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SPECTATOR. N° 460.
Decipimur fpecie reciHOR.
UR defects and follies are too often unknown to us; nay, they are fo far from being known to us, that they pass for demonftrations of our worth. This makes us eafy in the midst of them, fond to fhew them, fond to improve in them, and to be efteemed for them. Thence it is that a thousand unaccountable conceits, gay inventions, and extravagant actions muft afford us pleasures, and difplay us to others in the colours which we ourselves take a fancy to glory in: and indeed there is fomething fo amufing for the time in this state of vanity and ill-grounded fatisfaction, that even the wifer world has chofen an exalted word to defcribe its enchantments, and called it the Paradife of Fools.
Perhaps the latter part of this reflection may feem a falfe thought to fome, and bear another turn than what I have given; but it is at prefent none of my business to look after it, who am going to confefs that I have been lately amongst them in a vifion.
Methought I was tranfported to a hill, green, flowery, and of an eafy afcent. Upon the broad top of it refided fquint-eyed Error, and popular Opinion with many heads; two that dealt in forcery, and were famous for bewitching people with the love of themselves. To thefe repaired a multitude from every fide, by two different paths which lead towards each of them. Some who had the moft affuming air went directly of themselves to Error, without expecting a conductor; others of a fofter nature went first to popular Opinion, from whence as the influenced and engaged them with their own praises, fhe delivered them over to his› government.
When we had afcended to an open part of the fummit where Opinion abode, we found her entertaining feveral who had arrived before us. Hervoice was pleafing; fhe breathed odours as fhe spoke she seemed to have a tongue for every one; every one thought he heard of fomething that was valuable in himself, and expected a paradise which fhe promised as the reward of his merit. Thus were we drawn to follow her, 'till she should bring us where it was to be bestowed: And it was obfervable, that all the way we went, the company was either praifing themselves in their qualifications, or one another for thofe qualifications which they took. to be confpicuous in their own characters, or difpraifing others for wanting theirs, or vying in the degrees of them.
At last we approached a bower, at the entrance of which Error was feated. The trees were thickwoven, and the place where he fat artfully contrived to darken him a little. He was disguised in a whitifh robe, which he had put on, that he might appear to us with a nearer resemblance to Truth: And as she has a light whereby the manifefts the beauties of nature to the eyes of her adorers, so he had provided himself with a magical wand, that he might do something in imitation of it, and please with delufions. This he lifted folemnly, and muttering to himself, bid the glories which he kept under enchantment to appear before us. Immediately we caft our eyes on that part of the sky to which he pointed, and observed a thin blue prospect, which cleared as mountains in a fummer morning when the mifts go off, and the palace of Vanity appeared to fight.
The foundation hardly feemed a foundation, but a fet of curling clouds, which it ftood upon by magical contrivance. The way by which we ascended was painted like a rainbow; and as we went, the breeze that played about us bewitched the fenfes. The walls were gilded all for fhow; the lowest set of pillars were of the flight fine Corinthian order, and the top of the building being rounded, bore fo far the resemblance of a bubble.
At the gate the travellers neither met with a porter, nor waited 'till one should appear; every one thought his merits a fufficient paffport, and preffed
preffed forward. In the hall we met with feveral phantoms, that roved amongst us, and ranged the company according to their fentiments. There was decreafing Honour, that had nothing to fhew in but an old coat of his ancestors atchievements : There was Oftentation, that made himfelf his own conftant fubject, and Gallantry ftrutting upon his tip-toes. At the upper end of the hall flood a throne, whofe canopy glittered with all the riches that gaiety could contrive to lavish on it; and be tween the gilded arms fat Vanity, decked in the peacock's feathers, and acknowledged for another Venus by her votaries. The boy who stood befide her for a Cupid, and who made the world to bow before her, was called Self-Conceit. His eyes had every now and then a caft inwards, to the neglect of all objects about him; and the arms which he made ufe of for conqueft, were borrowed from thofe against whom he had a defign. The arrow which he fhot at the foldier, was fledged from his own plume of feathers; the dart he directed against the man of wit, was winged from the quills he writ with; and that which he fent against thofe who prefumed upon their riches, was headed with gold. out of their treasures: he made nets for statesmen from their own contrivances; he took fire from the eyes of ladies, with which he melted their hearts; and lightning from the tongues of the eloquent, to enflame them with their own glories. At the foot of the throne fat three falfe graces, Flattery with a fhell