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what superadded, which neither of them have. The style of it is various according to the occasion. There are proper places in it for the plainness and nakedness of narration, which is ascribed to annals; there is also room reserved for the loftiness and gravity of general history, when the actions related, shall require that manner of expression. But there is withal a descent into minute circumstances, and trivial passages of life, which are natural to this way of writing, and which the dignity of the other two will not admit. There you are conducted only into the rooms of state; here you are led into the private lodgings of the hero; you see him in his undress, and are made familiar with his most private actions and conversations. You may behold a Scipio and a Lælius gathering cockleshells on the shore, Augustus playing at bounding stones with boys, and Agesilaus riding on a lobby horse. among his children. The pageantry of life is taken away, you see the poor reasonable animal, as naked as nature ever made him, are made acquainted with his passions and his follies, and find the demi-god, a man.
Plutarch himself has more than once defended this kind of relating little passages; for in the life of Alexander, he says, "In writing the lives of illustrious men, I am not tied to the laws of
history; nor does it follow that because an action is great, it therefore manifests the greatness and virtue of him who did it; but on the other side, sometimes a word, a casual jest, betrays a man more to our knowledge of him, than a battle fought, wherein ten thousand men were slain, or the sacking of cities, or a course of victories." In another place he quotes Xenophon on the like occasion, "The sayings of great men in their familiar discourses, and amidst their wine, have somewhat in them which is worthy to be transmitted to posterity."
ON THE BENEFITS OF
INSTRUCTION AND PRACTICE
BODILY AND MENTAL IMPROVEMENT.
WHOEVER has been an observer of action and grace in human bodies, must of necessity have discerned the great difference in this respect between such persons as have been taught by nature only, and such as by reflection, and the assistance of art, have learnt to form those motions, which on experience are found the easiest and most natural. Of the former kind are either those good rustics, who have been bred remote from the formed societies of men; or those plain artisans, and people of lower rank, who living in cities and places of resort, have been
necessitated however to follow mean employments, and wanted the opportunity and means to form themselves after the better models. There are some persons indeed, so happily formed by nature herself, that with the greatest simplicity, or rudeness of education, they have still something of a natural grace and comeliness in their actions and there are others of a better education, who by a wrong aim, and injudicious affectation of grace, are of all people the farthest removed from it. It is undeniable, however, that the perfection of grace, and comeliness in action and behaviour, can be formed only among the people of a liberal education. And even among the graceful of this kind, those are still found the most graceful, who early in their youth have learnt their exercises, and formed their motions under the best masters.
Now such as these masters and their lessons are to a fine gentleman, such are philosophy and philosophers to an author. The case is the same in the fashionable and in the literate world. the former of these it is remarked, that by the help of good company, and the force of example, merely a decent carriage is acquired, with such apt motions and such a freedom of limbs, as on ordinary occasions may enable the party to demean himself like a gentleman. But when
upon farther occasion, trial is made in an extraordinary way; when exercises of the genteeler kind are to be performed in public, it will easily appear, who of the pretenders have been formed by rudiments, and had masters in private, and who on the other side have contented themselves with bare imitation, and learnt their art casually and by rote. The parallel is easily made on the side of writers. They have at least as much need of learning the several motions, counterpoises and ballances of the mind and passions, as the other students those of the body and limbs.
The gallant, no doubt, may pen a letter to his mistress, the courtier a compliment to the minister, or the minister to the favourite above him, without going such vast depths into learning and philosophy. But for these privileged gentlemen, though they set fashions and prescribe rules in other cases, they are no controulers in the republic of letters. Nor are they presumed to write to the age or for remote posterity. Their works are not of a nature to entitle them to hold the rank of authors, nor be styled writers, by way of excellence in the kind. Should their ambition lead them into such a field, they would be obliged to come otherwise equipped. They who enter the public lists must come duly trained