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clude in this calculation the life of those men who hours together in shuffling and dividing a pack of are in a perpetual hurry of affairs, but of those cards, with no other conversation but what is made only who are not always engaged in scenes of up of a few game phrases, and no other ideas but action; and I hope I shall not do an unacceptable those of black or red spots ranged together in difpiece of service to these persons if I point out to ferent figures. Would not a man laugh to hear any them certain methods for the filling up their empty one of this species complaining that life is short? spaces of life. The methods I shall propose to The stage might be made a perpetual source of them are as follow: the most noble and useful entertainments, were it
The first is the exercise of virtue, in the most under proper regulations. general acceptation of the word. The particular But the mind never unbends itself so eeably scheme which comprehends the social virtues, may as in the conversation of a well-chosen friend. give employment to the most industrious temper, There is indeed no blessing of life that is any way and find a man in business more than the most comparable to the enjoyment of a discreet and active station of life. To advise the ignorant, re- virtuous friend. It eases and unloads the mind, lieve the needy, comfort the afflicted, are duties clears and improves the understanding, engenders that fall in our way almost every day of our lives. thoughts and knowledge, animates virtue and good A man has frequent opportunities of mitigating resolutions, soothes and allays the passions, and the fierceness of a party; of doing justice to the finds employment for most of the vacant hours character of a deserving man; of softening the of life. envious, quieting the angry, and rectifying the prejudiced; which are all of them employments suited to a reasonable nature, and bring great satisfaction to the person who can busy himself in them with discretion.
Next to such an intimacy with a particular person, one would endeavour after a more general conversation with such as are able to entertain and improve those with whom they converse, which are qualifications that seldom go asunder.
There are many other useful amusements of life which one would endeavour to multiply, that one might on all occasions have recourse to something, rather than suffer the mind to lie idle, or run adrift with any passion that chances to rise in it.
A man that has a taste in music, painting, or
There is another kind of virtue that may find employment for those retired hours in which we are altogether left to ourselves, and destitute of company and conversation; I mean that intercourse and communication which every reasonable creature ought to maintain with the great Author of his being. The man who lives under an habi- architecture, is like one that has another sense, tual sense of the divine presence keeps up a per- when compared with such as have no relish of those petual cheerfulness of temper, and enjoys every arts. The florist, the planter, the gardener, the husmoment the satisfaction of thinking himself in com- bandman, when they are only as accomplishments pany with his dearest and best of friends. The to the man of fortune, are great reliefs to a country time never lies heavy upon him: it is impossible life, and many ways useful to those who are posfor him to be alone. His thoughts and passions sessed of them.
are the most busied at such hours when those of But of all the diversions of life, there is none so other men are the most unactive. He no sooner proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of steps out of the world but his heart burns with de- useful and entertaining authors. But this I shall votion, swells with hope, and triumphs in the con-only touch upon, because it in some measure intersciousness of that presence which every where surferes with the third method, which I shall propose rounds him; or on the contrary, pours out its fears, in another paper, for the employment of our dead its sorrows, its apprehensions, to the great Sup- unactive hours, and which I shall only mention in general to be the pursuit of knowledge.
porter of its existence.
I have here only considered the necessity of a man's being virtuous that he may have something to do; but if we consider further, that the exercise of virtue is not only an amusement for the time it lasts, but that its influence extends to those parts of our existence which lie beyond the grave, and that our whole eternity is to take its colour from Bose hours which we here employ in virtue or in ice, the argument redoubles upon us for putting in practice this method of passing away our time.
