No. 67. Thursday, May 17, 1711. Budgell. [1]

Saltare elegantius quam necesse est probá.'

Lucian, in one of his Dialogues, introduces a Philosopher chiding his Friend for his being a Lover of Dancing, and a Frequenter of Balls. [2] The other undertakes the Defence of his Favourite Diversion, which, he says, was at first invented by the Goddess Rhea, and preserved the Life of Jupiter himself, from the Cruelty of his Father Saturn. He proceeds to shew, that it had been Approved by the greatest Men in all Ages; that Homer calls Merion a Fine Dancer; and says, That the graceful Mien and great Agility which he had acquired by that Exercise, distinguished him above the rest in the Armies, both of Greeks and Trojans.

He adds, that Pyrrhus gained more Reputation by Inventing the Dance which is called after his Name, than by all his other Actions: That the Lacedaemonians, who were the bravest People in Greece, gave great Encouragement to this Diversion, and made their Hormus (a Dance much resembling the French Brawl) famous over all Asia: That there were still extant some Thessalian Statues erected to the Honour of their best Dancers: And that he wondered how his Brother Philosopher could declare himself against the Opinions of those two Persons, whom he professed so much to admire, Homer and Hesiod; the latter of which compares Valour and Dancing together; and says, That the Gods have bestowed Fortitude on some Men, and on others a Disposition for Dancing.

Lastly, he puts him in mind that Socrates, (who, in the Judgment of Apollo, was the wisest of Men) was not only a professed Admirer of this Exercise in others, but learned it himself when he was an old Man.

The Morose Philosopher is so much affected by these, and some other Authorities, that he becomes a Convert to his Friend, and desires he would take him with him when he went to his next Ball.

I love to shelter my self under the Examples of Great Men; and, I think, I have sufficiently shewed that it is not below the Dignity of these my Speculations to take notice of the following Letter, which, I suppose, is sent me by some substantial Tradesman about Change.


'I am a Man in Years, and by an honest Industry in the World have acquired enough to give my Children a liberal Education, tho' I was an utter Stranger to it my self. My eldest Daughter, a Girl of Sixteen, has for some time been under the Tuition of Monsieur Rigadoon, a Dancing-Master in the City; and I was prevailed upon by her and her Mother to go last Night to one of his Balls. I must own to you, Sir, that having never been at any such Place before, I was very much pleased and surprized with that Part of his Entertainment which he called French Dancing. There were several young Men and Women, whose Limbs seemed to have no other Motion, but purely what the Musick gave them. After this Part was over, they began a Diversion which they call Country Dancing, and wherein there were also some things not disagreeable, and divers Emblematical Figures, Compos'd, as I guess, by Wise Men, for the Instruction of Youth.

Among the rest, I observed one, which, I think, they call Hunt the Squirrel, in which while the Woman flies the Man pursues her; but as soon as she turns, he runs away, and she is obliged to follow.

The Moral of this Dance does, I think, very aptly recommend Modesty and Discretion to the Female Sex.

But as the best Institutions are liable to Corruptions, so, Sir, I must acquaint you, that very great Abuses are crept into this Entertainment. I was amazed to see my Girl handed by, and handing young Fellows with so much Familiarity; and I could not have thought it had been in the Child. They very often made use of a most impudent and lascivious Step called Setting, which I know not how to describe to you, but by telling you that it is the very reverse of Back to Back. At last an impudent young Dog bid the Fidlers play a Dance called Mol Patley,[1] and after having made two or three Capers, ran to his Partner, locked his Arms in hers, and whisked her round cleverly above Ground in such manner, that I, who sat upon one of the lowest Benches, saw further above her Shoe than I can think fit to acquaint you with. I could no longer endure these Enormities; wherefore just as my Girl was going to be made a Whirligig, I ran in, seized on the Child, and carried her home.

Sir, I am not yet old enough to be a Fool. I suppose this Diversion might be at first invented to keep up a good Understanding between young Men and Women, and so far I am not against it; but I shall never allow of these things. I know not what you will say to this Case at present, but am sure that had you been with me you would have seen matter of great Speculation.

I am

Yours, &c.

I must confess I am afraid that my Correspondent had too much Reason to be a little out of Humour at the Treatment of his Daughter, but I conclude that he would have been much more so, had he seen one of those kissing Dances in which WILL. HONEYCOMB assures me they are obliged to dwell almost a Minute on the Fair One's Lips, or they will be too quick for the Musick, and dance quite out of Time.

I am not able however to give my final Sentence against this Diversion; and am of Mr. Cowley's Opinion, [4] that so much of Dancing at least as belongs to the Behaviour and an handsome Carriage of the Body, is extreamly useful, if not absolutely necessary.

We generally form such Ideas of People at first Sight, as we are hardly ever persuaded to lay aside afterwards: For this Reason, a Man would wish to have nothing disagreeable or uncomely in his Approaches, and to be able to enter a Room with a good Grace.

I might add, that a moderate Knowledge in the little Rules of Good-breeding gives a Man some Assurance, and makes him easie in all Companies. For want of this, I have seen a Professor of a Liberal Science at a Loss to salute a Lady; and a most excellent Mathematician not able to determine whether he should stand or sit while my Lord drank to him.

