No. 211 Thursday, November 1, 1711. Addison.

Fictis meminerit nos jocari Fabulis.

Having lately translated the Fragment of an old Poet which describes Womankind under several Characters, and supposes them to have drawn their different Manners and Dispositions from those Animals and Elements out of which he tells us they were compounded; I had some Thoughts of giving the Sex their Revenge, by laying together in another Paper the many vicious Characters which prevail in the Male World, and shewing the different Ingredients that go to the making up of such different Humours and Constitutions. Horace has a Thought [1] which is something akin to this, when, in order to excuse himself to his Mistress, for an Invective which he had written against her, and to account for that unreasonable Fury with which the Heart of Man is often transported, he tells us that, when Prometheus made his Man of Clay, in the kneading up of his Heart, he season'd it with some furious Particles of the Lion. But upon turning this Plan to and fro in my Thoughts, I observed so many unaccountable Humours in Man, that I did not know out of what Animals to fetch them. Male Souls are diversify'd with so many Characters, that the World has not Variety of Materials sufficient to furnish out their different Tempers and Inclinations. The Creation, with all its Animals and Elements, would not be large enough to supply their several Extravagancies.

Instead therefore of pursuing the Thought of Simonides, I shall observe, that as he has exposed the vicious Part of Women from the Doctrine of Præexistence, some of the ancient Philosophers have, in a manner, satirized the vicious Part of the human Species in general, from a Notion of the Souls Postexistence, if I may so call it; and that as Simonides describes Brutes entering into the Composition of Women, others have represented human Souls as entering into Brutes. This is commonly termed the Doctrine of Transmigration, which supposes that human Souls, upon their leaving the Body, become the Souls of such Kinds of Brutes as they most resemble in their Manners; or to give an Account of it as Mr. Dryden has described it in his Translation of Pythagoras his Speech in the fifteenth Book of Ovid, where that Philosopher dissuades his Hearers from eating Flesh:

Thus all things are but alter'd, nothing dies, And here and there th' unbody'd Spirit flies: By Time, or Force, or Sickness dispossess'd, And lodges where it lights, in Bird or Beast, Or hunts without till ready Limbs it find, And actuates those according to their Kind: From Tenement to Tenement is toss'd: The Soul is still the same, the Figure only lost. Then let not Piety be put to Flight, To please the Taste of Glutton-Appetite; But suffer inmate Souls secure to dwell, Lest from their Seats your Parents you expel; With rabid Hunger feed upon your Kind, Or from a Beast dislodge a Brothers Mind.

Plato in the Vision of Erus the Armenian, which I may possibly make the Subject of a future Speculation, records some beautiful Transmigrations; as that the Soul of Orpheus, who was musical, melancholy, and a Woman-hater, entered into a Swan; the Soul of Ajax, which was all Wrath and Fierceness, into a Lion; the Soul of Agamemnon, that was rapacious and imperial, into an Eagle; and the Soul of Thersites, who was a Mimick and a Buffoon, into a Monkey. [2]

Mr. Congreve, in a Prologue to one of his Comedies, [3] has touch'd upon this Doctrine with great Humour.

Thus_ Aristotle's _Soul of old that was, May now be damn'd to animate an Ass; Or in this very House, for ought we know, Is doing painful Penance in some Beau.

I shall fill up this Paper with some Letters which my last Tuesdays Speculation has produced. My following Correspondents will shew, what I there observed, that the Speculation of that Day affects only the lower Part of the Sex.

From my House in the Strand, October 30, 1711.


Upon reading your Tuesdays Paper, I find by several Symptoms in my Constitution that I am a Bee. My Shop, or, if you please to call it so, my Cell, is in that great Hive of Females which goes by the Name of The New Exchange; where I am daily employed in gathering together a little Stock of Gain from the finest Flowers about the Town, I mean the Ladies and the Beaus. I have a numerous Swarm of Children, to whom I give the best Education I am able: But, Sir, it is my Misfortune to be married to a Drone, who lives upon what I get, without bringing any thing into the common Stock. Now, Sir, as on the one hand I take care not to behave myself towards him like a Wasp, so likewise I would not have him look upon me as an Humble-Bee; for which Reason I do all I can to put him upon laying up Provisions for a bad Day, and frequently represent to him the fatal Effects [his [4]] Sloth and Negligence may bring upon us in our old Age. I must beg that you will join with me in your good Advice upon this Occasion, and you will for ever oblige

Your humble Servant,


Picadilly, October 31, 1711.


I am joined in Wedlock for my Sins to one of those Fillies who are described in the old Poet with that hard Name you gave us the other Day. She has a flowing Mane, and a Skin as soft as Silk: But, Sir, she passes half her Life at her Glass, and almost ruins me in Ribbons. For my own part, I am a plain handicraft Man, and in Danger of breaking by her Laziness and Expensiveness. Pray, Master, tell me in your next Paper, whether I may not expect of her so much Drudgery as to take care of her Family, and curry her Hide in case of Refusal.

Your loving Friend,

Barnaby Brittle.

Cheapside, October 30.


I am mightily pleased with the Humour of the Cat, be so kind as to enlarge upon that Subject.

Yours till Death,

Josiah Henpeck.

P.S. You must know I am married to a Grimalkin.

Wapping, October 31, 1711.


Ever since your Spectator of Tuesday last came into our Family, my Husband is pleased to call me his Oceana, because the foolish old Poet that you have translated says, That the Souls of some Women are made of Sea-Water. This, it seems, has encouraged my Sauce-Box to be witty upon me. When I am angry, he cries Prythee my Dear be calm; when I chide one of my Servants, Prythee Child do not bluster. He had the Impudence about an Hour ago to tell me, That he was a Sea-faring Man, and must expect to divide his Life between Storm and Sunshine. When I bestir myself with any Spirit in my Family, it is high Sea in his House; and when I sit still without doing any thing, his Affairs forsooth are Wind-bound. When I ask him whether it rains, he makes Answer, It is no Matter, so that it be fair Weather within Doors. In short, Sir, I cannot speak my Mind freely to him, but I either swell or rage, or do something that is not fit for a civil Woman to hear. Pray, Mr. SPECTATOR, since you are so sharp upon other Women, let us know what Materials your Wife is made of, if you have one. I suppose you would make us a Parcel of poor-spirited tame insipid Creatures; but, Sir, I would have you to know, we have as good Passions in us as your self, and that a Woman was never designed to be a Milk-Sop.



[Footnote 1: Odes, I. 16. ]

[Footnote 2: In the Timæus Plato derives woman and all the animals from man, by successive degradations. Cowardly or unjust men are born again as women. Light, airy, and superficial men, who carried their minds aloft without the use of reason, are the materials for making birds, the hair being transmuted into feathers and wings. From men wholly without philosophy, who never looked heavenward, the more brutal land animals are derived, losing the round form of the cranium by the slackening and stopping of the rotations of the encephalic soul. Feet are given to these according to the degree of their stupidity, to multiply approximations to the earth; and the dullest become reptiles who drag the whole length of their bodies on the ground. Out of the very stupidest of men come those animals which are not judged worthy to live at all upon earth and breathe this air, these men become fishes, and the creatures who breathe nothing but turbid water, fixed at the lowest depths and almost motionless, among the mud. By such transitions, he says, the different races of animals passed originally and still pass into each other.]

[Footnote 3: In the Epilogue to Love for Love.]

[Footnote 4: that his]

Translation of motto:
PHAEDR. 1. 1. Prol.
'Let it be remembered that we sport in fabled stories.'