Page images

worth his while to flatter:

“ And when I tell him, he hates flattery,

he says he does, being then most flatter'd. --Shakes. 39. A person has sometimes more public than private merit. Honorio and his family wore mourning for their ancestor; but that of all the world was internal and sincere.

Your plain domestic people who talk of their humility and home-felt satisfactions, will, in the same breath discover how much they envy a shining character. How is this consistent? You are prejudiced,' says Pedandicus ; 'I will not take your word, or your character of that man.'_But the grounds of my prejudice are the source of my accusation. A proud man's intimates are generally more attached to him, than the man of merit and humility can pretend his to be. The reason is, the former pays a greater compliment in his condescension. The situation of a king, is so far from being miserable, as pedants term it, that, if a person have magnanimity, it is the happiest I know; as he has assuredly the most opportunities of distingo uishing merit, and conferring obligations. 40.

“Contemptæ dominius splendidior rei.” A man, a gentleman, evidently appears more considerable by seeming to despise his fortune, than a citizen and mechanic by his endeavours to magnify it. 41. What man of sense, for the benefit of coal-mines, would be plagued with colliers' conversation ? 42. Modesty makes large amends for the pain it gives the persons who labour under it, by the prejudice it affords every worthy person in their favour. 43. Third thoughts often coincide with the first, and are generally the best grounded. We first relish nature and the country; then artificial amusements, and the city; then become impatient to retire to the country again.

44. While we labour to subdue our passions, we should take care not to extinguish them. Subduing our passions, is disengaging ourselves from the world; to which, however, whilst we reside in it, we must always bear relation; and we may detach ourselves to such a degree as to pass an useless and insipid life, which we were not meant to do. Our existence here is at least one part of a system. A manchas generally the good or ill qualities which he attributes to mankind. 45. Anger and the thirst of revenge are a kind of fever.' Fighting, and law-suits, bleeding; at least an evacuation. The latter occasions a dissipation of money; the former of those fiery spirits which cause a preter. natural fermentation.

46. Were a man of pleasure to arrive at the full extent of his several wishes, he must immediately feel himself miserable. It is one species of despair to have no room to hope for any addition to one's happiness. His following wish must then be to wish he had some fresh object for his wishes. A strong argument that our ininds and bodies were both meant to be for ever active.

47. I have seen one evil underneath the sun, which gives me particular mortification. The reserve or shyness of men of sense generally confines them to a small acquaintance; and they find numbers their avowed enemies, the similarity of whose tastes, had fortune brought them once acquainted, would have rendered them their fondest friends.

48. A mere relater of matters of fact is fit only for an evidence in a court of justice. 49. If a man be of superior dignity to a woman, a woman is surely as much superior to a man that is

effeminated. Lily's rule in the grammar has well enough adjusted this subordination.

“ The maseuline is more worthy than the feminine, and the feminine more worthy than the neuter.”

50. A gentleman of fortune will be often complaining of taxes; that his estate is inconsiderable; that he can never make so much of it as the world is ready to imagine. A mere citizen, ou the other hand, is always aiming to shew his riches; says that he employs so many hands; he keeps his wife a chaise and one; and talks much of his Chinese ornaments at his paltry cake-house in the country. They both aim at praise, but of a very distinct kind. Now, supposing the cit worth as much in money as the other is in land, the gentleman surely chuses the better method of ostentation, who considers himself as somewhat superior to his fortune, than he who seems to look up at his fortune, and consequently sets himself beneath it.

51. The only kind of revenge which a man of sense need take on a scoundrel, is by a series of worthy behaviour, to force him to admire and esteem his enemy, and yet irritate his animosity, by declining a reconciliation. As Sir John Falstaff might say, “turning even quarrels to commodity.” 52. It is possible, by means of glue, to connect two pieces of wood together; by a powerful cement, to join marble ; by the meditation of a priest, to unite a man and a woman; but of all associations the most effectual is betwixt an ideot and a knave. They become in a manner incorporate. The former seems so framed to admire and idolize the latter, that the latter may seize and devour him as his proper prey. 53. The same degree of penetration that shews you another in the wrong, shews him also, in respect to

that instance, your inferior: hence the observation, and the real fact, that people of clear heads, are what the world calls opinionated. 54. There are none can baffle men of sense, but fools, on whom they can make no impression.

55. The regard one shews to economy, is like that we shew to an old aunt who is to leave us something at last. Our behaviour on this account is as much constrained as that

it of one well studied in a sad ostent

to please his granam."-Shakes. 56. Fashion is a great restraint on your persons of taste and fancy; who would otherwise, in the most Lrifling instances, be able to distinguish themselves from the vulgar. 57. A writer who pretends to polish the human understanding, may beg by the side of Rutter's chariot, who sells a powder for the teeth. 58. The difference there is betwixt honour and honesty, seems to be chiefly in the motive. The merely honest man does that from duty, which the man of honour does for the sake of character. 59. The proverb ought to run, “A fool and his words are soon parted; a man of genius and his money."

60. A man of wit, genius, learning, is apt to think it something hard, that men of no wit, no genius, no learning, should have a greater share of wealth and honours; not considering that their own accomplishment ought to be reckoned to them as their equivalent. It is no reason that a person worth five thousand pounds, should on that account have a claim to twenty. 61. A wife ought in reality to love her husband above all the world; but this preference, I think, should, in point of politeness, be concealed, The reason is, that it is disgusting to see an amiable woman monopolized; and it is easy, by proper management, to wave (all I contend for) the appearance.

62. There are some wounds given to reputation that are like the wounds of an envenomed arrow; where we irritate and enlarge the orifice while we extract the bearded weapon; yet cannot the cure be completed otherwise. 63. Amongst all the vain-glorious professors of humility, you find none that will not discover how much they envy a shining character; and this either by censuring it themselves, or shewing a satisfaction in such as do. Now there is this advautage, at least, arising from ambition, that it disposes one to disregard a thousand instances of middling grandeur; and reduces one's emulation to the narrow circle of a few that blaze. It is hence a convenient disposition in a country place, where one is encompassed with such as are merely richer, keep fine horses, a table, foota men; make a decent figure as rural esquires; yet, after all, discover no more than an every-day plebeian character. These a person of little ambition might envy; but another of a more extensive one


kind of circumstances, disregard. 64. It is with some men as with some borses: what is esteemed spirit in them, proceeds from fees. This was undoubiedly the source of that seeming spirit discovered by Tully in regard to his antagonist M. Antony. He knew he must destroy him, or be destroyed himself.

65. The same qualities, joined with virtue, often furnish out a great man, which, united with a different principle, furnish out a bighwayman; I mean courage and strong passions. And they may bɔth join in the same expression, tha' with a meaning somewhat varied

“ u

may, in

« EelmineJätka »