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actions. For instance, with regard to fame; could not subsist at all : “Curis acuuntur mor. there is in most people a reluctance and un- talia corda." willingness to be forgotten. We observe, even | Praise is the daughter of present power. among the vulgar, how fond they are to have How inconsistent is man with himself ! an inscription over their grave. It requires but I have known several persons of great fame fittle philosophy to discover and observe that for wisdom in public affairs and councils gov. there is no intrinsic value in all this; however, erned by foolish servants : if it be founded in our nature, as an incitement I have known great ministers, distinguished to virtue, it ought not to be ridiculed.
for wit and learning, who preferred none but Complaint is the largest tribute heaven re- dunces : ceives, and the sincerest part of our devotion. I have known men of great valour cowards to
The common fluency of speech in many men, their wives : and most women, is owing to a scarcity of mat- I have known men of the greatest cunning ter, and a scarcity of words; for whoever is a perpetually cheated : master of language, and has a mind full of ideas, I knew three great ministers, who could exwill be apt, in speaking, to hesitate upon the actly compute and settle the accompts of a king: choice of both; whereas common speakers have dom, but were wholly ignorant of their own only one set of ideas and one set of words to economy. clothe them in; and these are always ready at | The preaching of divines helps to preserve the mouth: so people come faster out of a church well-inclined men in the course of virtue, but when it is almost empty, than when a crowd is seldom or never reclaims the vicious. at the door.
Princes usually make wiser choices than the Few are qualified to shine in company; but servants whom they trust for the disposal of it is in most men's power to be agreeable. The places : I have known a prince more than once reason, therefore, why conversation runs so low choose an able minister; but I never observed at present, is not the defect of understanding, that minister to use his credit in the disposal of but pride, vanity, ill-nature, affectation, singu. an employment to a person whom he thought larity, positiveness, or some other vice, the effect the fittest for it. One of the greatest in this of a wrong education.
age * owned and excused the matter, from the To be vain is rather a mark of humility than violence of parties and the unreasonableness of pride. Vain men delight in telling what hon- friends. ours have been done them, what great company Small causes are sufficient to make a man unthey have kept, and the like, by which they easy, when great ones are not in the way: for plainly confess that these honours were more want of a block he will stumble at a straw. than their due, and such as their friends would Dignity, high station, or great riches, are in not believe, if they had not been told; whereas some sort necessary to old men, in order to keep a man trily proud, thinks the greatest honours the younger at a distance, who are otherwise below buis merit, and consequently scorns to too apt to insult them upon the score of their age. boast. I therefore deliver it as a maxim, that Every man desires to live long ; but no man whoever desires the character of a proud man, would be old. ought to conceal his vanity.
Love of flattery in most men proceeds from Law, in a free country, is, or ought to be, the the mean opinion they have of themselves; in determination of the majority of those who have women, from the contrary. property in land.
| If books and laws continue to increase as they One argument used to the disadvantage of have done for fifty years past, I am in concern Providence, I take to be a very strong one in for future ages, how any man will be learned, or its defence. It is objected, that storms and any man a lawyer. tempests, unfruitful seasons, serpents, spiders, Kings are commonly said to have long hands; flies, and other noxious or troublesome animals, I wish they had as long ears. with many other instances of the same kind, dis Princes in their infancy, childhooi, and youth cover an imperfection in nature, because human are said to discover prodigious parts and wit, to life would be much easier without them : but speak things that surprise and astonish: strange, the design of Providence may clearly be per- so many hopeful princes, and so many shameful ceived in this proceeding. The motions of the kings ! If they happen to die young, they would sun and moon, in short, the whole system of have been prodigies of wisdom and virtue: if the universe, as far as philosophers have been they live, they are often prodigies indeed, but of able to discover and observe, are in the utmost another sort. degree of regularity and perfection; but wher- Politics, as the word is commonly understood, ever God has left to man the power of inter- | are nothing but corruptions, and consequently posing a remedy by thought or labour, there He of no use to a good king, or a good ministry: has placed things in a state of imperfection, on for which reason all courts are so full of politics. purpose to stir up human industry, without which life would stagnate, or indeed rather
* Harley. CENTO AL COLLEC
Venus, a beautiful, good-natured lady, was from you men, who are so far from taking exthe goddess of love ; Juno, a terrible shrew, the ample by other people's follies that you will not goddess of marriage: and they were always take warning by your own. If, after falling mortal enemies.
several times into this vial, and escaping by Those who are against religion must needs be chance, I should fall in again, I should then but fools; and therefore we read that of all animals, resemble you." God refused the first-born of an ass.