When a man has but a little stock to improve, and has opportunities of turning it all to good ac- THE last method which I proposed in my Saturday's Count, what shall we think of him if he suffers nine-paper, for filling up those empty spaces of life teen parts of it to lie dead, and perhaps employs which are so tedious and burdensome to idle peoeven the twentieth to his ruin or disadvantage?ple, is the employing ourselves in the pursuit of But because the mind cannot be always in its fer- knowledge. I remember Mr. Boyle, speaking of Tours, nor strained up to a pitch of virtue, it is a certain mineral, tells us, that a man may conecessary to find out proper employment for it in sume his whole life in the study of it, without arits relaxations. riving at the knowledge of all its qualities. The The next method therefore that I would propose truth of it is, there is not a single science, or any fill up our time, should be useful and innocent branch of it, that might not furnish a man with versions. I must confess I think it is below rea-business for life, though it were much longer than able creatures to be altogether conversant in it is.
ch diversions as are merely innocent, and have I shall not here engage on those beaten subjects thing else to recommend them, but that there is of the usefulness of knowledge, nor of the pleasure hurt in them. Whether any kind of gaming and perfection it gives the mind; nor on the meas even thus much to say for itself, I shall not thods of attaining it, nor recommend any particular termine; but I think it is very wonderful to see branch of it; all which have been the topics of ons of the best sense passing away a dozen many other writers: but shall indulge myself in a Q
N° 94. MONDAY, JUNE 18, 1711.
Vivere bis, vita posse priore frui.
MART. Epig. xxiii. 10.
The present joys of life we doubly taste
speculation that is more uncommon, and may therefore perhaps be more entertaining.
There is a very pretty story in the Turkish tales, which relates to this passage of that famous imI have before shown how the unemployed parts postor, and bears some affinity to the subject we of life appear long and tedious, and shall here en- are now upon. A sultan of Egypt, who was an deavour to show how those parts of life which are infidel, used to laugh at this circumstance in Mahoexercised in study, reading, and the pursuits of met's life, as what was altogether impossible and knowledge, are long, but not tedious, and by that absurd: but conversing one day with a great doctor means discover a method of lengthening our lives, in the law, who had the gift of working miracles, and at the same time of turning all the parts of the doctor told him he would quickly convince him them to our advantage. of the truth of this passage in the history of Ma Mr. Locke observes, That we get the idea of homet, if he would consent to do what he would time or duration, by reflecting on that train of desire of him. Upon this the sultan was directed ideas which succeed one another in our minds: to place himself by a huge tub of water, which he that for this reason, when we sleep soundly with- did accordingly; and as he stood by the tub amidst out dreaming, we have no perception of time, or a circle of his great men, the holy man bid him the length of it whilst we sleep; and that the mo- plunge his head into the water, and draw it up ment wherein we leave off to think, till the moment again. The king accordingly thrust his head into we begin to think again, seem to have no distance.' the water, and at the same time found himself at To which the author adds, and so I doubt not but the foot of a mountain on a sea-shore. The king it would be to a waking man, if it were possible immediately began to rage against his doctor for for him to keep only one idea in his mind, without this piece of treachery and witchcraft; but at variation, and the succession of others; and we see, length, knowing it was in vain to be angry, he set that one who fixes his thoughts very intently on himself to think on proper methods for getting a one thing, so as to take but little notice of the livelihood in this strange country. Accordingly he succession of ideas that pass in his mind whilst he applied himself to some people whom he saw at is taken up with that earnest contemplation, lets work in a neighbouring wood: these people conslip out of his account a good part of that duration, ducted him to a town that stood at a little distance and thinks that time shorter than it is."* from the wood, where, after some adventures, he
There is a famous passage in the Alcoran, which looks as if Mahomet had been possessed of the notion we are now speaking of. It is there said, that the angel Gabriel took Mahomet out of his bed one morning to give him a sight of all things in the seven heavens, in paradise, and in hell, which the prophet took a distinct view of; and after having
2:1 C aildo
We might carry this thought further, and con-married a woman of great beauty and fortune. He sider a man as, on one side, shortening his time by lived with this woman so long, that he had by her thinking on nothing, or but a few things; so on the seven sons and seven daughters. He was after other, as lengthening it, by employing his thoughts wards reduced to great want, and forced to think on many subjects, or by entertaining a quick and of plying in the streets as a porter for his liveli constant succession of ideas. Accordingly Monsieur hood. One day as he was walking alone by the Mallebranche, in his Inquiry after Truth (which sea-side, being seized with many melancholy rewas published several years before Mr. Locke's flections upon his former and his present state of Essay on Human Understanding), tells us, that it life, which had raised a fit of devotion in him, he is possible some creatures may think half an hour threw off his clothes with a design to wash himself, as long as we do a thousand years; or look upon according to the custom of the Mahometans, before that space of duration which we call a minute, as he said his prayers. an hour, a week, a month, or a whole age.'
