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.
the Limits of my Paper, I confess the greatest Benefit and Convenience that I can observe in these Country Festivals, is the bringing young People together, and giving them an Opportunity of shewing themselves in the most advantageous Light.  A Country Fellow that throws his Rival upon his Back, has generally as good Success with their common Mistress; as nothing is more usual than for a nimble-footed Wench to get a Husband at the same time she wins a Smock.  Love and Marriages are the natural Effects of these anniversary Assemblies.  I must therefore very much approve the Method by which my Correspondent tells me each Sex endeavours to recommend it self to the other, since nothing seems more likely to promise a healthy Offspring or a happy Cohabitation.  And I believe I may assure my Country Friend, that there has been many a Court Lady who would be contented to exchange her crazy young Husband for Tom Short, and several Men of Quality who would have parted with a tender Yoke-fellow for Black Kate.

I am the more pleased with having Love made the principal End and Design of these Meetings, as it seems to be most agreeable to the Intent for which they were at first instituted, as we are informed by the learned Dr. Kennet, [1] with whose Words I shall conclude my present Paper.

These Wakes, says he, were in Imitation of the ancient [Greek:  agapai], or Love-Feasts; and were first established in England by Pope Gregory the Great, who in an Epistle to Melitus the Abbot gave Order that they should be kept in Sheds or Arbories made up with Branches and Boughs of Trees round the Church.

He adds,

That this laudable Custom of Wakes prevailed for many Ages, till the nice Puritans began to exclaim against it as a Remnant of Popery; and by degrees the precise Humour grew so popular, that at an Exeter Assizes the Lord Chief Baron Walter made an Order for the Suppression of all Wakes; but on Bishop Laud’s complaining of this innovating Humour, the King commanded the Order to be reversed.


[Footnote 1:  ‘Parochial Antiquities’ (1795), pp. 610, 614.]

* * * * *

No. 162 Wednesday, September 5, 1711 Addison

’...  Servetur ad imum, Qualis ab incoepto processerit, et sibi constet.’


Nothing that is not a real Crime makes a Man appear so contemptible and little in the Eyes of the World as Inconstancy, especially when it regards Religion or Party.  In either of these Cases, tho’ a Man perhaps does but his Duty in changing his Side, he not only makes himself hated by those he left, but is seldom heartily esteemed by those he comes over to.

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