« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
With heads declin'd, ye cedars, homage pay;
communicates what he knows to any one besides.' There is certainly no more sensible pleasure to a good-natured man, than if he can by any means gratify or inform the mind of another. I might add that this virtue naturally carries its own reward along with it, since it is almost impossible it should be exercised without the imxxv. 8. provement of the person who practises it. The reading of books and the daily occurrences of life, are continually furnishing us with matter for thought and reflection. It is extremely natural for us to desire to see such our thoughts put in the dress of words, without which, indeed, we can scarce have a clear and distinct idea of ix. 6. them ourselves. When they are thus clothed in expressions, nothing so truly shows us whether they are just or false, as those effects which they produce in the minds of others.
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear,
lxv. 21, 22.
I am apt to flatter myself, that, in the course of these my speculations, I have treated of several subjects, and laid down many XXXV. 1. 7. such rules for the conduct of a man's life, which my readers were either wholly ignorant of before, or which at least those few who were acquainted with them looked upon as so many secrets they have found out for the conduct of themselves, but were resolved never to have made public.
I am the more confirmed in this opinion
The lambs with wolves shall grace the verdant mead, xl. from my having received several letters,
[6, 7, 8.
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead;
For thee Idume's spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow.
See heaven its sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee with a flood of day!
wherein I am censured for having prostituted learning to the embraces of the vulgar, and made her, as one of my correspondents phrases it, a common strumpet. I am charged by another with laying open the arcana or secrets of prudence to the eyes of every reader.
The narrow spirit which appears in the letters of these my correspondents, is the less surprising, as it has shown itself in all ages; there is still extant an epistle written by Alexander the Great, to his tutor ArisIx.totle, upon that philosopher's publishing some part of his writings; in which the prince complains of his having made known to all the world those secrets in learning which he had before communicated to him in private lectures; concluding that he had rather excel the rest of mankind in knowledge than in power.
No more the rising sun shall gild the morn, lx. 19, 20.
No. 379.] Thursday, May 15, 1712.
Pers. Sat. i. 27.
-Science is not science till reveal'd.-Dryden.
Louisa de Padilla, a lady of great learning, and countess of Aranda, was in like manner angry with the famous Gratian, upon his publishing his treatise of the Discreto, wherein she fancied that he had laid open those maxims to common readers, which ought only to have been reserved for the knowledge of the great.
These objections are thought by many of so much weight, that they often defend the above-mentioned authors by affirming I HAVE often wondered at that ill-natured they have affected such an obscurity in position which has been sometimes main-their style and manner of writing, that, tained in the schools, and is comprised though every one may read their works, in an old Latin verse, namely, that A there will be but very few who can comman's knowledge is worth nothing if he prehend their meaning.
Persius, the Latin satirist, affected obscurity for another reason; with which, however, Mr. Cowley is so offended, that, writing to one of his friends, You,' says he, 'tell me that you do not know whether Persius be a good poet or no, because you cannot understand him; for which very reason I affirm that he is not so.'
country people soon came with lights to the sepulchre, and discovered that the statue, which was made of brass, was nothing more than a piece of clock-work; that the floor of the vault was all loose, and underlaid with several springs, which upon any man's entering, naturally produced that which had happened.'
However, this art of writing unintelligibly has been very much improved, and followed by several of the moderns, who, observing the general inclination of mankind to dive into a secret, and the reputation many have acquired by concealing their meaning under obscure terms and phrases, resolve, that they may be still more abstruse, to write without any mean- No. 380.] Friday, May 16, 1712. ing at all. This art, as it is at present practised by many eminent authors, consists in throwing so many words at a venture into different periods, and leaving the curious reader to find the meaning of them.
Rosicrusius, say his disciples, made use of this method to show the world that he had reinvented the ever-burning lamps of the ancients, though he was resolved no one should reap any advantage from the discovery. X.
