Class discussion 7: the eighteenth century essay
After reading examples of periodical essays from Steele, Addison, and Johnson, what would you say is different about the essay in the 18th century as compared with the essays you write in college?you must post your response of at least 300 wordsSteeleNo. 2. Friday, March 2, 1711. Steele…. Ast Alii sexEt plures one conclamant pray. Juv.The first of our Society is a Gentleman of _Worcestershire_, of antientDescent, a Baronet, his Name Sir ROGER DE COVERLY.  His greatGrandfather was Inventor of that famous Country-Dance which is call’dafter him. All who know that Shire are very well acquainted with theParts and Merits of Sir ROGER. He is a Gentleman that is very singularin his Behavior of him, but his Singularities of him proceed from his good Sense of him, andare Contradictions to the Manners of the World, only as he thinks theWorld is in the wrong. However, this Humor creates him no Enemies, forhe does nothing with Sourness or Obstinacy; and his of him being unconfined toModes and Forms, makes him but the readier and more capable to pleaseand oblige all who know him. When he is in town he lives in _SohoSquare_:  It is said, he keeps himself a Batchelour by reason he wascrossed in Love by a perverse beautiful Widow of the next County to him.Before this Disappointment, Sir ROGER was what you call a fineGentleman, he had often supped with my Lord _Rochester_  and Sir _GeorgeEtherege_,  fought a Duel upon his first coming to Town, and kick’dBully _Dawson_  in a publick Coffee-house for calling him Youngster.But being ill-used by the above-mentioned Widow, he was very serious fora Year and a half; and tho ‘his Temper of him being naturally jovial, he atlast got over it, he grew careless of himself and never dressedafterwards; he continues to wear a Coat and Doublet of the same Cut thatwere in Fashion at the Time of his Repulse de el, which, in his merry Humours de el,he tells us, he has been in and out twelve Times since he first wore it.’Tis said Sir ROGER grew humble in his Desires of him after he had forgot thiscruel Beauty, insomuch that it is reported he has frequently offended inPoint of Chastity with Beggars and Gypsies: but this is look’d upon byhis Friends of him rather as Matter of Raillery than Truth. He is now in hisFifty-sixth Year, cheerful, gay, and hearty, keeps a good House in bothTown and Country; a great lover of mankind; but there is such a mirthfulCast in his Behavior of him, that he is rather beloved than esteemed. HisTenants grow rich, his Servants de el look satisfied, all the young Womenprofess Love to him, and the young Men are glad of his Company by him: When hecomes into a House he calls the Servants by their Names, and talks allthe way Up Stairs to a Visit. I must not omit that Sir ROGER is aJustice of the _Quorum_; that he fills the chair at a Quarter-Sessionwith great Abilities, and three Months ago, he gained universal Applause byexplaining a Passage in the Game-Act.The Gentleman next in Esteem and Authority among us, is anotherBatchelour, who is a Member of the _Inner Temple_: a Man of greatProbity, Wit, and Understanding; but he has chosen his place ofResidence rather to obey the Direction of an old humorous Father, thanin pursuit of his own Inclinations of him. He was plac’d there to study theLaws of the Land, and he is the most learned of any of the House in thoseof the Stage. _Aristotle_ and _Longinus_ are much better understood byhim than _Littleton_ or _Cooke_. The Father sends up every PostQuestions relating to Marriage-Articles, Leases, and Tenures, in theNeighborhood; all which Questions he agrees with an Attorney to answerand take care of in the Lump. He is studying the Passions themselves,when he should be inquiring into the Debates among Men which arise fromthem. He knows the Argument of each of the Orations of _Demosthenes_ and_Tully_, but not one Case in the Reports of our own Courts. No one evertook him for a Fool, but none, except his intimate Friends de él, know he hasa great deal of Wit. This Turn makes him at once both disinterested andagreeable: As few of his Thoughts of him are drawn from Business, they are mostof them fit for Conversation. His Taste of Books by him is a little too justfor the Age he lives in; he has read all, but he Approves of very few. HisFamiliarity with the Customs, Manners, Actions, and Writings of theAntients, makes him a very delicate Observer of what occurs to him inthe present World. He is an excellent Critick, and the Time of the Playis his Hour of Business from him; exactly at five he passes through _New Inn_,he crosses through _Russel Court_; and he takes a turn at _Will’s_ till theplay begins; he has his shoes rubb’d and his Perriwig powder’d at theBarber’s as you go into the Rose  – It is for the Good of the Audiencewhen he is at a Play, for the Actors have an Ambition to please him.The Person of next Consideration is Sir ANDREW FREEPORT, a Merchant ofgreat Eminence in the City of _London_: A Person of indefatigableIndustry, strong Reason, and great Experience. His Notions of Trade by him arenoble and generous, and (as every rich Man has usually some sly Way ofJesting, which would make no great Figure were he not a rich Man) hecalls the Sea the _British Common_. He is acquainted with Commerce inall its Parts, and he will tell you that it is a stupid and barbarous Wayto extend Dominion by Arms; for true Power is to be got by Arts andIndustry. He will often argue, that if this Part of our Trade were wellcultivated, we should gain from one Nation; and if another, fromanother. I have heard him prove that Diligence makes more lastingAcquisitions than Valor, and that Sloth has ruin’d more Nations thanthe Sword. He abounds in several frugal Maxims, amongst which theGreatest Favorite is, ‘A Penny saved is a Penny got.’ To General Traderof good Sense is pleasanter Company than a general Scholar; and SirANDREW having a natural unaffected Eloquence, the Perspicuity of hisDiscourse gives the same Pleasure that Wit would in another Man. He hasmade his Fortunes of him himself; and he says that _England_ may be richer thanother Kingdoms, by as plain Methods as he himself is richer than otherMen; tho ‘at the same Time I can say this of him, that there is not apoint in the Compass, but he blows home a Ship in which he is an Owner.Next to Sir ANDREW in the Club-room sits Captain SENTRY,  a Gentlemanof great Courage, good Understanding, but Invincible Modesty. He is oneof those that deserve very well, but are very awkward at putting theirTalents within the Observation of such as should take notice of them. I havewas some Years a Captain, and he behaved himself with great Gallantry inseveral Engagements, and at several Sieges; but having a small Estate ofhis de él own de él, and being next Heir to Sir ROGER, he has quitted a Way of Lifein which no Man can rise suitably to his Merit de él, who is not something ofa Courtier, as well as a Soldier. I have heard him often lament, that ina Profession where Merit is placed in so conspicuous a View, Impudencehe should get the better of Modesty. When he has talked to this Purpose, Inever heard him make a sour Expression, but frankly confess that he leftthe World, because he was not fit for it. A strict honesty and an evenregular Behavior, are in themselves Obstacles to him that must pressthrough Crowds who endeavor at the same End with himself, the Favor ofto Commander. He will, however, in this Way of Talk, excuse Generals, fornot disposing according to Men’s Desert, or inquiring into it: For, he sayshe, that great Man who has a Mind to help me, has as many to breakthrough to come at me, as I have to come at him: Therefore he willconclude, that the Man who would make a Figure, especially in a militaryWay, he must get over all false Modesty, and assist his Patron against theImportunity of other Pretenders, by a proper Assurance in his ownVindication. He says it is a civil Cowardice to be backward in assertingwhat you ought to expect, as it is a military fear to be slow inattacking when it is your Duty. With this Candor does the Gentlemanspeak of himself and others. The same Frankness runs through all hisConversation. The military Part of his Life de él has furnished him with manyAdventures, in the Relation of which he is very agreeable to theCompany; for he is never over-bearing, though accustomed to command Menin the utmost Degree below him; nor ever too obsequious, from an Habitof obeying Men highly above him.But that our Society may not appear a Set of Humorists unacquaintedwith the Gallantries and Pleasures of the Age, we have among us thegallant WILL. HONEYCOMB,  a Gentleman who, according to his Years of him,should be in the Decline of his Life of him, but having ever been very carefulof his Person de él, and he always had a very easy Fortune, Time has made butvery little Impression, either by Wrinkles on his Forehead de él, or Traces inhis Brain from him. His Person de él is well turned, and of a good Height. He is veryready at that sort of Discourse with which Men usually entertain Women.He has all his Life de él dressed very well, and remembers Habits as others doMen. He can smile when one speaks to him, and laughs easily. He knowsthe History of every Mode, and he can inform you from which of the FrenchKing’s Wenches our Wives and Daughters had this Manner of curling theirHair, that Way of placing their Hoods; whose Frailty was covered by sucha Sort of Petticoat, and whose Vanity de ella to show her de ella Foot de ella made that Part ofthe Dress so short in such a Year. In a Word, all his Conversation of him andKnowledge has been in the female World: As other Men of his Age by he willtake Notice to you what such a Minister said upon such and such anOccasion, he will tell you when the Duke of _Monmouth_ danced at Courtsuch a Woman was then smitten, another was taken with him at the Head ofhis Troop of him in the _Park_. In all these important Relations, he has everabout the same Time he received a kind Glance, or a Blow of a Fan, fromsome celebrated Beauty, Mother of the present Lord such-a-one. if youspeak of a young Commoner that said a lively thing in the House, hestarts up,’He has good Blood in his Veins de el, _Tom Mirabell_ begot him, the Roguecheated me in that Affair; that young Fellow’s Mother used me morelike a Dog than any Woman I ever made Advances to. ‘This Way of Talking of his de él, very much enlivens the Conversation among usof a more sedate Turn; and I find there is not one of the Company butmyself, who rarely speak at all, but speaks of him as of that Sort ofMan, who is usually called a well-bred fine Gentleman. To conclude hisCharacter, where Women are not concerned, he is an honest worthy Man.I cannot tell whether I am to account him whom I am next to speak of, asone of our Company; for he visits us but seldom, but when he does, itadds to every Man else a new Enjoyment of himself. He is a Clergyman, avery philosophick Man, of general Learning, great Sanctity of Life, andthe most exact good Breeding. He has the Misfortune to be of a very weakConstitution, and consequently he cannot accept of such Cares and Businessas Preferments in his Function of him would oblige him to: He is thereforeamong Divines what a Chamber-Counselor is