and below mirth. Cheerfulness is always to be supported if a man is out of pain, but mirth to a prudent man should always be accidental. It should naturally arise out of the occasion, and the occasion seldom be laid for it: for those tempers who want mirth to be pleased, are like the constitutions which flag without the use of brandy. Therefore, I say, let your precept be, 'be easy.' That mind is dissolute and ungoverned which must be hurried out of itself by loud laughter or sensual pleasure, or else be wholly unactive.

"There are a couple of old fellows of my acquaintance who meet every day and smoke a pipe, and by their mutual love to each other, though they have been men of business and bustle in the world, enjoy a greater tranquillity than either could have worked himself into by any chapter of Seneca. Indolence of body and mind, when we aim at no more, is very frequently enjoyed; but the very inquiry after happiness has something restless in it, which a man who lives in a series of temperate meals, friendly conversations, and easy slumbers, gives himself no trouble about. While men of refinement are talking of tranquillity, he possesses it.

"What I would, by these broken expressions, recommend to you, Mr. Spectator, is, that you would speak of the way of life which plain men may pursue to fill up the spaces of time with satisfaction. It is a lamentable circumstance, that wisdom, or, as you call it, philosophy, should furnish ideas only for the learned; and that a man must be a philosopher to know how to pass away his time agreeably. It would therefore be worth your pains to place in a handsome light the relations and affinities among man, which render their conversation with each other so grateful, that the highest talents give but an impotent pleasure in comparison with them. You may

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before you present state of my mind. I was reading your Spectator of the 9th instant, and thought the circumstance of the ass divided between the two bundles of hay, which equally affected his senses, was a lively representation of my present condition; for you are to know that I am extremely enamoured with two young gentlemen who at this time pretend to me. One must hide nothing when one is asking advice; therefore I will own to you, that I am very amorous and very covetous. My lover Will is very rich, and my lover Tom very handsome. I can have either of them when I please: but when I debate the question in my own mind, I cannot take Tom for fear of losing Will's estate, nor enter upon Will's estate, and bid adieu to Tom's person. I am very young, and yet no one in the world, dear Sir, has the main chance more in her head than myself. Tom is the gayest, the blithest creature! He dances well, is very civil, and diverting at all hours and seasons. Oh! he is the joy of my eyes! But then again Will rich and careful of the main. How many pretty dresses does Tom appear in to charm me! But then it immediately occurs to me, that a man of his circumstances is so much the poorer. Upon the whole, I have at last examined both these desires of love and avarice, and, upon strictly weighing the matter, I begin to think I shall be covetous longer than fond; therefore if you have nothing to say to the contrary, I shall take Will. Alas, poor Tom! "Your humble servant,


so very


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No. 197. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 1711.

Alter rixatur de lanâ sæpe caprinâ, et
Propugnat nugis armatus: scilicet, ut non
Sic mihi prima fides; et, verè quod placet, ut non
Acriter elatrem: Pretium ætas altera sordet,
Ambigitur quid enim? Castor sciat, an Docilis plus
Brundusium Numici meliùs via ducat, an Appî.

HOR. EPIST. i. 18. 15.

On trifles some are earnestly absurd;
You'll think the world depends on every word.
What! is not every mortal free to speak?
I'll give my reasons, though I break my neck!
And what's the question? If it shines, or rains;
Whether 'tis twelve, or fifteen miles to Staines.


EVERY age a man passes through, and way of life he engages in, has some particular vice or imperfection naturally cleaving to it, which it will require his nicest care to avoid. The several weaknesses to which youth, old age, and manhood are exposed, have long since been set down by many both of the poets and philosophers; but I do not remember to have met with any author who has treated of those ill habits men are subject to, not so much by reason of their different ages and tempers, as the particular professions or business in which they were educated and brought up.

I am the more surprised to find this subject so little touched on, since what I am here speaking of is so apparent as not to escape the most vulgar observation. The business men are chiefly conversant in, does not only give a certain cast or turn to their minds, but is very often apparent in their outward beha

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viour, and some of the most indifferent actions of their lives. It is this air diffusing itself over the whole man, which helps us to find out a person at his first appearance; so that the most careless ob

server fancies he can scarce be mistaken in the carriage of a seaman, or the gait of a tailor.

The liberal arts, though they may possibly have less effect on our external mien and behaviour, make so deep an impression on the mind, as is very apt to bend it wholly one way.

The mathematician will take little less than demonstration in the most common discourse, and the schoolman is as great a friend to definitions and syllogisms. The physician and divine are often heard to dictate in private companies with the same authority which they exercise over their patients and disciples; while the lawyer is putting cases and raising matter for disputation, out of every thing that occurs.


may possibly, some time or other, animadvert more at large on the particular fault each profession is most infected with; but shall, at present, wholly apply myself to the cure of what I last mentioned, namely, that spirit of strife and contention in the conversations of gentlemen of the long robe.

This is the more ordinary, because these gentlemen regarding argument as their own proper province, and very often making ready money of it, think it unsafe to yield before company. They are showing in common talk how zealously they could defend a cause in court, and therefore frequently forget to keep that temper which is absolutely requisite to render conversation pleasant and instructive.

Captain Sentry pushes this matter so far, that I have heard him say, 'he has known but few pleaders tolerable company.'

that were

The captain, who is a man of good sense, but dry

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