The Egyptians, who made use of hieroglyphics to signify several things, expressed a man who confined his knowledge and discoveries altogether within himself by the figure of a dark lantern closed on all sides; which, though it was illuminated within, afforded no manner of light or advantage to such as stood by it. For my own part, as I shall from time to time communicate to the public whatever discoveries I happen to make, I should much rather be compared to an ordinary lamp, which consumes and wastes itself for the benefit of every passenger.
Rivalem patienter habe.
Ovid. Ars Am. ii. 538.
With patience bear a rival in thy love.
'Thursday, May 8, 1712. 'SIR,-The character you have in the world of being the ladies' philosopher, and the pretty advice I have seen you give to others in your papers, make me address myself to you in this abrupt manner, and to desire your opinion of what in this age a woman may call a lover. I have lately had a gentleman that I thought made pretensions to me, insomuch that most of my friends took notice of it, and thought we were really married. I did not take much pains to undeceive them, and especially a young gentlewoman of my particular acI shall conclude this paper with the story quaintance, who was then in the country. of Rosicrusius's sepulchre. I suppose I She coming to town, and seeing our intineed not inform my readers that this man macy so great, she gave herself the liberty was the author of the Rosicrusian sect, and of taking me to task concerning it. I ingethat his disciples still pretend to new dis-nuously told her we were not married, but coveries, which they are never to commu-I did not know what might be the event. nicate to the rest of mankind.*
A certain person having occasion to dig somewhat deep in the ground, where this philosopher lay interred, met with a small door, having a wall on each side of it. His curiosity, and the hopes of finding some hidden treasure, soon prompted him to force open the door. He was immediately surprised by a sudden blaze of light, and discovered a very fair vault. At the upper end of it was a statue of a man in armour, sitting by a table, and leaning on his left arm. He held a truncheon in his right hand, and had a lamp burning before him. The man had no sooner set one foot within the vault, than the statue erected itself from its leaning posture, stood bolt upright, and, upon the fellow's advancing another step, lifted up the truncheon in his right hand. The man still ventured a third step, when the statue, with a furious blow, broke the lamp into a thousand pieces, and left his guest in a sudden darkness.
Upon the report of this adventure, the
* See Comte de Gabalis, par l'Abbe Villars. Warburton's Pope. vol. i. p. 109, 12mo.
She soon got acquainted with the gentleman, and was pleased to take upon her to examine him about it. Now, whether a new face had made a greater conquest than the old I will leave you to judge. I am informed that he utterly denied all pretensions to courtship, but withal professed a sincere friendship for me; but, whether marriages are proposed by way of friendship or not, is what I desire to know, and what I may really call a lover? There are so many who talk in a language fit only for that character, and yet guard themselves against speaking in direct terms to the point, that it is impossible to distinguish between courtship and conversation. I hope you will do me justice both upon my lover and my friend, if they provoke me further. In the mean time I carry it with so equal a behaviour, that the nymph and the swain too are mightily at a loss: each believes I, who know them both well, think myself revenged in their love to one another, which creates an irreconcilable jealousy. If all comes right again, you shall hear further from, sir, your most obedient servant, 'MYRTILLA.'
April 28, 1712.
him a courtesy, and went my way. followed me, and, finding I was going about my business, he came up with me, and told me plainly that he gave me the guinea with no other intent but to purchase my person for an hour. "Did you so, sir?" says I; "you gave it me then to make me wicked; I will keep it to make me honest; however,
you I will lay it out in a couple of rings, and wear them for your sake." I am so just sir, besides, as to give every body that asks how I came by my rings, this account of my benefactor; but to save me the trouble of telling my tale over and over again, I humbly beg the favour of you to tell it once for all, and you will extremely oblige your humble servant,
'MR.SPECTATOR, Your observations on persons that have behaved themselves irreverently at church, I doubt not have had a good effect on some that have read them; but there is another fault which has hitherto escaped your notice; I mean of such persons as are there very zealous and punctual to perform an ejaculation that is only pre-not to be in the least ungrateful, I promise paratory to the service of the church, and yet neglect to join in the service itself. There is an instance of this in a friend of Will Honeycomb's, who sits opposite to me. He seldom comes in till the prayers are about half over: and when he has entered his seat, (instead of joining with the congregation,) he devoutly holds his hat before his face for three or four moments, then bows to all his acquaintance, sits down, takes a pinch of snuff, (if it be the evening service, perhaps takes a nap,) and spends the remaining time in surveying the congregation. Now, sir, what I would desire is, that you would animadvert a little on this gentleman's practice. In my opinion, this gentleman's devotion, cap in hand, is only a compliance to the custom of the place, and goes no farther than a little ecclesiastical good-breeding. If you will not pretend to tell us the motives that bring such trifles to solemn assemblies, yet let me desire that you will give this letter a place in your paper, and I shall remain, sir, your obliged humble servant, J. S.
