« ForrigeFortsett »
N the six hundred and thirty-second Spec
TATOR the reader will find an account of the rise of this eighth and last volume *.
I have not been able to prevail upon the several gentlemen who were concerned in this work to let me acquaint the world with their names.
Perhaps it will be unnecessary to inform the reader, that no other Papers which have appeared under the title of SPECTATOR, since the closing of this eighth volume, were written by any
of those gentlemen who had a hand in this or the former volumes.
* After the SPECTATOR had been laid down about a year and an half, in which interval The GUARDIAN, and its fequel The ENGLISHMAN, were published, “ an attempt was made to re“ vive it, at a time" [in the opinion of the writer whose words are her quoted] “by no means favourable to literature, when « the succession of a new family to the throne filled the nation « with anxiety, discord, and confusion. Either the turbulence “ of the times, or the satiety of the readers, put a stop to the
publication after an experiment of eighty numbers, which « were afterwards collected into this 8th volume, perhaps more « valuable than any one of those that went before it.
“ Addison produced more than a fourth part, and the other a contributors are by no means unworthy of appearing as his « affociates.
“ The time that had passed during the suspension of the “ SPECTATOR, though it had not leffened Addison's power “ of humour, seems to have increased his disposition to se“ riousness: the proportion of his religious to his comic Papers « is greater than in the former series. The SpecTATOR, from “ its recommencement, was published only three times a week, « and no discriminative marks were added to the papers. To « Addison Mr. Tickell has afcribed 23; Nos. 556, 557, 558,
559, 561, 562, 565, 567, 568, 509, 571, 5745, 575, 579,
580, 582, 583, 584, 585, 590, 591, 598, and 600.” JOHNson's “ Lives of English Poets,” Vol. II. p. 380. Ed. 8vo. 1781.
-High o'er the grass hissing he rolls along,
SPECT A T O R.
No 556. Friday, June 18, 1714.
Virg. Æn. ii. 471. . So shines, renew'd in youth, the crested snake,
Who flept the winter in a thorny brake:
And, casting off his flough when spring returns, 'Now looks aloft, and with new glory burns:
Restor’d with pois’nous herbs, his ardent fides
'And brandishes by fits his forky tongue.
PON laying down the office of Spec
TATOR, I acquainted the world with my design of electing a new club, and of opening my mouth in it after a most folemn manner. Both the election and the ceremony are now past; but not finding it so easy, as I at first imagined, to break through a fifty years filence, I would not
venture into the world under the character of a man who pretends to talk like other people, until I had arrived at a full freedom of speech.
I shall reserve for another time the history of such club or clubs of which I am now a talkative, but unworthy member; and shall here give an account of this turprising change which has been produced in me, and which I look upon to be as remarkable an accident as any recorded in history, since that which happened to the son of Cresus, after having been many years as much tonguetied as myielf.
Upon the first opening of my mouth I made asp e ec, consisting of about half a dozen wellturned periods; but grew so very hoarse upon it, that for three days together, instead of finding the use of my tongue, I was afraid that I had quite lost it. Besides, the unusual extension of my muscles on this occasion made my face ache on both sides to such a degree, that nothing but an invincible resolution and perseverance could have prevented me from falling back to my monofyllables.
I afterwards made several essays towards speaking; and that I might not be startled at my own voice, which has happened to me more than once, I uled to read aloud in my chamber, and have often stood in the middle of the street to call a coach, when I knew there was none within hearing.
When I was thus grown pretty well acquainted with my own voice, I laid hold of all opportunities to exert it. Not caring however
to speak much by myself, and to draw upon me the whole attention of those I conversed with, I used for some time to walk every morning in the Mall, and talk in chorus with a parcel of Frenchmen. I found my modesty greatly relieved by the communicative temper of this nation, who are so very sociable as to think they are never better company than when they are all opening at the same time.
I then fancied I might receive great benefit from female conversation, and that I should have a convenience of talking with the greater freedom when I was not under any impediment of thinking: I therefore threw myself into an afsembly of ladies, but could not for
life a word among them; and found that if I did not change my company I was in danger of being reduced to my primitive taciturnity.
The coffee-houses have ever since been my chief places of resort, where I have made the greatest improvements; in order to which I have taken a particular care never to be of the same opinion with the man I conversed with. I was a tory at Button's, and a whig at Child's, a friend to the Englishman, or an advocate for the Examiner, as it best served my turn: fome fancy me a great enemy to the French king, though in reality I only make use of him for a help to discourse. In short, I wrangle and dispute for exercise; and have carried this point 10 far, that I was once like to have been run through the body for making a little too free with my betters.
In a word, I am quite another man to what I was.
Nil fuit unquam
HOR. 1 Sat. iii. 18.
My old acquaintance scarce know me; nay, I was asked the other day by a jew at Jonathan's whether I was not related to a dumb gentleman, who used to come to that coffee-house ? But I think I never was better pleased in my life than about a week ago, when, as I was battling it across the table with a young Templar, his companion gave him a pull by the sleeve, begging him to come away, for that the old prig
would talk him to death. Being now a very good proficient in discourse, I shall appear in the world with this addition to my character, that my countrymen may reap the fruits of my new-acquired' loquacity.
Those who have been present at public disputes in the university know that it is usual to maintain heresies for argument-sake. I have heard a man a most impudent Socinian for half an hour, who has been an orthodox divine all his life after. I have taken the same method to accomplish myself in the gift of utterance, having talked above a twelvemonth, not so much for the benefit of
hearers, as of myself. But, since I have now gained the faculty I have been so long endeavouring after, I intend to make a right use of it, and shall think myself obliged for the future to speak always in truth and lincerity of heart. While a man is learning