The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

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himself passed through the Gallery during this Debate, and smiling at the Mistake of the Dervise, asked him how he could possibly be so dull as not to distinguish a Palace from a Caravansary?  Sir, says the Dervise, give me leave to ask your Majesty a Question or two.  Who were the Persons that lodged in this House when it was first built?  The King replied, His Ancestors.  And who, says the Dervise, was the last Person that lodged here?  The King replied, His Father.  And who is it, says the Dervise, that lodges here at present?  The King told him, that it was he himself.  And who, says the Dervise, will be here after you?  The King answered, The young Prince his Son.  Ah Sir, said the Dervise, a House that changes its Inhabitants so often, and receives such a perpetual Succession of Guests, is not a Palace but a Caravansary.


[Footnote 1:  Bills of Mortality, containing the weekly number of Christenings and Deaths, with the cause of Death, were first compiled by the London Company of Parish Clerks (for 109 parishes) after the Plague in 1592.  They did not give the age at death till 1728.]

[Footnote 2:  which have been written]

[Footnote 3:  [; for they]]

[Footnote 4:  Sir John Chardin was a jewellers son, born at Paris, who came to England and was knighted by Charles II.  He travelled into Persia and the East Indies, and his account of his voyages was translated into English, German, and Flemish.  He was living when this paper appeared, but died in the following year, at the age of 70.]

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No. 290.  Friday, February 1, 1712.  Steele.

  [Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba.

  Hor. [1]]

The Players, who know I am very much their Friend, take all Opportunities to express a Gratitude to me for being so.  They could not have a better Occasion of Obliging me, than one which they lately took hold of.  They desired my Friend WILL.  HONEYCOMB to bring me to the Reading of a new Tragedy; it is called The distressed Mother. [2] I must confess, tho some Days are passed since I enjoyed that Entertainment, the Passions of the several Characters dwell strongly upon my Imagination; and I congratulate to the Age, that they are at last to see Truth and humane Life represented in the Incidents which concern Heroes and Heroines.  The Stile of the Play is such as becomes those of the first Education, and the Sentiments worthy those of the highest Figure.  It was a most exquisite Pleasure to me, to observe real Tears drop from the Eyes of those who had long made it their Profession to dissemble Affliction; and the Player, who read, frequently throw down the Book, till he had given vent to the Humanity which rose in him at some irresistible Touches of the imagined Sorrow.  We have seldom had any Female Distress on the Stage, which did not, upon cool Examination, appear to flow

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