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Drury-lane, March 24, 1710-11. I saw your friend the Templar this evening in the pit, and thought he looked very little pleased with the representation of the mad scene of The Pilgrim. I wish, sir, you would do us the favour to animadvert frequently upon the false taste the town is in, with relation to plays as well as operas. It certainly requires a degree of understanding to play justly; but such is our condition, that we are to suspend our reason to perform our parts. As to scenes of madness, you know, sir, there are noble instances of this kind in Shakspeare; but then it is the disturbance of a noble mind, from generous and humane resentments. It is like that grief which we have for the decease of our friends. It is no diminution, but a recommendation of human nature, that in such incidents, passion gets the better of reason; and all we can think to combat ourselves, is impotent against half what we feel. I will not mention that we had an idiot in the scene, and all the sense it is represented to have, is that of lust. As for myself, who have long taken pains in personating the passions, I have tonight acted only an appetite. The part I played is Thirst, but it is represented as written rather by a drayman than a poet. I come in with a tub about me, that tub hung with quart pots, with a full gallon at my mouth. I am ashamed to tell you that I pleased very much, and this was introduced as a madness; but sure it was not human madness,
for a mule or an ass may have been as dry as ever I was in my life.
I am, SIR,
and humble servant.' VOL. VI,
From the Savoy, in the Strand.
* If you can read it with dry eyes, I give you this trouble to acquaint you, that I am the unfortunate King Latinus, and I believe I am the first prince that dated from this palace since John of Gaunt. Such is the uncertainty of all human greatness, that I who lately never moved without a guard, am now pressed as a common soldier, and am to sail with the first fair wind against my brother Lewis of France. It is a very hard thing to put off a character which one has appeared in with applause. This I experienced since the loss of my diadem; for upon quarrelling with another recruit, I spoke my indignation wut of my part in recitativo;
Most audacious slave,
The words were no sooner out of my mouth, when a serjeant knocked me down, and asked me if I had a mind to mutiny, in talking things nobody understood. You see, sir, my unhappy circumstances ; and if by your meditation you can procure a subsidy for a prince (who never failed to make all that beheld him merry at his appearance) you will merit the thanks of
THE KING OF LATIUM.'
For the good of the public. Within two doors of the masquerade lives an eminent Italian chirurgeon, arrived from the carnival at Venice, of great experience in private cures. Accommodations are provided, and persons admitted in their masquing habits.
He has cured since his coming hither, in less than a fortnight,
four scaramouches, a mountebank doctor, two Turkish bassas, three nuns, and a morris.dancer.
N. B. Any person may agree by the great, and be kept in repair by the year. The doctor draws teeth without pulling off your masqne.
N° 23. TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 1711.
Sævit atrox Volscens, nec teli conspicit usquam
VIRG. Æn. ix. 420:
DRYDEN. THERE is nothing that more betrays a base ungenerous spirit than the giving of secret stabs to a man's reputation ; lampoons and satires, that are written with wit and spirit, are like poisoned darts, which not only inflict a wound, but make it incurable. For this reason I am very much troubled when I see the talents of humour and ridicule in the possession of an ill-natured man. There cannot be
* The following endorsement at the top of this paper, No. 23, is in a set of the Spectator, in 12mo, of the edition in 1712, which contains some MS. notes by a Spanish merchant, who lived at the time of the original publication :
( The character of Dr. Swift.” This was Mr. Blundell's opinion, and whether it was wellgrounded, ill-grounded, or ungrounded, probably he was not singular in the thought. The intimacy between Swift, Steele, and Addison was now over ; and that they were about this time estranged, appears from Swift's own testimony, dated March 16, 1710-11,
a greater gratification to a barbarous and inhuman wit, than to stir up sorrow in the heart of a private person, 'to raise uneasiness among near relations, and to expose whole families to derision, at the same time that he remains unseen and undiscovered. If, besides the accomplishments of being witty and ill-natured, a man is vicious into the bargain, he is one of the most mischievous creatures that can enter into a civil society.
His satire will then chiefly fall upon those who ought to be the most exempt from it. Virtue, merit, and every thing that is praiseworthy, will be made the subject of ridicule and buffoonery. It is impossible to enumerate the evils which arise from these arrows that fly in the dark, and I know no other excuse that is or can be made for them, than that the wounds they give are only imaginary, and produce nothing more than a secret shame or sorrow in the mind of the suffering person. It must indeed be confessed, that a lampoon or a satire do not carry in them robbery or murder ; but at the same time how many are there that would not rather lose a considerable sum of money, or even life itself, than be set up as a mark of infamy and derision and in this case a man should consider, that an injury is not to be measured by the notions of him that gives, but of him that receives it.
Those who can put the best countenance upon the outrages of this nature which are offered them, are not without their secret anguish. I have often observed a passage in Socrates's behaviour at his death, in a light wherein none of the critics have considered it. That excellent man entertaining his friends, a little before he drank the bowl of poison, with a discourse on the immortality of the soul, at his entering upon it, says that he does not believe any the most comic genius can censure him for talk
ing upon such a subject at such a time This passage, I think, evidently glances upon Aristophanes, who writ a comedy on purpose to ridicule the discourses of that divine philosopher. It has been observed by many writers, that Socrates was so little moved at this piece of buffoonery, that he was several times present at its being acted upon the stage, and never expressed the least resentment of it. But with submission, I think the remark I have here made shews us, that this unworthy treatment made an impression upon his mind, though he had been too wise to discover it.
When Julius Cæsar was lampooned by Catullus, he invited him to supper, and treated him with such a generous civility, that he made the poet his friend ever after. Cardinal Mazarine gave the same kind of treatment to the learned Quillet who had reflected upon his eminence in a famous Latin poem. The cardinal sent for him, and after some kind expostulations upon what he had written, assured him of his esteem, and dismissed him with a promise of the next good abbey that should fall, which he accordingly conferred upon him in a few months after. This had so good an effect upon the author, that he dedicated the second edition of his book to the cardinal, after having expunged the passages which had given him offence.
Sextus Quintus was not of so generous and forgiving a temper. Upon his being made pope, the statue of Pasquin was one night dressed in a very dirty shirt, with an excuse written under it, that he was forced to wear foul linen, because his laundress was made a princess. This was a reflectiou upon the pope's sister, who, before the promotion of her brother, was in those mean circumstances that Pasquin represented her. As this pasquinade made a great noise in Rome, the pope offered a consider