'St. Bride's, May 15, 1712. 'SIR, 'Tis a great deal of pleasure to me, and I dare say will be no less satisfactory to you, that I have an opportunity of informing you, that the gentlemen and others of the parish of St. Bride's, have raised a charity-school of fifty girls, as before of fifty boys. You were so kind to recommend the boys to the charitable world; and the other sex hope you will do them the same favour in Friday's Spectator for Sunday next, when they are to appear with their humble airs at the parish church of Saint Bride's. Sir, the mention of this may possibly be serviceable to the children; and with no expense. I am, sir, your very sure no one will omit a good action attended humble servant,
Aquam memento rebus in arduis
Hor. Od. 3. 1. 2. v. 1.
May the 5th. 'MR. SPECTATOR,-The conversation at a club of which I am a member, last night, falling upon vanity and the desire of being admired, put me in mind of relating how agreeably I was entertained at my own door last Thursday, by a clean fresh-No. 381.] Saturday, May 17, 1712. coloured girl, under the most elegant and the best furnished milk-pail I had ever observed. I was glad of such an opportunity of seeing the behaviour of a coquette in low life, and how she received the extraordinary notice that was taken of her; which I found had affected every muscle of her face, in the same manner as it does the features of a first-rate toast at a play or in an assembly. This hint of mine made the discourse turn upon the sense of pleasure; which ended in a general resolution, that the milk-maid enjoys her vanity as exquisitely as the woman of quality. I think it would not be an improper subject for you to examine this frailty, and trace it to all conditions of life; which is recommended to you as an occasion of obliging many of your readers, among the rest, your most humble servant,
Be calm, my Delius, and serene,
The settled quiet of thy mind destroy.
mirth. The latter I consider as an act, the I HAVE always preferred cheerfulness to former as a habit of the mind. Mirth is short and transient, cheerfulness fixed and permanent. Those are often raised into the greatest transports of mirth, who are subject to the greatest depressions of melancholy. On the contrary, cheerfulness though it does not give the mind such an exquisite gladness, prevents us from falling 'SIR,Coming last week into a coffee-into any depths of sorrow. Mirth is like a house, not far from the Exchange, with my basket under my arm, a Jew, of considerable note, as I am informed, takes half a dozen oranges of me, and at the same time slides a guinea into my hand; I made
'May 12, 1712.
flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of day-light in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.
Men of austere principles look upon the natural effect of virtue and innocence. mirth as too wanton and dissolute for a Cheerfulness in an ill man deserves a harder state of probation, and as filled with a cer- name than language can furnish us with, tain triumph and insolence of heart that is and is many degrees beyond what we cominconsistent with a life which is every mo-monly call folly or madness. ment obnoxious to the greatest dangers. Writers of this complexion have observed, that the Sacred Person who was the great pattern of perfection, was never seen to faugh.
Cheerfulness of mind is not liable to any of these exceptions; it is of a serious and composed nature; it does not throw the mind into a condition improper for the present state of humanity, and is very conspicuous in the characters of those who are looked upon as the greatest philosophers among the heathens, as well as among those who have been deservedly esteemed as saints and holy men among Christians.
