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He had observed, that several persons, infinitely his inferiors in all respects, had formerly rendered themselves considerable in this house by one method alone. They were a race of men (I hope in God the species is extinct) who, when they rose in their place, no man living could divine from any known adherence to parties, to opinions, or to principles; from any order or system in their politics; or from any sequel or connection in their ideas, what part they were going to take in any debate. It is astonishing, how much this uncertainty, especially at critical times, called the attention of all parties on such men. All eyes were fixed on them, all ears open to hear them; each party gaped and looked alternately for their vote, almost to the end of their speeches. While the house hung in this uncertainty, now the hear-hims rose from this side-now they re-bellowed from the other; and that party to whom they fell at last from their tremulous and dancing balance, always received them in a tempest of applause. The fortune of such men was a temptation too great to be resisted by one, to whom a single whiff of incense withheld gave much greater pain, than he received delights in the clouds of it, which daily fose about him from the prodigal superstition of innumerable admirers. He was a candidate for contradictory. honours; and his great aim was to make those agree in the admiration of him, who never agreed in any thing else. Burke.
END OF BOOK VII.
FROM THE MOST
EMINENT PROSE WRITERS.
Ir was at a time, when a certain friend, whom highly value, was my guest. We had been sitting together, entertaining ourselves with Shakspeare. Among many of his characters, we had looked into that of Wolsey. How soon,' says my friend, 'does the cardinal in disgrace abjure that happiness, which he was lately so fond of? Scarcely out of office, but he begins to exclaim,
Vain pomp and glory of the world! I hate ye.
So true is it, that our sentiments ever vary with the season; and that in adversity we are of one mind, in prosperity of another.'' As for his mean opinion,' said I,' of human happiness, it is a truth, which small reflection might have taught him long
before. There seems little need of distress to inform us of this. I rather commend the seeming wisdom of that eastern monarch, who in the affiuence of prosperity, when he was proving every pleasure, was yet so sensible of their emptiness, their insufficiency to make him happy, that he proclaimed a reward to the man, who should invent a new delight. The reward indeed was proclaimed, but the delight was not to be found.'—' If by delight,' said he, 'you mean some good; something conducing to real happiness; it might have been found perhaps, and yet not hit the monarch's fancy. Is that,' said I, 'possible?" It is possible,' replied he, though it had been the sovereign good itself. And indeed what wonder? Is it probable that such a mortal as an eastern monarch; such a pampered, flattered, idle mortal, should have attention, or capacity for a subject so delicate? A subject, enough to exercise the subtlest and most acute?
What then is it you esteem,' said I, 'the sovereign good to be? It should seem, by your representation, to be something very uncommon.'
Ask me not the question,' said he, 'you know not where it will carry us. Its general idea indeed is easy and plain; but the detail of particulars is perplexed and long; passions, and opinions for ever thwart us; a paradox appears in almost every advance. Besides, did our inquiries succeed ever so happily, the very subject itself is always enough to give me pain.'' That,' replied I, seems a paradox indeed.'-'It is not,' said he, 'from any prejudice which I have conceived against it; man I esteem it the noblest in the world.
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