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*++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ No. 221. Tuesday, November 13.
A OVO Usque ad Mala
: Hor. Sat 3. 1. 1. v. 6. From Eggs, which forf are set upon the Board,
To Apples ripe, with which it laft is flor'd. U THEN I have finished any of my Speculations,
W it is my Method to consider which of the ancient Authors have touched upon the Subject that I treat of. By this means I meet with some celebrated Thought upon it, or a Thought of my own expressed in better Words, or some Similitude for the Illustration of my Subject. This is what gives birth to the Motto of a Speculation, which I rather choose to take out of the Poets than the Prose-writers, as the former generally give a finer Turn to a Thought than the latter, and by couching it in few Words, and in harmonious Numbers, make it more portable to the Memory. ; .
. . MY Reader is therefore sure to meet with at least one good Line in every Paper, and very often finds his Imagination entertained by a Hint that awakens in his Memory some beautiful Passage in a Claffick Author.. isi
IT was a Saying of an ancient Philosopher, which I find some of our Writers have ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, who perhaps might have taken occasion to repeat it, That a good Face is a Letter of Recommendation. It naturally makes the Beholders inquisitive into the Person who is the owner of it, and generally prepossesses them in his Favour. A handsom Motto has the same Effect. Besides that it always gives a supernumerary Beauty to a Paper, and is sometimes in a manner necessary when the Writer is engaged in what may appear a Paradox to vulgar Minds, as it shews that he is supported by good Authorities, and is not fingular in his Opinion.
I muft confess, the Motto is of little Use to an unlearned Reader, for which Reason I consider it only as a Word to the Wife. But as for my unlearned Friends, if
they cannot relish the Motto, I take care to make Provision for them in the Body of my Paper. If they do not understand the Sign that is hung out, they know very well by it, that they may meet with Entertainment in the House; and I think I was never better pleased than with a plain Man's Compliment, who, upon his Friend's telling him that he would like the Spectator much better if he understood the Motto, replied, That good Wine needs no Bulb.
I have heard of a couple of Preachers in a Country Town, who endeavoured which should out-shine one another, and draw together the greatest Congregation. One of them being well versed in the Fathers, used to quote every now and then a Latin Sentence to his illiterate Hearers, who it seems found themselves so edified by it, that they flocked in greater Numbers to this learned Man than to his Rival. The other finding his Congregation mouldering every Sunday, and hearing at length what was the Occasion of it, resolved to give his Parish a little Latin in his Turn; but being unacquainted with any of the Fathers, he digested into his Sermons the whole Book of Quæ Genus, adding however fuch Explications to it as he thought might be for the Benefit of his people. He afterwards entered upon As in præfenti, which he converted in the same manner to the Use of his Parishioners. This in a very little time thickned his Audience, filled his Church, and routed his Antagonist.
THE natural Love to Latin, which is so prevalent in our common People, makes me think that my Speculations fare never the worse among them for that little Scrap which appears at the Head of them; and what the more encourages me in the Use of Quotations in an unknown Tongue, is, that I hear the Ladies, whose Approbation I value more than that of the whole learned World, declare themselves in a more particular manner pleased with my Greek Mottoś. .
DESIGNING this Day's Work for a Dissertation upon the two Extremities of my Paper, and having already dispatch'd my Motto, I shall, in the next place, discourse upon those single Capital Letters, which are placed at the End of it, and which have afforded great Matter of Speculation to the Curious. I have heard various Conjectures upon this Subject. Some tell us that C is the Mark of those Papers that are written by the Clergyman, though others ascribe them to the Club in general : That the Papers marked with R were written by my Friend Sir ROGER : That L fignifies the Lawyer, whom I have described in my second Speculation ; and that T stands for the Trader or Merchant: But the Letter X, which is placed at the End of some few of my Papers, is that which has puzzled the whole Town, as they cannot think of any Name which begins with that Letter, except Xenophon and Xerxes, who can neither of them be fupposed to have had any Hand in these Speculations.
IN Answer to these inquisitive Gentlemen, who have many of them made Inquiries of me by Letter, I must tell them the Reply of an ancient Philosopher, who carried something hidden under his Cloke. A certain Acquaintance defiring him to let him know what it was he covered so carefully; I cover it, says he, on purpose that you foould not know. I have made use of these obscure Marks for the same Purpose. They are, perhaps, little Amulets or Charms to preserve the Paper againft the Fascination and Malice of evil Eyes; for which Reason I would not have my Reader surprised, if hereafter he sees any of my Papers marked with a Q, a Z, a Y, an &c, or with the Word Abracadabra.
