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perfection? We know not yet what we shall be, nor will it ever enter into the heart of man to conceive the glory that will be always in reserve for him. The soul, considered with its Creator, is like one of those mathematical lines that may draw nearer to one another for all eternity without a possibility of touching it: and can there be a thought so transporting, as to consider ourselves in these perpetual approaches to Him, who is not only the standard of perfection but of happiness.
No. 112.] Monday, July 9, 1711.
First, in obedience to thy country's rites,
besides himself; for if by chance he has been surprised into a short nap at sermon, upon recovering out of it he stands up and looks about him, and if he sees any body else nodding, either wakes them himself, or sends his servants to them. Several other of the old knight's particularities break out upon these occasions. Sometimes he will be lengthening out a verse in the singing Psalms, half a minute after the rest of the congregation have done with it; sometimes when he is pleased with the matter of his devotion, he pronounces 'Amen,' three or four times to the same prayer; and sometimes stands up when every body else is upon their knees, to count the congregation, or see if any of his tenants are missing.
I was yesterday very much surprised to hear my old friend, in the midst of the service, calling out to one John Matthews to mind what he was about, and not disturb the congregation. This John Matthews it seems is remarkable for being an idle fellow, and at that time was kicking his heels for his diversion. This authority of the knight, though exerted in that odd manner which accompanies him in all circumstances of life, has a very good effect upon the parish, who are not polite enough to see any thing ridiculous in his behaviour; besides that the general good sense and worthiness of his character make his friends observe these little singularities as foils that rather set off than blemish his good qualities.
I AM always very well pleased with a country Sunday, and think, if keeping holy the seventh day were only a human institution, it would be the best method that could have been thought of for the polishing and civilizing of mankind. It is certain the country people would soon degenerate into a kind of savages and barbarians, were there not such frequent returns of a stated time, in which the whole village meet together with their best faces, and in their cleanliest habits, to converse with one another upon indifferent subjects, hear their duties explained to them, and join together in adoration of the Supreme Being. Sunday As soon as the sermon is finished, nobody clears away the rust of the whole week, not presumes to stir till Sir Roger is gone out of only as it refreshes in their minds the notions the church. The knight walks down from of religion, but as it puts both the sexes upon his seat in the chancel between a double appearing in their most agreeable forms, row of his tenants, that stand bowing to and exerting all such qualities as are apt him on each side: and every now and then to give them a figure in the eye of the vil- inquires how such a one's wife, or mother, lage. A country fellow distinguishes him- or son, or father do, whom he does not see self as much in the churchyard, as a citizen at church; which is understood as a secret does upon the Change, the whole parish-reprimand to the person that is absent. politics being generally discussed in that place either after sermon or before the bell rings.
My friend Sir Roger being a good churchman, has beautified the inside of his church with several texts of his own choosing. He has likewise given a handsome pulpit-cloth, and railed in the communion-table at his own expence. He has often told me, that at his coming to his estate he found his parishioners very irregular; and that in order to make them kneel and join in the responses, he gave every one of them a hassock and a common-prayer-book: and at the same time employed an itinerant singing-master, who goes about the country for that purpose, to instruct them rightly in the tunes of the Psalms; upon which they now very much value themselves, and indeed outdo most of the country churches that I have ever heard.
As Sir Roger is landlord to the whole congregation, he keeps them in very good order, and will suffer nobody to sleep in it
The chaplain has often told me, that upon a catechising day, when Sir Roger has been pleased with a boy that answers well, he has ordered a Bible to be given him next day for his encouragement; and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch of bacon to his mother. Sir Roger has likewise added five pounds a year to the clerk's place; and that he may encourage the young fellows to make themselves perfect in the church-service, has promised upon the death of the present incumbent, who is very old, to bestow it according to merit.
The fair understanding between Sir Roger and his chaplain, and their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remarkable, because the very next village is famous for the differences and contentions that rise between the parson and the 'squire, who live in a perpetual state of war. The parson is always preaching at the 'squire; and the 'squire, to be revenged on the parson, never comes to church. The 'squire has made all his tenants atheists and tythe
stealers; while the parson instructs them every Sunday in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them, in almost every sermon, that he is a better man than his patron. In short, matters have come to such an extremity, that the 'squire has not said his prayers either in public or private this half year; and that the parson threatens him, if he does not mend his manners, to pray for him in the face of the whole congregation.
