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makes cleanliness more immediately neceflary than in colder countries, it is made one part of their religion: The Jewish law, and the Mahometan, which in fome things copies after it) is filled with bathings, purifications, and other rites of the like nature. Though there is the above named convenient reason to be affigned for these ceremonies, the chief intention undoubtedly was to typify inward purity and cleanliness of heart by those outward wafhings. We read several injunctions of this kind in the book of Deuteronomy, which confirm this truth ; and which are but ill-accounted for by faying, as some do, that they were only instituted for convenience in the deserts, which otherwise could not have been habitable for so many years,
I shall conclude this effay, with a story which I have somewhere read in an account of Mahometan fuperftitions.
A Dervise of great fanctity one morning had the misfortune, as he took up a crystal cup which was confecrated to the prophet, to let it fall upon the ground, and dash it in pieces. His son coming in some time after, he stretched out his hand to bless him, as his manner was every morning ; but the youth going out ftumbled over the threshold and broke his arm. As the old man wondered at these events, a caravan passed by in its way from Mecca, The Dervise approached it to beg a blessing; but as he stroked one of the holy Camels, he received a kick from the beast, that forely bruised him. His for. row and amazement increased upon him, until he recollected that through hurry and inadvertency he had that mornining come abroad without waleing his hands,
NO 632. MONDAY, DECEMBER 13.
-Explebo numerum, reddarque tenebrisa
VIRG. Æn, vi, ver. 545. The number I'll complete, Then to obfcurity well-pleas'd retreat. THE
He love of symmetry and order, which is na
tural to the mind of man, betrays him sometimes into very whimsical fancies. This noble principle, fays a French Author, loves to amuse itself 012 the most trifling occasions. You may fee a profound philosopher, says he, walk for an hour together in his chamber, and industriously treading, at every step, upon every other board in the flooring. Every reader will recollect several instances of this nature without my assistance. I think it was Gregorio Leti who had published as many books as he was years old; which was a rule he had laid down and punctually observed to the year of his death. It was, perhaps, a thought of the like nature, which deterinined Homer himself to divide each of his poems into as many
books as there are letters in the Greek alphabet. Herodotus has in the same manner adapted his books to the number of the Muses, for which reason many a learned man hath wished there had been more than nine of that fisterhood. • Several Epic poets have religiously followed Vir. gil as to the number of his books; and even Milton is thought by many to have changed the num. of his books from ten to twelve, for no other reason ; as Cowley tells us, it was his design, had he finished his Davidcis, to have also im itated the Æneid in this particular. I believe every one will agree with me, that a perfcétion of this nature
hath no foundation in reason; and, with due rer. pect to these great na nes, may be looked upon as fomething whimlical.
I mention these great examples in defence of my Bookfeller, who occafioned this Eighth Volume of Speciators, because, as he said, he thought Seven a very odd number. On the other side, fe, veral grave reasons were urged on this important subject; as in particular, that Seven was the precise number of the wise men, and that the most beautiful constellation in the heavens was composed of feven Itars. This he allowed to be true, but still insisted, that Seven was an odd number; fuggesting at the same time, that if he were provided with a fufficient stock of leading papers, he should find friends ready enough to carry on the work. Having by this means got his veffel launched and set afloat, he hath committed the steerage of it, from time to time, to such as he thought capable of conducting it.
The close of this volume, which the town may now expect in a little time, may possibly ascribe each fheet to its proper author.
It were no hard talk to continue this paper a considerable time longer, by the help of large contribucions fent from unknown hands.
I cannot give the town a better opinion of the SPECTATOR's correspondents, than by publishing the following letter, with a very fine copy of verses upon a subject perfectly new.
* Mr. SPECTATOR,
Dublin, Nov. 30, 1714.
ders the good old custom of their grandıothers, who used to lay out a great part of their time in needlework: I entirely agree with you
in your sentiments, and think it would not be of "less advantage to themselves and their posterity, " than to the reputation of many of their good
* neighbours, if they past many of those hours
in this innocent entertainment, which are lost at (the tea-table. I would, however, humbly offer ' to your confideration, the case of the poetical · Ladies; who, though they may be willing to • take any advice given them by the SPECTATOR,
yet cannot so easily quit their pen and ink as you may imagine. Pray allow them, at least now
and then, to indulge themselves in other amuse• ments of fancy, when they are ţired with stoop • ing to their tapestry. There is a very particular • kind of work, which of late several Ladies here • in our kingdom are very fond of, which seems
very well adapted to a poetical genius : It is the • making of Grottos. I know a Lady who has a • very beautiful one, compofed by herself, nor is • there one shell in it not stuck up by her own * hands. I here send you a poem to the fair ar
chitect, which I would not offer to herself, until · I knew whether this method of a Lady's passing
her time were approved off by the Britis
Spectator, which, with the poem, I fubmit * to your censure; who am,
• Your constant reader,
on her Grotto.
Not evining cloud a brighter arch can show,
Where can unpolish'd nature boast a piece,
Charm’d with the fight, my ravish'd breast is fir'd With hints like those which ancient bards inspird ; All the feignd tales by superstition told, All the bright train of fabled nymphs of old, Th' enthuhastic mufe believes are true, Thinks the spot facred, and its genius you. Lost in wild rapture, wou'd fee fain disclose, How by degrees the pleasing wonder rose ; Industrious in a faithful verse to trace The various beauties of the lovely place; And while sbe keeps the glowing work in view, Thro' ev'ry maze thy artful hand pursue.
O were I equal to the bold design,