The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,859 pages of information about The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3.

I have indeed heard of heedless, inconsiderate Writers, that without any Malice have sacrificed the Reputation of their Friends and Acquaintance to a certain Levity of Temper, and a silly Ambition of distinguishing themselves by a Spirit of Raillery and Satyr:  As if it were not infinitely more honourable to be a Good-natured Man than a Wit.  Where there is this little petulant Humour in an Author, he is often very mischievous without designing to be so.  For which Reason I always lay it down as a Rule, that an indiscreet Man is more hurtful than an ill-natured one; for as the former will only attack his Enemies, and those he wishes ill to, the other injures indifferently both Friends and Foes.  I cannot forbear, on this occasion, transcribing a Fable out of Sir Roger l’Estrange, [7] which accidentally lies before me.

’A company of Waggish Boys were watching of Frogs at the side of a Pond, and still as any of ’em put up their Heads, they’d be pelting them down again with Stones. Children (says one of the Frogs), you never consider that though this may be Play to you, ‘tis Death to us.’

As this Week is in a manner set apart and dedicated to Serious Thoughts, [8] I shall indulge my self in such Speculations as may not be altogether unsuitable to the Season; and in the mean time, as the settling in our selves a Charitable Frame of Mind is a Work very proper for the Time, I have in this Paper endeavoured to expose that particular Breach of Charity which has been generally over-looked by Divines, because they are but few who can be guilty of it.

C.

[Footnote 1:  At the top of this paper in a 12mo copy of the Spectator, published in 17l2, and annotated by a contemporary Spanish merchant, is written, ‘The character of Dr Swift.’  This proves that the writer of the note had an ill opinion of Dr Swift and a weak sense of the purport of what he read.  Swift, of course, understood what he read.  At this time he was fretting under the sense of a chill in friendship between himself and Addison, but was enjoying his Spectators.  A week before this date, on the 16th of March, he wrote,

’Have you seen the ‘Spectators’ yet, a paper that comes out every day?  It is written by Mr. Steele, who seems to have gathered new life and have a new fund of wit; it is in the same nature as his ‘Tatlers’, and they have all of them had something pretty.  I believe Addison and he club.’

Then he adds a complaint of the chill in their friendship.  A month after the date of this paper Swift wrote in his journal,

  ’The ‘Spectator’ is written by Steele with Addison’s help; ’tis
  often very pretty.’

Later in the year, in June and September, he records dinner and supper with his friends of old time, and says of Addison,

  ‘I yet know no man half so agreeable to me as he is.’]

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The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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