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The Seven former Volumes of the Spectator having been Dedicated to some of the most celebrated Persons of the Age, I take leave to Inscribe this Eighth and Last to You, as to a Gentleman who hath ever been ambitious of appearing in the best Company.
You are now wholly retired from the busie Part of Mankind, and at leisure to reflect upon your past Achievements; for which reason, I look upon You as a Person very well qualified for a Dedication.
I may possibly disappoint my Readers, and your self too, if I do not endeavour on this Occasion to make the World acquainted with your Virtues. And here, Sir, I shall not compliment You upon your Birth, Person, or Fortune; nor any other the like Perfections, which You possess whether You will or no: But shall only touch upon those, which are of your own acquiring, and in which every one must allow You have a real Merit.
Your janty Air and easy Motion, the Volubility of your Discourse, the Suddenness of your Laugh, the Management of your Snuff-Box, with the Whiteness of your Hands and Teeth (which have justly gained You the Envy of the most polite part of the Male World, and the Love of the greatest Beauties in the Female) are intirely to be ascribed to your own personal Genius and Application.
You are formed for these Accomplishments by a happy Turn of Nature, and have finished your self in them by the utmost Improvements of Art. A Man that is defective in either of these Qualifications (whatever may be the secret Ambition of his Heart) must never hope to make the Figure You have done, among the fashionable part of his Species. It is therefore no wonder, we see such Multitudes of aspiring young Men fall short of You in all these Beauties of your Character, notwithstanding the Study and Practice of them is the whole Business of their Lives. But I need not tell You that the free and disengaged Behaviour of a fine Gentleman makes as many aukward Beaux, as the Easiness of your Favourite Waller hath made insipid Poets.
At present You are content to aim all your Charms at your own Spouse, without further Thought of Mischief to any others of the Sex. I know you had formerly a very great Contempt for that Pedantick Race of Mortals who call themselves Philosophers; and yet, to your Honour be it spoken, there is not a Sage of them all could have better acted up to their Precepts in one of the most important Points of Life: I mean in that Generous Dis-regard of Popular Opinion, which you showed some Years ago, when you chose for your Wife an obscure young Woman, who doth not indeed pretend to an ancient Family, but has certainly as many Fore-fathers as any Lady in the Land, if she could but reckon up their Names.