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No. 325 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 325
Thursday, March 13, 1712. Budgell.
Quid frustra Simulacra fugacia captas?
Quod petis, est nusquam: quod amas avertere, perdes.
Ista repercussae quam cernis imaginis umbra est,
Nil habet ista sui; tecum venitque, manetque,
Tecum discedet si tu discedere possis.


WILL. HONEYCOMB diverted us last Night with an Account of a young Fellows first discovering his Passion to his Mistress. The young Lady was one, it seems, who had long before conceived a favourable Opinion of him, and was still in hopes that he would some time or other make his Advances. As he was one day talking with her in Company of her two Sisters, the Conversation happening to turn upon Love, each of the young Ladies was by way of Raillery, recommending a Wife to him; when, to the no small Surprize of her who languished for him in secret, he told them with a more than ordinary Seriousness, that his Heart had been long engaged to one whose Name he thought himself obliged in Honour to conceal; but that he could shew her Picture in the Lid of his Snuff-box. The young Lady, who found herself the most sensibly touched by this Confession, took the first Opportunity that offered of snatching his Box out of his Hand. He seemed desirous of recovering it, but finding her resolved to look into the Lid, begged her, that if she should happen to know the Person, she would not reveal her Name. Upon carrying it to the Window, she was very agreeably surprized to find there was nothing within the Lid but a little Looking-Glass, in which, after she had view’d her own Face with more Pleasure than she had ever done before, she returned the Box with a Smile, telling him, she could not but admire at his Choice.

WILL. fancying that his Story took, immediately fell into a Dissertation on the Usefulness of Looking-Glasses, and applying himself to me, asked, if there were any Looking Glasses in the Times of the Greeks and Romans; for that he had often observed in the Translations of Poems out of those Languages, that People generally talked of seeing themselves in Wells, Fountains, Lakes, and Rivers: Nay, says he, I remember Mr. Dryden in his Ovid tells us of a swingeing Fellow, called Polypheme, that made use of the Sea for his Looking-Glass, and could never dress himself to Advantage but in a Calm.

My Friend WILL, to shew us the whole Compass of his Learning upon this Subject, further informed us, that there were still several Nations in the World so very barbarous as not to have any Looking-Glasses among them; and that he had lately read a Voyage to the South-Sea, in which it is said, that the Ladies of Chili always dress their Heads over a Bason of Water.

I am the more particular in my Account of WILL’S last Night’s Lecture on these natural Mirrors, as it seems to bear some Relation to the following Letter, which I received the Day before.


I have read your last Saturdays Observations on the Fourth Book of Milton with great Satisfaction, and am particularly pleased with the hidden Moral, which you have taken notice of in several Parts of the Poem. The Design of this Letter is to desire your Thoughts, whether there may not also be some Moral couched under that Place in the same Book where the Poet lets us know, that the first Woman immediately after her Creation ran to a Looking-Glass, and became so enamoured of her own Face, that she had never removed to view any of the other Works of Nature, had not she been led off to a Man. If you think fit to set down the whole Passage from Milton, your Readers will be able to judge for themselves, and the Quotation will not a little contribute to the filling up of your Paper.
Your humble Servant,
R. T.