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 Prize, it seems, fell at length upon a Cobler, Giles Gorgon by Name, who produced several new Grinns of his own Invention, having been used to cut Faces for many Years together over his Last.  At the very first Grinn he cast every Human Feature out of his Countenance; at the second he became the Face of a Spout; at the third a Baboon, at the fourth the Head of a Base-Viol, and at the fifth a Pair of Nut-Crackers.  The whole Assembly wondered at his Accomplishments, and bestowed the Ring on him unanimously; but, what he esteemed more than all the rest, a Country Wench, whom he had wooed in vain for above five Years before, was so charmed with his Grinns, and the Applauses which he received on all Sides, that she Married him the Week following, and to this Day wears the Prize upon her Finger, the Cobler having made use of it as his Wedding-Ring.

This Paper might perhaps seem very impertinent, if it grew serious in the Conclusion.  I would nevertheless leave it to the Consideration of those who are the Patrons of this monstrous Tryal of Skill, whether or no they are not guilty, in some measure, of an Affront to their Species, in treating after this manner the Human Face Divine, and turning that Part of us, which has so great an Image impressed upon it, into the Image of a Monkey; whether the raising such silly Competitions among the Ignorant, proposing Prizes for such useless Accomplishments, filling the common People’s Heads with such Senseless Ambitions, and inspiring them with such absurd Ideas of Superiority and Preheminence, has not in it something Immoral as well as Ridiculous. [3]


[Footnote 1:  Sept. 1, 1695.]

[Footnote 2:  horridly.  Neither is quite right.

  ‘Death Grinn’d horrible a ghastly smile.’

P. L., Bk.  II. 1. 864.]

[Footnote 3:  Two volumes of Original Letters sent to the Tatler and Spectator and not inserted, were published by Charles Lillie in 1725.  In Vol.  II. (pp. 72, 73), is a letter from Coleshill, informing the Spectator that in deference to his opinion, and chiefly through the mediation of some neighbouring ladies, the Grinning Match had been abandoned, and requesting his advice as to the disposal of the Grinning Prize.]

* * * * *

No. 174.  Wednesday, September 19, 1711.  Steele.

      ‘Haec memini et victum frustra contendere Thyrsin.’


There is scarce any thing more common than Animosities between Parties that cannot subsist but by their Agreement:  this was well represented in the Sedition of the Members of the humane Body in the old Roman Fable.  It is often the Case of lesser confederate States against a superior Power, which are hardly held together, though their Unanimity is necessary for their common Safety:  and this is always the Case of the landed and trading Interest of Great Britain:  the Trader is fed by the Product of the Land, and the landed Man cannot be clothed but by the Skill of the Trader; and yet those Interests are ever jarring.

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