Page images

Leander, “ without making a proper return, when there is a favorable opportunity.

3. “Ingratitude is therefore a species of injustice," said Socrates. " I should think so," answered Leander. af then," pursued Socrates, "ingratitude be injustice, tu 3 it not follow, that the degree of it must be proportionate io the magnitude of the favors which have been received ?" Leander admitted the inference; and Socrates thus pursued his interrogations.

4. “Can there subsist higher obligations than those which children owe to their parents ; from whom life is derived and supported, and by whose good offices, it is rendered honorable, useful, and happy ?" " I acknowledge the truth of what you say," replied Leander ; .but who could suffer without resentment, the ill humors of such a mother as I have !" " What strange thing has she done to you ?" said Socrates.

5. “She has a tongue," replied Leander; " that no mortal can bear." “ Ilow much more,” said Socrates, “has she endured from your wrangling, fretfulness, and incessant cries in the period of infancy! What anxieties has she suffered from the levities, capriciousness, and folJies of your childhood and youth! What affliction has she felt, what toil and watching has she sustained in your illnesses ! These, and various other powerful motives to filial duty and gratitude have been recognised by the legislators of our republic. For if any one be disrespectful to his parents, he is not permitted to enjoy any post of trust or honor.

6." It is believed that a sacrifice, offered by an impious hand, can neither be acceptable to heaven, nor profitable to the state; and that an undutiful son cannot be capable of performing any great action, or of executing justice with impartiality. Therefore, my son, if you be wise, you will pray to Heaven to pardon the offences committed against your mother.

7. “Let no one discover the contempt with which you have treated her ; for the world will condemn and abandon you

for such behavior. And if it be even suspected, that you repay with ingratitude the good offices of your parents, you will inevitably forego the kindness of others; because no man will suppose, that you have a heart to requite either his favors or his friendship."




Brethren should dwell together in harrony. 1. Two brothers, named Timon and Demetrius, having quarrelled with each other, Socrates, their common friend, was solicitous to restore amity between them. Meeting, therefore, with Demetrius, he thus accosted him : " Is not friendship the sweetest solace in adversity, and the greatest enhancement of the blessings of prosperity ??? “ Certainly it is,” replied Demetrius; "because our sorrows are diminished, and our joys increased by sympathetic participation.”

Amongst whom, then, must we look for a friend ?" said Socrates. “ Would you search among strangers

? They cannot be interested about you. Amongst your rivals? They have an interest in opposition to yours. Amongst those who are much older or younger than yourself? Their feelings and pursuits will be widely different from yours. Are there not, then, some circumstances favorable and others essential, to the formation of friendship?"

3. Undoubtedly there are," answered Demetrius. May we not enumerate," continued Socrates, “amongst the circumstances favorable to friendship, long acquaintance, common connexions, similitude of age, and union of interest ?” “I acknowledge,” said Demetrius, "the powerful influence of these circumstances; but they may subsist, and yet others be wanting, that are essential to mutual amity."

4. " And what,” said Socrates, "are those essentials. which are wanting in Timon ?"

" He has forfeited my esteem and attachment,” answered Demetrius. "And has he also forfeited the esteem and attachment of the rest of mankind ?" continued Socrates. « Is he devoid of benevolence; _generosity, gratitude, and other social affections ?" 6.Far be it from me,'

;" cried Demetrius, to lay so heavy a charge upon him! His conduct to others, is, I believe, irreproachable; and it wounds me

that he should single me out as the object of his unkindness."

the more,

[ocr errors]

5.“ Suppose you have a very valuable horse," resumed Socrates, “gentle under the treatment of others, but ungovernable, when you attempt to use him ; would you not endeavor, by all means, to conciliate his affection, and to treat him in the way most likely to render him tractable ? Or, if you have a dog, highly prized for his fidelity, watchfulness, and care of your flocks, who is fond of your shepherds, and playful with them, and yet snarls whenever you come in his way; would you attempt to cure him of this fault by angry looks or words, or by any other marks of resentment? You would surely pursue an opposite course with him.

6. “And is not the friendship of a brother of far more worth than the services of a horse, or the attachment of a dog? Why then do you delay to put in practice those means, which may reconcile you to 'I'imon ? " Acquaint me with those means, answered Demetrius, “ for I am a stranger to them.”

“ Answer me a few questions,” said Socrates.

