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Constantius himself must be the best judge in the affair he mentions.
The letter dated from Lincoln is received. Arethusa and her friend may hear farther from me. Celia is a little too hasty.
Harriet is a good girl, but must not courtesy to folks she does not know.
I must ingenuously confess my friend Samson Benstaff has quite puzzled me, and writ me a long letter which I cannot comprehend one word of.
Collidan must also explain what he means by his drigelling.
I think it beneath my Spectatorial dignity to concern myself in the affair of the boiled dumpling.
I shall consult some literati on the project sent me for the discovery of the longitude.
I know not how to conclude this paper better than by inserting a couple of letters which are really genuine, and which I look upon to be two of the smartest pieces I have received from my correspondents of either sex: BROTHER SPEC.
•WHILE you are surveying every object that falls in your way, I am wholly taken up with one. Had that sage who demanded what beauty was, lived to see the dear angel I love, he would not have asked such a question. Had another seen her, he would himself have loved the person in whom heaven has made virtue visible; and, were you yourself to be in her company, you could never, with all your loquacity, say enough of her good humour and sense. I send you the outlines of a picture, which I can no more finish, than I can sufficiently admire the dear original.
CONSTANTIO SPEC.' . VOL, VIII.
GOOD MR. PERT,
I will allow you nothing until you resolve me the following question. Pray what is the rea. son that, while you only talk now upon Wednesdays, Fridays, and Mondays, you pretend to be a greater tatler than when you spoke every day as you formerly used to do? If this be your plunging out of your taciturnity, pray let the length of your speeches compensate for the scarceness of them. I am, Good Mr. Pert,
No. 582. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18, 1714.
Tenet insanabile multos
Juv. Sat. vii. 51.
THERE is a certain distemper, which is mentioned neither by Galen nor Hippocrates, nor to be met with in the London Dispensary. Juvenal, in the motto of my paper, terms it a cacoëthes; which is a hard word for a disease called in plain English, “The itch of writing. This cacoëthes is as epidemical as. the small-pox, there being very few who are not seized with it some time or other in their lives. There is, however, this difference in these two distempers, that the first, after having indisposed you for a time, never returns again: whereas this I am
speaking of, when it is once got into the blood, seldom comes out of it. The British nation is very much afflicted with this malady, and, though very many remedies have been applied to persons infected with it, few of them have ever proved successful. Some have been cauterised with satires and lampoons, but have received little or no benefit from them; others have had their heads fastened for an hour together between a cleft board, which is made use of as a cure for the disease when it appears in its greatest malignity*. There is indeed ane kind of this malady which has been sometimes removed, like the biting of a tarantula, with the sound of a musical instrument, which is commonly known by the name of a cat-call. But if you have a patient of this kind under your care, you may assure yourself there is no other way of recovering him effectually, but by forbidding him the use of pen, ink, and paper.
But, to drop the allegory before I have tired it out, there is no species of scribblers more offensive, and more incurable, than your periodical writers, whose works return upon the public on certain days and at stated times. We have not the consolation in the perusal of these authors which we find at the reading of all others, namely, that we are sure, if we have but patience, we may come to the end of their labours. I have often admired an humourous saying of Diogenes, who reading a dull author to several of his friends, when every one began to be tired, finding he was almost come to a blank leaf at the end of it, cried, “Courage, lads, I see land.' On the contrary, our progress through that kind of writers I am now speaking of is never at an end. One day makes work for another—we do not know when to promise ourselves rest. * Put in the pillory,
. It is a melancholy thing to consider that the art of printing, which might be the greatest blessing to mankind, should prove detrimental to us, and that it should be made use of to scatter prejudice and ignorance through a people, instead of conveying to them truth and knowledge.
I was lately reading a very whimsical treatise, entitled William Ramsay's Vindication of Astrology. This profound author, among many mystical passages, has the following one: “The absence of the sun is not the cause of night, forasmuch as his light is so great that it may illuminate the earth all over at once as clear as broad day ; but there are tenebrificous and dark stars, by whose influence night is brought on, and which do ray out darkness and obscurity upon the earth as the sun does light.
I consider writers in the same view this sage astrologer does the heavenly bodies. Some of them are stars that scatter light as others do darkness. I could mention several authors who are tenebrificous stars of the first magnitude, and point out a knot of gentlemen, who have been dull in concert, and may be looked upon as a dark constellation. The nation has been a great while benighted with several of these antiluminaries. I suffered them to ray out their darkness as long as I was able to endure it, till at length I came to a resolution of rising upon them, and hope in a little time to drive them quite out of the British hemisphere.
No. 583. FRIDAY, AUGUST 20, 1714.
Ipse thymum pinosque ferens de montibus altis,
VIRG. Georg. iv. 112.
EVERY station of life has duties which are proper to it. Those who are determined by choice to any particular kind of business are indeed more happy than those who are determined by necessity ; but both are under an equal obligation of fixing on employments, which may be either useful to themselves, or beneficial to others : no one of the sons of Adam ought to think himself exempt from that labour and industry which were denounced to our first parent, and in him to all his posterity. Those to whom birth or fortune may seem to make such an application unnecessary, ought to find out some calling or profession for themselves, that they may not lie as a burthen on the species, and be the only useless parts of the creation.
Many of our country gentlemen in their busy hours apply themselves wholly to the chase, or to some other diversion which they find in the fields and woods. This gave occasion to one of our most