Feuds of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are very fatal to the ordinary people; who are so used to be dazzled with riches, that they pay as much deference to the understanding of a man of an estate, as of a man of learning; and are very hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it may be, that is preached to them, when they know there are several men of five hundred a year who do not believe it.
No. 113.] Tuesday, July 10, 1711. -Hærent infixi pectore vultus. Virg. En. iv. 4. Her looks were deep imprinted in his heart. In my first description of the company in which I pass most of my time, it may be remembered, that I mentioned a great affliction which my friend Sir Roger had met with in his youth; which was no less than a disappointment in love. It happened this evening, that we fell into a very pleasing walk at a distance from his house. As soon as we came into it, 'It is,' quoth the good old man looking round him with a smile, very hard, that any part of my land should be settled upon one who has used me so ill as the perverse widow did; and yet I am sure I could not see a sprig of any bough of this whole walk of trees, but I should reflect upon her and her severity. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in the world. You are to know, this was the place wherein I used to muse upon her; and by that custom I can never come into it, but the same tender sentiments revive in my mind, as if I had actually walked with that beautiful creature under these shades. I have been fool enough to carve her name on the bark of several of these trees; so unhappy is the condition of men in love, to attempt the removing of their passion by the methods which serve only to imprint it deeper. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in the world.'
Here followed a profound silence; and I was not displeased to observe my friend falling so naturally into a discourse, which I had ever before taken notice he industriously avoided. After a very long pause, he entered upon an account of this great circumstance in his life, with an air which I thought raised my idea of him above what I had ever had before; and gave me the picture of that cheerful mind of his, before
it received that stroke which has ever since affected his words and actions. But he went on as follows.
'I came to my estate in my twentysecond year, and resolved to follow the steps of the most worthy of my ancestors who have inhabited this spot of earth before me, in all the methods of hospitality and good neighbourhood, for the sake of my fame; and in country sports and recreations, for the sake of my health. In my twenty-third year I was obliged to serve as sheriff of the county; and in my servants, officers, and whole equipage, indulged the pleasure of a young man (who did not think ill of his own person,) in taking that public occasion of showing my figure and behaviour to advantage. You may easily imagine to yourself what appearance I made, who am pretty tall, rid well, and was very well dressed, at the head of a whole county, with music before me, a feather in my hat, and my horse well bitted. I can assure you, I was not a little pleased with the kind looks and glances I had from all the balconies and windows as I rode to the hall where the assizes were held. But when I came there, a beautiful creature, in a widow's habit, sat in court to hear the event of a cause concerning her dower. This commanding creature, (who was born for the destruction of all who behold her,) put on such a resignation in her countenance, and bore the whispers of all around the court with such a pretty uneasiness, I warrant you, and then recovered herself from one eye to another, until she was perfectly confused by meeting something so wistful in all she encountered, that at last, with a murrain to her, she cast her bewitching eye upon me. I no sooner met it but I bowed like a great surprised booby; and knowing her cause was to be the first which came on, I cried, like a great captivated calf as I was, "Make way for the defendant's witnesses." This sudden partiality made all the county immediately see the sheriff also was become a slave to the fine widow.-During the time her cause was upon trial, she behaved herself, I warrant you, with such a deep attention to her business, took opportunities to have little billets handed to her counsel, then would be in such a pretty confusion, occasioned, you must know, by acting before so much company, that not only I, but the whole court was prejudiced in her favour; and all that the next heir to her husband had to urge, was thought so groundless and frivolous, that when it came to her counsel to reply, there was not half so much said as every one besides in the court thought he could have urged to her advantage. You must understand, sir, this perverse woman is one of those unaccountable creatures that secretly rejoice in the admiration of men, but indulge themselves in no further consequences. Hence it is that she has ever had a train of admirers, and she removes
