The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

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Rosicrucius, says his Disciples, made use of this Method, to shew the World that he had re-invented the ever-burning Lamps of the Ancients, tho’ he was resolvd no one should reap any Advantage from the Discovery.


[Footnote 1:  Nil proprium ducas quod mutarier potest.]

[Footnote 2:  Aulus Gellius.  Noct.  Att., Bk xx., ch. 5.]

[Footnote 3:  Baltazar Grecian’s Discreto has been mentioned before in the Spectator, being well-known in England through a French translation.  See note on p. 303, ante [Footnote 1 of No. 293].  Gracian, in Spain, became especially popular as a foremost representative of his time in transferring the humour for conceits—­cultismo, as it was called—­from verse to prose.  He began in 1630 with a prose tract, the Hero, laboured in short ingenious sentences, which went through six editions.  He wrote also an Art of Poetry after the new style.  His chief work was the Criticon, an allegory of the Spring, Autumn, and Winter of life.  The Discreto was one of his minor works.  All that he wrote was published, not by himself, but by a friend, and in the name of his brother Lorenzo, who was not an ecclesiastic.]

[Footnote 4:  Rosicrucius had been made fashionable by the Abbe de Villars who was assassinated in 1675.  His Comte de Gabalis was a popular little book in the Spectators time.  I suppose I need not inform my readers that there never was a Rosicrucius or a Rosicrucian sect.  The Rosicrucian pamphlets which appeared in Germany at the beginning of the 17th century, dating from the Discovery of the Brotherhood of the Honourable Order of the Rosy Cross, a pamphlet published in 1610, by a Lutheran clergyman, Valentine Andreae, were part of a hoax designed perhaps originally as means of establishing a sort of charitable masonic society of social reformers.  Missing that aim, the Rosicrucian story lived to be adorned by superstitious fancy, with ideas of mystery and magic, which in the Comte de Gabalis were methodized into a consistent romance.  It was from this romance that Pope got what he called the Rosicrucian machinery of his Rape of the Lock.  The Abbe de Villars, professing to give very full particulars, had told how the Rosicrucians assigned sylphs to the air, gnomes to the earth, nymphs to the water, salamanders to the fire.]

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No. 380.  Friday, May 16, 1712.  Steele

  ‘Rivalem patienter habe—­’


  Thursday, May 8, 1712.


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