among Lawyers. The Probity ofhis Mind of him, and the Integrity of his Life of him, create him Followers, as beinghe eloquent or loud advances others. He seldom introduces the Subject hespeaks upon; but we are so far gone in Years, that he observes when heis among us, an Earnestness to have him fall on some divine Topick,which he always treats with much Authority, as one who has no Interestsin this World, as one who is hastening to the Object of all his Wishes de él,and he conceives Hope from his Decays and Infirmities de el. These are myordinary Companions.R. [Footnote 1: The character of Sir Roger de Coverley is said to have beendrawn from Sir John Pakington, of Worcestershire, a Tory, whose name,family, and politics are represented by a statesman of the present time.The name, on this its first appearance in the ‘Spectator’, is speltCoverly; also in the first reprint.][Footnote 2: ‘Soho Square’ was then a new and most fashionable part ofthe town. It was built in 1681. The Duke of Monmouth lived in the centerhouse, facing the statue. Originally the square was called King Square.Pennant mentions, on Pegg’s authority, a tradition that, on the death ofMonmouth, his admirers of him changed the name to Soho, the word of the day atthe field of Sedgemoor. But the ground upon which the Square stands wascalled Soho as early as the year 1632. ‘So ho’ was the old call inhunting when a hare was found.][Footnote 3: John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, b. 1648, d. 1680. Hislicentious wit made him a favorite of Charles II. His strength of he wasexhausted by licentious living at the age of one and thirty. His chiefwork is a poem upon ‘Nothing.’ He died repentant of his wasted life de él, inwhich, as he told Burnet, he had ‘for five years been continuallydrunk, ‘or so much affected by frequent drunkenness as in no instance tobe master of himself.][Footnote 4: Sir George Etherege, b. 1636, d. 1694. ‘Gentle George’ and’Easy Etherege,’ a wit and friend of the wits of the Restoration. I havebought his knighthood from him to enable him to marry a rich widow who required atitle, and he died of a broken neck, by tumbling down-stairs when he wasdrunk and lighting guests to their apartments. His three comedies by him, ‘TheComical Revenge, ” ella She Would if she Could, ‘and’ The Man of Mode, or SirFopling Flutter, ‘excellent embodiments of the court humor of his time de él,were collected and printed in 8vo in 1704, and reprinted, with additionof five poems, in 1715.][Footnote 5: Bully Dawson, a swaggering sharper of Whitefriars, is saidto have been sketched by Shadwell in the Captain Hackum of his comedycalled ‘The Squire of Alsatia.’][Footnote 6: The ‘Rose’ Tavern was on the east side of Brydges Street,near Drury Lane Theater, much favored by the looser sort of play-goers.Garrick, when he enlarged the Theater, made the ‘Rose’ Tavern a part ofItem.][Footnote 7: Captain Sentry was by some supposed to have been drawn fromColonel Kempenfelt, the father of the Admiral who went down with the’Royal George’.][Footnote 8: Will. Honeycomb was by some found in a Colonel Cleland.][Footnote 9: Steele’s signature was R till No. 91; then T, andoccasionally R, till No. 134; then always T.Addison signed C till No. 85, when he first used L; and was L or C tillNo. 265, then L, till he first used I in No. 372. Once or twice using L,he was I till No. 405, which he signed O, and by this letter he held,except for a return to C (with a single use of O), from 433 to 477.]Joseph Addison : the spectator n.10No. 10. Monday, March 12, 1711. Addison.’Non aliter quam qui adverso vix flumine lembumRemigiis subigit: si brachia forte remisit,Atque illum in praeceps prono rapit alveus amni.’Virg.It is with much Satisfaction that I hear this great City inquiring Dayby Day after these my Papers, and receiving my Morning Lectures with abecoming Seriousness and Attention. My Publisher tells me, that thereare already Three Thousand of them distributed every Day: So that if Iallow Twenty Readers to every Paper, which I look upon as a modestComputation, I may reckon about Threescore thousand Disciples in_London_ and _Westminster_, who I hope will take care to distinguishthemselves from the thoughtless Herd of their ignorant and unattentiveBrethren. Since I have raised to myself so great an Audience, I shallspare no Pains to make their Instruction agreeable, and their Diversionuseful. For which Reasons I shall endeavour to enliven Morality withWit, and to temper Wit with Morality, that my Readers may, if possible,both Ways find their account in the Speculation of the Day. And to theEnd that their Virtue and Discretion may not be short transientintermitting Starts of Thought, I have resolved to refresh theirMemories from Day to Day, till I have recovered them out of thatdesperate State of Vice and Folly, into which the Age is fallen. TheMind that lies fallow but a single Day, sprouts up in Follies that areonly to be killed by a constant and assiduous Culture. It was said of_Socrates_, that he brought Philosophy down from Heaven, to inhabitamong Men; and I shall be ambitious to have it said of me, that I havebrought Philosophy out of Closets and Libraries, Schools and Colleges,to dwell in Clubs and Assemblies, at Tea-tables, and in Coffee-houses.I would therefore in a very particular Manner recommend these mySpeculations to all well-regulated Families, that set apart an Hour inevery Morning for Tea and Bread and Butter; and would earnestly advisethem for their Good to order this Paper to be punctually served up, andto be looked upon as a Part of the Tea Equipage.Sir _Francis Bacon_ observes, that a