Page images
PDF
EPUB

in all occasions which give us much emotion. Thus, to be apt to shed 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, andask his benediction, but the tears are seen to flow from his eyes. This must proceed from an imagination, that he 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 thousand.! 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.

Hie lacrjmh nit am damus, y miserescimus vitro.

Virg. Æn. 2. v. 145-.

,lVith tears the wretch consirm'd his tale of woe; And foft-ey'd pity pleaded for the foe. R.-wtnne.

"There is lately broke loose from tbe-Zoar/cirpack, ** a very tall dangerous biter. He is now at the Bath, "and it is feared will make a damnable havock amongst "the game. His manner of biting is new,- and he is> "called the Top. He secures one die betwixt his two "fingers: The other is fixed, by. the help of a famous "wax, invented by an apothecary, since a gamester: * "little of which he puts upon his forefinger,, and that "holds the die in the box at his devotion. Great sums *' 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 Conu tempt of the Clergy; wherein will be set forth, at: "large, that all our dissensions are owing to the laziness"of persons in the sacred mirustry., and that none of thee "present schisms could have crept into the flock, but by ** thenegligenjCGQf the pastors- Theie. is a digressions.

£ 5 ifti outh, as the honourable mention of such whose actions ave outlived the injuries of time, and recommended themselves so far to the world, that it is become Learning to know the least circumstance of their affairs. It is a great incentive to fee, that some men have raised themselves so highly above their fellow-creatures, that the lives of ordinary men are spent in enquiries after the particular actions of the most illustrious. True it is, that without this impulse to Fame and reputation, our industry would stagnate, and that lively desire of pleasing each other die away. This opinion was so established in the heathen world, that their fense of living appeared insipid, except their Being was enlivened with a consciousness that they were esteemed by the rest of the world.

Upon examining the proportion of men's Fame for my Table of Twelve, I thought it no ill way, (since I had laid it down for a rule, that they were to be ranked simply as they were famous, without regard to their virtue) to alk my sister Jenn/s advice; and particularly mentioned to her the name of Aristotle. She immediately told me, he was a very great Scholar, and that (he had read him at the boarding-school. She certainly means a trifle sold by the hawkers called Aristotle's Problems. But this raised a great scruple in me, whether a Fame increased by imposition of others is to be added to his account, or that these excrescencies, which grow out of his real reputation, and give encouragement to others to pass things under the covert of his name, should £>e considered in giving him his seat in the chamber { This punctilio is referred to the Learned. In the mean time, so ill-natured are mankind, that I believe I have names already sent me sufficient to fill up my lists for the dark room, and every one is apt enough to send in their accounts of ill deservers. This malevolence does not proceed from a real dislike of virtue, but a diabolical prejudice against it, which makes men willing to destroy what they care not to imitate. Thus you fee the greatest characters among your acquaintance, and those you live with, are traduced by all below them in virtue, who never mention them but with an exception. However, I believe I shall not give the world much trouble absut silling roy Tables for those of evil Fame; fer I have

some thoughts of clipping up the Sharpers there as fast as I can lay hold of them.

At present, I am employed in looking over the seve-ral notices which I have received of their manner of dexterity, and the way at dice of making all Rugg, as the cant is. The whole art of securing a die has lately been sent me, by a person who was of the fraternity, but is disabled by the loss- of a singer; by which means he cannot practise that trick as he used to do. But I am very much at a loss how to call some of the fair Sex, who are accomplices with the Knights of Industry; for my metaphorical Dogs are easily enough understood } but the feminine gender of Dogs has so harsh a sound, that we know not how to name it. But I am credibly informed, that there are female Dogs as voracious as the males, and make advance* to young fellows, without any other design but coming to a familiarity with their purses. I have also long lists of persons of condition, who are certainly of the fame regimen with these Banditti, and instrumental to their cheats upon undiscerning men of their own rank. These add their good reputation to carry on the impostures of others, whose very names would else be defence enough against falling into their hands. But for the honour of our nation, these shall be unmentioned ; provided we hear no more of such practices, and that they {hall not from henceforward suffer the society of such, as they know to be the common enemies of order, discipline, and virtue. If it appear that they go on in encouraging them, they must be proceeded against according to the several rule» of history, where all is to be laid before the world with impartiality, and without respect to persons.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Will's Coffee-house, September 14,
I find left here for me the following Epistle.
Sir,

"T TAVING lately read your discourse about th* "X A family of Trubies, wherein you observe, that •* there are some who fall into laughter out of a certain "benevolence in their temper, and not out of the or"dinary motive, viz. contempt, and triumph over the "imperfections of others; I have conceived a good *' idea of your knowledge of mankind. And, as you *• have a tragi-comic genius, I beg the favour of you "to give us your thoughts of a quite different effect, "which also is caused by other motives than what are "commonly taken notice of. What I would have you "treat of, is the cause of shedding tears. I desire you "would discuss it a little, with observations upon the "various occasions which provoke us to that expression *' of our concern, &c."

To obey this complaisant Gentleman, I know Do way so short as examining the various touches of my own bosom, on several occurrences in a long life to the evening of which I am arrived, after as many various incidents as any body has met with. I have often reflected, that there is a great similitude in the motions of the heart in mirth and in sorrow ; and I think the usual occasion of the latter, as well as the former, is something which is sudden and unexpected. The mind has not a. sufficient time to recollect its force, and immediately gushes into tears before we can utter ourselves by speech or complaint. The most notorious causes of these drops from our eyes are pity, sorrow, joy, and reconciliation.

The Fair Sex, who are made of man and not of earth, have a more delicate humanity than we have; and pity is the most common cause of their tears: For as we are inwardly composed of an aptitude to every circumstance of life, and every thing that befalls any one person Slight have happened to any other of.human race; self

N

love, and a sense of the pain we ourselves should suffer in the circumstances of any whom we pity, is the cause cf that compassion. Such a reflection in the breast of a woman, immediately inclines her to tears; but in a man, it makes him think how such a one ought to act on that bccasion, suitably to the dignity of his nature. Thus a woman is ever moved for those whom she hears lament,, and a man for those whom he observes to suffer in silence. ft is <a man's own behaviour in the circumstances he is under, which procures him the esteem of others, and not merely the affliction itself which demands our pity f for we never give a man that passion which he falls into for himself. He that commends himself never purchases our applause; nor he who bewails himself, our pity.

Going through an alley the other day, I observed a noisy impudent beggar bawl out, that he was wounded in a merchant-man ; that he had lost his poor limbs, and shewed a leg clouted up. All that passed by made what haste they could out of his sight and hearing ; but a poor fellow at the end of the passage, with a rusty coat, a melancholy air, and soft voice, desired them to look. Upon a man not used to beg. The latter received the charity of almost every one that went by. The strings of the heart, which are to be touched to give us compassion, are not so played on but by the finest hand. We fee in tragical representations, it is not the pomp of language, nor the magnificence of dress, in'which the passion is wrought, that touches sensible Spirits; but something of a plain and simple nature which breaks in upon* our Souls, by that sympathy which is given us for our mutual good-will and seryice.

In the tragedy of Macbeth, where Wilks acts the part of a man whose family has been murdered in his absence,, the wildness of his passion, which is run over in a torrent of calamitous circumstances, does but raise my spirits, and give the alarm: But when he skilfully seems to be out of breath, and is brought too low to fay more ;and upon a second reflection cries only, wiping his eyes, "What, both children ! Both, both my children gone!" ~There is no resisting a sorrow which seems to have cast about for all the reasons possible for its consolation, but has no resource "There is not one left; but both, F -j. "both

« PreviousContinue »