I shall, however, so far explain my self to the Reader, as to let him know that the Letters C, L, and X, are Cabaliftical, and carry more in them than it is proper for the World to be acquainted with. Those who are versed in the Philosophy of Pythagoras, and swear by the Tetrachtys, that is the Number Four, will know very well that the Number Ten, which is signified by the Letter X, (and which has fo much perplexed the Town) has in it many particular Powers; that it is called by Platonick Writers the Complete Number; that One, Two, Three and Four put together make up the Number Ten; and that Ten is all. But these are not Mysteries for ordinary Readers to be let into. A Man must have spent many Years in hard Study before he can arrive at the Knowledge of them,
WE had a Rabbinical Divine in England, who was Chaplain to the Earl of Esex in Queen Elizabeth's Time, that had an admirable Head for Secrets of this Nature. Upon his taking the Doctor of Divinity's Degree, he preached before the University of Cambridge, upon the First Verse of the First Chapter of the First Book of Cbro. nicles,inwhich,says he,you have the three following Words,
Adam, Sheth, Enosh. He divided this short Text into many Parts, and by discovering several Mysteries in each Word, made a moft learn. ed and elaborate Discourse. The Name of this profound Preacher was Doctor Alabaster, of whom the Reader may find a more particular Account in Doctor Fuller's Book of Englis Worthies. This Instance will, I hope, convince my Readers that there may be a great deal of fine Writing in the Capital Letters which bring up the Rear of my Paper, and give them some Satisfaction in that Particular. But as for the full Explication of these Matters, I must refer them to Time, which discovers all Things.
N° 222. Wednesday. November 14.
Cur alter fratrum celare, & ludere, & ungi, .: Præferat Herodis palmetis pinguibus
Hor. Ep. 2. I. 2. v. 183.
1 your Papers, and have as often wondered to find 'my self disappointed; the rather, because I think it 'a Subject every way agreeable to your Design, and by • being left unattempted by others, seems reserved as a
proper Employment for you; I mean a Disquisition,
from whence it proceeds, that Men of the brightest • Parts, and most comprehensive Genius, completely ' furnished with Talents for any Province in human Af. ' fairs ; such as by their wise Lessons of Oeconomy to o.
thers have made it evident, that they have the justest No. ' tions of Life, and of true Sense in the Conduct of it : VOL. III.
from what unhappy contradictious Cause it proceeds, is that Persons thus finished by Nature and by Art, should Lo so often fail in the Management of that which they lo
o well understand, and want the Address to make a right • Application of their own Rules. This is certainly a pro
digious Inconfiftency in Behaviour, and makes much ,“ such a Figure in Morals as a monstrous Birth in Natu
rals, with this Difference only, which greatly aggra• vates the Wonder, that it happens much more frequent<ly; and what a Blemish does it caft upon Wit and Learn. •ing in the general Account of the World ? And in how • disadvantageous a Light does it expose them to the • busy Class of Mankind, that there should be so many • Inítances of Persons who have so conducted their Lives • in spite of these transcendent Advantages, as neither .. to be happy in themselves, nor useful to their Friends;
when every Body sees it was intirely in their own Power • to be eminent in both these Characters ? For my part, I ? think there is no Reflexion more astonishing, than to • consider one of these Gentlemen spending a fair For• tune, running in every Body's Debt without the least « Apprehension of a future Reckoning, and at last leaving - not only his own Children, but possibly those of other . People, by his Means, in starving Circumstances; while
a Fellow whom one would scarce suspect to have a huo man Soul, shall perhaps raise a vast Estate out of No. thing, and be the Founder of a Family capable of be.
ing very considerable in their Country, and doing many • illustrious Services to it. That this Observation is just, • Experience has put beyond all Dispute. But though • the Fact be so evident and glaring, yet the Cauies of • it are still in the Dark; which makes me persuade my - felf, that it would be no unacceptable Piece of Enter• tainment to the Town, to enquire into the hidden * Sources of fo unaccountable an Evil.
. I am, SIR,
Your most bumble Servant.
WHAT this Correspondent wonders at, has been Matta of Admiration ever fince there was any fuch thing as