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N° 167. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1711.
Fuit haud ignobilis Argis,
HOR. 2 Ep. ii. 128.
My friends! he cry'd : pox take ye for your care!
POPE. The unbappy force of an imagination unguided by the check of reason and judgment, was the subject of a former speculation. My reader may remember that he has seen in one of my papers a complaint of an unfortunate gentleman, who was unable to con
tain himself (when any ordinary matter was laid before him) from adding a few circumstances to enliven plain narrative. The correspondent was a person of too warm a complexion to be satisfied with things merely as they stood in nature, and therefore formed incidents which should have happened to have pleased him in the story. The same ungoverned fancy which pushed that correspondent on, in spite of himself, to relate public and notorious falsehoods, makes the author of the following letter do the same in private; one is a prating, the other a silent liar.
There is little pursued in the errors of either of these worthies, but mere present amusement: but the folly of him who lets his fancy place him in distant scenes untroubled and uninterrupted, is very much preferable to that of him who is ever forcing a belief, and defending his untruths with new inventions. But I shall hasten to let this liar in soliloquy, who calls himself a castle-builder, describe himself with the same unreservedness as formerly appeared in my correspondent above-mentioned. If a man were to be serious on this subject, he might give very grave admonitions to those who are following any thing in this life, on which they think to place their hearts, and tell them that they are really castlebuilders. Fame, glory, wealth, honour, have in the prospect pleasing illusions ; but they who come to possess any of them will find they are ingredients towards happiness, to be regarded only in the second place: and that when they are valued in the first degree they are as disappointing as any of the phantoms in the following letter. MR. SPECTATOR.
September 6, 1711. 'I AM a fellow of a very odd frame of mind, as you will find by the sequel; and think myself fool enough to deserve a place in your paper. I am unhappily far gone in building, and am one of that species of men who are properly denominated castlebuilders, who scorn to be beholden to the earth for a foundation, or dig in the bowels of it for materials; but errect their structures in the most unstable of elements, the air; fancy alone laying the line, marking the extent, and shaping the model. It would be difficult to enumerate what august palaces and stately porticos have grown under my forming imagination, or what verdant meadows and shady groves have started into being by the powerful feat of a warm fancy. A castle-builder is even just what he pleases, and as such I have grasped imaginary sceptres, and delivered uncontroulable edicts, from a throne to which conquered nations yielded obeisance. I have made I know not how many inroads into France, and ravaged the very heart of that kingdom; I have dined in the Louvre, and drank champaign at Versailles ; and I would have you take notice, I am not only able to vanquish a people already cowed and accustomed to flight, but I could, Almanzor-like*, drive the British general from the field, were I less a protestant, or had ever been affronted by the confederates. There is no art or profession, whose most celebrated masters I have not eclipsed. Wherever I have afforded my salutary presence, fevers have ceased to burn and agues to shake the human fabric. When an eloquent fit has been upon me, an apt gesture and proper cadence has animated each sentence, and gazing crowds have found their passions worked up into rage, or soothed. into a calm. I am short, and
not very well made; yet upon sight of a fine woman, I have stretched into proper stature, and killed withi a good air and mien. These are the gay phantoms that dance before my waking eyes, and compose my day-dreams. I should be the most contented happy man alive, were the chimerical happiness which springs from the paintings of fancy less fleeting and transitory. But alas! it is with grief of mind I tell you, the least breath of wind has often demolished my magnificent edifices, swept away my groves, and left no more trace of them than if they had never been. My exchequer has sunk and vanished by a rap on my door, the salutation of a friend has cost me a whole continent, and in the same moment I have been pulled by the sleeve, my crown has fallen from my head. The ill consequence of these reveries is inconceivably great, seeing the loss of imaginary possessions makes impressions of real woe. Besides, had economy is visible and apparent in builders of invisible mansions. My tenant's advertisements of ruins and dilapidations often cast'a damp on my spirits, even in the instant when the sun, in all his splendor, gilds my eastern palaces. Add to this the pensive drudgery in building, and constant grasping aerial trowels, distracts and shatters the mind, and the fond builder of Bables is often cursed with an incoherent diversity and confusion of thoughts. I do not know to wliom I can more properly apply myself for relief from this fantastical evil, than to yourself; whom I earnestly imploré lo accommodate me with a method how to settle my head and cool - my brain-pan. A dissertation on castle-building may not only be serviceable to myself, but all architects, who display their skill in the thin element. Such a favour would oblige me to make my next soliloquy not contain the praises of my dear self, but of the Spectator, who shall, by complying with this, make me
His obliged humble servant, · T.
N° 168. WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 12, 1711.
Pectus præceptis format amicis.
HOR. 9 Ep. i. 198.
It would be arrogance to neglect the application of my correspondents so far, as not sometimes to insert their animadversions upon my paper; that of this day shall be therefore wholly composed of the hints which they have sent me,
I send you this to congratulate your late choice of a subject, for treating on which
deserve public thanks, I mean that on those, licensed tyrants the school-masters. If you can disarm them of their rods, you will certainly have your old age reverenced by all the young gentlemen of Great Britain who are now between seven and seventeen years. You may boast that the incomparably wise Quintilian and you are of one mind in this particular. “ Și cui est (says he) mens tam illiberalis ut objurgatione non corrigatur, is etiam ad plagas, ut pessima quaque mancipia, durabitur ;"'i. e. “ If
any child be of so disingenuous a nature, as not to stand