If we consider cheerfulness in three lights, with regard to ourselves, to those we converse with, and to the great Author of our being, it will not a little recommend itself on each of these accounts. The man who is possessed of this excellent frame of mind, is not only easy in his thoughts, but a perfect master of all the powers and faculties of his soul. His imagination is always clear, and his judgment undisturbed; his temper is even and unruffled, whether in action or in solitude. He comes with relish to all those goods which nature has provided for him, tastes all the pleasures of the creation, which are poured about him, and does not feel the full weight of those accidental evils which may befall him.
Atheism, by which I mean a disbelief of a Supreme Being, and consequently of a future state, under whatsoever titles it shelters itself, may likewise very reasonably deprive a man of this cheerfulness of temper. There is something so particularly gloomy and offensive to human nature in the prospect of non-existence, that I cannot but wonder, with many excellent writers, how it is possible for a man to outlive the expectation of it. For my own part, I think the being of a God. is so little to be doubted, that it is almost the only truth we are sure of; and such a truth as we neet with in every object, in every occurrence, and in every thought. If we look into the characters of this tribe of infidels, we generally find they are made up of pride, spleen, and cavil. It is indeed no wonder, that men who are uneasy to themselves should be so to the rest of the world; and how is it possible for a man to be otherwise than uneasy in himself, who is in danger every moment of losing his entire existence, and dropping into nothing?
The vicious man and atheist have therefore no pretence to cheerfulness, and would act very unreasonably should they endeavour after it. It is impossible for any one to live in good humour, and enjoy his present existence, who is apprehensive either of torment or of annihilation; of being miseIf we consider him in relation to the per-rable, or of not being at all. sons whom he converses with, it naturally produces love and good-will towards him. A cheerful mind is not only disposed to be affable and obliging; but raises the same good-humour in those who come within its influence. A man finds himself pleased, he does not know why, with the cheerfulness of his companion. It is like a sudden sunshine that awakens a secret delight in the mind, without her attending to it. The heart rejoices of its own accord, and naturally flows out into friendship and benevolence towards the person who has so kindly an effect upon it.
When I consider this cheerful state of mind in its third relation, I cannot but look upon it as a constant habitual gratitude to the great Author of nature. An inward cheerfulness is an implicit praise and thanksgiving to Providence under all its dispensations. It is a kind of acquiescence in the state wherein we are placed, and a secret approbation of the divine will in his conduct towards man.
There are but two things which, in my opinion, can reasonably deprive us of this cheerfulness of heart. The first of these is the sense of guilt. A man who lives in a state of vice and impenitence can have no title to that evenness and tranquillity of mind which is the health of the soul, and
After having mentioned these two great principles, which are destructive of cheerfulness, in their own nature, as well as in right reason, I cannot think of any other that ought to banish this happy temper from a virtuous mind. Pain and sickness, shame and reproach, poverty and old age, nay, death itself, considering the shortness of their duration, and the advantage we may reap from them, do not deserve the name of evils. A good mind may bear up under them with fortitude, with indolence, and with cheerfulness of heart. The tossing of a tempest does not discompose him, which he is sure will bring him to a joyful harbour.
A man who uses his best endeavours to live according to the dictates of virtue and right reason has two perpetual sources of cheerfulness, in the consideration of his own nature, and of that Being on whom he has a dependance. If he looks into himself, he cannot but rejoice in that existence which is so lately bestowed upon him, and which, after millions of ages, will be still new, and still in its beginning. How many self-congratulations naturally rise in the mind, when it reflects on this its entrance into eternity, when it takes a view of those improvable faculties which in a few years, and even at its first setting out, have made so considerable a progress, and which
will still be receiving an increase of perfection, and consequently an increase of happiness! The consciousness of such a being spreads a perpetual diffusion of joy through the soul of a virtuous man, and makes him look upon himself every moment as more happy than he knows how to
The second source of cheerfulness, to a good mind, is the consideration of that Being on whom we have our dependence, and in whom, though we behold him as yet but in the first faint discoveries of his perfections, we see every thing that we can imagine as great, glorious, or amiable. We find ourselves every where upheld by his goodness, and surrounded with an immensity of love and mercy. In short, we depend upon a Being, whose power qualifies him to make us happy by an infinity of means, whose goodness and truth engage him to make those happy who desire it of him, and whose unchangeableness will secure us in this happiness to all eternity.