It is the proper Business of a Dancing-Master to regulate these Matters; tho' I take it to be a just Observation, that unless you add something of your own to what these fine Gentlemen teach you, and which they are wholly ignorant of themselves, you will much sooner get the Character of an Affected Fop, than of a Well-bred Man.

As for Country Dancing, it must indeed be confessed, that the great Familiarities between the two Sexes on this Occasion may sometimes produce very dangerous Consequences; and I have often thought that few Ladies Hearts are so obdurate as not to be melted by the Charms of Musick, the Force of Motion, and an handsome young Fellow who is continually playing before their Eyes, and convincing them that he has the perfect Use of all his Limbs.

But as this kind of Dance is the particular Invention of our own Country, and as every one is more or less a Proficient in it, I would not Discountenance it; but rather suppose it may be practised innocently by others, as well as myself, who am often Partner to my Landlady's Eldest Daughter.


Having heard a good Character of the Collection of Pictures which is to be Exposed to Sale on Friday next; and concluding from the following Letter, that the Person who Collected them is a Man of no unelegant Taste, I will be so much his Friend as to Publish it, provided the Reader will only look upon it as filling up the Place of an Advertisement.

From the three Chairs in the Piazza, Covent-Garden.

SIR, May 16, 1711.

'As you are SPECTATOR, I think we, who make it our Business to exhibit any thing to publick View, ought to apply our selves to you for your Approbation. I have travelled Europe to furnish out a Show for you, and have brought with me what has been admired in every Country through which I passed. You have declared in many Papers, that your greatest Delights are those of the Eye, which I do not doubt but I shall gratifie with as Beautiful Objects as yours ever beheld. If Castles, Forests, Ruins, Fine Women, and Graceful Men, can please you, I dare promise you much Satisfaction, if you will Appear at my Auction on Friday next. A Sight is, I suppose, as grateful to a SPECTATOR, as a Treat to another Person, and therefore I hope you will pardon this Invitation from,


Your most Obedient Humble Servant,


[Footnote 1: Eustace Budgell, the contributor of this and of about three dozen other papers to the Spectator, was, in 1711, twenty-six years old, and by the death of his father, Gilbert Budgell, D.D., obtained, in this year, encumbered by some debt, an income of £950. He was first cousin to Addison, their mothers being two daughters of Dr. Nathaniel Gulstone, and sisters to Dr. Gulstone, bishop of Bristol. He had been sent in 1700 to Christ Church, Oxford, where he spent several years. When, in 1709, Addison went to Dublin as secretary to Lord Wharton, in his Irish administration, he took with him his cousin Budgell as a private secretary. During Addison's first stay in Ireland Budgell lived with him, and paid careful attention to his duties. To this relationship and friendship Budgell was indebted for the insertion of papers of his in the Spectator. Addison not only gratified his literary ambition, but helped him to advancement in his service of the government. On the accession of George I, Budgell was appointed Secretary to the Lords Justices of Ireland and Deputy Clerk of the Council; was chosen also Honorary Bencher of the Dublin Inns of Court and obtained a seat in the Irish Parliament. In 1717, when Addison became Secretary of State for Ireland, he appointed Eustace Budgell to the post of Accountant and Comptroller-General of the Irish Revenue, which was worth nearly £400 a-year. In 1718, anger at being passed over in an appointment caused Budgell to charge the Duke of Bolton, the newly-arrived Lord-Lieutenant, with folly and imbecility. For this he was removed from his Irish appointments. He then ruined his hope of patronage in England, lost three-fourths of his fortune in the South Sea Bubble, and spent the other fourth in a fruitless attempt to get into Parliament. While struggling to earn bread as a writer, he took part in the publication of Dr. Matthew Tindal's Christianity as Old as the Creation, and when, in 1733, Tindal died, a Will was found which, to the exclusion of a favourite nephew, left £2100 (nearly all the property) to Budgell. The authenticity of the Will was successfully contested, and thereby Budgell disgraced. He retorted on Pope for some criticism upon this which he attributed to him, and Pope wrote in the prologue to his Satires,

Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on my quill, And write whate'er he please,--except my Will.

At last, in May, 1737, Eustace Budgell filled his pockets with stones, hired a boat, and drowned himself by jumping from it as it passed under London Bridge. There was left on his writing-table at home a slip of paper upon which he had written,

'What Cato did, and Addison approved, cannot be wrong.']

[Footnote 2: The Dialogue 'Of Dancing' between Lucian and Crato is here quoted from a translation then just published in four volumes,

'of the Works of Lucian, translated from the Greek by several Eminent Hands, 1711.'

The dialogue is in Vol. III, pp. 402--432, translated 'by Mr. Savage of the Middle Temple.']

[Footnote 3: 'Moll Peatley' was a popular and vigorous dance, dating, at least, from 1622.]

[Footnote 4: In his scheme of a College and School, published in 1661, as 'a Proposition for the Advancement of Experimental Philosophy,' among the ideas for training boys in the school is this, that

'in foul weather it would not be amiss for them to learn to Dance, that is, to learn just so much (for all beyond is superfluous, if not worse) as may give them a graceful comportment of their bodies.']

Translation of motto:
'Too fine a dancer for a virtuous woman.'