« PreviousContinue »
"both are murdered!" such sudden starts from the thread of the discourse, and a plain sentiment expressed in an artless way, are the irresistible strokes of eloquence and poetry. The fame great master, Shakespiar, can afford us instances of all the places where our Souls are accessible; and ever commands our tears. But it is to be observed, that he draws them from some unexpected source, which seems not wholly of a piece with the discourse. Thus, when Brutus and Cajpus had a debate in the tragedy of Cæsar, and rose to warm language against ■each other, insomuch that it had almost come to something that might be fatal, until they recollected themselves: Brutus does more than make an apology for the ibeat he had been in, by saying, "Portia is dead"—— Here Cajfiush all tenderness, and ready to dissolve, when he considers, that the mind of his friend had been employed on the greatest affliction imaginable, when he had been adding to it by a debate on trifles ; which makes him in the anguish of his heart cry out, '* How scaped *' I killing when I thus provoked you?" This is an incident which moves the Soul in all \\* sentiments; and Cajius's heart was at once touched with all the soft pangs •f pity, remorse, and reconciliation. It is said indeed by Horace, "If you would have me weep, you must first *' weep yourself." This is not literally true; for it would have been as rightly said, if we observe nature, That I shall certainly weep, if you do not: But what is intended by that expression is, That it is not possible to give passion, except you shew that you suffer yourself. Therefore the true art seems to be, that when you would have the person you represent pitied, you must stiew him at once in the highest grief, and struggling to bear it with decency and patience. In this cafe, we sigh for him, and give him every groan he suppresses.
I remember, when I was young enough to follow thfi sports of the field, I have more than once rode off at the death of a deer, when I have seen the animal in an affliction which appeared human, without the least noise, let fall tears when he was reduced to extremity; and I have thought of the sorrow I sa w him in, when his haunch came to the table. But our tears are not given only to object} of pity, but the mind has recourse to ihat relief in all occasions which give us much emotion. Thus, to be apt to flied tears is a sign of a great as well as little spirit. I have heard say, the present Pope never passes through the people, who always kneel in crouds, and* ask his benediction, but the tears are seen to flow from* his eyes. This must proceed from an imagination, that be is the father of all those people; and that he is touched with so extensive a benevolence, that it breaks out intoa passion of tears. You fee friends, who have been long absent, transported in the same manner: A thousands little images croud upon them at their meeting, as all the joys and griefs they have known during their separation; and in one hurry of thought, they conceive how they should have participated in those occasions; and weep, because their minds are too suit to wait the How expression of words.
Bit latrymit mit am damus, Es1 mi/eresdmus ultro.
Virg. Æn. z. v. 14s.
,lVith tears the wretch consirm'd his tale of woe; And soft-ey'd pity pleaded for the foe. R. Wtnne.
'* There is lately broke loose from the London- pack, ** a very tall dangerous biter. He is now at the Baths "and it is feared will make a damnable havock amongst ** the game. His manner of biting is new,- and he is> "called the Hop. He secures one die betwixt his two M fingers: The other is fixed, by. the help of a famous "wax, invented by an apothecary, since a gamester: m ** little of which he puts upon his forefinger,, and that "holds the die in the box at his devotion. Great sums•1 have been lately won by these ways; but it is hoped,. "that this hint of his manner of cheating will open the"eyes of many, who are every day imposed upon.. '"There is now in the press, and will be suddenly "published, a book entitled, An appendix to the Con*« tempt of the Clergy; wherein will be set forth, at "large, that all our dissentions are owing to the laziness. u of persons in the sacred ministty>.and that none of thee "present schisms could have crept into the flock, but by ** tiienegligenjceof the pastors.. There is a digression. ** in this treatise, proving, that the pretences made by «• the priesthood, from time to time, that the church «• was in danger, is only a trick to make the laity pas•« fionate for that, of which they themselves have been "negligent. The whole concludes with an exhortation — to the Clergy, to the ftady of eloquence, and practice "of piety, as the only method to support the highest of "all honours, that of a Priest, who lives and acts ac•' cording to his character.'*
N° 69. Saturday, September 17, 1709.
————Quid cportit Jsosscurt, a vulgo lenge lateque remotos?
Hor. Sat. 6. 1. 1. T. 17.
But how shall we, who differ far and wide from the mere vulgar, this great point decide?
From my own Apartment, September 16.
IT is, as far as it relates to our present Being, the great end of education to raise ourselves above the Vulgar; but what is intended by the vulgar is not, meihinks, enough understood. In me, indeed, that word raises a quite different idea from what it usually does in others; but perhaps that proceeds from my being old, and beginning to want the relish of such satisfactions as are the ordinary entertainment of men. However, such as my opinion is in this cafe, I will speak it; because it is possible that turn of thought may be received by others, who may reap as much satisfaction from it as I do myself.
It is to me a very great meanness, and something much below a philosopher, which is what I mean by a Gentleman, 19 rank a man among the vulgar for the
condition condition of life he is in, and not according to his beha" ■view, his thoughts, and sentiments, in that conditonFor if a man be loaded with riches and honours, and ia> that state of life has thoughts and inclinations below the meanest artificer; is not such an artificer, who within, his power is good to his friends, moderate in his demands for his labour, and chearful in his occupation, very much superior to him who lives for no other end but to serve himself, and assumes a preference in all his words and actions to those, who act their part with much more-grace than himself? EpiSietus has made use of the similitude of a. stage-play to human life with much spirit.. Jt is not, fays he, to be considered among the actors, who is Prince, or who is Beggar, but who acts Prince? or Beggar best. The circumstance of life should not be that which gives us place, but our behaviour in that circumstance is what should be our solid distinction. Thus,, a wife man should think no man above him or below him,, any further than it regards the outward order or discipline of the world: For if we conceive too great an idea of the eminence of our superiors, or subordination of our inferiors, it will have an ill effect upon our behaviour toboth. He who thinks no man above him but for his* virtue, none below him but for his vice, can never beobsequious or assuming in a wrong place; but will frequently emulate men in rank below him, and pity- thoseabout him.
This fense of mankind is so far from a levelling principle, that it only sets us upon a true basis of distinction, and doubles the merit of such as become their condition.
,A man in power, who can, without the ordinary prepossessions which stop the way to the true knowledge and
.service of mankind, overlook the little distinctions of fortune, raise obscure merit, and discountenance successful* indefert, has, in the minds of knowing men, the figure of an angel rather than a man; and is above the rest of wen in the highest character he can be, even-thatoftheirbenefactori
Turning my thoughts, as I was taking my pipe this* evening, after this manner, it was no small delight to« jne to receive advice from Felicia, that Eboracenjis WSsi appointed a governor of one of their plantations. As G £ 6> ami