The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,123 pages of information about The Spectator, Volume 2..

  March the 18th.


The ostentation you showed yesterday would have been pardonable had you provided better for the two Extremities of your Paper, and placed in one the letter R., in the other Nescio quid meditans nugarum, et lotus in illis.  A Word to the wise.

  I am your most humble Servant,
  T. Trash.

According to the Emendation of the above Correspondent, the Reader is desired in the Paper of the 17th to read R. for T. [3]


[Footnote 1:  at truant]

[Footnote 2:  loving]

* * * * *

No. 331.  Thursday, March 20, 1712.  Budgell.

  Stolidam praebet tibi vellere barbam.


When I was last with my Friend Sir ROGER in Westminster-Abby, I observed that he stood longer than ordinary before the Bust of a venerable old Man.  I was at a loss to guess the Reason of it, when after some time he pointed to the Figure, and asked me if I did not think that our Fore-fathers looked much wiser in their Beards than we do without them?  For my part, says he, when I am walking in my Gallery in the Country, and see my Ancestors, who many of them died before they were of my Age, I cannot forbear regarding them as so many old Patriarchs, and at the same time looking upon myself as an idle Smock-fac’d young Fellow.  I love to see your Abrahams, your Isaacs, and your Jacob’s, as we have them in old Pieces of Tapestry, with Beards below their Girdles, that cover half the Hangings.  The Knight added, if I would recommend Beards in one of my Papers, and endeavour to restore human Faces to their Ancient Dignity, that upon a Months warning he would undertake to lead up the Fashion himself in a pair of Whiskers.

I smiled at my Friends Fancy; but after we parted, could not forbear reflecting on the Metamorphoses our Faces have undergone in this Particular.

The Beard, conformable to the Notion of my Friend Sir ROGER, was for many Ages look’d upon as the Type of Wisdom.  Lucian more than once rallies the Philosophers of his Time, who endeavour’d to rival one another in Beard; and represents a learned Man who stood for a Professorship in Philosophy, as unqualify’d for it by the Shortness of his Beard.

AElian, in his Account of Zoilus, the pretended Critick, who wrote against Homer and Plato, and thought himself wiser than all who had gone before him, tells us that this Zoilus had a very long Beard that hung down upon his Breast, but no Hair upon his Head, which he always kept close shaved, regarding, it seems, the Hairs of his Head as so many Suckers, which if they had been suffer’d to grow, might have drawn away the Nourishment from his Chin, and by that means have starved his Beard.

I have read somewhere that one of the Popes refus’d to accept an Edition of a Saints Works, which were presented to him, because the Saint in his Effigies before the Book, was drawn without a Beard.

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