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• busy class of mankind, that there should be so many • instances of perfons who have so conducted their
lives in spite of these transcendent advantages, as • neither to be happy in themselves, nor useful to • their friends; when every body fees it was intire“ ly in their own power to be eminent in both these • characters ? For my part, I think there is no re• flection more astonishing, than to consider one • of these gentlemen spending a fair fortune, run' ning in every body's debt without the least appre• hention of a future reckoning, and at last leaving ' noi only his own children, but possibly those of • other people, by his means, in starving circum
stances; while a fellow, whom one would scarce « suspect to have a human soul, lhall perhaps raise a a vast estate out of nothing, and be the founder
of a family capable of being very confiderable in
their country, and doing many illuftrious services • to it. That this observation is just, experience ' has put beyond all dispute. But though the fact • be so evident and glaring, yet the causes of it are • ftill in the dark; which makes me persuade my. • felf, that it would be no unacceptable piece of
entertainment to the town, to enquire into the • hidden fources of so unaccountable an evil.
I am, Sir,
• Your most humble fervant.
What this correspondent wonders at, has been matter of admiration ever since there was any such thing as human life. Horace reflects upon this inconsistency very agreeably in the character of Tigellius, whom he makes a mighty pretender to oeconomy, and tells you, you might one day hear him speak the most philosophick things imaginable concerning being contented with a little, and his contempt of every thing but mere necessaries, and in half a week after spend a thousand pound. When he says this of hin with relation to expence, he de
fcribes him as unequal to himself in every other circumstance of life. And indeed, if we consider lavish men carefully, we shall find it always proceeds from a certain incapacity of poffeffing them. felves, and finding enjoyment in their own minds, Mr. Dryden has exprefled this very excellently int. the character of Zimri.
A man fo various, that he seem'd to be
This loose state of the soul hurries the extravagant from one pursuit to another; and the reason that his expences are greater than another's, is, that his wants are also more numerous. But what makes fo many go on in this way to their lives' end, is, that they certainly do not know how contemptiblethey are in the eyes of the rest of mankind, or rather, that indeed they are not so contemptible as they deferve. Tully fays, it is the greatest of wickedness to leflen your paternal estate. And if a man would thoroughly confider how much worse than banishment it must be to his child, to ride by the estate which should have been his, had it not been for his father's injustice to him, he would be fmit-ten with the reflection more deeply than can be understood by any but one who is a father. Sure there can be nothing more afflicting, than to think it had been happier for his fon to have been born. of any other man living than himself..
It is not perhaps much thought of, but it is certainly a very important leffon, to learn how to enjoy ordinary life, and to be able to relish your being without the transport of some paflion, or gratis fication of some appetite, For want of this capacity, the world is filled with whetters, tipplers, cutters, fippers, and all the numerous train of those who, for want of thinking, are forced to be ever exercising their feeling or tasting. It would be hard on this occafion to mention the harmless smokers of tobacco and takers of snuff.
The flower part of mankind, whom my correfpondent wonders should get estates, are the more immediately formed for that pursuit: They can expect diftant things without impatience, because ihey are not carried out of their way either by violent paffion or keen appetite to any thing. To men addicted to delights, business is an interruption; to such as are cold to delights, business is an entertainment. For which reason it was said to one who commended a dull man for his application, No. thanks to him; if he had no business, he would have nothing to do.
NO 223. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15.
suavis anina! qualem te dicam bonam Antebae fuile, tales cum fint reliquiæ !
PHÆDR. fab. i. lib. 3. ver: 5. O sweet foul ! how good must you have been
heretofore, when your remains are fo đeli
cious! WH 'Hen I reflect upon the various fate of those
multitudes of ancient writers who flourished in Greece and Italy, I consider time as an immense ocean, in which many noble authors are in
tirely swallowed up, many very much shattered and
VIRG. Æn. i. ver. 122.
Among the mutilated poets of antiquity, there is none whose fragments are so beautiful as those of Sappha. They give us a taste of her way of writing, which is perfectly conformable with that ex. traordinary character we find of her, in the remarks of those great criticks who were conversant with her works when they were intire. Onę may fee by what is left of them, that she followed Nature in, all her thoughts, without descending to thote little points, conceits, and turns of wit with which ma-, ny of our modern lyricks are fo miserably infected. Her soul seems to have been made up of Love and poetry: She felt the paflion in all its warmth, and described it all its fymptoms. She is called by ancient authors the tenth muse; and by Plutarch is compared to Cacus the son of Vulcan, who breath. ed out nothing but flame. I do not know, by the character that is given of her works, whether it is not for the benefit of mankind that they are loft. They are filled with such bewitching tenderness and rapture, that it might have been dangerous to have given them a reading.
An inconftant Lover, called Phaon, occafioned great calamities to this poetical Lady. She fell defperately in love with him, and took a voyage into Sicily, in pursuit of him, he having withdrawn himself thither on purpose to avoid her. It was in that island, and on this occafion, she is supposed to have made the hymn to Venus, with a translation of which I shall present my reader. Her hymn
was ineffectual for procuring that happiness which fhe prayed for in it. Phaon was still obdurate, and Sappho fo transported with the violence of her paffion, that she was resolved to get rid of it at any price.
There was a promontory in Acarnania called Leucate, on the top of which was a little temple: dedicated to Apollo. In this temple it was usual for despairing lovers to make their vows in secret, and afterwards to fling themselves from the top of the precipice into the sea, where they were sometimes taken up alive. This place was therefore called, The Lover's Leap; and whether or no the fright they liad been in, or the resolution that could push: them to so dreadful a reinedy, or the bruises which they often received in their fall, banithed all the tender sentiments of Love, and gave their spirits another turn; those who had taken this leap were: observed never to relapse into that paflion. Sappho: tried the cure, but perished in the experiment.
After having given this short account of Sappho fo far as it regards the following Ode, I fhall subjoin the translation of it as it was sent me by a friend, whofe admirable pastorals and Winter-Piece have been already so well received. The reader will find in it that pathetick fimplicity which is fo peculiar to him, and fo suitable to the Ode he has here tranflated. This ode in the Greek (besides thofe beauties observed by Madam Dacier) has feveral harmonious turns in the words, which are not lost in the English. I muft farther add, that the translation has preserved every image and sentiment of Sappho, notwithstanding it has all the ease and fpirit of an original. In a word, if the Ladies have a mind to know the manner of writing practised by the so much celebrated Sappho, they may here see it in its genuine and natural beauty, without any foreign or affected ornaments.