Изображения страниц

Then it is thou art enabled to exhibit to mankind the admired tribes of poets and orators; the sacred train of patriots and heroes; the godlike list of philosophers and legislators; the forms of virtuous and equal politics; where private welfare is made the same with publicwhere crowds themselves prove disinterested, and virtue is made a national and popular characteristic.

Hail, sacred source of all these wonders! Thyself, instruct me to praise thee worthily; through whom, whatever we do, is done with elegance and beauty; without whom, what we do is ever graceless and deformed.— Venerable power! By what name shall I address thee? Shall I call thee ornament of the mind, or art thou more truly Mind itself? It is Mind thou art, most perfect Mind: Not rude, untaught; but fair and polished. In such thou dwellest ;-of such thou art the form; nor is it a thing more possible to separate thee from such, than it would be to separate thee from thy own existence.


FLATTERY is a manner of conversation ful in itself, but beneficial to the flatterer.

very shame

If a flatterer is upon a public walk with you, "Do but mind," says he, "how every one's eye is upon you. Sure, there is not a man in Athens that is taken so much notice of. You had justice done you yesterday, in the portico. There were above thirty of us together; and, the question being started, who was the most considerable person in the commonwealth-the whole company was of the same side. In short, Sir, every one made familiar with your name." He follows this whisper with a thousand other flatteries of the same nature.

Whenever the person to whom he would make his court, begins to speak, the sycophant begs the company to be silent, most impudently praises him to his face, is in raptures all the while he talks, and as soon as he has done, cries out, "That is perfectly right!" When his patron aims at being witty upon any man, he is ready to burst at the smartness of his raillery, and stops his mouth with his handkerchief, that he may not laugh out. If he calls his children about him, the flatterer has a pocket

full of apples for them, which he distributes among them with a great deal of fondness; wonders to see so many fine boys; and turning about to the father, tells him they are all as like him as they can stare.

When he is invited to a feast, he is the first man that calls for a glass of wine, and is wonderfully pleased with the deliciousness of the flavor; gets as near as possible to the man of the house, and tells him, with much concern, that he eats nothing himself. He singles out some particular dish and recommends it to the rest of the com pany for a rarity. He desires the master of the feast to sit in a warmer part of the room, begs him to take more care of his health, and advises him to put on a super numerary garment in this cold weather. He is in a close whisper with him during the whole entertainment, and has neither eyes nor ears for any one else in the coinpany.

If a man shows him his house, he extols the architect, admires the gardens, and expatiates upon the furniture. If the owner is grossly flattered in a picture, he outflatters the painter; and though he discovers a great likeness in it, can by no means allow that it does justice to the original. In short, his whole business is to ingra tiate himself with those who hear him, and to wheedle them out of their senses.

IX.-The Absent Man.-SPECTATOR.


MENACLES comes down in the morning; opens door to go put; but shuts it again, because he perceives he has his nightcap on; and examining himself further, finds that he is but half shaved, that he has stuck his sword on his right side, that his stockings are about his heels, and that his shirt is over his breeches.

When he is dressed, he goes to court; comes into the drawing room; and, walking upright under a branch of candlesticks, his wig is caught up by one of them, and hangs dangling in the air. All the courtiers fall a laughing; but Menacles laughs louder than any of them, and looks about for the person that is the jest of the com pany. Coming down to the court gate, he finds a coach; which taking for his own, he whips into it ;

and the coachman drives off, not doubting but he carries his master. As soon as he stops, Menacles throws himself out of the coach, crosses the court, ascends the staircase, and runs through all the chambers with the greatest familiarity, reposes himself on a couch, and fancies himself at home. The master of the house at last comes in. Menacles rises to receive him, and desires him to sit down. He talks, muses, and then talks again. The gentleman of the house is tired and amazed. Menacles is no less so; but is every moment in hopes that his impertinent guest will at last end his tedious visit. Night comes on, when Menacles is hardly convinced.