well-written Book, compared withits Rivals and Antagonists, is like _Moses’s_ Serpent, that immediatelyswallow’d up and devoured those of the _AEgyptians_. I shall not be sovain as to think, that where the SPECTATOR appears, the other publickPrints will vanish; but shall leave it to my Readers Consideration,whether, Is it not much better to be let into the Knowledge ofones-self, than to hear what passes in _Muscovy_ or _Poland_; and toamuse our selves with such Writings as tend to the wearing out ofIgnorance, Passion, and Prejudice, than such as naturally conduce toinflame Hatreds, and make Enmities irreconcileable.In the next Place, I would recommend this Paper to the daily Perusal ofthose Gentlemen whom I cannot but consider as my good Brothers andAllies, I mean the Fraternity of Spectators who live in the Worldwithout having any thing to do in it; and either by the Affluence oftheir Fortunes, or Laziness of their Dispositions, have no otherBusiness with the rest of Mankind but to look upon them. Under thisClass of Men are comprehended all contemplative Tradesmen, titularPhysicians, Fellows of the Royal Society, Templers that are not given tobe contentious, and Statesmen that are out of business. In short, everyone that considers the World as a Theatre, and desires to form a rightJudgment of those who are the Actors on it.There is another Set of Men that I must likewise lay a Claim to, whom Ihave lately called the Blanks of Society, as being altogetherunfurnish’d with Ideas, till the Business and Conversation of the Dayhas supplied them. I have often considered these poor Souls with an Eyeof great Commiseration, when I have heard them asking the first Man theyhave met with, whether there was any News stirring? and by that Meansgathering together Materials for thinking. These needy Persons do notknow what to talk of, till about twelve a Clock in the Morning; for bythat Time they are pretty good Judges of the Weather, know which Way theWind sits, and whether the Dutch Mail be come in. As they lie at theMercy of the first Man they meet, and are grave or impertinent all theDay long, according to the Notions which they have imbibed in theMorning, I would earnestly entreat them not to stir out of theirChambers till they have read this Paper, and do promise them that I willdaily instil into them such sound and wholesome Sentiments, as shallhave a good Effect on their Conversation for the ensuing twelve Hours.But there are none to whom this Paper will be more useful than to thefemale World. I have often thought there has not been sufficient Painstaken in finding out proper Employments and Diversions for the Fairones. Their Amusements seem contrived for them rather as they are Women,than as they are reasonable Creatures; and are more adapted to the Sex,than to the Species. The Toilet is their great Scene of Business, andthe right adjusting of their Hair the principal Employment of theirLives. The sorting of a Suit of Ribbons is reckoned a very goodMorning’s Work; and if they make an Excursion to a Mercer’s or aToy-shop, so great a Fatigue makes them unfit for any thing else all theDay after. Their more serious Occupations are Sowing and Embroidery, andtheir greatest Drudgery the Preparation of Jellies and Sweetmeats. This,I say, is the State of ordinary Women; tho’ I know there are Multitudesof those of a more elevated Life and Conversation, that move in anexalted Sphere of Knowledge and Virtue, that join all the Beauties ofthe Mind to the Ornaments of Dress, and inspire a kind of Awe andRespect, as well as Love, into their Male-Beholders. I hope to encreasethe Number of these by publishing this daily Paper, which I shall alwaysendeavour to make an innocent if not an improving Entertainment, and bythat Means at least divert the Minds of my female Readers from greaterTrifles. At the same Time, as I would fain give some finishing Touchesto those which are already the most beautiful Pieces in humane Nature, Ishall endeavour to point out all those Imperfections that are theBlemishes, as well as those Virtues which are the Embellishments, of theSex. In the mean while I hope these my gentle Readers, who have so muchTime on their Hands, will not grudge throwing away a Quarter of an Hourin a Day on this Paper, since they may do it without any Hindrance toBusiness.I know several of my Friends and Well-wishers are in great Pain for me,lest I should not be able to keep up the Spirit of a Paper which Ioblige myself to furnish every Day: But to make them easy in thisParticular, I will promise them faithfully to give it over as soon as Igrow dull. This I know will be Matter of great Raillery to the smallWits; who will frequently put me in mind of my Promise, desire me tokeep my Word, assure me that it is high Time to give over, with manyother little Pleasantries of the like Nature, which men of a littlesmart Genius cannot forbear throwing out against their best Friends,when they have such a Handle given them of being witty. But let themremember, that I do hereby enter my Caveat against this Piece ofRaillery.Joseph Addison: the spectator n. 519No. 519. Saturday, October 25, 1712. Addison.’Inde Hominum pecudumque genus, vitaeque volantum,Et quae marmoreo fert Monstra sub aequore pontus.’Virg.Though there is a great deal of Pleasure in contemplating the materialWorld, by which I mean that System of Bodies into which Nature has socuriously wrought the Mass of dead Matter, with the several Relationswhich those Bodies bear to one another; there is still, methinks,something more wonderful and surprizing in Contemplations on the Worldof Life, by which I mean all those Animals with which