« AnteriorContinua »
doubts, fears, and vapours, occasioned by the youth and beauty of Mary my wife, aged twenty-five, do hereby, for the benefit of the public, give notice, that I have found great relief from the two following doses, having taken them two mornings together with a dish of chocolate. Witness my hand, &c.'
For the benefit of the poor.
In charity to such as are troubled with the disease of levee-hunting, and are forced to seek their bread every morning at the chamber-doors of great men, I A. B. do testify, that for many years past I laboured under this fashionable distemper, but was cured of it by a remedy which I bought of Mrs. Baldwin, contained in a half sheet of paper, marked No. 193, where any one may be provided with the same remedy at the price of a single penny.'
An infallible cure for hypochondriac melancholy, No. 173, 184, 191, 203, 209, 221, 233, 235, 239, 245, 247, 251.
I Christopher Query, having been troubled with a certain distemper in my tongue, which showed itself in impertinent and superfluous interrogatories, have not asked one unnecessary question since my perusal of the prescription marked No. 228.'
'The Britannic Beautifier*, being an essay on modesty, No. 231, which gives such a delightful blushing colour to the cheeks of those that are
* Translated from the advertisement of the Red Bavarian Liquor. Spect. in folio, No. 545.
white or pale, that it is not to be distinguished from a natural fine complexion, nor perceived to be artificial by the nearest friend, is nothing of paint, or in the least hurtful. It renders the face delightfully handsome; is not subject to be rubbed off, and cannot be paralleled by either wash, powder, cosmetic, &c. It is certainly the best beautifier in the world.
I Samuel Self, of the parish of St. James, having a constitution which naturally abounds with acids, made use of a paper of directions marked No. 177, recommending a healthful exercise called good-nature, and have found it a most excellent sweetener of the blood.'
'Whereas I, Elizabeth Rainbow, was troubled with that distemper in my head, which about a year ago was pretty epidemical among the ladies, and discovered itself in the colour of their hoods; hav ing made use of the doctor's cephalic tincture, which he exhibited to the public in one of his last year's papers, I recovered in a very few days.'
'I George Gloom, having for a long time been troubled with the spleen, and being advised by my friends to put myself into a course of Steele, did for that end make use of remedies conveyed to me several mornings, in short letters, from the hands of the invisible doctor. They were marked at the bottom Nathaniel Henroost, Alice Threadneedle, Rebecca Nettletoy, Tom Loveless, Mary Meanwell, Thomas Smoaky, Anthony Freeman, Tom Meggot, Rustick Sprightly, &c. which have had so good an effect upon me, that I now find myself cheerful, lightsome and easy; and therefore do recommend
them to all such as labour under the same distemper.'
Not having room to insert all the advertisements which were sent me, I have only picked out some few from the third volume, reserving the fourth for another opportunity.
N° 548. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1712.
-Vitiis nemo sine nascitur, optimus ille
Qui minimis urgetur.
HOR. I Sat. iii. 68.
There's none but has some fault; and he's the best,
• Mr. SPECTATOR.
Nov. 27, 1712.
'I have read this day's paper with a great deal of pleasure, and could send you an account of several elixirs and antidotes in your third volume, which your correspondents have not taken notice of in their advertisements; and at the same time must own to you, that I have seldom seen a shop furnished with such a variety of medicaments, and in which there are fewer soporifics. The several vehicles you have invented for conveying your unacceptable truths to us, are what I most particularly admire, as I am afraid they are secrets which will die with you. I do not find that any of your critical essays are taken notice of in this paper, notwithstanding I look upon them to be excellent cleansers of the brain, and could venture to superscribe them with an advertisement which I have lately seen in one of your newspapers, wherein there is an ac
count given of a sovereign remedy for restoring the taste to all such persons whose palates have been vitiated by distempers, unwholesome food, or any the like occasions. But to let fall the allusion, notwithstanding your criticisms, and particularly the candour which you have discovered in them, are not the least taking part of your works, I find your opinion concerning poetical justice, as it is expressed in the first part of your fortieth Spectator, is controverted by some eminent critics; and as you now seem, to our great grief of heart, to be winding up your bottoms, I hoped you would have enlarged a little upon that subject. It is indeed but a single paragraph in your works, and I believe those who have read it with the same attention I have done, will think there is nothing to be objected against it. I have however drawn up some additional arguments to strengthen the opinion which you have there delivered, having endeavoured to go to the bottom of the matter, which you may either publish or suppress as you think fit.
Horace in my motto says, that all men are vicious, and that they differ from one another only as they are more or less so. Boileau has given the same account of our wisdom, as Horace has of our virtue.
"Tous les hommes sont fous, et malgré tous leurs soins,
"All men," says he, "are fools, and, in spite of their endeavours to the contrary, differ from one another only as they are more or less so."
'Two or three of the old Greek poets have given the same turn to a sentence which describes the happiness of man in this life;
Τὸ ζῆν ἄλυπως, ἄνδρῶν ἐστὶν εὐτυχῶς.
That man is most happy who is the least miserable. It will not perhaps be unentertaining to the polite reader to observe how these three beautiful sentences are formed upon different subjects by the same way of thinking; but I shall return to the first of them. Our goodness being of a comparative and not an absolute nature, there is none who in strictness can be called a virtuous man. Every one has in him a natural alloy, though one may be fuller of dross than another: for this reason I cannot think it right to introduce a perfect or a faultless man upon the stage; not only because such a character is improper to move compassion, but because there is no such thing in nature. This might probably be one reason why the Spectator in one of his papers took notice of that late invented term called poetical justice, and the wrong notions into which it has led some tragic writers. The most perfect man has vices enough to draw down punishments upon his head, and to justify Providence in regard to any miseries that may befal him. For this reason I cannot think but that the instruction and moral are much finer, where a man who is virtuous in the main of his character falls into distress, and sinks under the blows of fortune at the end of a tragedy, than when he is represented as happy and triumphant. Such an example corrects the insolence of human nature, softens the mind of the beholder with sentiments of pity and compassion, comforts him under his own private affliction, and teaches him not to judge of men's virtues by their successes. I cannot think of one real hero in all antiquity so far raised above human infirmities, that he might not be very naturally represented in a tragedy as plunged in misfortunes and calamities. The poet may still find out some prevailing passion or indiscretion in his character, and show it in such a manner as will suf