The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,123 pages of information about The Spectator, Volume 2..
in the High-way are grinning in applause of the ingenious Rogue that gave him the Tip, and the Folly of him who had not Eyes all round his Head to prevent receiving it.  These things arise from a general Affectation of Smartness, Wit, and Courage.  Wycherly somewhere [2] rallies the Pretensions this Way, by making a Fellow say, Red Breeches are a certain Sign of Valour; and Otway makes a Man, to boast his Agility, trip up a Beggar on Crutches [3].  From such Hints I beg a Speculation on this Subject; in the mean time I shall do all in the Power of a weak old Fellow in my own Defence:  for as Diogenes, being in quest of an honest Man, sought for him when it was broad Day-light with a Lanthorn and Candle, so I intend for the future to walk the Streets with a dark Lanthorn, which has a convex Chrystal in it; and if any Man stares at me, I give fair Warning that Ill direct the Light full into his Eyes.  Thus despairing to find Men Modest, I hope by this Means to evade their Impudence, I am, SIR, Your most humble Servant, Sophrosunius.


[Footnote 1:  The Polity of Lacedaemon and the Polity of Athens were two of Xenophons short treatises.  In the Polity of Lacedaemon the Spartan code of law and social discipline is, as Mr. Mure says in his Critical History of the Language and Literature of Ancient Greece,

indiscriminately held up to admiration as superior in all respects to all others.  Some of its more offensive features, such as the Cryptia, child murder, and more glaring atrocities of the Helot system, are suppressed; while the legalized thieving, adultery, and other unnatural practices, are placed in the most favourable or least odious light.]

[Footnote 2:  In the Plain Dealer, Act II. sc.  I.

Novel (a pert railing coxcomb).  These sea captains make nothing of
         dressing.  But let me tell you, sir, a man by his dress, as much
         as by anything, shows his wit and judgment; nay, and his
         courage too.

Freeman.  How, his courage, Mr. Novel?

Novel.  Why, for example, by red breeches, tucked-up hair, or peruke, a
         greasy broad belt, and now-a-days a short sword.]

[Footnote 3:  In his Friendship in Fashion, Act III. sc. i

Malagene.  I tell you what I did tother Day:  Faith’t is as good a Jest
           as ever you heard.

Valentine.  Pray, sir, do.

Mal.  Why, walking alone, a lame Fellow follow’d me and ask’d my
           Charity (which by the way was a pretty Proposition to me). 
           Being in one of my witty, merry Fits, I ask’d him how long he
           had been in that Condition?  The poor Fellow shook his Head,
           and told me he was born so.  But how dye think I served him?

Val.  Nay, the Devil knows.

Mal.  I show’d my Parts, I think; for I tripp’d up both his Wooden
           Legs, and walk’d off gravely about my Business.

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