After his first plunge into the sea, he no sooner raised his head above the water, but he found himself standing by the side of the tub, with the great
This notion of Monsieur Mallebranche is capable of some little explanation from what I have quoted out of Mr. Locke; for if our notion of time is pro- men of his court about him, and the holy man at duced by our reflecting on the succession of ideas his side. He immediately upbraided his teacher in our mind, and this succession may be infinitely for having sent him on such a course of adventures, accelerated or retarded, it will follow, that dif- and betrayed him into so long a state of misery ferent beings may have different notions of the and servitude; but was wonderfully surprised when same parts of duration, according as their ideas, he heard that the state he talked of was only a which we suppose are equally distinct in each of dream and delusion; that he had not stirred from them, follow one another in a greater or less degree the place where he then stood; and that he had of rapidity. only dipped his head into the water, and immediately taken it out again.
The Mahometan doctor took this occasion of in-
held ninety thousand conferences with God, was I shall leave my reader to compare these eastern
The hours of a wise man are lengthened by his
• Essay on Human Understanding, b. ii. ch. xiv. sect. 4.
(London, 8vo. 1712) we find a passage something similar, but ra- one is always wishing it away and the other always
e tub am
han bid is
draw it c
is head i himse The k s doctor
gry, be or getting
How different is the view of past life, in the in the tender bodies of children, when crossed in man who is grown old in knowledge and wisdom, their little wills and expectations, how dissolvable from that of him who is grown old in ignorance they are into tears. If this were what grief is in and folly! The latter is like the owner of a barren men, nature would not be able to support them in country, that fills his eye with the prospect of the excess of it for one moment. Add to this obnaked hills and plains, which produce nothing servation, how quick is their transition from this either profitable or ornamental; the other beholds passion to that of their joy! I will not say we see a beautiful and spacious landscape divided into de-often, in the next tender things to children, tears lightful gardens, green meadows, fruitful fields, shed without much grieving. Thus it is common and can scarce cast his eye on a single spot of his to shed tears without much sorrow, and as common possessions, that is not covered with some beauti- to suffer much sorrow without shedding tears. ful plant or flower. Grief and weeping are indeed frequent companions: but, I believe, never in their highest excesses. As laughter does not proceed from profound joy, so neither does weeping from profound sorrow. The sorrow which appears so easily at the eyes, cannot have pierced deeply into the heart. The heart distended with grief, stops all the passages for tears or lamentations.
N° 95. TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 1711.
Cura leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent.
"Now, sir, what I would incline you to in all this is, that you would inform the shallow critics and observers upon sorrow, that true affliction labours to be invisible, that it is a stranger to cere
HAVING read the two following letters with much pleasure, I cannot but think the good sense of them will be as agreeable to the town as any thing mony, and that it bears in its own nature a dignity I could say either on the topics they treat of, or much above the little circumstances which are afany other; they both allude to former papers of fected under the notion of decency. You must mine; and I do not question but the first, which is know, sir, I have lately lost a dear friend, for upon mourning, will be thought the production of whom I have not yet shed a tear; and for that a man who is well acquainted with the generous reason your animadversions on that subject would War yearnings of distress in a manly temper, which is be the more acceptable to,
d to th bis Fre Te br g
above the relief of tears. A speculation of my own
'Your most humble servant,
As I hope there are but few who have so little for this correspondent, that I will not alter a tittle gratitude as not to acknowledge the usefulness of of what she writes, though I am thus scrupulous at the price of being ridiculous.