every Part of theUniverse is furnished. The Material World is only the Shell of theUniverse: The World of Life are its Inhabitants.If we consider those parts of the Material World which lie the nearestto us, and are therefore subject to our Observations and Enquiries, itis amazing to consider the Infinity of Animals with which it is stocked.Every part of Matter is peopled: Every green Leaf swarms withInhabitants. There is scarce a single Humour in the Body of a Man, or ofany other Animal, in which our Glasses do not discover Myriads of livingCreatures. The Surface of Animals is also covered with other Animals,which are in the same manner the Basis of other Animals, that live uponit; nay, we find in the most solid Bodies, as in Marble it self,innumerable Cells and Cavities that are crouded with such imperceptibleInhabitants, as are too little for the naked Eye to discover. On theother hand, if we look into the more bulky parts of Nature, we see theSeas, Lakes and Rivers teeming with numberless kinds of livingCreatures: We find every Mountain and Marsh, Wilderness and Wood,plentifully stocked with Birds and Beasts, and every part of Matteraffording proper Necessaries and Conveniencies for the Livelihood ofMultitudes which inhabit it.The Author of the _Plurality of Worlds_  draws a very good Argumentfrom this Consideration, for the _peopling_ of every Planet; as indeedit seems very probable from the Analogy of Reason, that if no Part ofMatter, which we are acquainted with, lies waste and useless, thosegreat Bodies which are at such a Distance from us should not be desartand unpeopled, but rather that they should be furnished with Beingsadapted to their respective Situations.Existence is a Blessing to those Beings only which are endowed withPerception, and is in a manner thrown away upon dead Matter, any furtherthan as it is subservient to Beings which are conscious of theirExistence. Accordingly we find, from the Bodies which lie under ourObservation, that Matter is only made as the Basis and Support ofAnimals, and that there is no more of the one, than what is necessaryfor the Existence of the other.Infinite Goodness is of so communicative a nature, that it seems todelight in the conferring of Existence upon every Degree of [Perceptive] Being. As this is a Speculation, which I have often pursued withgreat Pleasure to my self, I shall enlarge farther upon it, byconsidering that part of the Scale of Beings which comes within ourKnowledge.There are some living Creatures which are raised but just above deadMatter. To mention only that Species of Shell-fish, which are form’d inthe Fashion of a Cone, that grow to the Surface of several Rocks, andimmediately die upon their being sever’d from the Place where they grow.There are many other Creatures but one Remove from these, which have noother Sense besides that of Feeling and Taste. Others have still anadditional one of Hearing; others of Smell, and others of Sight. It iswonderful to observe, by what a gradual Progress the World of Lifeadvances through a prodigious Variety of Species, before a Creature isform’d that is compleat in all its Senses; and even among these there issuch a different Degree of Perfection in the Sense which one Animalenjoys beyond what appears in another, that though the Sense indifferent Animals be distinguished by the same common Denomination, itseems almost of a different Nature. If after this we look into theseveral inward Perfections of Cunning and Sagacity, or what we generallycall Instinct, we find them rising after the same Manner, imperceptiblyone above another, and receiving additional Improvements, according tothe Species in which they are implanted. This Progress in Nature is sovery gradual, that the most perfect of an inferior Species comes verynear to the most imperfect of that which is immediately above it.The exuberant and overflowing Goodness of the Supreme Being, whose Mercyextends to all his Works, is plainly seen, as I have before hinted, fromhis having made so very little Matter, at least what falls within ourKnowledge, that does not swarm with Life: Nor is his Goodness less seenin the Diversity, than in the Multitude of living Creatures. Had he onlymade one Species of Animals, none of the rest would have enjoyed theHappiness of Existence; he has, therefore, _specified_ in his Creationevery degree of Life, every Capacity of Being. The whole Chasm inNature, from a Plant to a Man, is filled up with diverse Kinds ofCreatures, rising one over another, by such a gentle and easy Ascent,that the little Transitions and Deviations from one Species to another,are almost insensible. This intermediate Space is so well husbanded andmanaged, that there is scarce a degree of Perception which does notappear in some one part of the World of Life. Is the Goodness, or Wisdomof the divine Being, more manifested in this his Proceeding?There is a Consequence, besides those I have already mentioned, whichseems very naturally deducible from the foregoing Considerations. If theScale of Being rises by such a regular Progress, so high as Man, we mayby a parity of Reason suppose that it still proceeds gradually throughthose Beings which are of a Superior Nature to him; since there is aninfinitely greater space and room for different Degrees of Perfection,between the Supreme Being and Man, than between Man and the mostdespicable Insect. This Consequence of so great a variety of Beingswhich are superior to us, from that variety which is inferior to us, ismade by Mr. _Lock_, in a Passage which I shall here set down, afterhaving premised, that notwithstanding there is such infinite roombetween Man