An old miser kept a tame jackdaw that used A very little wit is valued in a woman, as we to steal pieces of money and hide them in a hole; are pleased with a few words spoken plain by a which the cat observing, asked, “Why he would parrot.
hoard up those round shining things that he A nice man is a man of nasty ideas.
could make no use of?” “Why," said the jackApollo was held the god of physic, and sender daw, “my master has a whole chest full, and of diseases. Both were originally the same makes no more use of them than I.” trade, and still continue.
Men are contented to be laughed at for their Old men and comets have been reverenced for wit, but not for their folly. the same reason; their long beards, and pre | If the men of wit and genius would resolve tences to foretell events.
never to complain in their works of critics and A person was asked at court what he thought detractors, the next age would not know that of an ambassador and his train, who were all they ever had any. embroidery and lace, full of bows, cringes, and After all the maxims and systems of trade gestures? He said it was Solomon's importation, and commerce, a stander-by would think the gold and apes.
affairs of the world were most ridiculously con. There is a story in Pausanias of a plot for trived. betraying a city discovered by the braying of an There are few countries which, if well culti. ass; the cackling of geese saved the Capitol ; | vated, would not support double the number and Catiline's conspiracy was discovered by a | of their inhabitants, and yet fewer where one whore. These are the only three animals, as far third part of the people are not extremely as I remember, famous in history as evidences stinted even in the necessaries of life. I send and informers.
out twenty barrels of corn, which would mainMost sorts of diversion in men, children, and tain a family in bread for a year, and I bring other animals, are in imitation of fighting. back in return a. vessel of wine, which half a
Augustus, meeting an ass with a lucky name, dozen good fellows would drink in less than foretold himself good fortune. I meet many a month, at the expense of their health and asses, but none of them have lucky names. reason.
If a man makes me keep my distance, the A motto for the Jesuits : comfort is, he keeps his at the same time. Who can deny that all men are violent lovers
“Quæ regio in terris nostri non plena laboris ?" of truth, when we see them so positive in their A man would have but few spectators if he errors, which they will maintain out of their offered to show for threepence how he could zeal to truth, although they contradict them. | thrust a red-hot iron into a barrel of gunpowder selves every day of their lives ?
and it should not take fire. That was excellently observed, say 1, when I Query, Whether churches are not dormitories read a passage in an author where his opinion of the living as well as of the dead ? agrees with mine. When we differ, there I Harry Killegrew said to Lord Wharton, “You pronounce him to be mistaken.
would not swear at that rate if you thought you Very few men, properly speaking, live at pre- were doing God honour." cent, but are providing to live another time. Since the union of divinity and humanity is
As universal a practice as lying is, and as easy the great article of our religion, it is odd to see a one as it seems, I do not remember to have some clergymen, in their writings of divinity, heard three good lies in all my conversation, | wholly devoid of humanity. even from those who were most celebrated in The Epicureans began to spread at Rome in that faculty.
the empire of Augustus, as the Socinians, and (1726.)
even the Epicureans too, did in England toward Laws penned with the utmost care and exact. the end of King Charles II.'s reign ; which is ness, and in the vulgar language, are often per- reckoned, though very absurdly, our Augustan verted to wrong meanings; then why should we age. They both seem to be corruptions occawonder that the Bible is so ?
