them. They may be said rather to suffer their time to pass than to spend it, without regard to the past, or prospect of the future: all they know of life is only the present instant, and do not taste even that. When one of this order happens to be a man of fortune, the expence of his time is transferred to his coach and horses, and his life is to be measured by their motion, not his own enjoyments or sufferings; the chief entertainment one of these philosophers can possibly propose to himself is, to get a relish of dress. This, methinks, might diversity the person he is weary of, his own dear self, to himself. I have known these two amusements make one of these philosophers make a tolerable figure in the world; with variety of dresses in public assemblies in town, and quick motion of his horses out of it: now to Bath; now to Tunbrid şe, then to New-Market, and then to London; he has, in process of time, brought it to pass, that his coach and his horses have been mentioned in all those places. When tie Loungers leave. an academic life, and, instead of this more elegant way of appearing in the polite world, retire to the seats of their ancestors, they usụally join a pack of dogs, and employ their days in defending their poultry from foxes. I do not know any other method that any of this order has ever taken to make a noise in the world; but I shall enquire into such about this town as have arrived at the dignity of being Loungers by the force of natural parts, without having ever seen an university; and send my correspondent, for the embellishment of his book, the names and history of those who pass their lives without any incidents at all; and how they shift coffee-houses and chocolatehouses from hour to hour, to get over the insupport. able labour of doing nothing.


« ZurückWeiter »