No. 046 [from The Spectator] by Joseph Addison

Story type: Essay

No 46
Monday, April 23, 1711. Addison

Non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum.


When I want Materials for this Paper, it is my Custom to go abroad in quest of Game; and when I meet any proper Subject, I take the first Opportunity of setting down an Hint of it upon Paper. At the same time I look into the Letters of my Correspondents, and if I find any thing suggested in them that may afford Matter of Speculation, I likewise enter a Minute of it in my Collection of Materials. By this means I frequently carry about me a whole Sheetful of Hints, that would look like a Rhapsody of Nonsense to any Body but myself: There is nothing in them but Obscurity and Confusion, Raving and Inconsistency. In short, they are my Speculations in the first Principles, that (like the World in its Chaos) are void of all Light, Distinction, and Order.

About a Week since there happened to me a very odd Accident, by Reason of one of these my Papers of Minutes which I had accidentally dropped at Lloyd’s [1] Coffee-house, where the Auctions are usually kept. Before I missed it, there were a Cluster of People who had found it, and were diverting themselves with it at one End of the Coffee-house: It had raised so much Laughter among them before I had observed what they were about, that I had not the Courage to own it. The Boy of the Coffee-house, when they had done with it, carried it about in his Hand, asking every Body if they had dropped a written Paper; but no Body challenging it, he was ordered by those merry Gentlemen who had before perused it, to get up into the Auction Pulpit, and read it to the whole Room, that if any one would own it they might. The Boy accordingly mounted the Pulpit, and with a very audible Voice read as follows.

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Sir Roger de Coverly’s Country Seat–Yes, for I hate long Speeches–Query, if a good Christian may be a Conjurer–Childermas-day, Saltseller, House-Dog, Screech-owl, Cricket–Mr. Thomas Inkle of London, in the good Ship called The Achilles. Yarico–AEgrescitique medendo–Ghosts–The Lady’s Library–Lion by Trade a Taylor–Dromedary called Bucephalus–Equipage the Lady’s summum bonumCharles Lillie to be taken notice of [2]–Short Face a Relief to Envy–Redundancies in the three Professions–King Latinus a Recruit–Jew devouring an Ham of Bacon–Westminster AbbeyGrand Cairo–Procrastination–April Fools–Blue Boars, Red Lions, Hogs in Armour–Enter a King and two Fidlers solus–Admission into the Ugly Club–Beauty, how improveable–Families of true and false Humour–The Parrot’s School-Mistress–Face half Pict half British–no Man to be an Hero of Tragedy under Six foot–Club of Sighers–Letters from Flower-Pots, Elbow-Chairs, Tapestry-Figures, Lion, Thunder–The Bell rings to the Puppet-Show–Old-Woman with a Beard married to a smock-faced Boy–My next Coat to be turned up with Blue–Fable of Tongs and Gridiron–Flower Dyers–The Soldier’s Prayer–Thank ye for nothing, says the Gally-Pot–Pactolus in Stockings, with golden Clocks to them–Bamboos, Cudgels, Drumsticks–Slip of my Landlady’s eldest Daughter–The black Mare with a Star in her Forehead–The Barber’s Pole–WILL. HONEYCOMB’S Coat-pocket–Caesar’s Behaviour and my own in Parallel Circumstances–Poem in Patch-work–Nulli gravis est percussus Achilles–The Female Conventicler–The Ogle Master.

The reading of this Paper made the whole Coffee-house very merry; some of them concluded it was written by a Madman, and others by some Body that had been taking Notes out of the Spectator. One who had the Appearance of a very substantial Citizen, told us, with several politick Winks and Nods, that he wished there was no more in the Paper than what was expressed in it: That for his part, he looked upon the Dromedary, the Gridiron, and the Barber’s Pole, to signify something more than what is usually meant by those Words; and that he thought the Coffee-man could not do better than to carry the Paper to one of the Secretaries of State. He further added, that he did not like the Name of the outlandish Man with the golden Clock in his Stockings. A young [Oxford Scholar [3]], who chanced to be with his Uncle at the Coffee-house, discover’d to us who this Pactolus was; and by that means turned the whole Scheme of this worthy Citizen into Ridicule. While they were making their several Conjectures upon this innocent Paper, I reach’d out my Arm to the Boy, as he was coming out of the Pulpit, to give it me; which he did accordingly. This drew the Eyes of the whole Company upon me; but after having cast a cursory Glance over it, and shook my Head twice or thrice at the reading of it, I twisted it into a kind of Match, and litt my Pipe with it. My profound Silence, together with the Steadiness of my Countenance, and the Gravity of my Behaviour during this whole Transaction, raised a very loud Laugh on all Sides of me; but as I had escaped all Suspicion of being the Author, I was very well satisfied, and applying myself to my Pipe, and the Post-man, took no [further] Notice of any thing that passed about me.