7. If you desire that one of your neighbors should invite you to his feast, when he offers a sacrifice, what course would you take ?” “I would first invite him to mine." " And how would you induce him to take the charge of your affairs when you are on a journey ?” “I should be forward to do the same good office to him, in his absence.”

8. "If you be solicitous to remove a prejudice, which he may have received against you, how would you then behave towards him ?” “I should endeavor to convince him, by my looks, words and actions, that such prejudice was ill founded.”

“And if he appeared inclined to reconciliation, would you reproach him with the injustice he had done you ?” No," answered Demetrius, “I would repeat no grievances.

9. “Go,” said Socrates, “and pursue that conduct towards your brother, which you would practise to a neighbor. His friendship is of inestimable worth ; and nothing is more lovely in the sight of Heaven, than for brethren to dwell together in unity."


On good breeding, 1. As learning, honor, and virtue, are absolutely ne cessary to gain you the esteem and admiration of mankind


politeness and good breeding are equally necessary, to make you agreeable in conversation and common life.

2. Great talents are above the generality of the world, who neither possess them themselves, nor judge of them rightly in others; but all people are judges of the smaller talents, such as civility, affability, and an obliging, agreeable address, and manner; because they feel the effects of them, as making society easy and pleasing.

3. Good sense must, in many cases, determine good breeding; but there are some general rules of it, that always hold true. For example, it is extremely rude not to give proper attention, and a civil answer, when people speak to you ; or to go away, or be doing something else, while they are speaking to you; for that convinces them that you despise them, and do not think it worth your while, to hear, or answer, what they say.

4. It is also very rude to take the best place in a room; or to seize immediately upon what you like at table, with out first offering to help others, as if you considered nobody but yourself. On the contrary, you should always endeavor to procure all the conveniences you can, to the people you are with.

5. Besides being civil, which is absolutely necessary, the perfection of good-breeding is, to be civil with ease, and in a becoming manner. Awkwardness can proceed but from two causes ; either from not having kept good company, or from not having attended to it. Attention is absolutely necessary for improving in behavior, as indeed it is for every thing else.

6. If an awkward person drinks tea or coffee, he often ecalds his mouth, and lets either the cup or the saucer fall, and spills the tea or coffee on his clothes. At dinner, his awkwardness distinguishes itself particularly, as he has more to do.

7. There, he holds his knife, fork, and spoon, differently from other people ; eats with his kuise to the great danger of his lips; picks his teeth with his fork ; and puts his spoon, which has been in his mouth twenty times, into the dishes again.

8. If he is to carve, he can never hit the joint, but in luis vain efforts to cut through the bone, scatters the sauce in every body's face. He generally daubs, himselt with

soup and grease, though his napkin is commonly stuck through a button-hole, and tickles his chin.

9. When he drinks, he coughs in his glass, and besprinkles the company. Besides all this, he has strange tricks and gestures; such as snuffing up his nose, making faces, putting his fingers in his nose, or blowing it, and looking afterwards in his handkerchief, so as greatly to disgust the company.

10. His hands are troublesome to him, when he has not something in them; and he does not know where to put them, but keeps them in perpetual motion. All this, I own, is not in any degree criminal; but it is highly disagreeable and ridiculous in company; and ought most carefully to be guarded against, by every one that desires to please.

11. There is, likewise, an awkwardness of expression and words which ought to be avoided; such as salse English, bad pronunciation, old sayings, and vulgar proverbs; which are so many proofs of a poor

education. 12. For example, if instead of saying that tastes are different, and that every man has his own peculiar one, you should let off a vulgar proverb, and say, " That what is one man's meat is another man's poison ;” or else, “Every one to his liking, as the good man said when he kissed his cow;" the company would be persuaded that you had never associated with any but low persons.

13. To mistake or forget names ; to speak of "What d'ye-call-him," or, “ Thingum," or, “ How-d'ye-call-her," is excessively awkward and vulgar. To begin a story or narration when you are not perfect in it, and cannot go through with it, but are forced, possibly, to say in the middle of it, “I have forgotten the rest, is very unpleasant and bungling.

14. One must be extremely exact, clear, and perspicuous, in every thing one says; otherwise, instead of entertaining or informing others, one only tires and puzzles them. The voice and manner of speaking, too, are not to be neglected. Some people almost shut their mouths, when they speak; and mutter so, that they are not to be understood : others speak so fast, and sputter, that they are equally unintelligible.

15. Some always speak as loud as if they were talking to deaf people; and others so low, that one cannot hear

« EelmineJätka »