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of restoring it, and which in my opinion, have always been defective, because they have always been made with an eye to separate interests and party principles.
The thoughts of the day gave my mind employment for the whole night, so that I fell insensibly into a kind of methodical dream, which disposed all my contemplations into a vision or allegory, or what else the reader shall please to call it.
Methought I returned to the great hall, where I had been the morning before, but to my surprise, instead of the company that I left there, I saw, towards the upper end of the hall, à beautiful virgin seated on a throne of gold. Her name (as they told me) was Public Credit. The walls, instead of being adorned with pictures and maps, were hung with many acts of parliament written in golden letters. At the upper end of the hall was the magna charta, with the act of uniformity on the right hand, and the act of toleration on the left. At the lower end of the hall was the act of settlement, which was placed full in the eye of the virgin that sat upon the throne. Both the sides of the ball were covered with such acts of parliament as had been made for the establishment of public funds. The lady seemed to set an unspeakable value upon these several pieces of furniture, insomuch that she often refreshed her eye with them, and often smiled with a secret pleasure as she looked upon them; but at the same time, showed a very particular uneasiness if she saw anything approaching that might hurt them. She appeared indeed infinitely timorous in all her behaviour; and whether it was from the delicacy of her constitution, or that she was troubled with the vapours, as I was afterwards told by one, who I found was none of her well-wishers, she changed colour, and startled at everything she heard. She was likewise (as I afterwards found) a greater valetudinarian than any I had ever met with, even in her own sex, and subject to such momentary consumptions, that, in the twinkling of an eye, she would fall away from the most florid complexion, and most healthful state of body, and wither into a skeleton. Her recoveries were often as sudden as her decays, insomuch that she would revive in a moment out of a wasting distemper, into a habit of the highest health and vigour.
I had very soon an opportunity of observing these quick turns and changes in her constitution. There sat at her feet a couple of secretaries, who received every hour letters from all parts of the world, which the one or the other of them was perpetually reading to her; and according to the news she heard, to which she was exceedingly attentive, she changed colour, and discovered many symptoms of health or sickness.
Behind the throne was a prodigious heap of bags of money, which were piled upon one another so high that they touched the
ceiling. The floor on her right hand, and on her left, was covered Fith vast sums of gold that rose up in pyramids on either side of her But this I did not so much wonder at, when I heard, upon inquiry, that she had the same virtue in her touch, which the poets tell us a Lydian king was formerly possessed of; and that she could convert whatever she pleased into that precious metal.
After a little dizziness, and confused hurry of thought, which a man often meets with in a dream, methought the hall was alarmed, the doors flew open, and there entered half a dozen of the most hideous phantoms that I had ever seen (even in a dream) before that time. They came in, two by two, though matched in the most dissociable manner, and mingled together in a kind of dance. It Fould be tedious to describe their habits and persons; for which reason I shall only inform my readers, that the first couple were Tyranny and Anarchy, the second were Bigotry and Atheism, the third the Genius of a commonwealth, and a young man of about twenty years of age, * whose name I could not learn. He had a sword in his right hand, which in the dance he often brandished at the act of settlement; and a citizen, who stood by me, whispered in my ear, that he saw a sponge in his left hand. The dance of so many jarring natures put me in mind of the sun, moon, and earth, in the “Rehearsal,” that danced together for no other end but to eclipse one another.
The reader will easily suppose, by what has been before said, that the lady on the throne would have been almost frighted to distraction, had she seen but any one of these spectres; what then must have been her condition when she saw them all in a body? She fainted and died away at the sight.
“Et neque jam color est misto candore rubori;
OVID MET. iii. 491.
And scarce her form remains." There was as great a change in the hill of money-bags, and the heaps of money, the former shrinking and falling into so many empty bags, that I now found not above a tenth part of them had been filled with money.
The rest that took up the same space and made the same figure, as the bags that were ready filled with money, had been blown up with air, and called into my memory the bags full of wind, which Homer tells us his hero received as a present from Æolus. The
James Stuart, the pretended Prince of Wales.
great heaps of gold on either side the throne, appeared to be only heaps of paper, or little piles of notched sticks, bound up together in bundles, like Bath faggots.
Whilst I was lamenting this sudden desolation that had been made before me, the whole scene vanished. In the room of the frightful spectres, there now entered a second dance of apparitions very agreeably matched together, and made up of very amiable phantoms. The first pair was Liberty with Monarchy at her right hand. The second was Moderation leading in Religion; and the third a person whom I had never seen,* with the genius of Great Britain. At their first entrance the lady revived, the bags swelled to their former bulk, the pile of faggots and heaps of paper changed into pyramids of guineas; and for my own part I was so transported with joy, that I awaked, though I must confess, I would fain have fallen asleep again to have closed my vision, if I could have done it. ADDIson.t
No. 4. MONDAY, MARCH 5, 1710-11.
· Egregii mortalem altique silenti?
