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41 On the death of a friend

42 Perdita's complaint of her father

43 Monitions on the flight of time

44 Use of memory

4.5 Portraits defended

46 Molly Quick's complaint of her mistress

47 Debora Ginger's account of city wits .

48 The bustles of idleness.

49 Marvel's Journey

50 Marvel paralleled

51 Domestick greatness unattainable

52 Self-denial necessary .

53 Mischiefs of good company

54 Mrs. Savecharge's complaint

55 Author's mortifications.

56 Virtuosos whimsical ,

57 Character of Sophron the prudent

58 Expectations of pleasure frustrated

59 Books fall into neglect.

60 Minim the critick

61 Minim the critick .

62 Ranger's account of the vanity of riches

63 Progress of arts and language.

64 Ranger's complaint concluded .

65 Fate of posthumous works

66 Loss of ancient writings

67 Scholar's Journal

68 History of translations.

69 History of translations.

70 Hard words defended .

71 Dick Shifter's rural excursion

TZ ntgulation of memory.

73 Tranquil's use of riches

74 Memory rarely deficient

75 Gelaleddin of Bassora i

76 False criticisms on painting

77 Easy writing .

78 Steady, Snug, Startle, Solid, and Misty

79 Grand Style of painting

80 Ladies journey to London

81 Indian's speech to his countrymen

82 The true idea of beauty

83 Scruple, Wormwood, Šturdy, and Gentle

84 Biography how best performed .

85 Books multiplied by useless compilations

86 Miss Heartless' want of a lodging ,

87 Amazonian bravery revived ..

88 What have you done? .

89 Physical evil moral good

90 Rhetorical action considered .

91 Sufficiency of the English language

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THE Idler having omitted to distinguish the Essays of his Correspondents by any particular signature, thinks it necessary to inform his Readers, that from the ninth, the fifteenth, thirty-third, forty-second, fifty-fourth, sixty-seventh, seventy-sixth, seventy-ninth, eighty-second, ninetythird, ninety-sixth, and ninety-eighth papers, he claims no other praise than that of having given them to the Public.



No 1. SATURDAY, APRIL 15, 1758*..

Vacui sub umbra


Those who attempt periodical essays seem to be often stopped in the beginning, by the difficulty of finding a proper title. Two writers, since the time of the Spectator, have assumed his name, without any pretensions to lawful inheritance; an effort was once made to revive the Tatler; and the strange appellations by which other papers have been called, show that the authors were distressed like the natives of America, who come to the Europeans to beg a name.

It will be easily believed of the Idler, that if his title had required any search, he never would have found it. Every mode of life has its conveniences. The Idler, who habituates himself to be satisfied with what he can most easily obtain, not only escapes labours which are often fruitless, but sometimes succeeds better than those who despise all that is within their reach, and think every thing more valuable as it is harder to be acquired.

If similitude of manners be a motive to kindness, the Idler may flatter himself with universal patronage. There is no single character under which such numbers are comprised. Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. Even those who seem to differ most from us are hastening to increase our fraternity: as peace is the end of war, so to be idle is the ultimate purpose of the busy.

• Originally published in “ The Universal Chronicle, or Weekly Gazette.” VOL. V.


There is perhaps no appellation by which a writer can better denote his kindred to the human species. It has been found hard to describe man by an adequate definition. Some philosophers have called him a reasonable animal ; but others have considered reason as a quality of which many creatures partake. He has been termed likewise a laughing animal; but it is said that some men have never laughed. Perhaps man may be more properly distinguished as an idle animal; for there is no man who is not sometimes idle. It is at least a definition from which none that shall find it in this paper can be excepted; for who can be more idle than the reader of the Idler?

That the definition may be complete, idleness must be not only the general but the peculiar characteristie of man; and perhaps man is the only being that can properly be called idle, that does by others what he might do himself, or sacrifices duty or pleasure to the love of ease.

Scarcely any name can be imagined from which less envy or competition is to be dreaded. The Idler has no rivals or enemies. The man of business forgets him; the man of enterprise despises him; and though such as tread the same track of life fall commonly into jealousy and discord, Idlers are always found to associate

in peace; and he who is most famed for doing nothing, · is glad to meet another as idle as himself.

What is to be expected from this paper, whether it will be uniform or various, learned or familiar, serious or gay, political or moral, continued or interrupted, it is hoped that no reader will inquire. That the Idler has some scheme, cannot be doubted; for to form schemes is the Idler's privilege. But though he has many projects in his head, he is now grown sparing of communication, having observed, that his hearers are apt to remember what he forgets himself; that his tardiness of execution exposes him to the encroachments of those who catch a hint and fall to work; and that very spacious plans, after long contrivance and pompous . displays, have subsided in weariness without a trial, and without miscarriage have been blasted by derision.

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