from her slaves in town to those in the deliver all his sentiments upon the matter country, according to the seasons of the when he pleases to speak." They both year. She is a reading lady, and far gone kept their countenances, and after I had in the pleasures of friendship. She is al-sat half an hour meditating how to behave ways accompanied by a confidant, who is before such profound casuists, I rose up and witness to her daily protestations against took my leave. Chance has since that time our sex, and consequently a bar to her first thrown me very often in her way, and she steps towards love, upon the strength of as often directed a discourse to me which I her own maxims and declarations. do not understand. This barbarity has However, I must needs say, this accom- kept me ever at a distance from the most plished mistress of mine has distinguished beautiful object my eyes ever beheld. It is me above the rest, and has been known to thus also she deals with all mankind, and declare Sir Roger de Coverley was the you must make love to her, as you would tamest and most humane of all the brutes conquer the Sphinx, by posing her. But in the country. I was told she said so by were she like other women, and that there one who thought he rallied me; and upon were any talking to her, how constant must the strength of this slender encourage the pleasure of that man be, who could ment of being thought least detestable, I converse with a creature-But, after all, made new liveries, new-paired my coach-you may be sure her heart is fixed on some horses, sent them all to town to be bitted, one or other; and yet I have been credibly and taught to throw their legs well, and informed-but who can believe half that is move altogether, before I pretended to said!-after she had done speaking to me, cross the country, and wait upon her. As she put her hand to her bosom, and adsoon as I thought my retinue suitable to the justed her tucker. Then she cast her eyes character of my fortune and youth, I set a little down, upon my beholding her too out from hence to make my addresses. earnestly. They say she sings excellently; The particular skill of this lady has ever her voice in her ordinary speech has somebeen to inflame your wishes, and yet com- thing in it inexpressibly sweet. You must mand respect. To make her mistress of know I dined with her at a public table the this art, she has a greater share of know- day after I first saw her, and she helped ledge, wit, and good sense, than is usual me to some tansy in the eye of all the geneven among men of merit. Then she is tlemen in the country. She has certainly beautiful beyond the race of women. If the finest hand of any woman in the world. / you will not let her go on with a certain I can assure you, sir, were you to behold artifice with her eyes, and the skill of her, you would be in the same condition; beauty, she will arm herself with her real for as her speech is music, her form is an charms, and strike you with admiration in-gelic. But I find I grow irregular while I stead of desire. It is certain that if you were to behold the whole woman, there is that dignity in her aspect, that composure in her motion, that complacency in her manner, that if her form makes you hope, her merit makes you fear. But then again, she is such a desperate scholar that no country gentleman can approach her without being a jest. As I was going to tell you, when I came to her house, I was admitted to her presence with great civility; at the same time she placed herself to be first seen by me in such an attitude, as I think you call the posture of a picture, that she discovered new charms, and I at last came towards her with such an awe as made me speechless. This she no sooner observed but she made her advantage of it, and began a discourse to me concerning love and honour, as they both are followed by pretenders, and the real votaries to. them. When she discussed these points in a discourse, which I verily believe was as learned as the best philosopher in Europe could possibly make, she asked me whether she was so happy as to fall in with my sentiments on these important particulars. Her confidant sat by her, and upon my being in the last confusion and silence, this malicious aid of her's turning to her, says, "I am very glad to observe Sir Roger pauses upon this subject: and seems resolved to
am talking of her; but indeed it would be stupidity to be unconcerned at such perfection. Oh, the excellent creature! she is as inimitable to all women as she is inaccessible to all men.'
I found my friend begin to rave, and insensibly led him towards the house, that we might be joined by some other company; and am convinced that the widow is the secret cause of all that inconsistency which appears in some parts of my friend's discourse; though he has so much command of himself as not directly to mention her, yet according to that of Martial, which one knows not how to render into English, Dum tacet hanc loquitur. I shall end this paper with that whole epigram, which represents with much humcur my honest friend's condition:
Quicquid agit Rufus, nihil est. nisi Nævia Rafo,
Si gaudet, si flet, si tacet, hanc loquitur:
Scriberit hesterna patri cum luce salutem,
Epig. 69. 1. i.
Let Rufus weep, rejoice, stand, sit, or walk,
behaviour would in a short time advance them to the condition which they pretend to.
Laertes has fifteen hundred pounds a year, which is mortgaged for six thousand pounds; but it is impossible to convince him, that if he sold as much as would pay off that debt, he would save four shillings in the pound, which he gives for the vanity of being the reputed master of it. Yet if Laertes did this he would perhaps be easier in his own fortune; but then Irus, a fellow of yesterday, who has but twelve hundred a year, would be his equal. Rather than this shall be, Laertes goes on to bring well-born beggars into the world, and every twelvemonth charges his estate with at least one year's rent more by the birth of a child.
Laertes and Irus are neighbours, whose way of living are an abomination to each other. Irus is moved by the fear of poverty, and Laertes by the shame of it. Though the motive of action is of so near affinity in both, and may be resolved into this, 'that to each of them poverty is the greatest of all evils,' yet are their manners very widely different.-Shame of poverty makes Laertes launch into unnecessary equipage, vain expense, and lavish entertainments. Fear of poverty makes Irus allow himself only plain necessaries, appear without a servant, sell his own corn, attend his labourers, and be himself a labourer. Shame of poverty makes Laertes go every day a step nearer to it; and fear of poverty stirs up Irus to make every day some further progress from it.
The dread of nothing more Than to be thought necessitous and poor.-Pooly. ECONOMY in our affairs has the same effect upon our fortunes which good-breeding has upon our conversation. There is a pretending behaviour in both cases, which instead of making men esteemed, renders them both miserable and contemptible. We had yesterday, at Sir Roger's, a set of country gentlemen who dined with him: and after dinner the glass was taken, by those who pleased, pretty plentifully. Among others I observed a person of a tolerably good aspect, who seemed to be more greedy of liquor than any of the company, and yet methought he did not taste it with delight. As he grew warm, he was suspicious of every thing that was said, and as he advanced towards being fuddled, his humour grew worse. At the same time his bitterness seemed to be rather an inward dissatisfaction in his own mind, than any dislike he had taken to the company. Upon hearing his name, I knew him to be a gentleman of a considerable fortune in this County, but greatly in debt. What gives the unhappy man this peevishness of spirit is, that his estate is dipped, and is eating out with usury; and yet he has not the heart to sell any part of it. His proud stomach, at the cost of restless nights, constant inquietudes, danger of affronts, and a thousand nameless inconveniences, pre- These different motives produce the exserves this canker in his fortune, rather cesses which men are guilty of in the negthan it shall be said he is a man of a fewer ligence of and provision for themselves. hundreds a year than he has been com- Usury, stock-jobbing, extortion, and opmonly reputed. Thus he endures the tor-pression, have their seed in the dread of ment of poverty, to avoid the name of being less rich. If you go to his house you see great plenty; but served in a manner that shows it is all unnatural, and that the master's mind is not at home. There is a certain waste and carelessness in the air of every thing, and the whole appears but a covered indigence, a magnificent poverty. That neatness and cheerfulness which attends the table of him who lives within compass, is wanting, and exchanged for a libertine way of service in all about him.
This gentleman's conduct, though a very common way of management, is as ridiculous as that officer's would be who had but few men under his command, and should take the charge of an extent of country rather than of a small pass. To pay for, personate, and keep in a man's hands, a greater estate than he really has, is of all others the most unpardonable vanity, and must in the end reduce the man who is guilty of it to dishonour. Yet if we look round us in any county of Great Britain, we shall see many in this fatal error; if that may be called by so soft a name, which proceeds from a false shame of appearing what they really are, when the contrary
want; and vanity, riot, and prodigality, from the shame of it: but both these excesses are infinitely below the pursuit of a reasonable creature. After we have taken care to command so much as is necessary for maintaining ourselves in the order of men suitable to our character, the care of superfluities is a vice no less extravagant, than the neglect of necessaries would have been before.
Certain it is, that they are both out of nature, when she is followed with reason and good sense. It is from this reflection that I always read Mr. Cowley with the greatest pleasure. His magnanimity is as much above that of other considerable men as his understanding; and it is a true distinguishing spirit in the elegant author who published his works, to dwell so much upon the temper of his mind and the mcderation of his desires. By this means he rendered his friend as amiable as famous. That state of life which bears the face of poverty with Mr. Cowley's great vulgar,† is admí
*Viz. the land-tax.
