« EelmineJätka »
Without this irradiating power, the proudest fair one ought to know, whatever her glass may tell her to the contrary, that her most perfect features are unin formed and dead.
• I cannot better close this moral, than by a short epitaph written by Ben Jonson, with a spirit which nothing could inspire but such an object as I have been describing:
"Underneath this stone doth lie
LUXURY AND AVARICE.
Julus et in jeure agro
PERSIUS. "Our passions play the tyrants in our breast."
MOST of the trades, professions, and ways of living among inankind, take their original from the love of pleasure, or the fear of want. The former, when it becomes too violent, degenerates into luxury, and the latter, into avarice, as these two principles of action draw different ways. Persius has given us a very humorous account of a young fellow who was ronsed out of his bed, in order to be sent upon a long voyage by Avarice, and afterwards over persuaded and kept at home by Luxury! I shall set down at length the pleadings of these two imaginary persons as they are in Mr. Dryden's translation of them.
"Whether alone, or in thy harlot's lap,
The rugged tyrant no denial takes;
At his command th' unwilling sluggard wakes.
With thy own hands, from the tir'd camel's back,
Stark, staring mad, that thou would'st tempt the sea? Cubb'd in a cabin, on a mattress laid,
On a brown George, with lousy swobbers fed;
For not to live at ease, is not to live.
Death stalks behind thee, and each flying hour
When a government flourishes in conquests, and is secure from foreign attacks, it naturally falls into all the pleasures of Luxury; and as these pleasures are
very expensive, they put those who are addicted to them upon raising fresh supplies of money, by all the methods of rapaciousness and corruption; so that Avarice and Luxury very often become one compli cated principle of action, in those whose hearts are wholly set upon ease, magnificence, and pleasure. The most elegant and correct of all the Latin historians observes, that in his time, when the most formid. able states of the world were subdued by the Romans, the republic sunk into those two vices of a quite different nature, Luxury and Avarice*: and accordingly describes Catiline as one who coveted the wealth of other men, at the same time that he squandered away his own. This observation on the commonwealth, when it was in its height of power and riches, holds good of all governments that are settled in a state of ease and prosperity. At such times men naturally endeavour to outshine one another in pomp and splendour, and having no fears to alarm them from abroad, indulge themselves in the enjoyment of all the plea. sures they can get into their possession; which naturally produces Avarice, and an immoderate pursuit after wealth and riches.
As I was humouring myself in the speculation of these two great principles of action, I could not forbear throwing my thoughts into a little kind of allegory or fable, with which I shall here present my reader.
There were two very powerful tyrants engaged in a perpetual war against each other, the name of the first was Luxury, and of the second Avarice. The aim of each of them was no less than universal monarchy over the hearts of mankind. Luxury had many generals under him, who did him great service, as Pleasure, Mirth, Pomp, and Fashion. Avarice was likewise very strong in his officers, being faithfully served by Hunger, Industry, Care, and Watchfulness: he had * Alieni appetens, sui profusus.
likewise a privy-counsellor, who was always at his elbow, and whispering something or other in his ear = the name of this privy-counsellor was Poverty. As Avarice conducted himself by the counsels of Poverty, his antagonist was entirely guided by the dictates and advice of Plenty, who was his first counsellor and minister of state, that concerted all his measures for him, and never departed out of his sight. While these two great rivals were thus contending for empire, their conquests were very various. Luxury got possession of one heart, and Avarice of another. The father of a family would often range himself under the banners of Avarice, and the son under those of Luxury. The wife and husband would often declare themselves on the two different parties; uay, the same person would very often side with one in his youth, and revelt to the other in his old age. Indeed, the wise men of the world stood neuter; but, alas! their numbers were not considerable. At length, when these two potentates had wearied themselves with waging war upon one another, they agreed upon an interview, at which neither of their counsellors were to be present. It is said that Luxury began the parley, and after having represented the endless state of war in which they were engaged, told his enemy, with a frankness of heart which is natural to him, that he believed they two should be very good friends, were it not for the instigations of Poverty, that pernicious counsellor, who made an ill use of his ear, and filled him with groundiess apprehensions and prejudices. To this Avarice replied, that he looked upon Plenty (the first minister of his antagonist) to be a much more destructive counsellor than Poverty, for that he was perpetually suggesting pleasures, banishing all the necessary cautions against want, and consequently undermining those principles on which the government of Avarice was founded. last, in order to an accommodation, they agreed upon this preliminary; that each of them should immedi
ately dismiss bis privy-counsellor. When things were
IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.
· Inter silvas academi quærere verum. HOR. 2 Ep. ii. 45. "To search for truth in academic groves."
THE course of my last speculation led me insensibly into a subject upon which I always meditate with great delight, I mean the Immortality of the Soul. I was yesterday walking alone in one of my friend's woods, aud lost myself in it very agreeably, as I was running over in my mind the several arguments that established this great point, which is the basis of morality, and the source of all the pleasing hopes and secret joys that can arise in the heart of a reasonable creature. I considered those several proofs drawn:
First, From the nature of the Soul itself, and particularly its Immateriality; which, though not abso
It will easily be perceived that the speculation alluded to is contained in a preceding paper, which, perhaps, we did not consider to be deserving of a place in this selection. This note will also suffice to explain similar allusions in our subsequent extracts.