« 上一頁繼續 »
consider how much I have seen, read, and heard, I begin to blame my own taciturnity; and since I have neither time nor inclination to communicate the fulness of my heart in speech, I am resolved to do it in writing, and to print myself out, if possible, before I die. I have been often told by my friends, that it is pity so many useful discoveries which I have made should be in the possession of a silent man. For this reason, therefore, I shall publish a sheet-full of thoughts
every morning, for the benefit of my contemporaries ; and if 10 I can any way contribute to the diversion or improvement
of the country in which I live, I shall leave it, when I am summoned out of it, with the secret satisfaction of thinking that I have not lived in vain.
There are three very material points which I have not spoken to in this paper ; and which, for several important reasons, I must keep to myself, at least for some time : I mean an account of my name, my age, and my lodgings. I must confess, I would gratify my reader in anything that is
reasonable ; but as for these three particulars, though I am 20 sensible they might tend very much to the embellishment of
my paper, I cannot yet come to a resolution of communicating them to the public. They would indeed draw me out of that obscurity which I have enjoyed for many years, and expose me in public places to several salutes and civilities, which have been always very disagreeable to me; for the greatest pain I can suffer is the being talked to, and being stared at. It is for this reason likewise, that I keep my complexion and dress as very great secrets ; though it is not
impossible, but I may make discoveries of both in the pro30 gress of the work I have undertaken.
After having been thus particular upon myself, I shall in to-morrow's paper give an account of those gentlemen who are concerned with me in this work; for, as I have before intimated, a plan of it is laid and concerted (as all other matters of importance are) in a club. However, as my friends have engaged me to stand in the front, those who have a mind to correspond with me, may direct their letters to the SPECTATOR, at Mr. Buckley's, in Little Britain. For I must further acquaint the reader, that though our club meets only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have appointed a Committee to sit every night, for the inspection of all such papers as may contribute to the advancement of the public weal.
VII. USES OF THE SPECTATOR.
10 And, slow advancing, struggle with the stream: But if they slack their hands or cease to strive,
Then down the flood with headlong haste they drive.-DRYDEN. It is with much satisfaction that I hear this great city inquiring day by day after these my papers, and receiving my morning lectures with a becoming seriousness and attention. My publisher tells me, that there are already three thousand of them distributed every day : so that if I allow twenty readers to every paper, which I look upon as a modest computation, I may reckon about threescore thousand 20 disciples in London and Westminster, who I hope will take care to distinguish themselves from the thoughtless herd of their ignorant and unattentive brethren. Since I have raised to myself so great an audience, I shall spare no pains to make their instruction agreeable, and their diversion useful. For which reasons I shall endeavour to enliven morality with wit, 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 the end that their virtue and discretion may not be short, transient, intermitting starts of thought, 30 I have resolved to refresh their memories from day to day,
till I have recovered them out of that desperate state of vice and folly into which the age is fallen. The mind that lies fallow but a single day, sprouts up in follies that are only to be killed by a constant and assiduous culture. It was said of Socrates that he brought Philosophy down from heaven, to inhabit among men ; and I shall be ambitious to have it said of me, that I have brought Philosophy out of closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and
assemblies, at tea-tables and in coffee-houses. 10 I would therefore in a very particular manner recommend
these my speculations to all well-regulated families that set apart an hour in every morning for tea and bread and
and would earnestly advise them for their good to order this paper to be punctually served up, and to be looked upon as a part of the tea equipage.
Sir Francis Bacon observes, that a well-written book, compared with its rivals and antagonists, is like Moses's serpent, that immediately swallowed up and devoured those
of the Egyptians. I shall not be so vain as to think that, 20 where the SPECTATOR appears, the other public prints will
vanish ; but shall leave it to my readers' consideration, whether it is not much better to be let into the knowledge of one's self, than to hear what passes in Muscovy or Poland; and to amuse ourselves with such writings as tend to the wearing out of ignorance, passion, and prejudice, than such as naturally conduce to inflame hatreds, and make enmities irreconcilable.
In the next place, I would recommend this paper to the daily perusal of those gentlemen whom I cannot but consider 30 as my good brothers and allies, I mean the fraternity of
Spectators, who live in the world without having anything to do in it; and either by the affluence of their fortunes, or laziness of their dispositions, have no other business with the rest of mankind, but to look upon them. Under this class of men are comprehended all contemplative tradesmen, titular physicians, fellows of the Royal Society, Templars that are not given to be contentious, and statesmen that are out of business ; in short, every one that considers the world as a theatre, and desires to form a right judgment of those who are the actors on it.
There is another set of men that I must likewise lay a claim to, whom I have lately called the blanks of society, as being altogether unfurnished with ideas, till the business and conversation of the day has supplied them. I have often considered these poor souls with an eye of great commiseration, when I have heard them asking the first man they have 10 met with, whether there was any news stirring ? and by that means gathering together materials for thinking. These needy persons do not know what to talk of, till about twelve a clock in the morning ; for by that time they are pretty good judges of the weather, know which way the wind sits, and whether the Dutch mail be come in. As they lie at the mercy of the first man they meet, and are grave or impertinent all the day long, according to the notions which they have imbibed in the morning, I would earnestly entreat them not to stir out of their chambers till they have read this 20 paper, and do promise them that I will daily instil into them such sound and wholesome sentiments, as shall have 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 the female world. I have often thought there has not been sufficient pains taken in finding out proper employments and diversions for the fair ones.
Their amusements seemed 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 30 is their great scene of business, and the right adjusting of their hair the principal employment of their lives. The sorting of a suit of ribbons is reckoned a very good morning's work; and if they make an excursion to a mercer's or a toy-shop, so great a fatigue makes them unfit for anything else all the day after. Their more serious occupations are
sewing and embroidery, and their greatest drudgery, the preparation of jellies and sweet-meats. This, I say, is the state of ordinary women ; though I know there are multitudes of those of a more elevated life and conversation, that move in an exalted sphere of knowledge and virtue, that join all the beauties of the mind to the ornaments of dress, and inspire a kind of awe and respect, as well as love, into their male beholders. I hope to increase the number of these by
publishing this daily paper, which I shall always endeavour 10 to make an innocent if not an improving entertainment, and
by that means at least divert the minds of my female readers from greater trifles. At the same time, as I would fain give some finishing touches to those which are already the most beautiful pieces in human nature, I shall endeavour to point out all those imperfections that are the blemishes, as well as those virtues which are the embellishments, of the sex. In the meanwhile I hope these my gentle readers, who have so much time on their hands, will not grudge throwing away a
quarter of an hour in a day on this paper, since they may do 20 it without any hinderance to business.
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 I oblige myself to furnish every day : but to make them easy in this particular, I will promise them faithfully to give it over as soon as I grow dull. This I know will be matter of great raillery to the small wits ; who will frequently put me in mind of my promise, desire me to keep my word, assure me that it is high time to give over, with
many other pleasantries of the like nature, which men of 30 a little smart genius cannot forbear throwing out against
their best friends, when they have such a handle given them of being witty. But let them remember that I do hereby enter my caveat against this piece of raillery.