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My Reader will find, that I have already made use of above half the Contents of the foregoing Paper; and will easily Suppose, that those Subjects which are yet untouched were such Provisions as I had made for his future Entertainment. But as I have been unluckily prevented by this Accident, I shall only give him the Letters which relate to the two last Hints. The first of them I should not have published, were I not informed that there is many a Husband who suffers very much in his private Affairs by the indiscreet Zeal of such a Partner as is hereafter mentioned; to whom I may apply the barbarous Inscription quoted by the Bishop of Salisbury in his Travels; [4] Dum nimia pia est, facta est impia.


‘I am one of those unhappy Men that are plagued with a Gospel-Gossip, so common among Dissenters (especially Friends). Lectures in the Morning, Church-Meetings at Noon, and Preparation Sermons at Night, take up so much of her Time, ’tis very rare she knows what we have for Dinner, unless when the Preacher is to be at it. With him come a Tribe, all Brothers and Sisters it seems; while others, really such, are deemed no Relations. If at any time I have her Company alone, she is a meer Sermon Popgun, repeating and discharging Texts, Proofs, and Applications so perpetually, that however weary I may go to bed, the Noise in my Head will not let me sleep till towards Morning. The Misery of my Case, and great Numbers of such Sufferers, plead your Pity and speedy Relief, otherwise must expect, in a little time, to be lectured, preached, and prayed into Want, unless the Happiness of being sooner talked to Death prevent it.

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I am, etc. R. G.

The second Letter relating to the Ogling Master, runs thus.


‘I am an Irish Gentleman, that have travelled many Years for my Improvement; during which time I have accomplished myself in the whole Art of Ogling, as it is at present practised in all the polite Nations of Europe. Being thus qualified, I intend, by the Advice of my Friends, to set up for an Ogling-Master. I teach the Church Ogle in the Morning, and the Play-house Ogle by Candle-light. I have also brought over with me a new flying Ogle fit for the Ring; which I teach in the Dusk of the Evening, or in any Hour of the Day by darkning one of my Windows. I have a Manuscript by me called The Compleat Ogler, which I shall be ready to show you upon any Occasion. In the mean time, I beg you will publish the Substance of this Letter in an Advertisement, and you will very much oblige,

Yours, etc.

[Footnote 1: Lloyd’s Coffee House was first established in Lombard Street, at the corner of Abchurch Lane. Pains were taken to get early Ship news at Lloyd’s, and the house was used by underwriters and insurers of Ships’ cargoes. It was found also to be a convenient place for sales. A poem called ‘The Wealthy Shopkeeper’, printed in 1700, says of him, [bb]!!!! Now to Lloyd’s Coffee-house he never fails, To read the Letters, and attend the Sales. [bb] It was afterwards removed to Pope’s Head Alley, as ‘the New Lloyd’s Coffee House;’ again removed in 1774 to a corner of the Old Royal Exchange; and in the building of the new Exchange was provided with the rooms now known as ‘Lloyd’s Subscription Rooms,’ an institution which forms part of our commercial system.]

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[Footnote 2: Charles Lillie, the perfumer in the Strand, at the corner of Beaufort Buildings–where the business of a perfumer is at this day carried on–appears in the 16th, 18th, and subsequent numbers of the ‘Spectator’, together with Mrs. Baldwin of Warwick Lane, as a chief agent for the sale of the Paper. To the line which had run

‘LONDON: Printed for Sam. Buckley, at the Dolphin in Little Britain; and Sold by A. Baldwin in Warwick-Lane; where Advertisements are taken in;’

there was then appended:

‘as also by Charles Lillie, Perfumer, at the Corner of Beaufort-Buildings in the Strand‘.

Nine other agents, of whom complete sets could be had, were occasionally set forth together with these two in an advertisement; but only these are in the colophon.]

[Footnote 3: Oxonian]

[Footnote 4: Gilbert Burnet, author of the ‘History of the Reformation,’ and ‘History of his own Time,’ was Bishop of Salisbury from 1689 to his death in 1715. Addison here quotes:

‘Some Letters containing an Account of what seemed most remarkable in Travelling through Switzerland, Italy, some parts of Germany, etc., in the Years 1685 and 1686. Written by G. Burnet, D.D., to the Honourable R. B.’

In the first letter, which is from Zurich, Dr. Burnet speaks of many Inscriptions at Lyons of the late and barbarous ages, as ‘Bonum Memoriam’, and ‘Epitaphium hunc’. Of 23 Inscriptions in the Garden of the Fathers of Mercy, he quotes one which must be towards the barbarous age, as appears by the false Latin in ‘Nimia’ He quotes it because he has ‘made a little reflection on it,’ which is, that its subject, Sutia Anthis, to whose memory her husband Cecalius Calistis dedicates the inscription which says

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‘quaedum Nimia pia fuit, facta est Impia’

(who while she was too pious, was made impious),

must have been publicly accused of Impiety, or her husband would not have recorded it in such a manner; that to the Pagans Christianity was Atheism and Impiety; and that here, therefore, is a Pagan husband’s testimony to the better faith, that the Piety of his wife made her a Christian.]

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