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resolution to the follies and vices of the several
I have been acquainted with ; that I have often rallied the world into good manners, and kept the greatest princes in awe of my satire. There is one circumstance which I shall not omit, though it may seem to reflect on my character; I mean, that infinite love of change which has ever appeared in the disposal of my existence. Since the days of the Emperor Trajan, I have not been confined to the same person for twenty years together ; but have passed from one abode to another much quicker than the Pythagorean system generally allows. By this means I have seldom had a body to myself, but have lodged up and down wherever I found a genius suitable to my own. In this manner I continued some time with the top wit of France ; at another with that of Italy, who had a statue erected to his memory in Rome. Toward the end of the seventeenth century I set out for England ; but the gentleman I came over in dying as soon as he got to shore, I was obliged to look out again for a new habitation. It was not long before I met with one to my mind; for, having mixed myself invisibly with the literati of this kingdom, I found it was unanimously agreed among them, That nobody was endued with greater talents than Hiereus ; * or, consequently, would be better pleased with my company.
I slipped down his throat one night as he was fast asleep; and the next morning, as soon as he awaked, he fell to writing a treatise that was received with great applause, though he had the modesty not to set his name to that nor to any other of our productions. Some time after, he published a paper of predictions, which were translated into several languages, and alarmed some of the greatest princes in Europe. To these he prefixed the name of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq. which I have been extremely fond of ever since, and have taken care that most of the writings I have been concerned in should be distinguished by it; though I must observe, that there have been many counterfeits imposed upon the public by this means. This extraordinary man being called out of the kingdom by affairs of his own, I resolved, however, to continue somewhat longer in a country where my
works had been so well received, and accordingly bestowed myself with Hilario.* His natural wit, his lively turn of humour, and great penetration into human nature, easily determined me to this choice, the effects of which were soon after produced in this paper, called the Tatler. I know not how it happened, but in less than two years' time Hilario grew weary of my company, and gave me warning to be gone. In the height of my resentment, I cast my eyes on a young fellow, of no extraordinary qualifications, t whom for that very reason I had the more pride in taking under my direction, and enabling him by some means or other to carry on the work I was before engaged in. Lest he should grow too vain upon this encouragement, I to this day keep him under due mortification. I seldom reside with him when any of his friends are at leisure to receive me, by whose hands, however, he is duly supplied. As I have passed through many scenes of life, and a long series of years, I choose to be considered in the character of an old fellow, and take care that those under my influence should speak consonantly to it. This account, I presume, will give no small consolation to Sylvia, who may rest assured, that Isaac Bickerstaff is to be seen in more forms than she dreamt of; out of which variety she may choose what is most agreeable to her fancy. On Tuesdays, he is sometimes a black proper young gentleman, with a mole on his left cheek.* On Thursdays, a decent welllooking man, of a middle stature, long flaxen hair, and a florid complexion.f On Saturdays, he is somewhat of the shortest, and may be known from others of that size by talking in a low voice, and passing through the streets without much precipitation. #
* Mr Steele.
+ Mr Harrison.
THE SPECTATOR, No. L.
FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 1711.
Nunquam aliud natura, aliud sapientia dixit.
Juv. Sat. xiv. 321.
Good sense and nature always speak the same. WHEN the four Indian kings were in this country about a twelvemonth ago, I often mixed with the rabble, and followed them a whole day together, being wonderfully struck with the sight of everything that is new or uncommon. I have, since their departure, employed a friend to make many inquiries of their landlord the upholsterer, relating to their manners and conversation, as also concerning the remarks which they made in this country; for, next to forming a right notion of such strangers, I should be desirous of learning what ideas they have conceived of us.
+ Perhaps Mr Henley. | Harrison himself. § “ The Spectator is written by Steele, with Addison's help; it is often very pretty. Yesterday it was made of a noble hint I gave him long ago for his Tatlers, about an Indian supposed to write his Travels into England. I repent he ever had it. I intended to have written a book on that subject. I believe he has spent it all in one paper ; and all the under hints there are mine too; but I never see him or Addison.”-Journal to Stella, April 28, 1711.
The upholsterer, finding my friend very inquisitive about these his lodgers, brought him some time since a little bundle of papers, which he assured him were written by King Sa Ga Yean Qua Rash Tow, and, as he supposes, left behind him by some mistake. These
papers are now translated, and contain abundance of very odd observations, which I find this little fraternity of kings made during their stay in the isle of Great Britain. I shall present my reader with a short specimen of them in this paper, and may perhaps communicate more to him hereafter. In the article of London are the following words, which, without doubt, are meant of the church of St Paul :
“On the most rising part of the town there stands a huge house, big enough to contain the whole nation of which I am king. Our good brother E Tow O Koam, king of the Rivers, is of opinion it was made by the hands of that great God to whom it is consecrated. The kings of Granajah and of the Six Nations believe that it was created with the earth, and produced on the same day with the sun and moon. But for my own part, by the best information that I could get of this matter, I am apt to think that this prodigious pile was fashioned into the shape it now bears by several tools and instruments, of which they have a wonderful variety in this country. It was probably at first a huge misshapen rock
that grew upon the top of the hill, which the natives of the country, (after having cut it into a kind of regular figure,) bored and hollowed with incredible pains and industry, till they had wrought it into all those beautiful vaults and caverns into which it is divided at this day. As soon as this rock was thus curiously scooped to their liking, a prodigious number of hands must have been employed in chipping the outside of it, which is now as smooth as the surface of a pebble ; and is in several places hewn out into pillars, that stand like the trunks of so many trees bound about the top with garlands of leaves. It is probable that when this great work was begun, which must have been
years ago, there was some religion among this people; for they give it the name of a temple, and have a tradition that it was designed for men to pay their devotion in. And indeed there are several reasons which make us think that the natives of this country had formerly among them some sort of worship; for they set apart every seventh day as sacred; but, upon my going into one of these holy houses on that day, I could not observe any circumstances of devotion in their behaviour. There was indeed a man in black, who was mounted above the rest, and seemed to utter something with a great deal of vehemence; but as for those underneath him, instead of paying their worship to the deity of the place, they were most of them bowing and curtseying to one another, and a considerable number of them fast asleep.
“ The queen of the country appointed two men to attend us, that had enough of our language to make themselves understood in some few particulars. But we soon perceived these two were great enemies to one another, and did not always agree in the same story. We could