No. 473. Tuesday, September 2, 1712. Steele.

Quid? si quis vultu torvo ferus et pede nudo Exiguæque togæ simulet textore Catonem; Virtutemne repræsentet moresque Catonis?'



I am now in the Country, and employ most of my Time in reading, or thinking upon what I have read. Your paper comes constantly down to me, and it affects me so much, that I find my Thoughts run into your Way; and I recommend to you a Subject upon which you have not yet touched, and that is the Satisfaction some Men seem to take in their Imperfections, I think one may call it glorying in their Insufficiency; a certain great Author is of Opinion it is the contrary to Envy, tho perhaps it may proceed from it. Nothing is so common, as to hear Men of this Sort, speaking of themselves, add to their own Merit (as they think) by impairing it, in praising themselves for their Defects, freely allowing they commit some few frivolous Errors, in order to be esteemed persons of uncommon Talents and great Qualifications. They are generally professing an injudicious Neglect of Dancing, Fencing and Riding, as also an unjust Contempt for Travelling and the Modern Languages; as for their Part (say they) they never valued or troubled their Head about them. This panegyrical Satyr on themselves certainly is worthy of your Animadversion. I have known one of these Gentlemen think himself obliged to forget the Day of an Appointment, and sometimes even that you spoke to him; and when you see em, they hope youll pardon 'em, for they have the worst Memory in the World. One of em started up tother Day in some Confusion, and said, Now I think on't, I'm to meet Mr. Mortmain the Attorney about some Business, but whether it is to Day or to Morrow, faith, I can't tell. Now to my certain Knowledge he knew his Time to a Moment, and was there accordingly. These forgetful Persons have, to heighten their Crime, generally the best Memories of any People, as I have found out by their remembring sometimes through Inadvertency. Two or three of em that I know can say most of our modern Tragedies by Heart. I asked a Gentleman the other Day that is famous for a Good Carver, (at which Acquisition he is out of Countenance, imagining it may detract from some of his more essential Qualifications) to help me to something that was near him; but he excused himself, and blushing told me, Of all things he could never carve in his Life; though it can be proved upon him, that he cuts up, disjoints, and uncases with incomparable Dexterity. I would not be understood as if I thought it laudable for a Man of Quality and Fortune to rival the Aquisitions of Artificers, and endeavour to excel in little handy Qualities; No, I argue only against being ashamed at what is really Praiseworthy. As these Pretences to Ingenuity shew themselves several Ways, you'll often see a Man of this Temper ashamed to be clean, and setting up for Wit only from Negligence in his Habit. Now I am upon this Head, I can't help observing also upon a very different Folly proceeding from the same Cause. As these above-mentioned arise from affecting an Equality with Men of greater Talents from having the same Faults, there are others who would come at a Parallel with those above them, by possessing little Advantages which they want. I heard a young Man not long ago, who has sense, comfort himself in his Ignorance of Greek, Hebrew, and the Orientals: At the same Time that he published his Aversion to those Languages, he said that the Knowledge of 'em was rather a Diminution than an Advancement of a Man's Character: tho' at the same Time I know he languishes and repines he is not Master of them himself. Whenever I take any of these fine Persons, thus detracting from what they don't understand, I tell them I will complain to you, and say I am sure you will not allow it an Exception against a thing, that he who contemns it is an Ignorant in it.

I am, SIR, Your most humble Servant, S. P.


I am a Man of a very good Estate, and am honourably in Love. I hope you will allow, when the ultimate Purpose is honest, there may be, without Trespass against Innocence, some Toying by the Way. People of Condition are perhaps too distant and formal on those Occasions; but, however that is, I am to confess to you, that I have writ some Verses to atone for my Offence. You profess'd Authors are a little severe upon us, who write like Gentlemen: But if you are a Friend to Love, you will insert my Poem. You cannot imagine how much Service it will do me with my Fair one, as well as Reputation with all my Friends, to have something of mine in the Spectator. My Crime was, that I snatch'd a Kiss, and my Poetical Excuse as follows:

I. Belinda, see from yonder Flowers The Bee flies loaded to its Cell; Can you perceive what it devours? Are they impar'd in Show or Smell?

II. So, tho' I robb'd you of a Kiss, Sweeter than their Ambrosial Dew; Why are you angry at my Bliss? Has it at all impoverish'd you?