sioned by luxury and peace, and by politeness A man seeing a wasp creeping into a vial filled beginning to decline. with honey that was hung on a fruit tree, said Sometimes I read a book with pleasure, and thus: “Why, thou sottish animal, art thou mad detest the author. to go into the vial, where you see many hundred At a bookseller's shop some time ago, I saw a of your kind dying before you?” “The re- book with this title : “Poems by the Author of proach is just," answered the wasp, “but not | The Choice." Not enduring to read a dozen
lines, I asked the company with me, whether a sheet of paper, which never failed to cut it they had ever seen the book, or heard of the even, only requiring a steady hand; whereas if poem whence the author denominated himself. they should make use of a sharp penknife, the They were all as ignorant as I. But I find it sharpness would make it go often out of the common with these small dealers in wit and crease and disfigure the paper. learning, to give themselves a title from their “He who does not provide for his own house," first adventure, as Don Quixote usually did from St Paul says, “is worse than an infidel.” And, his last. This arises from that great importance I think, he who provides only for his own house, which every man supposes himself to be of. is just equal with an infidel.
One Dennis, commonly called “The Critic,” | Jealousy, like fire, may shrivel up horns, but who had written a threepenny pamphlet against it makes them stink. the power of France, being in the country, and A footman's hat should fly off to everybody; hearing of a French privateer hovering about the and therefore Mercury, who was Jupiter's footcoast, although he were twenty miles from the man, had wings fastened to his cap. sea, fled to town, and told his friends that they When a man pretends love, but courts for need not wonder at his haste; for the King of money, he is like a juggler, who conjures away France, having got intelligence where he was, your shilling, and conveys something very indehad sent a privateer on purpose to catch him. cent under the hat.
Dr Gee, prebendary of Westminster, who had All panegyrics are mingled with an infusion of written a small paper against Popery, being poppy. obliged to travel for his health, affected to dis. I have known men happy enough at ridicule, guise his person and change his name, as he passed who upon grave subjects were perfectly stupid; through Portugal, Spain, and Italy; telling all of which Dr Echard of Cambridge, who wrote the English he met, that he was afraid of being “ The Contempt of the Clergy," was a great murdered, 'or put into the Inquisition. He was instance, acting the same farce at Paris, till Mr Prior One top of Parnassus was sacred to Bacchus, (who was then secretary to the embassy) quite the other to Apollo. disconcerted the doctor by maliciously discover Matrimony has many children : Repentance, ing the secret; and offering to engage, body for | Discord, Poverty, Jealousy, Sickness, Spleen, body, that not a creature would hurt him, or Loathing, etc. had ever heard of him or his pamphlet.
Vision is the art of seeing things invisible. The death of a private man is generally of so The two maxims of any great man at court little importance to the world, that it cannot be are, always to keep his countenance, and never a thing of great importance in itself; and yet I to keep his word. do not observe, from the practice of mankind, Love is a flame, and therefore we say beauty that either philosophy or nature have sufficiently is attractive; because physicians observe that armed us against the fears which attend it. | fire is a great drawer. Neither do I find anything able to reconcile us Civis, the most honourable name among the to it, but extreme pain, shame, or despair ; for Romans—a citizen, a word of contempt among poverty, imprisonment, ill fortune, grief, sick- us. ness, and old age, do generally fail.
We read that an ass's head was sold for eighty I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often pieces of silver; they have lately been sold ten wonder to see them not ashamed.
thousand times dearer, and yet they were never Do not we see how easily we pardon our own more plentiful. actions and passions, and the very infirmities of I must complain the cards are ill shuffled till our bodies; and why should it be wonderful to I have a good hand. find us pardon our own dulness?
Whoever live at a different end of the town Observation is an old man's memory." from me,'I look upon as persons out of the world,
Eloquence, smooth and cutting, is like a razor | and only myself and the scene about me to be whetted with oil.
in it. Imaginary evils soon become real ones by in. My Lord Cromarty, after fourscore, went to dulging our reflections on them; as he who in a his country house in Scotland, with a resolution melancholy fancy sees something like a face on | to stay six years there and live thriftily, in order the wall or the wainscot, can, by two or three to save up money that he might spend in London. touches with a lead pencil, make it look visible, Elephants are always drawn smaller than life, and agreeing with what he fancied.
| but a flea always larger, Men of great parts are often unfortunate in When old folks tell us of many passages in the management of public business, because they their youth between them and their company, are apt to go out of the common road by the we are apt to think how much happier those quickness of their imagination. This I once times were than the present. said to my Lord Bolingbroke, and desired he No man will take counsel, but every man would observe, that the clerks in his office used will take money ; therefore money is better 2 sort of ivory knife with a blunt edge to divide than counsel.