your pen, and to esteem it a public benefit; so I am sensible, be that as it will, you must nevertheless find the secret and incomparable pleasure of doing good, and be a great sharer in the entertainment you give. I acknowledge our sex to be much obliged, and I hope improved by your la
I was very well pleased with your discourse upon general mourning, and should be obliged to you you will enter into the matter more deeply, and bours, and even your intentions more particularly give us your thoughts upon the common sense the for our service. If it be true, as it is sometimes ordinary people have of the demonstrations of said, that our sex have an influence on the other, grief, who prescribe rules and fashions to the most your paper may be a yet more general good. Your solemn affliction; such as the loss of the nearest directing us to reading, is certainly the best means relations and dearest friends. You cannot go to to our instruction; but I think with you, caution visit a sick friend, but some impertinent waiter in that particular very useful, since the improveabout him observes the muscles of your face as ment of our understandings may, or may not, be strictly, as if they were prognostics of his death or of service to us, according as it is managed. It recovery. If he happens to be taken from you, has been thought we are not generally so ignorant you are immediately surrounded with numbers of as ill-taught, or that our sex does not so often want these spectators, who expect a melancholy shrug wit, judgment, or knowledge, as the right applicaof your shoulders, a pathetical shake of your head, tion of them. You are so well-bred, as to say your and an expressive distortion of your face, to mea- fair readers are already deeper scholars than the sure your affection and value for the deceased. beaux, and that you could name some of them that But there is nothing, on these occasions, so much talk much better than several gentleman that make in their favour as immoderate weeping. As all their a figure at Will's. This may possibly be, and no passions are superficial, they imagine the seat of great compliment, in my opinion, even supposing love and friendship to be placed visibly in the eyes. your comparison to reach Tom's and the Grecian. They judge what stock of kindness you had for the Sure you are too wise to think that the real comliving, by the quantity of tears you pour out for mendation of a woman. Were it not rather to be the dead; so that if one body wants that quantity wished we improved in our own sphere, and apof salt water another abounds with, he is in great proved ourselves better daughters, wives, mothers, danger of being thought insensible or ill-natured. and friends?
They are strangers to friendship, whose grief hap 'I cannot but agree with the judicious trader in pens not to be moist enough to wet such a parcel Cheapsidef (though I am not at all prejudiced in of handkerchiefs. But experience has told us, no- his favour) in recommending the study of arithmething is so fallacious as this outward sign of sorrow; tic; and must dissent even from the authority which and the natural history of our bodies will teach us you mention, when it advises the making our sex that this flux of the eyes, this faculty of weeping, is scholars. Indeed a little more philosophy, in order peculiar only to some constitutions. We observe
See No. 92.
to the subduing our passions to our reason, might the will of Providence that master Harry was
The third day after I left Sir Stephen's family, I was strolling up and down the walks in the Tem ple. A young gentleman of the house, who (as I
'I HAVE frequently read your discourse upon ser-heard him say afterwards), seeing me half-starved
Know then, that my father was a poor tenant
This was a place of entertainment near Buckingham. named one of his plays after it, the incidents of which chiefly House; somewhat like our Vauxhall. Sir Charles Sedley has
• See No. 88.
C Your most humble servant,
N° 96. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 1711.
Amicum Mancipium dominum, et frugi
HOR. Sat. vii. 1. 2. v. 3.
Situated in the Strand, between Durham Yard and York. Buildings. It was the fashionable part of the town at that time for milliners' shops. In 1737, it was taken down, and dwelling-houses erected on the spot. There still, however, re mains a coffee house bearing the name.
she had a mind to be attacked, she would send me point is touched in a speech, or a huzza set up away on an errand. When an humble servant and where it is the voice of the people; you may conshe were beginning a parley, I came immediately, clude it is begun or joined by, and told her Sir John was come home: then she would order another coach to prevent being dogged. The lover makes signs to me as I get behind the coach, I shake my head it was impossible: I leave my lady at the next turning, and follow the cully to know how to fall in his way on another occasion. Besides good offices of this nature, 1 writ all my mistress's love-letters; some from a lady that saw such a gentleman at such a place in sach a coloured coat, some showing the terror she was in of a jealous old husband, others explaining that the severity of her parents was such (though
VRG. Ăn. vì, 430, They prodigally threw their souls away.
ber fortune was settled) that she was willing to run AMONG the loose papers which I have frequently away with such a one, though she knew he was but spoken of heretofore,* I find a conversation bea younger brother. In a word, my half education, tween Pharamond and Eucrate upon the subject of duels, and the copy of an edict issued in consequence of that discourse
and love of idle books, made me out-write all that made love to her by way of epistle; and, as she was extremely cunning, she did well enough in company by a skilful affectation of the greatest odesty. In the midst of all this I was surprised with a letter from her, and a ten-pound note.