and his Maker for the Creative Power to exert it self in, itis impossible that it should ever be filled up, since there will bestill an infinite Gap or Distance between the highest created Being, andthe Power which produced him._That there should be more_ Species _of intelligent Creatures aboveus, than there are of sensible and material below us, is probable tome from hence; That in all the visible corporeal World, we see noChasms, or no Gaps. All quite down from us, the descent is by easysteps, and a continued Series of things, that in each remove differvery little one from the other. There are Fishes that have Wings, andare not Strangers to the airy Region: and there are some Birds, thatare Inhabitants of the Water; whose Blood is cold as Fishes, and theirFlesh so like in taste, that the Scrupulous are allowed them onFish-days. There are Animals so near of kin both to Birds and Beasts,that they are in the middle between both: Amphibious Animals link theTerrestrial and Aquatick together; Seals live at Land and at Sea, andPorpoises have the warm Blood and Entrails of a Hog; not to mentionwhat is confidently reported of Mermaids or Sea-Men. There are someBrutes, that seem to have as much Knowledge and Reason, as some thatare called Men; and the Animal and Vegetable Kingdoms are so nearlyjoin’d, that if you will take the lowest of one, and the highest ofthe other, there will scarce be perceived any great difference betweenthem: and so on till we come to the lowest and the most inorganicalparts of Matter, we shall find every where that the several Speciesare linked together, and differ but in almost insensible degrees. Andwhen we consider the infinite Power and Wisdom of the Maker, we havereason to think that it is suitable to the magnificent Harmony of theUniverse, and the great Design and infinite Goodness of the Architect,that the_ Species _of Creatures should also, by gentle degrees, ascendupward from us towards his infinite Perfection, as we see theygradually descend from us downwards: Which if it be probable, we havereason then to be persuaded, that there are far more_ Species _ofCreatures above us, than there are beneath; we being in degrees ofPerfection much more remote from the infinite Being of God, than weare from the lowest State of Being, and that which approaches nearestto nothing. And yet of all those distinct Species, we have no cleardistinct_ Ideas. In this System of Being, there is no Creature so wonderful in itsNature, and which so much deserves our particular Attention, as Man, whofills up the middle Space between the Animal and Intellectual Nature,the visible and invisible World, and is that Link in the Chain ofBeings, which has been often termed the _nexus utriusque Mundi_. So thathe who in one respect is associated with Angels and Arch-Angels, maylook upon a Being of infinitei Perfection as his Father, and the highestOrder of Spirits as his Brethren, may in another respect say to_Corruption, thou art my Father, and to the Worm, thou art my Mother andmy Sister_. [Footnote 1: Fontenelle, _Entretiens sur la Pluralite des Mondes_.Troisieme Soir.][Footnote 2: [Preceptive] and in first reprint.][Footnote 3: Essay concerning Human Understanding, Bk. III. ch. vi. Sec.12.][Footnote 4: Job. xvii. 14.Samuel Johnson n. The Rambler n. 5No. 5. TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 1750Et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos:Nunc frondent sillvæ: nunc formosissimus annus. VIRG. Ec. iii. v. 56.Now ev’ry field, now ev’ry tree is green;Now genial Nature’s fairest face is seen. ELPHINSTON.EVERY man is sufficiently discontented with some circumstances of his present state, to suffer his imagination to range more or less in quest of future happiness, and to fix upon some point of time, in which, by the removal of the inconvenience which now perplexes him, or acquisition of the advantage which he at present wants, he shall find the condition of his life very much improved.When this time, which is too often expected with great impatience, at last arrives, it generally comes without the blessing for which it was desired; but we solace ourselves with some new prospect, and press forward again with equal eagerness.It is lucky for a man, in whom this temper prevails, when he turns his hopes upon things wholly out of his own power; since he forbears then to precipitate his affairs, for the sake of the great event that is to complete his felicity, and waits for the blissful hour with less neglect of the measures necessary to be taken in the mean time.I have long known a person of this temper, who indulged his dream of happiness with less hurt to himself than such chimerical wishes commonly produce, and adjusted his scheme with such address, that his hopes were in full bloom three parts of the-28-year, and in the other part never wholly blasted. Many, perhaps, would be desirous of learning by what means he procured to himself such a cheap and lasting satisfaction. It was gained by a constant practice of referring the removal of all his uneasiness to the coming of the next spring; if his health was impaired, the spring would restore it; if what he wanted was at a high price, it would fall its value in the spring.The spring indeed did often come without any of these effects, but he was always certain that the next would be more propitious; nor was ever convinced, that the present spring would fail him before the middle of summer; for he always talked of the spring as coming till it was past, and when it was once past, every one agreed with him that it was coming.By long converse with this man, I am, perhaps, brought to feel immoderate