WILLIAM SHENSTONE.* BORN 1714: DIED 1763.
(From “ Essays on Men and Manners.")
risibility, with which it is supposed to be always A HUMORIST.
joined. To form an estimate of the proportion which Indeed he acquired the character of the most one man's happiness bears to another's, we are ingenious person of his county, from this medito consider the mind that is allotted him with tative temper. Not that he had ever made any as much attention as the circumstances. It were great discovery of his talents; but a few oracular superfluous to evince that the same objects which declarations, joined with a common opinion that one despises, are frequently to another the sub- he was writing somewhat for posterity, com. stantial source of admiration. The man of busi- pleted his reputation. ness and the man of pleasure are to each other Numbers would have willingly depreciated mutually contemptible; and a blue garter has his character, had not his known sobriety and less charms for some, than they can discover in reputed sense deterred them. a butterfly. The more candid and sage observer He was one day overheard at his devotions, condemns neither for his pursuits; but for the returning his most fervent thanks for some parderision he so profusely lavishes upon the dis- ticularities in his situation, which the generality position of his neighbour. He concludes that of mankind would have but little regarded. schemes infinitely various were at first intended “Accept," said he, “the gratitude of Thy most for our pursuit and pleasures, and that some humble, yet most happy creature, not for silver find their account in heading a cry of hounds, or gold, the tinsel of mankind, but for those as much as others in the dignity of lord chief amiable peculiarities which Thou hast so graci. justice.
i ously interwoven both with my fortune and my Having premised thus much, I proceed to give complexion : for those treasures so well adapted some account of a character which came within to that frame of mind Thou hast assigned me. the sphere of my own observation.
“That the surname which has descended to Not the entrance of a cathedral, not the sound me is liable to no pun. of a passing bell, not the furs of a magistrate, “That it runs chiefly upon vowels and liquids. nor the sables of a funeral, were fraught with “That I have a picturesque countenance rather half the solemnity of face!
than one that is esteemed of regular features. Nay, so wonderfully serious was he observed “That there is an intermediate hill, interceptto be on all occasions, that it was found hardly ing my view of a nobleman's seat, whose illpossible to be otherwise in his company. He obtained superiority I cannot bear to recollect. quashed the loudest tempest of laughter, when “That my estate is overrun with brambles, reever he entered the room ; and men's features, sounds with cataracts, and is beautifully varied though ever so much roughened, were sure to with rocks and precipices, rather than an even grow smooth at his approach.
cultivated spot, fertile of corn, or wine, or oil; The man had nothing vicious, or even ill. or those kinds of productions in which the sons natured in his character; yet he was the dread of men delight themselves. of all jovial conversation ; the young, the gay, “That as Thou dividest Thy bounties imparfound their spirits fly before him. Even the tially; giving riches to one, and the contempt of kitten and the puppy, as it were by instinct, riches to another, so Thou hast given me, in the would forego their frolics, and be still. The midst of poverty, to despise the insolence o? depression he occasioned was like that of a riches, and by declining all emulation that is damp or vitiated air. Unconscious of any ap- i founded upon wealth, to maintain the dignity parent cause, you found your spirits sink insen- / and superiority of the muses. cibly: and were any one to sit for the picture of l “That I have a disposition either so elevated or ill-luck, it is not possible the painter could select so ingenuous, that I can derive to myself amusea more proper person.
ment from the very expedients and contrivances Yet he did not fail to boast of a superior share with which rigorous necessity furnishes my in. of reason, even for the want of that very faculty,
“That I can laugh at my own follies, foibles,
and infirmities; and that I do not want infir. * “The essays are good, displaying an ease and grace
mities to employ this disposition.” of style united to judgment and discrimination. They
This poor gentleman caught cold one winter's have not the mellow ripeness of thought and learning of Cowley's Essays, but they resemble them more | night, as he was contemplating, by the side of a closely than any others we possess."-Chambers's Cyclo- crystal stream, by moonshine. This afterwards pædia of English Literature, vol. i., p. 717.
| terminated in a fever that was fatal to him.