The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 3,418 pages of information about The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3.


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No. 456.  Wednesday, August 13, 1712.  Steele.

  ’De quo libelli in celeberrimis locis proponuntur
  Huic ne perire quidem tacite conceditur.’


OTWAY, in his Tragedy of Venice Preserv’d, has described the Misery of a Man, whose Effects are in the Hands of the Law, with great Spirit.  The Bitterness of being the Scorn and Laughter of base Minds, the Anguish of being insulted by Men hardened beyond the Sense of Shame or Pity, and the Injury of a Man’s Fortune being wasted, under Pretence of Justice, are excellently aggravated in the following Speech of Pierre to Faffeir: [1]

  ’I pass’d this very Moment by thy Doors,
  And found them guarded by a Troop of Villains: 
  The Sons of publick Rapine were destroying. 
  They told me, by the Sentence of the Law,
  They had Commission to seize all thy Fortune: 
  Nay more, Priuli’s cruel Hand had sign’d it. 
  Here stood a Ruffian with a horrid Face,
  Lording it o’er a Pile of massy Plate,
  Tumbled into a Heap for publick Sale. 
  There was another making villanous Jests
  At thy Undoing:  He had ta’en Possession
  Of all thy ancient most domestick Ornaments: 
  Rich Hangings intermix’d and wrought with Gold;
  The very Bed, which on thy Wedding Night
  Received thee to the Arms of Belvedira,
  The Scene of all thy Joys, was violated
  By the coarse Hands of filthy Dungeon Villains,
  And thrown amongst the common Lumber.’

Nothing indeed can be more unhappy than the Condition of Bankrupcy.  The Calamity which happens to us by ill Fortune, or by the Injury of others, has in it some Consolation; but what arises from our own Misbehaviour or Error, is the State of the most exquisite Sorrow.  When a Man considers not only an ample Fortune, but even the very Necessaries of Life, his Pretence to Food it self at the Mercy of his Creditors, he cannot but look upon himself in the State of the Dead, with his Case thus much worse, that the last Office is performed by his Adversaries, instead of his Friends.  From this Hour the cruel World does not only take Possession of his whole Fortune, but even of every thing else, which had no Relation to it.  All his indifferent Actions have new Interpretations put upon them; and those whom he has favoured in his former Life, discharge themselves of their Obligations to him, by joining in the Reproaches of his Enemies.  It is almost incredible that it should be so; but it is too often seen that there is a Pride mixed with the Impatience of the Creditor, and there are who would rather recover their own by the Downfal of a prosperous Man, than be discharged to the common Satisfaction of themselves and their Creditors.  The wretched Man, who was lately Master of Abundance, is now under

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