If a Man would give himself leave to think, he would not be so unreasonable as to expect Debauchery and Innocence could live in Commerce together; or hope that Flesh and Blood is capable of so strict an Allegiance, as that a fine Woman must go on to improve her self ’till she is as good and impassive as an Angel, only to preserve a Fidelity to a Brute and a Satyr. The Lady who desires me for her Sake to end one of my Papers with the following Letter, I am persuaded, thinks such a Perseverance very impracticable.
Husband, Stay more at home. I know where you visited at Seven of [the] Clock on Thursday Evening. The Colonel whom you charged me to see no more, is in Town. Martha Housewife.
* * * * *
No. 179. Tuesday, September 25, 1711. Addison.
seniorum agitant expertia frugis:
Celsi praetereunt austera Poemata Rhamnes.
Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci,
Lectorem delectando, pariterque monendo ...’
I may cast my Readers under two general Divisions, the Mercurial and the Saturnine. The first are the gay Part of my Disciples, who require Speculations of Wit and Humour; the others are those of a more solemn and sober Turn, who find no Pleasure but in Papers of Morality and sound Sense. The former call every thing that is Serious, Stupid; the latter look upon every thing as Impertinent that is Ludicrous. Were I always Grave, one half of my Readers would fall off from me: Were I always Merry, I should lose the other. I make it therefore my Endeavour to find out Entertainments of both Kinds, and by that means perhaps consult the Good of both, more than I should do, did I always write to the particular Taste of either. As they neither of them know what I proceed upon, the sprightly Reader, who takes up my Paper in order to be diverted, very often finds himself engaged unawares in a serious and profitable Course of Thinking; as on the contrary, the thoughtful Man, who perhaps may hope to find something Solid, and full of deep Reflection, is very often insensibly betrayed into a Fit of Mirth. In a word, the Reader sits down to my Entertainment without knowing his Bill of Fare, and has therefore at least the Pleasure of hoping there may be a Dish to his Palate.