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It is observable that our author wrote no one paper in the Spectator: though his friend Parnell did several, chiefly in the way of Visions, and in a style forced and inflated, and much inferior to these eight papers of our author. Addison wrote fifty-two papers in the Guardian, the plan of which was far inferior to that of the Spectator. For what had the Guardian of the Sparkler to do with subjects of Criticism and Philosophy? The secret charm of the Spectator consisted in interesting the reader in the characters and actions of the several members of the club, and consequently in the dramatic cast given to those Essays. The successors of the Spectator, even those that have been most popular, seem to have been unfortunate in the Titles they assumed. Who would suppose that the Rambler (il Vagabondo, as the Italian translator termed it) was a series of the gravest and most moral Essays? The Adventurer, it seems, alluded to its being a kind of Knight Errantry to attack the vices and follies of men. The Connoisseur, though you would naturally expect it from the title, yet contained nothing that related to the fine arts. The World was an appropriate and happy title, because it pointed out the chief design of touching on the topics of the day, and the living manners of the times. And this significant title was given to it, by the sensible publisher of it, Mr. Robert Dodsley, at a meeting of several of the author's friends, who universally gave the preference to his proposal against their own,



No. 4. MARCH 16, 1712.

THOUGH most things which are wrong in their own nature, are at once confessed and absolved in that single word, the Custom; yet there are some which, as they have a dangerous tendency, a thinking man will the less excuse on that very account. Among these I cannot but reckon the common practice of Dedications, which is of so much the worse consequence as it is generally used by people of politeness, and whom a learned education for the most part ought to have inspired with nobler and juster sentiments. This prostitution of praise is not only a deceit upon the gross of mankind, who take their notion of characters from the learned; but also the better sort must by this means lose some part at least of that desire of Fame which is the incentive to generous actions, when they find it promiscuously bestowed on the meritorious and undeserving. Nay, the author himself, let him be supposed to have ever so true a value for the patron, can find no terms to express it, but what have been already used, and rendered suspected by flatterers. Even Truth itself

in a Dedication is like an honest man in a disguise or visor-masque, and will appear a cheat by being dressed so like one. Though the merit of the person is beyond dispute, I see no reason, that, because one man is eminent, therefore another has a right to be impertinent, and throw praises in his face. It is just the reverse of the practice of the ancient Romans, when a person was advanced to triumph for his services: they hired people to rail at him in that circumstance, to make him as humble as they could; and we have fellows to flatter him, and make him as proud as they can. Supposing the writer not to be mercenary, yet the great man is no more in reason obliged to thank him for his picture in a dedication, than to thank the painter for that on a sign-post; except it be a less injury to touch the most sacred part of him, his character, than to make free with his countenance only. I should think nothing justified me in this point, but the patron's permission before-hand, that I should draw him as like as I could; whereas most authors proceed in this affair just as a dauber I have heard of, who, not being able to draw portraits after the life, was used to paint faces at random, and look out afterwards for people whom he might persuade to be like them. To express my notion of the thing in a word: to say more to a man than one thinks, with a prospect of interest, is dishonest; and without it, foolish. And whoever has had success in such an undertaking, must of necessity at once think himself in his heart a knave for hav

ing done it, and his patron a fool for having believed it.

I have sometimes been entertained with considering dedications in no very common light. By observing what qualities our writers think it will be most pleasing to others to compliment them with, one may form some judgment which are most so to themselves; and, in consequence, what sort of people they are. Without this view one can read very few dedications, but will give us cause to wonder, either how such things came to be said at all, or how they were said to such persons. I have known a hero complimented upon the decent majesty and state he assumed after a victory: and a nobleman of a different character applauded for his condescension to inferiors. This would have seemed very strange to me but that I happened to know the authors; he who made the first compliment was a lofty gentleman, whose air and gait discovered when he had published a new book; and the other tippled every night with the fellows who laboured at the press while his own writings were working off. It is observable of the female poets and ladies dedicatory, that there (as elsewhere) they far exceed us in any strain or rant. As beauty is the thing that sex are piqued upon, they speak of it generally in a more elevated style than is used by the men. They adore in the same manner as they would be adored. So when the authoress of a famous modern romance begs a young nobleman's permission to pay him her kneel

ing adorations, I am far from censuring the expression, as some critics would do, as deficient in grammar or sense; but I reflect, that adorations paid in that posture are what a lady might expect herself, and my wonder immediately ceases. These, when they flatter most, do but as they would be done unto; for as none are so much concerned at being injured by calumnies, as they who are readiest to cast them upon their neighbours; so it is certain, none are so guilty of flattery to others, as those who most ardently desire it themselves.

What led me into these thoughts, was a dedication I happened upon this morning. The reader must understand, that I treat the least instances or remains of ingenuity with respect, in what places soever found, or under whatever circumstances of disadvantage. From this love to letters I have been so happy in my searches after knowledge, that I have found unvalued repositories of learning in the lining of band-boxes. I look upon these pasteboard edifices, adorned with the fragments of the ingenious, with the same veneration as antiquaries upon ruined buildings, whose walls preserve divers inscriptions and names, which are no where else to be found in the world. This morning, when one of Lady Lizard's daughters was looking over some hoods and ribbands, brought by her tire-woman with great care and diligence, I employed no less, in examining the box which contained them; it was lined with certain scenes of a tragedy, written (as appeared by part of the title

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