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• MR. SPECTATOR, • I was the other day in company with five or six men of some learning: where, chancing to mention the famous verses which the Emperor Adrian spoke on his death-bed, they were all agreed that it was a piece of gaiety unworthy that prince in those circumstances. I could not but dissent from this opinion. Methinks it was by no means a gay very serious soliloquy to his soul at the point of his departure: in which sense I naturally took the verses at my first reading them, when I was very young, and before I knew what interpretation the world generally put upon them.
Animula vagula, blandula,
Nec (ut soles) dabis joca ! 6« Alas, my soul; thou pleasing companion of this body, thou fleeting thing that art now deserting it, whither art thou flying? to what unknown' region? Thou art all trembling, fearful, and pensive. Now what is become of thy former wit and humour? Thou shalt jest and be gay no more.”
I confess I cannot apprehend where lies the triAling in all this; it is the most natural and obvious reflection imaginable to a dying man: and, if we consider the emperor was a heathen, that doubt concerning the future fate of his soul will seem so far from being the effect of want of thought, that it was scarcé reasonable he should think otherwise : not to mention that here is a plain confession included of his belief in its immortality. The diminutive epithets of vagula, blandula, and the rest, appear not to me as expressions of levity, but rather of endearment and concern: such as we find in Catullus, and the authors of Hendecasyllabi after him, where they are
used to express the utmost love and tenderness for their mistresses. If you think me right in my notion of the last words of Adrian, be pleased to insert this in the Spectator; if not, to suppress it.
I am, &c. TO THE SUPPOSED AUTHOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
In courts licentious, and a shameless stage,
Thy spotless thoughts unshocked the priest may hear,
The brainless stripling, who, expell’d to town,
• Mr. Tickell here alludes to Steele's papers against the sharpers, &c. in the Tatler, and particularly to a letter in Tat. No. 73, signed Will Trusty, and written by Mr. John Hughes.
+ Viscount Bolingbroke.
Such readers scorn'd, thou wing'st thy daring light,
Such hints alone could British rgil lend*,
Permit these lines by thee to live--nor blame
So some weak shoot, which else would poorly riso,
"To The SPECTATOR-GENERAL. • Mr. John SLY humbly sheweth, “That upon reading the deputation given to the said Mr. John Sly, all persons passing by his observatory behaved themselves with the same decorum as if your honour yourself had been present.
* That your said officer is preparing, according to your honour's secret instructions, hats for the several kinds of heads that make figures in the realms of Great Britain, with cocks significant of their powers and faculties.
* A compliment to Addison. + By Mr. Thomas Tickell.
• That your said officer has taken due notice of your instructions and admonitions concerning the internals of the head from the outward form of the same. His hats for men of the faculties of law and physic do but just turn up, to give a little life to their sagacity; his military hats glare full in the face; and he has prepared a familiar easy cock for all good companions between the above-mentioned extremes. For this end he has consulted the most learned of his acquaintance for the true form and dimensions of the lepidum caput, and made a hat fit for it.
• Your said officer does farther represent, That the young
divines about town are many of them got into the cock military, and desires your instructions therein.
• That the town has been for several days very well behaved, and farther your said officer saith not.'
N° 533. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 1712.
Immo duas dabo, inquit ille, una si parùm est ;
• TO THE SPECTATOR. SIR, • You have often given us very excellent discourses against that unnatural custom of parents, in forcing their children to marry contrary to their inclinations. My own case, without farther preface, I will lay before you, and leave you to judge of it. My father and mother both being in declining years, would fain see me, their eldest son, as they call it, settled.
“ True, son,
I am as much for that as they can be: but I must be settled, it seems, not according to my own, but their liking. Upon this account I am teased every day, because I have not yet fallen in love, in spite of nature, with one of a neighbouring gentleman's daughters; for, out of their abundant generosity, they give me the choice of four. “ Jack," begins my father, “Mrs. Catharine is a fine woman. -“Yes, Sir, but she is rather too old.”_" She will make the more discreet manager, boy." mother plays her part. “Is not Mrs. Betty exceeding fair ?” Yes, Madam, but she is of no conversation; she has no fire, no agreeable vivacity; she neither speaks nor looks with spirit.”but for those very reasons she will be an easy, soft, obliging, tractable creature.” After all,” cries an old aunt (who belongs to the class of those who read plays with spectacles on), “what think you, nephew, of proper Mrs. Dorothy ?”—“What do I think? why, I think she cannot be above six foot* two inches high." “Well, well, you may banter as long as you please, but height of stature is commanding and majestic.”—“Come, come,” says a cousin of mine in the family, “I will fit him: Fidelia is yet behindpretty Miss Fiddy must please you.”—“Oh! your very humble servant, dear coz, she is as much too young as her eldest sister is too old.”
“ Is it so indeed, " quoth she, “good Mr. Pert? You who are but barely turned of twenty-two, and Miss Fiddy in half a year's time will be in her teens, and she is capable of learning any thing Then she will be so obsera vant; she will cry perhaps now and then, but never be angry.'
.” Thus they will think for me in this matter, wherein I am more particularly concerned than any body else. If I name any woman in the world, one of these daughters has certainly the same qua