**** 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. 151 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

WILL. HONEYCOMB gives us twenty Intimations in an Evening of several Hags whose Bloom was given up to his Arms; and would raise a Value to himself for having had, as the Phrase is, very good Women. WILL.’S good Women are the Comfort of his Heart, and support him, I warrant, by the Memory of past Interviews with Persons of their Condition. No, there is not in the World an Occasion wherein Vice makes so phantastical a Figure, as at the Meeting of two old People who have been Partners in unwarrantable Pleasure. To tell a toothless old Lady that she once had a good Set, or a defunct Wencher that he once was the admired Thing of the Town, are Satires instead of Applauses; but on the other Side, consider the old Age of those who have passed their Days in Labour, Industry, and Virtue, their Decays make them but appear the more venerable, and the Imperfections of their Bodies are beheld as a Misfortune to humane Society that their Make is so little durable.

But to return more directly to my Man of Wit and Pleasure. In all Orders of Men, wherever this is the chief Character, the Person who wears it is a negligent Friend, Father, and Husband, and entails Poverty on his unhappy Descendants. Mortgages Diseases, and Settlements are the Legacies a Man of Wit and Pleasure leaves to his Family. All the poor Rogues that make such lamentable Speeches after every Sessions at Tyburn, were, in their Way, Men of Wit and Pleasure, before they fell into the Adventures which brought them thither.

Irresolution and Procrastination in all a Man’s Affairs, are the natural Effects of being addicted to Pleasure: Dishonour to the Gentleman and Bankruptcy to the Trader, are the Portion of either whose chief Purpose of Life is Delight. The chief Cause that this Pursuit has been in all Ages received with so much Quarter from the soberer Part of Mankind, has been that some Men of great Talents have sacrificed themselves to it: The shining Qualities of such People have given a Beauty to whatever they were engaged in, and a Mixture of Wit has recommended Madness. For let any Man who knows what it is to have passed much Time in a Series of Jollity, Mirth, Wit, or humourous Entertainments, look back at what he was all that while a doing, and he will find that he has been at one Instant sharp to some Man he is sorry to have offended, impertinent to some one it was Cruelty to treat with such Freedom, ungracefully noisy at such a Time, unskilfully open at such a Time, unmercifully calumnious at such a Time; and from the whole Course of his applauded Satisfactions, unable in the end to recollect any Circumstance which can add to the Enjoyment of his own Mind alone, or which he would put his Character upon with other Men. Thus it is with those who are best made for becoming Pleasures; but how monstrous is it in the generality of Mankind who pretend this Way, without Genius or Inclination towards it? The Scene then is wild to an Extravagance: this is as if Fools should mimick Madmen. Pleasure of this Kind is the intemperate Meals and loud Jollities of the common Rate of Country Gentlemen, whose Practice and Way of Enjoyment is to put an End as fast as they can to that little Particle of Reason they have when they are sober: These Men of Wit and Pleasure dispatch their Senses as fast as possible by drinking till they cannot taste, smoaking till they cannot see, and roaring till they cannot hear.