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.


[Footnote 1:  Not a new paragraph in the first issue.]

[Footnote 2:  which]

[Footnote 3:  The ‘Syrinx’ of Theocritus consists of twenty verses, so arranged that the length of each pair is less than that of the pair before, and the whole resembles the ten reeds of the mouth organ or Pan pipes ([Greek:  syrigx]).  The Egg is, by tradition, called Anacreon’s.  Simmias of Rhodes, who lived about B.C. 324, is said to have been the inventor of shaped verses.  Butler in his ‘Character of a Small Poet’ said of Edward Benlowes: 

’As for Altars and Pyramids in poetry, he has outdone all men that way; for he has made a gridiron and a frying-pan in verse, that besides the likeness in shape, the very tone and sound of the words did perfectly represent the noise that is made by those utensils.’]

[Footnote 4:  But a devout earnestness gave elevation to George Herbert’s ingenious conceits.  Joshua Sylvester’s dedication to King James the First of his translation of the Divine Weeks and Works of Du Bartas has not this divine soul in its oddly-fashioned frame.  It begins with a sonnet on the Royal Anagram ‘James Stuart:  A just Master;’ celebrates his Majesty in French and Italian, and then fills six pages with verse built in his Majesty’s honour, in the form of bases and capitals of columns, inscribed each with the name of one of the Muses.  Puttenham’s Art of Poetry, published in 1589, book II., ch. ii. contains the fullest account of the mysteries and varieties of this sort of versification.]

[Footnote 5:  When the tyranny of French criticism had imprisoned nearly all our poetry in the heroic couplet, outside exercise was allowed only to those who undertook to serve under Pindar.]

* * * * *

No. 59.  Tuesday, May 8, 1711.  Addison.

      ‘Operose Nihil agunt.’


There is nothing more certain than that every Man would be a Wit if he could, and notwithstanding Pedants of a pretended Depth and Solidity are apt to decry the Writings of a polite Author, as Flash and Froth, they all of them shew upon Occasion that they would spare no pains to arrive at the Character of those whom they seem to despise.  For this Reason we often find them endeavouring at Works of Fancy, which cost them infinite Pangs in the Production.  The Truth of it is, a Man had better be a Gally-Slave than a Wit, were one to gain that Title by those Elaborate Trifles which have been the Inventions of such Authors as were often Masters of great Learning but no Genius.

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