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treat of. By this means I meet with some celebrated thought upon it, or a thought of my own expreffed in better words, or some fimilitude for the illuf. tration of my subject. This is what gives birth to the motto of a fpeculation, which I rather chuse to take out of the poets-than the profe-writers, as the former generally give a finer turn to a thought than the latter, and by couching it in few words, and in harmonious numbers, make it more portable to the memory.
My reader is therefore sure to meet with at least one good line in every paper, and very often finds his imagination entertained by a hint that awakens in his memory some beautiful paffage of a claffick author.
It was a saying of an ancient philosopher, which I find some of our writers have ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, who perhaps might have taken occasion to repeat it, that a good face is a letter of recommendation. It naturally makes the beholders inquisitive into the person who is the owner of it, and generally prepoflefles them in his favour. A hand. some motto has the same effect. Besides that it always gives a supernumerary beauty to a paper, and is sometimes in a manner neceffary when the writer is engaged in what may appear a paradox to vulgar minds, as it shews that he is supported by good authorities, and is not fingular in his opinion.
I must confess, the motto is of little use to an anlearned reader, for which reason I consider it only as a Word to the Wife. But as for any unlearned friends, if they cannot relish the motto, I take care to make provision for them in the body of my paper. If they do not understand the sign that is hung out, they know very well by it, that they may meet with entertainment in the houíe; and I think I was never better pleased than with a plain man's compliment, who, upon his friend's telling
himn that he would like the Speciator much better. if he understood the motto, replied, That good wine needs no bulb.
I have heard of a couple of preachers in a country town, who endeavoured which should outshine. one another, and draw together the greatest congregation. One of them being well versed in the fathers, used to quote every now and then a Latin fentence to his illiterate hearers, who it seems found themselves so edified by it, that they flocked in greater
numbers to this learned man than to his rival. The other finding his congregation mouldering every Sundy, and hearing at length what was the occasion of it, resolved to give his parish a little Latin in his turn; but being unacquainted with any of the fathers, he digested into his fermons the whole book of Que Genus, adding however such explications to it as he thought might be for the benefit of his people. He afterwards entered upon As in. Præfenti, which he converted in the fame manner to the use of his parishioners. This in a very little time thickned his audience, filled his church, and routed his antagonist.
The natural love to Latin, which is so prevalenç in our common people, makes me think that my speculations fare never the worse among them for that little scrap which appears at the head of them; and what the more encourages me in the use of quotations in an unknown tongue, is, that I hear the Ladies, whose approbation I value more than that of the whole learned world, declare themselves in a more particular inanner pleased with my Greek mottos.
Designing this day's work for a differtation upon the two extremities of my paper, and having already di/patched my motto, I shall, in the next place, discourse upon those single capital letters, which are placed at the end of it, and which have afforded great matter of speculation to the curious. I
have heard various conjectures upon this subject, Some tell us that C is the mark of those papers that are written by the clergyman, though others afcribe them to the club in general: That the papers marked with R were written by my friend Sir Roger : That L signifies the lawyer, whom I have described in my second speculation; and that T stands for the trader or merchant : But the let. ter X, which is placed at the end of some few of my papers, is that which has puzzled the whole town, as they cannot think of any name which begins with that letter, except Xenopbon and Xerxes, who can neither of them be supposed to have had any hand in these speculations.
In answer to these inquisitive Gentlemen, who have many of them made inquiries of me by letter, I must tell them the reply of an ancient philosopher, who carried something hidden under his cloke. A certain acquaintance defiring him to let him know what it was he covered so carefully; I cover it, says he, on purpose that you should not know. I have made use of these obscure marks for the same purpose. They are, perhaps, little amulets or charms to preserve the paper against the fascination and malice of evil eyes; for which reason I would not have my reader surprised; if hereafter he sees any of my papers marked with a l, a Z, a Y, an &c. or with the word sbracradabra.
I shall, however, so far explain myself to the reader, as to let him know that the letters C, L, and X, are cabalistical, and carry more in them than it is proper for the world to be acquainted with. Those who are versed in the philosophy of Pythagoras, and swear by the Tetrachtys,' that is the number four, will know very well that the number Ten, which is fignified by the letter X, (and which has so much perplexed the town) has in it many particular powers; that it is called by platonick writers the complete number ; that one, VOL. III.
two, three, and four, put together, make up the number ten; and that ten is all. But these are not * xnysteries for ordinary readers to be let into. A man muft have spent many years in hard study before he can arrive at the knowledge of them.
We had a rabbinical divine in England, who was chaplain to the Earl of Elex in Queen Elizabeth's time, that had an admirable head for secrets of this nature. Upon his taking the doctor of divinity's degree, he preached before the university of Cambridge, upon the first verse of the first chapter of the first book of Chronicles, in which, fays he, you have the three following words,
Adam, Sheth, Engh. He divided this short text into many parts, and by discovering several myfteries in each word, made a most learned and elaborate discourse. The name of this profound preacher was Dr. Alabaster, of whom the reader may find a more particular account in Dr. Fuller's book of English Worthies. This instance will, I hope, convince my readers that there may be a great deal of fine writing in the capital letters which bring up the rear of my paper, and give them some fatisfaction in that particular. But as for the full explication of these matters, I must refer them to time, which discovers all things.
NO 222. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14.
Cur alter fratrum ceffare, et ludere, et ungi,
Hor. Ep. ii. lib. 2. ver. 185. Why, of two brothers, one his pleasure loves, Prefers his sports to Herod's fragrant groves.
CREECH, • Mr. SPECTATOR, THER Here is one thing I have often looked for
your papers, and have as often wonder. “ed to find anyself disappointed; the rather, be"'cause I think it a subject every way agreeable to
your defign, and by being left unattempted by • others, feenis reserved as a proper employment ' for you; I mean a difquifition, from whence it * proceeds, that men of the brightest parts, and * inost comprehensive genius, completely furnished
with talents for any province in human affairs ; • such as by their wife lessons of oeconomy to o
thers have made it evident, that they have the justeft notions of life, and of true sense in the o conduct of it: from what unhappy contra'dictious caufe it proceeds, that persons thrus fi• nished by nature and by art, should so often fail • in the management of that which they fo well • understand, and want the address to make a right application of their own rules. This is cer
tainly a prodigious inconsistency in behaviour, . and inakes much such a figure in morals as a
monstrous birth in naturals, with this difference only, which greatly aggravates the wonder, that it happens much more frequently; and what a blemish does it cast upon wit and learning in the general account of the world ? and in how difadvantageous a light does it expose them to the