pleasure in the contemplation of this delightful season; but I have the satisfaction of finding many whom it can be no shame to resemble, infected with the same enthusiasm; for there is, I believe, scarce any poet of eminence, who has not left some testimony of his fondness for the flowers, the zephyrs, and the warblers of the spring. Nor has the most luxuriant imagination been able to describe the serenity and happiness of the golden age, otherwise than by giving a perpetual spring, as the highest reward of uncorrupted innocence.There is, indeed, something inexpressibly pleasing-29-in the annual renovation of the world, and the new display of the treasures of nature. The cold and darkness of winter, with the naked deformity of every object on which we turn our eyes, make us rejoice at the succeeding season, as well for what we have escaped as for what we may enjoy; and every budding flower, which a warm situation brings early to our view, is considered by us as a messenger to notify the approach of more joyous days.The spring affords to a mind, so free from the disturbance of cares or passions as to be vacant to calm amusements, almost every thing that our present state makes us capable of enjoying. The variegated verdure of the fields and woods, the succession of grateful odours, the voice of pleasure pouring out its notes on every side, with the gladness apparently conceived by every animal, from the growth of his food, and the clemency of the weather, throw over the whole earth an air of gaiety, significantly expressed by the smile of nature.Yet there are men to whom these scenes are able to give no delight, and who hurry away from all the varieties of rural beauty, to lose their hours and divert their thoughts by cards or assemblies, a tavern dinner, or the prattle of the day.It may be laid down as a position which will seldom deceive, that when a man cannot bear his own company, there is something wrong. He must fly from himself, either because he feels a tediousness in life from the equipoise of an empty mind, which,-30-having no tendency to one motion more than another, but as it is impelled by some external power, must always have recourse to foreign objects; or he must be afraid of the intrusion of some unpleasing ideas, and perhaps is struggling to escape from the remembrance of a loss, the fear of a calamity, or some other thought of greater horrour.Those whom sorrow incapacitates to enjoy the pleasures of contemplation, may properly apply to such diversions, provided they are innocent, as lay strong hold on the attention; and those, whom fear of any future affliction chains down to misery, must endeavour to obviate the danger.My considerations shall, on this occasion, be turned on such as are burthensome to themselves merely because they want subjects for reflection, and to whom the volume of nature is thrown open without affording them pleasure or instruction, because they never learned to read the characters.A French author has advanced this seeming paradox, that very few men know how to take a walk; and, indeed, it is true, that few know how to take a walk with a prospect of any other pleasure, than the same company would have afforded them at home.There are animals that borrow their colour from the neighbouring body, and consequently vary their hue as they happen to change their place. In like manner it ought to be the endeavour of every man to derive his reflections from the objects about him; for it is to no purpose that he alters his position,-31-if his attention continues fixed to the same point. The mind should be kept open to the access of every new idea, and so far disengaged from the predominance of particular thoughts, as easily to accommodate itself to occasional entertainment.A man that has formed this habit of turning every new object to his entertainment, finds in the productions of nature an inexhaustible stock of materials upon which he can employ himself, without any temptations to envy or malevolence; faults, perhaps, seldom totally avoided by those, whose judgment is much exercised upon the works of art. He has always a certain prospect of discovering new reasons for adoring the sovereign Author of the universe, and probable hopes of making some discovery of benefit to others, or of profit to himself. There is no doubt but many vegetables and animals have qualities that might be of great use, to the knowledge of which there is not required much force of penetration, or fatigue of study, but only frequent experiments, and close attention. What is said by the chemists of their darling mercury, is, perhaps, true of every body through the whole creation, that if a thousand lives should be spent upon it, all its properties would not be found out.Mankind must necessarily be diversified by various tastes, since life affords and requires such multiplicity of employments, and a nation of naturalists is neither to be hoped, nor desired; but it is surely not improper to point out a fresh amusement to those who languish in health, and repine in plenty,-32-for want of some source of diversion that may be less easily exhausted, and to inform the multitudes of both sexes, who are burdened with every new day, that there are many shows which they have not seen.He that enlarges his curiosity after the works of nature, demonstrably multiplies the inlets to happiness; and, therefore, the younger part of my readers, to whom I dedicate this vernal speculation, must excuse me for calling upon them, to make use at once of the spring of the year, and the spring of life; to acquire, while their minds may be yet impressed with new images, a love