But to return to our Subject. I have left the Repository of our English Kings for the Contemplation of another Day, when I shall find my Mind disposed for so serious an Amusement. I know that Entertainments of this Nature, are apt to raise dark and dismal Thoughts in timorous Minds and gloomy Imaginations; but for my own Part, though I am always serious, I do not know what it is to be melancholy; and can, therefore, take a View of Nature in her deep and solemn Scenes, with the same Pleasure as in her most gay and delightful ones. By this Means I can improve my self with those Objects, which others consider with Terror. When I look upon the Tombs of the Great, every Emotion of Envy dies in me; when I read the Epitaphs of the Beautiful, every inordinate Desire goes out; when I meet with the Grief of Parents upon a Tombstone, my Heart melts with Compassion; when I see the Tomb of the Parents themselves, I consider the Vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow: When I see Kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival Wits placed Side by Side, or the holy Men that divided the World with their Contests and Disputes, I reflect with Sorrow and Astonishment on the little Competitions, Factions and Debates of Mankind. When I read the several Dates of the Tombs, of some that dy’d Yesterday, and some six hundred Years ago, I consider that great Day when we shall all of us be Contemporaries, and make our Appearance together.
[Footnote 1: that]
[Footnote 2: had]
[Footnote 3: that]
[Footnote 4: that]
[Footnote 5: At the close of the reign of William III. the exiled James II died, and France proclaimed his son as King of England. William III thus was enabled to take England with him into the European War of the Spanish Succession. The accession of Queen Anne did not check the movement, and, on the 4th of May, 1702, war was declared against France and Spain by England, the Empire, and Holland. The war then begun had lasted throughout the Queen’s reign, and continued, after the writing of the Spectator Essays, until the signing of the Peace of Utrecht on the 11th of April, 1713, which was not a year and a half before the Queen’s death, on the 1st of August, 1714. In this war Marlborough had among his victories, Blenheim, 1704, Ramilies, 1706, Oudenarde, 1708, Malplaquet, 1709. At sea Sir George Rooke had defeated the French fleet off Vigo, in October, 1702, and in a bloody battle off Malaga, in August, 1704, after his capture of Gibraltar.]
[Footnote 6: Sir Cloudesly Shovel, a brave man of humble birth, who, from a cabin boy, became, through merit, an admiral, died by the wreck of his fleet on the Scilly Islands as he was returning from an unsuccessful attack on Toulon. His body was cast on the shore, robbed of a ring by some fishermen, and buried in the sand. The ring discovering his quality, he was disinterred, and brought home for burial in Westminster Abbey.]