Eucrate argued, that nothing but the most severe and vindictive punishment, such as placing the bodies of the offenders in chains, and putting them to death by the most exquisite torments, would be sufficient to extirpate a crime which had so long prevailed, and was so firmly fixed in the opinion of the world as great and laudable. The king answered, that indeed instances of ignominy were necessary in the cure of this evil; but, considering that it prevailed only among such as had a nicety in their sense of honour, and that it often happened that a duel was fought to save appearances in the world, when both parties were in their hearts in amity and reconciliation to each other, it was evident that turning the mode another way would
When this place was lost also in marriage, I was resolved to go among quite another people, for e future, and got in butler to one of those famies, where there is a coach kept, three or four vants, a clean house, and a good general out- effectually put a stop to what had being only as a de, upon a small estate. Here I lived very com- mode; that to such persons, poverty and shame rtably for some time, until I unfortunately found were torments sufficient; that he would not go furmaster, the very gravest man alive, in the gar-ther in punishing in others, crimes which he was twith the chambermaid. I knew the world too satisfied he himself was most guilty of, in that he to think of staying there; and the next day might have prevented them by speaking his distended to have received a letter out of the pleasure sooner.' Besides which, the king said, try that my father was dying, and got my dis-he was in general averse to tortures, which was rge with a bounty for my discretion. putting human nature itself, rather than the criThe next I lived with was a peevish single man, minal, to disgrace; and that he would be sure not om I stayed with for a year and a half. Most to use this means where the crime was but an ill t of the time I passed very easily; for when I effect arising from a laudable cause, the fear of can to know him, I minded, no more than he shame.' The king, at the same time, spoke with t, what he said; so that one day in a good much grace upon the subject of mercy; and reour he said, "I was the best man he ever had, pented of many acts of that kind which had a Ty want of respect to him." magnificent aspect in the doing, but dreadful conThese, sir, are the chief occurrences of my life, sequences in the example. Mercy to particulars,' I will not dwell upon very many other places he observed, was cruelty in the general: that ve been in, where I have been the strangest though a prince could not revive a dead man by w in the world, where nobody in the world taking the life of him who killed him, neither could such servants as they, where sure they were the he make reparation to the next that should die by ckiest people in the world in servants, and so the evil example; or answer to himself for the par. All I mean by this representation is, to tiality in not pardoning the next as well as the you that we poor servants are not (what you former offender.' As for me,' says Pharamond, us too generally) all rogues; but that we I have conquered France, and yet have given what we are, according to the example of our laws to my people. The laws are my methods of riors. In the family I am now in, I am guilty life; they are not a diminution but a direction to one sin but lying; which I do with a grave my power. I am still absolute to distinguish the in my gown and staff every day I live, and innocent and the virtuous, to give honours to the tall day long, in denying my lord to imper- brave and generous; I am absolute in my goodsuitors, and my lady to unwelcome visitants. will; none can oppose my bounty, or prescribe ir, I am to let you know that I am, when I rules for my favour. While I can, as I please, et abroad, a leader of the servants: I am he reward the good, I am under no pain that I cannot eeps time with beating my cudgel against the pardon the wicked; for which reason,' continued 8 in the gallery at an opera; I am he that Pharamond, I will effectually put a stop to this uched so properly at a tragedy, when the evil, by exposing no more the tenderness of my e of quality are staring at one another during nature to the importunity of having the same ost important incidents. When you hear in
d a cry in the right place, a hum where the
You will never see me more. I am married to very cunning country gentleman, who might posbly guess something if I kept you still; therefore
"Your more than humble servant,
THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 1711.
* See No. 76 and No, 84.