† Hence, ye profane, I hate ye all,
Cowley's Par. of Horace, Od. 3. i
rably described; and it is no small satisfaction to those of the same turn of desire, that he produces the authority of the wisest men of the best age of the world, to strengthen his opinion of the ordinary pursuits of man
It would methinks be no ill maxim of life, if, according to that ancestor of Sir Roger, whom I lately mentioned, every man would point to himself what sum he would resolve not to exceed. He might by this means cheat himself into a tranquillity on this side of that expectation, or convert what he should get above it to nobler uses than his own pleasures or necessities. This temper of mind would exempt a man from an ignorant envy of restless men above him, and a more inexcusable contempt of happy men below him. This would be sailing by some compass, living with some design; but to be eternally bewildered in prospects of future gain, and putting on unnecessary armour against improbable blows of fortune, is a mechanic being which has not good sense for its direction, but is carried on by a sort of acquired instinct towards things below our consideration, and unworthy our esteem. It is possible that the tranquillity I now enjoy at Sir Roger's may have created in me this way of thinking, which is so abstracted from the common relish of the world: but as I am now in a pleasant arbour, surrounded with a beautiful landscape, I find no inclination so strong as to continue in these mansions, so remote from the ostentatious scenes of life; and am at this present writing, philosopher enough to conclude with Mr. Cowley,
*If e'er ambition did my fancy cheat,
Na 115.] Thursday, July 12, 1711.
Jur. Sat. x. 356.
Pray for a sound mind in a sound body. BODILY labour is of two kinds, either that which a man submits to for his livelihood, or that which he undergoes for his pleasure.-The latter of them generally changes the name of labour for that of exercise, but differs only from ordinary labour as it rises from another motive.
A country life abounds in both these kinds of labour, and for that reason gives a man a greater stock of health, and consequently a more perfect enjoyment of himself, than any other way of life. I consider the body as a system of tubes and glands, or, to use a more rustic phrase, a bundle of pipes and strainers, fitted to one another after so wonderful a manner as to make a proper engine for the soul to work with. This description does not only comprehend!
the bowels, bones, tendons, veins, nerves, and arteries, but every muscle and every ligature, which is a composition of fibres, that are so many imperceptible tubes or pipes interwoven on all sides with invisible glands or strainers.
This general idea of a human body, without considering it in its niceties of anatomy, lets us see how absolutely necessary labour is for the right preservation of it. There must be frequent motions and agitations, to mix, digest, and separate the juices contained in it, as well as to clear and cleanse that infinitude of pipes and strainers, of which it is composed, and to give their solid parts a more firm and lasting tone. Labour or exercise ferments the humours, casts them into their proper channels, throws off redundancies, and helps nature in those secret distributions, without which the body cannot subsist in its vigour, nor the soul act with cheerfulness.
I might here mention the effects which this has upon all the faculties of the mind, by keeping the understanding clear, the imagination untroubled, and refining those spirits that are necessary for the proper exertion of our intellectual faculties, during the present laws of union between soul and body. It is to a neglect in this particular that we must ascribe the spleen which is so frequent in men of studious and sedentary tempers, as well as the vapours to which those of the other sex are so often subject.
Had not exercise been absolutely necessary for our well-being, nature would not have made the body so proper for it, by giving such an activity to the limbs, and such a pliancy to every part, as necessarily produce those compressions, extensions, contortions, dilatations, and all other kinds of motions that are necessary for the preservation of such a system of tubes and glands as has been before mentioned. And that we might not want inducements to engage us in such an exercise of the body as is proper for its welfare, it is so ordered that nothing valuable can be produced without it. Not to mention riches and honour, even food and raiment are not to be come at without the toil of the hands and sweat of the brows. Providence furnishes materials, but expects that we should work them up ourselves. The earth must be laboured before it gives its increase, and when it is forced into its several products, how many hands must they pass through before they are fit for use! Manufactures, trade, and agriculture, naturally employ more than nineteen parts of the species in twenty; and as for those who are not obliged to labour, by the condition in which they are born, they are more miserable than the rest of mankind, unless they indulge themselves in that voluntary labour which goes by the name of exercise.
My friend Sir Roger has been an inde