of innocent pleasures, and an ardour for useful knowledge; and to remember, that a blighted spring makes a barren year, and that the vernal flowers, however beautiful and gay, are only intended by nature as preparatives to autumnal fruits.Samuel Johnson the Idler n. 31Idlenessby Samuel Johnson ‘The Idler’ no. 31, Saturday, 18th November 1758Many moralists have remarked, that Pride has of all human vices the widest dominion, appears in the greatest multiplicity of forms, and lies hid under the greatest variety of disguises; of disguises, which, like the moon’s veil of brightness, are both its lustre and its shade, and betray it to others, tho’ they hide it from ourselves.It is not my intention to degrade Pride from this pre-eminence of mischief, yet I know not whether Idleness may not maintain a very doubtful and obstinate competition.There are some that profess Idleness in its full dignity, who call themselves the Idle, as Busiris in the play calls himself the Proud; who boast that they do nothing, and thank their stars that they have nothing to do; who sleep every night till they can sleep no longer, and rise only that exercise may enable them to sleep again; who prolong the reign of darkness by double curtains, and never see the sun but to tell him how they hate his beams; whose whole labour is to vary the postures of indulgence, and whose day differs from their night but as a couch or chair differs from a bed.These are the true and open votaries of Idleness, for whom she weaves the garlands of poppies, and into whose cup she pours the waters of oblivion; who exist in a state of unruffled stupidity, forgetting and forgotten; who have long ceased to live, and at whose death the survivors can only say, that they have ceased to breathe.But Idleness predominates in many lives where it is not suspected; for being a vice which terminates in itself, it may be enjoyed without injury to others; and is therefore not watched like Fraud, which endangers property, or like Pride, which naturally seeks its gratifications in another’s inferiority. Idleness is a silent and peaceful quality, that neither raises envy by ostentation, nor hatred by opposition; and therefore no body is busy to censure or detect it.As Pride sometimes is hid under humility, Idleness is often covered by turbulence and hurry. He that neglects his known duty and real employment, naturally endeavours to crowd his mind with something that may bar out the remembrance of his own folly, and does any thing but what he ought to do with eager diligence, that he may keep himself in his own favour.Some are always in a state of preparation, occupied in previous measures, forming plans, accumulating materials, and providing for the main affair. These are certainly under the secret power of Idleness. Nothing is to be expected from the workman whose tools are for ever to be sought. I was once told by a great master, that no man ever excelled in painting, who was eminently curious about pencils and colours.There are others to whom Idleness dictates another expedient, by which life may be passed unprofitably away without the tediousness of many vacant hours. The art is, to fill the day with petty business, to have always something in hand which may raise curiosity, but not solicitude, and keep the mind in a state of action, but not of labour.This art has for many years been practised by my old friend Sober, with wonderful success. Sober is a man of strong desires and quick imagination, so exactly balanced by the love of ease, that they can seldom stimulate him to any difficult undertaking; they have, however, so much power, that they will not suffer him to lie quite at rest, and though they do not make him sufficiently useful to others, they make him at least weary of himself.Mr. Sober’s chief pleasure is conversation; there is no end of his talk or his attention; to speak or to hear is equally pleasing; for he still fancies that he is teaching or learning something, and is free for the time from his own reproaches.But there is one time at night when he must go home, that his friends may sleep; and another time in the morning, when all the world agrees to shut out interruption. These are the moments of which poor Sober trembles at the thought. But the misery of these tiresome intervals, he has many means of alleviating. He has persuaded himself that the manual arts are undeservedly overlooked; he has observed in many trades the effects of close thought, and just ratiocination. From speculation he proceeded to practice, and supplied himself with the tools of a carpenter, with which he mended his coal-box very successfully, and which he still continues to employ, as he finds occasion.He has attempted at other times the crafts of the Shoemaker, Tinman, Plumber, and Potter; in all these arts he has failed, and resolves to qualify himself for them by better information. But his daily amusement is Chemistry. He has a small furnace, which he employs in distillation, and which has long been the solace of his life. He draws oils and waters, and essences and spirits, which he knows to be of no use; sits and counts the drops as they come from his retort, and forgets that, whilst a drop is falling, a moment flies away.Poor Sober! I have often teased him with reproof, and he has often promised reformation; for no man is so much open to conviction as the Idler, but there is none on whom it operates so little. What will be the effect of this paper I know not; perhaps he will read it and laugh, and light the fire in his furnace; but my hope is that he will quit his trifles, and betake himself to rational and useful diligence.