HOR. 2. Sat. vi. 58. One of uncommon silence and reserve. An author, when he first appears in the world, is very apt to believe it has nothing to think of but his performances. With a good share of this vanity in my heart, I made it my business these three days to listen after my own fame; and, as I have sometimes met with circumstances which did not displease me, I have been encountered by others, which gave me much mortification. It is incredible to think how empty I have in this time observed some part of the species to be, what mere blanks they are when they first come abroad in the morning, how utterly they are at a stand, until they are set a-going by some paragraph in a newspaper.
Such persons are very acceptable to a young author, for they de* The Elector of Hanover, afterwards King George I.
+ The Spectator was commenced with the understanding that the serial should be kept free from party politics. Yet the tone of these essays is Whiggish throughout. This paper, for instance, could have been written only by a Whig. The Spectator here shows himself a friend to the monied interest, while the Ministry at that time was meditating a blow at the Bank and the East India Company.-(M.)
sire no more in anything but to be new, to be agreeable. If I found consolation among such, I was as much disquieted by the incapacity of others. These are mortals who have a certain curiosity without power of reflection, and perused my papers like spectators rather than readers. But there is so little pleasure in inquiries that so nearly concern ourselves (it being the worst way in the world to fame, to be too anxious about it), that upon the whole I resolve for the future,to go on in my ordinary way; and without too much fear or hope about the business of reputation, to be very careful of the design of my actions, but very negligent of the consequences of them.
It is an endless and a frivolous pursuit to act by any other rule, than the care of satisfying our own minds in what we do. One would think a silent man, who concerned himself with no one breathing, should be very liable to misinterpretations; and yet I remember I was once taken up for a Jesuit, for no other reason but my profound taciturnity. It is from this misfortune, that to be out of harm's way, I have ever since affected crowds. He who comes into assemblies only to gratify his curiosity, and not to make a figure, enjoys the pleasures of retirement in a more exquisite degree, than he possibly could in his closet; the lover, the ambitious, and the miser, are followed thither by a worse crowd than any they can withdraw from. To be exempt from the passions with which others are tormented, is the only pleasing solitude. I can very justly say with the ancient sage, “I am never less alone than when alone."
As I am insignificant to the company in public places, and as it is visible I do not come thither as most do, to show myself, I gratify the vanity of all who pretend to make an appearance, and often have as kind looks from well-dressed gentlemen and ladies, as a poet would bestow upon one of his audience. There are so many gratifications attend this public sort of obscurity, that some little distastes I daily receive have lost their anguish; and I did the other day, without the least displeasure, overhear one say of me, that strange fellow ; and another answer, I have known the fellow's face these tuelve years, and so must you ; but I believe you are the first ever asked who he was. There are, I must confess, many to whom my person is as well known as that of their nearest relations, who give themselves no further trouble about calling me by my name or quality, but speak of me very currently by the appellation of Mr. IV hat-dye-call-him.
To make up for these trivial disadvantages, I have the high satisfaction of beholding all nature with an unprejudiced eye; and having nothing to do with men's passions or interests, I cản, with the greater sagacity, consider their talents, manners, failings, and merits.
It is remarkable, that those who want any one sense, possess the others with greater force and vivacity. Thus my want of, or rather resignation of speech, gives me all the advantages of a dumb man. I have, methinks, a more than ordinary penetration in seeing; and flatter myself that I have looked into the highest and lowest of mankind ; and make shrewd guesses, without being admitted to their conversation, at the inmost thoughts and reflections of all whom I behold. It is from hence that good or ill fortune has no manner of force towards affecting my judgment. I see men flourishing in courts, and languishing in jails, without being prejudiced from their circumstances, to their favour or disadvantage; but from their inward manner of bearing their condition, often pity the prosperous, and admire the unhappy.
Those who converse with the dumb, know from the turn of their eyes, and the changes of their countenance, their sentiments of the objects before them. I have indulged my silence to such an extravagance, that the few who are intimate with me, answer my smiles with concurrent sentences, and argue to the very point I shaked my head at, without my speaking. Will HONEYCOMB was very entertaining the other night at a play, to a gentleman who sat on his right hand, while I was at his left. The gentleman believed Will was talking to himself, when upon my looking with great approbation at a young thing in a box before us, he said, “I am quite of another opinion. She has, I will allow, a very pleasing aspect, but, methinks, that simplicity in her countenance is rather childish than innocent.” When I observed her a second time, he said, “I grant her dress is very becoming, but perhaps the merit of choice is owing to her mother; for though,” continued he, “ I allow a beauty to be as much commended for the elegance of her dress as a wit for that of his language ; yet if she has stolen the colour of her ribbands from another, or hud advice about her trimmings, I shall not allow her the praise of dress, any more than I would call a plagiary an author.” When I threw my eye towards the next woman to her, Will spoke what I looked, according to his romantic imagination, in the following manner.
Behold, you who dare, that charming virgin; behold the beauty of her person chastised by the innocence of her thoughts. Chastity, good nature, and affability, are the graces that play in her countenance; she knows she is handsome, but she knows she is good. Conscious beauty adorned with conscious virtue! What a spirit is there in those eyes! What a bloom in that person! How is the whole woman expressed in her appearance ! Her air has the beauty of motion, and her look the force of language
It was prudence to turn away my eyes from this object, and