III. 'Tis by this Cunning I contrive, In spight of your unkind Reserve, To keep my famish'd Love alive, Which you inhumanly would starve.

I am, Sir, Your humble Servant, Timothy Stanza.

Aug. 23, 1712.


Having a little Time upon my Hands, I could not think of bestowing it better, than in writing an Epistle to the SPECTATOR, which I now do, and am,

SIR, Your humble Servant, BOB SHORT.

P. S. If you approve of my Style, I am likely enough to become your Correspondent. I desire your Opinion of it. I design it for that Way of Writing called by the Judicious the Familiar.



It is with very great Pleasure I take an Opportunity of publishing the Gratitude I owe You, for the Place You allow me in your Friendship and Familiarity. I will not acknowledge to You that I have often had You in my Thoughts, when I have endeavoured to Draw, in some Parts of these Discourses, the Character of a Good-natured, Honest, and Accomplished Gentleman. But such Representations give my Reader an Idea of a Person blameless only, or only laudable for such Perfections as extend no farther than to his own private Advantage and Reputation.

But when I speak of You, I Celebrate One who has had the Happiness of Possessing also those Qualities which make a Man useful to Society, and of having had Opportunities of Exerting them in the most Conspicuous Manner.

The Great Part You had, as British Embassador, in Procuring and Cultivating the Advantageous Commerce between the Courts of England and Portugal, has purchased you the lasting Esteem of all who understand the Interest of either Nation.

Those Personal Excellencies which are overrated by the ordinary World, and too much neglected by Wise Men, You have applied with the justest Skill and Judgment. The most graceful Address in Horsemanship, in the Use of the Sword, and in Dancing, has been employed by You as lower Arts, and as they have occasionally served to recover, or introduce the Talents of a skilful Minister.

But your Abilities have not appear'd only in one Nation. When it was your Province to Act as Her Majesty's Minister at the Court of Savoy, at that time encamped, You accompanied that Gallant Prince thro' all the Vicissitudes of his Fortune, and shared, by His Side, the Dangers of that Glorious Day in which He recovered His Capital. As far as it regards Personal Qualities, You attained, in that one Hour, the highest Military Reputation. The Behaviour of our Minister in the Action, and the good Offices done the Vanquished in the Name of the Queen of England, gave both the Conqueror and the Captive the most lively Examples of the Courage and Generosity of the Nation He represented.

Your Friends and Companions in your Absence frequently talk these things of You, and You cannot hide from us, (by the most discreet Silence in any Thing which regards Your self) that the frank Entertainment we have at your Table, your easie Condescension in little Incidents of Mirth and Diversion, and general Complacency of Manners, are far from being the greatest Obligations we have to You. I do assure You there is not one of your Friends has a Greater Sense of your Merit in general, and of the Favours You every Day do us, than,

SIR, Your most Obedient, and most Humble Servant, RICHARD Steele.

[Footnote 1: Paul Methuen, at the date of this Dedication M.P. for Brackley, and forty-two years old, was a lawyer who had distinguished himself as a diplomatist at the Court of Lisbon in 1703, and arranged the very short commercial treaty between Great Britain and Portugal which bears his name. Methuen then represented England at the Court of the Duke of Savory, who deserted the French cause at the end of 1602, and the ambassador proved his courage also as a combatant when he took part in the defence and rescue of Turin from the French in 1706. After his return to England Paul Methuen was made (in 1709) a Commissioner of the Admirality. In the year 1713 he first sat in Parliament as member of Brackley. He held afterwards various offices in the States, as those of Commissioner of the Treasury, Comptroller of the Household, Treasurer of the Household, Commissioner for inspecting the Law, was made Sir Paul Methuen, Knight of the Bath, and attained his highest dignity as Lord Chancellor of Ireland before his death in 1757, at the age of 86. The seventh volume, to which this Dedication is prefixed, is the last of the original Spectator. With the eighth volume, representing an unsuccessful attempt made to revive it, some time after its demise, Steele had nothing to do, and that volume is not inscribed to any living person.]

Translation of motto:
HOR. 1 Ep. xix. 12.
'Suppose a man the coarsest gown should wear,
No shoes, his forehead rough, his look severe,
And ape great Cato in his form and dress;
Must be his virtues and his mind express?'