you, that though the circumstance which displeased was never in his thoughts, he has that respect for you, that he is unsatisfied till it is wholly out of yours. It must be confessed, that when an acknowledgment of an offence is made out of poorness of spirit, and not conviction of heart, the circumstance is quite different. But in the case of my correspondent, where both the notice is taken, and the return made in private, the affair begins and ends with the highest grace on each side. To make the acknowledgment of a fault in the highest manner graceful, it is lucky when the circumstances of the offender place him above any ill consequences from the resentment of the person offended. A dauphin of France, upon a review of the army, and a command of the king to alter the posture of it by a march of one of the wings, gave an improper order to an officer at the head of a brigade, who told his highness, he presumed he had not received the last orders, which were to move a contrary way. The Such considerations, which every one prince, instead of taking the admonition, should perpetually cherish in his thoughts, which was delivered in a manner that acwill banish from us all that secret heavi- counted for his error with safety to his unness of heart which unthinking men are derstanding, shaked a cane at the officer, subject to when they lie under no real and, with the return of opprobrious lanaffliction: all that anguish which we may guage, persisted in his own orders. The feel from any evil that actually oppresses whole matter came necessarily before the us, to which I may likewise add those little king, who commanded his son, on foot, to cracklings of mirth and folly that are apter lay his right hand on the gentleman's stirto betray virtue than support it; and esta-rup as he sat on horseback in sight of the blish in us such an even and cheerful temper, as makes us pleasing to ourselves, to those with whom we converse, and to Him whom we were made to please.
No. 382.] Monday, May 19, 1712.
Habes confitentem reum.
The accused confesses his guilt.
whole army, and ask his pardon. When the prince touched his stirrup, and was going to speak, the officer with an incredible agility, threw himself on the earth and kissed his feet.
The body is very little concerned in the pleasure or sufferings of souls truly great; and the reparation, when an honour was designed this soldier, appeared as much too great to be borne by his gratitude, as the injury was intolerable to his resentment.
I OUGHT not to have neglected a request of one of my correspondents so long as I When we turn our thoughts from these have; but I dare say I have given him time extraordinary occurrences into common to add practice to profession. He sent me life, we see an ingenuous kind of behaviour some time ago a bottle or two of excellent not only make up for faults committed, but wine, to drink the health of a gentleman in a manner expiate them in the very comwho had by the penny-post advertised him mission. Thus many things wherein a man of an egregious error in his conduct. My has pressed too far, he implicitly excuses, correspondent received the obligation from by owning, This is a trespass: you'll an unknown hand with the candour which pardon my confidence; I am sensible I is natural to an ingenuous mind; and pro- have no pretensions to this favour;' and the mises a contrary behaviour in that point for like. But commend me to those gay fellows the future. He will offend his monitor with about town who are directly impudent, and no more errors of that kind, but thanks make up for it no otherwise than by calling him for his benevolence. This frank car-themselves such and exulting in it. But this riage makes me reflect upon the amiable atonement a man makes in an ingenuous acknowledgment of a fault. All such miscarriages as flow from inadvertency are more than repaid by it; for reason, though not concerned in the injury, employs all its force in the atonement. He that says, he did not design to disoblige you in such an action, does as much as if he should tell
sort of carriage, which prompts a man against rules to urge what he has a mind to, is pardonable only when you sue for another. When you are confident in preference of yourself to others of equal merit, every man that loves virtue and modesty ought, in defence of those qualities, to oppose you. But, without considering the morality of the thing, let us at this time be-