The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,123 pages of information about The Spectator, Volume 2..
me.  This, Sir, if I may presume to beg it, will be the greater Favour, as I have lately received rich Silks and fine Lace to a considerable Value, which will be sold cheap for a quick Return, and as I have also a large Stock of other Goods.  Indian Silks were formerly a great Branch of our Trade; and since we must not sell em, we must seek Amends by dealing in others.  This I hope will plead for one who would lessen the Number of Teazers of the Muses, and who, suiting his Spirit to his Circumstances, humbles the Poet to exalt the Citizen.  Like a true Tradesman, I hardly ever look into any Books but those of Accompts.  To say the Truth, I cannot, I think, give you a better Idea of my being a downright Man of Traffick, than by acknowledging I oftener read the Advertisements, than the Matter of even your Paper.  I am under a great Temptation to take this Opportunity of admonishing other Writers to follow my Example, and trouble the Town no more; but as it is my present Business to increase the Number of Buyers rather than Sellers, I hasten to tell you that I am, SIR, Your most humble, and most obedient Servant, Peter Motteux.


[Footnote 1:  Peter Anthony Motteux, the writer of this letter, was born in Normandy, and came as a refugee to England at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.  Here he wrote about 14 plays, translated Bayle’s Dictionary, Montaigne’s Essays, and Don Quixote, and established himself also as a trader in Leadenhall Street.  He had a wife and a fine young family when (at the age of 56, and six years after the date of this letter) he was found dead in a house of ill fame near Temple Bar under circumstances that caused a reward of fifty pounds to be offered for the discovery of his murderer.]

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No. 289.  Thursday, January 31, 1712.  Addison.

  Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam.


Upon taking my Seat in a Coffee-house I often draw the Eyes of the whole Room upon me, when in the hottest Seasons of News, and at a time that perhaps the Dutch Mail is just come in, they hear me ask the Coffee-man for his last Weeks Bill of Mortality:  I find that I have been sometimes taken on this occasion for a Parish Sexton, sometimes for an Undertaker, and sometimes for a Doctor of Physick.  In this, however, I am guided by the Spirit of a Philosopher, as I take occasion from hence to reflect upon the regular Encrease and Diminution of Mankind, and consider the several various Ways through which we pass from Life to Eternity.  I am very well pleased with these Weekly Admonitions, that bring into my Mind such Thoughts as ought to be the daily Entertainment of every reasonable Creature; and can consider, with Pleasure to my self, by which of those Deliverances, or, as we commonly call them, Distempers, I may possibly make my Escape out of this World of Sorrows, into that Condition of Existence, wherein I hope to be Happier than it is possible for me at present to conceive.

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The Spectator, Volume 2. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.