When he is playing at backgammon, he calls for a full glass of wine and water. It is his turn to throw. He has the box in one hand, and his glass in the other; and, being extremely dry, and unwilling to lose time, he swallows down both the dice, and at the same time throws his wine into the tables. He writes a letter, and flings the sand into the inkbottle. He writes a second, and mistakes the superscription. A nobleman receives one of them, and upon opening it reads as follows:-" I would have you, honest Jack, immediately upon the receipt of this, take in hay enough to serve the winter." His farmer receives the other, and is amazed to see in it, "My Lord, I receive your Grace's commands."

If he is at an entertainment, you may see the pieces of bread continually multiplying round his plate; 'tis true, the company want it, as well as their knives and forks, which Menacles does not let them keep long. Sometimes, in a morning, he puts his whole family in a hurry, and at last goes out without being able to stay for his coach or breakfast; and for that day you may see him in every part of the town, except the very place where he had appointed to be upon business of impor


You would often take him for every thing that he is not-For a fellow quite stupid, for he hears nothing; for a fool, for he talks to himself, and has a hundred grimaces and motions with his head, which are altogether involuntary; for a proud man, for he looks full upon you, and takes notice of your saluting him. The


truth of it is, his eyes are open, but he makes no use of them, and neither sees you, nor any man, nor any thing else. He came once from his country house, and his own footmen undertook to rob him and succeeded. They held a flambeau to his throat, and bid him deliver his purse. He did so ; and coming home, told his friends he had been robbed. They desired to know the particulars." Ask my servants," said Menacles; "for they were with me."

X.-The Monk.-STERNE.

A POOR Monk of the order of St. Francis, came into the room, to beg something for his convent. The moment I cast my eyes upon him, I was determined not to give him a single sous; and accordingly I put my purse into my pocket-buttoned it up-set myself a little more upon my centre, and advanced up gravely to him; there was something, I fear, forbidding in my look: I have his picture this moment before my eyes, and think there was that in it, which deserved better.

The Monk, as I judged from the break of his tonsure, a few scattered white hairs upon his temples being all that remained of it, might be about seventy-but from his eyes, and that sort of fire which was in them, which seemed more tempered by courtesy than years, could be no more than sixty.-Truth might lie between. He was certainly sixty five; and the general air of his countenance, notwithstanding something seemed to have been planting wrinkles in it before their time, agreed to the


It was one of those heads which Guido has often painted-mild, pale, penetrating; free from all common place ideas of fat contented ignorance, looking downwards upon the earth. It looked forward; but looked as if it looked at something beyond this world. How one of his order came by it heaven above, who let it fall upon a Monk's shoulders, best knows; but it would have suited a Bramin; and had I met it upon the plains of Indostan, I had reverenced it.

The rest of his outline may be given in a few strokes ; one might put it into the hands of any one to design;

for it was neither elegant nor otherwise, but as character and expression made it so. It was a thin, spare form, something above the common size, if it lost not thé distinction by a bend forward in the figure-but it was the attitude of entreaty; and as it now stands present to my imagination, it gained more than it lost by it.

When he had entered the room three paces, he stood still; and laying his left hand upon his breast (a slender white staff with which he journeyed being in his right) when I had got close up to him, he introduced himself with the little story of the wants of his convent, and the poverty of his order-and did it with so simple a grace, and such an air of deprecation was there in the whole cast of his look and figure-I was bewitched not to have been struck with it.

-A better reason was, I had predetermined not to give him a single sous.

'Tis very true said I, replying to a cast upwards with his eyes, with which he had concluded his address-it is very true---and heaven be their resources, who have noother but the charity of the world; tke stock of which, I fear is no way sufficient for the many great claims which are hourly made upon it.

As I pronounced the words great claims, he gave a slight glance with his eye downwards upon the sleeve of his tunic--I felt the full force of the appeal---I acknowledge it, said I---a coarse habit, and that but once in three years, with a meagre diet-are no great matters; but the true point of pity is, as they can be earned in the world with so little industry, that your order should wish to procure them by pressing upon a fund, which is the property of the lame, the blind, the aged and the infirm the captive, who lies down counting over and over again, in the days of his affliction, languishes also for his share of it; and had you been of the order of mercy, instead of the order of St. Francis, poor as I am, continued I, pointing at my portmanteau, full cheerfully should it have been opened to you, for the ransom of the unfortunate. The Monk made me a bow. But, resumed I, the unfortun of our own country, surely

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »