No. 488. Friday, September 19, 1712. Addison.

Quanti emptæ? parvi. Quanti ergo? octo assibus. Eheu!'

I find, by several Letters which I receive daily, that many of my Readers would be better pleased to pay Three Half-Pence for my Paper, than Two-Pence. The ingenious T. W. tells me, that I have deprived him of the best Part of his Breakfast, for that since the rise of my Paper, he is forced every Morning to drink his Dish of Coffee by it self, without the Addition of the Spectator, that used to be better than Lace to it. Eugenius informs me very obligingly, that he never thought he should have disliked any Passage in my Paper, but that of late there have been two Words in every one of them, which he could heartily wish left out, viz. Price Two-Pence. I have a Letter from a Soap-boiler, who condoles with me very affectionately, upon the necessity we both lie under of setting an higher Price on our Commodities, since the late Tax has been laid upon them, and desiring me, when I write next on that Subject, to speak a Word or two upon the present Duties on Castile-Soap. But there is none of these my Correspondents, who writes with a greater Turn of good Sense and Elegance of Expression, than the generous Philomedes, who advises me to value every Spectator at Six Pence, and promises that he himself will engage for above a Hundred of his Acquaintance, who shall take it in at that Price.

Letters from the Female World are likewise come to me, in great quantities, upon the same Occasion; and as I naturally bear a great Deference to this Part of our Species, I am very glad to find that those who approve my Conduct in this Particular, are much more numerous than those who condemn it. A large Family of Daughters have drawn me up a very handsome Remonstrance, in which they set forth, that their Father having refused to take in the Spectator, since the additional Price was set upon it, they offered him unanimously to bate him the Article of Bread and Butter in the Tea-Table Account, provided the Spectator might be served up to them every Morning as usual. Upon this the old Gentleman, being pleased, it seems, with their Desire of improving themselves, has granted them the continuance both of the Spectator and their Bread and Butter; having given particular Orders, that the Tea-Table shall be set forth every Morning with its Customary Bill of Fare, and without any manner of Defalcation. I thought my self obliged to mention this Particular, as it does Honour to this worthy Gentleman; and if the young Lady Lætitia, who sent me this Account, will acquaint me with his Name, I will insert it at length in one of my Papers, if he desires it.

I should be very glad to find out any Expedient that might alleviate the Expence which this my Paper brings to any of my Readers; and, in order to it, must propose two Points to their Consideration. First, that if they retrench any the smallest Particular in their ordinary Expence, it will easily make up the Half Penny a Day, which we have now under Consideration. Let a Lady sacrifice but a single Ribband to her Morning Studies, and it will be sufficient: Let a Family burn but a Candle a Night less than the usual Number, and they may take in the Spectator without Detriment to their private Affairs.

In the next Place, if my Readers will not go to the Price of buying my Papers by Retail, let them have Patience, and they may buy them in the Lump, without the Burthen of a Tax upon them. My Speculations, when they are sold single, like Cherries upon the Stick, are Delights for the Rich and Wealthy; after some time they come to Market in greater Quantities, and are every ordinary Man's Money. The Truth of it is, they have a certain Flavour at their first Appearance, from several accidental Circumstances of Time, Place and Person, which they may lose if they are not taken early; but in this case every Reader is to consider, whether it is not better for him to be half a Year behind-hand with the fashionable and polite part of the World, than to strain himself beyond his Circumstances. My Bookseller has now about Ten Thousand of the Third and Fourth Volumes, which he is ready to publish, having already disposed of as large an Edition both of the First and Second Volume. As he is a Person whose Head is very well turned to his Business, he thinks they would be a very proper Present to be made to Persons at Christenings, Marriages, Visiting-Days, and the like joyful Solemnities, as several other Books are frequently given at Funerals. He has printed them in such a little portable Volume, that many of them may be ranged together upon a single Plate; and is of Opinion, that a Salver of Spectators would be as acceptable an Entertainment to the Ladies, as a Salver of Sweetmeats.

I shall conclude this Paper with an Epigram lately sent to the Writer of the Spectator, after having returned my Thanks to the ingenious Author of it.


'Having heard the following Epigram very much commended, I wonder that it has not yet had a place in any of your Papers: I think the Suffrage of our Poet Laureat should not be overlooked, which shews the Opinion he entertains of your Paper, whether the Notion he proceeds upon be true or false. I make bold to convey it to you, not knowing if it has yet come to your Hands.

By Mr. _TATE_. [1]

--Aliusque et idem Nasceris--

'When first the_ Tatler _to a Mute was turn'd_,
Great Britain _for her Censor's Silence mourn'd.
Robb'd of his sprightly Beams, she wept the Night,
'Till the _Spectator_ rose, and blaz'd as bright.
So the first Man the Sun's first Setting view'd,
And sigh'd, till circling Day his Joys renew'd;
Yet doubtful how that second Sun to name,
Whether a bright Successor, or the same.
So we: but now from this Suspense are freed,
Since all agree, who both with Judgment read,
'Tis the same Sun, and does himself succeed.'


[Footnote 1: Nahum Tate, born and educated at Dublin, and befriended in his youth by Dryden and Dorset, was at this time 60 years old, and poet-laureate, having in 1692 succeeded in that office Thomas Shadwell, the Whig substitute for Dryden. Besides his version of the Psalms produced in concert with his friend Dr. Nicholas Brady, Tate produced his own notion of an improvement upon Shakespeare's King Lear and nine dramatic pieces, with other poetry, of which the above lines are a specimen. Tate was in his younger days the writer of the second part of Dryden's 'Absalom and Achithophel,' to which Dryden himself contributed only the characters of Julian Johnson as Ben Jochanan, of Shadwell as Og, and of Settle as Doeg. His salary as poet-laureate was £100 a year, and a butt of canary. He died three years after the date of this Spectator a poor man who had made his home in the Mint to escape his creditors.]

Translation of motto:
HOR. 2 Sat. iii. 156.
'What doth it cost? Not much, upon my word.
How much, pray? Why, Two-pence. Two-pence, O Lord!'