**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


No. 124 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

The many Letters which come to me from Persons of the best Sense in both Sexes, (for I may pronounce their Characters from their Way of Writing) do not at a little encourage me in the Prosecution of this my Undertaking: Besides that my Book-seller tells me, the Demand for these my Papers increases daily. It is at his Instance that I shall continue my rural Speculations to the End of this Month; several having made up separate Sets of them, as they have done before of those relating to Wit, to Operas, to Points of Morality, or Subjects of Humour.

I am not at all mortified, when sometimes I see my Works thrown aside by Men of no Taste nor Learning. There is a kind of Heaviness and Ignorance that hangs upon the Minds of ordinary Men, which is too thick for Knowledge to break through. Their Souls are not to be enlightened.

… Nox atra cava circumvolat umbra.

To these I must apply the Fable of the Mole, That after having consulted many Oculists for the bettering of his Sight, was at last provided with a good Pair of Spectacles; but upon his endeavouring to make use of them, his Mother told him very prudently, ‘That Spectacles, though they might help the Eye of a Man, could be of no use to a Mole.’ It is not therefore for the Benefit of Moles that I publish these my daily Essays.

But besides such as are Moles through Ignorance, there are others who are Moles through Envy. As it is said in the Latin Proverb, ‘That one Man is a Wolf to another; [2] so generally speaking, one Author is a Mole to another Author. It is impossible for them to discover Beauties in one another’s Works; they have Eyes only for Spots and Blemishes: They can indeed see the Light as it is said of the Animals which are their Namesakes, but the Idea of it is painful to them; they immediately shut their Eyes upon it, and withdraw themselves into a wilful Obscurity. I have already caught two or three of these dark undermining Vermin, and intend to make a String of them, in order to hang them up in one of my Papers, as an Example to all such voluntary Moles.


[Footnote 1: Proverbs i 20-22.]

[Footnote 2: Homo homini Lupus. Plautus Asin. Act ii sc. 4.]