Page images
PDF
EPUB

No. 479. observed to him, That they who learn to keep a good
Tuesday, Seat on Horseback, mount the least manageable they
Septe 9,
1712.

can get, and when they have master'd them, they are
sure never to be discomposed on the Backs of Steeds less
restíve. At several Times, to different Persons, on the
same Subject, he has said, My dear friend, you are
beholden to Xantippe, that I bear so well your flying out
in a Dispute. To another, My Hen clacks very much,
but she brings me chickens. They that live in a trading
Street, are not disturbed at the Passage of Carts. I
would have, if possible, a wise Man be contented with his
Lot, even with a Shrew; for though he cannot make her
better, he may, you see, make himself better by her
Means.

But, instead of pursuing my Design of displaying conjugal Love in its natural Beauties and Attractions, am got into Tales to the Disadvantage of that State of Life. I must say therefore, that I am verily perswaded that whatever is delightful in humane Life, is to be enjoyed in greater Perfection in the marry'd, than in the single Condition He that has this Passion in Perfection, in Occasions of Joy can say to himself

, besides his own Satisfaction, How happy will this make my Wife and Children? Upon Occurrences of Distress or Danger can comfort himself, But all this While my Wife and Children are safe. There is something in it that doubles Satisfactions, because others participate them and dispels Afflictions, because others are exempt from them. All who are married without this Relish of their Circumstance, are in either a Tasteless Indolence and Negligence, which is hardly to be attained, or else live in the hourly Repetition of sharp Answers, eager Upbraidings, and distracting Reproaches. In a Word, the married State, with and without the Affection suitable to it, is the compleatest Image of Heaven and Hell we are capable of receiving in this Life.

T

Wednesday

No. 480.

No. 480. [STEELE.]

Wednesday, September 10.

Wednes.

day, Responsare cupidinibus, contemaere honores

Sept. 10, Fortis, & in ipso totus, teres atque rotundusr-Hor. 1712. "HE other Day looking over those old Manuscripts,

which relate to the Character of the mighty Pharamond of France, and the close Friendship between him and his Friend Eucrate; I found, among the Letters which had been in the Custody of the latter, an Epistle from a Country Gentleman to Pharamond, wherein he excuses himself from coming to Court The Gentleman, it seems, was contented with his Condition, had formerly been in the King's Service, but at the writing the following Letter, had,

from Leisure and Reflection, quite another Sense of Things than that which he had in the more active Part of his Life,

Monsieur Chezluy to Pharamond, Dread Sir, I have from your own Hand (enclosed under the Cover of Mr. Eucrate of your Majesty's Bed-Chamber) a Letter which invites me to Court.' I understand this great Honour to be done me out of Respect and Inclination to me, rather than Regard to your owo Services For which Reasons, I beg Leave to lay before your Majesty my reasons for declining to depart from Home; and will not doubt but, as your Motive in desiring my Attendance was to make me an happier Man, when you think that will not be effected by my Remove, you will permit me to stay where I am. Those who have an Ambition to appear in Courts, have ever an Opinion that their persons or their Talents are particularly formed for the Service or Ornament of that Place; or else are hurried by downright Desire of Gain, or what they call Honour, or take upon themselves whatever the Generosity of their Master can give them Opportunities to grasp at. But your Goodness shall not be thus imposed upon by me. I will therefore confess to you, that frequent Solitude, and long Conversation with such who know no Arts which polish Life, have

made

No. 480. made me the plainest Creature in your Dominions. Those
Wednes- less Capacities of moving with a good Grace, bearing a
day,
Sept. 10,

ready Affability to all around me, and acting with Ease 1712. before many, have quite left me. I am come to that, with

Regard to my Person, that I consider it only as a Machine I am obliged to take care of, in order to enjoy my Soul in its Faculties with Alacrity: well remembring, that this Habitation of Clay will in a few Years be a meaner Piece of Earth than any Utensil about my House. When this is, as it really is, the most frequent Reflection I have, you will easily imagine how well I should become a Drawing. Room: Add to this, What shall a Man without Desires do about the generous Pharamond? Monsieur Eucrate has hinted to me, that you have Thoughts of distinguishing me with Titles. As for my self, in the Temper of my present Mind, Appellations of Honour would but embarrass Discourse, and new Behaviour towards me perplex me in every Habitude of Life. I am also to acknowledge to you, that my Children, of whom your Majesty condescended to enquire, are all of them mean both in their Persons and Genius. The Estate my eldest Son is Heir to, is more than he can enjoy with a good Grace. My Self-love will not carry me so far, as to impose upon Mankind the Advancement of Persons (meerly for their being related to me) into high Distinctions, who ought for their own Sakes, as well as that of the Publick, to affect Obscurity. I wish, my generous Prince, as it is in your Power to give Honours and Offices, it were also to give Talents suitable to them: Were it so, the noble Pharamond would reward the Zeal of my Youth with Abilities to do him Service in

my Age.

Those who accept of Favour without Merit, support themselves in it at the Expence of your Majesty. Give me Leave to tell you, Sir, this is the Reason that we in the Country hear so often repeated the word Prerogative. That Part of your Law which is reserved in your self for the readier Service and Good of the Publick, slight Men are eternally buzzing in our Ears to cover their own Follies and Miscarriages. It would be an Addition to the high Favour you have done if

you

would let Eucrate send me word how often, and in what Cases you allow a Con

stable

me,

stable to insist upon the Prerogative. From the highest No. 480. to the lowest Officer in your Dominions, something of Wednestheir own Carriage they would exempt from Examination day under the Shelter of the Word Prerogative. I would fain, 1712.

Sept. 10, most noble Pharamond, see one of your Officers assert your Prerogative by good and gracious Actions. When is it used to help the Afflicted, to rescue the Innocent, to comfort the Stranger ? Uncommon Methods, apparently undertaken to attain worthy Ends, would never make Power invidious. You see, Sir, I talk to you with the Freedom your noble Nature approves in all whom you admit to your

Conversation But, to return to your Majesty's Letter, I humbly conceive, that all Distinctions are useful to Men only as they are to act in Publick; and it would be a romantick Madness for a Man to be a Lord in his Closet. Nothing can be honourable to a Man apart from the World, but the Re flection upon worthy Actions, and he that places Honour in a Consciousness of Well-doing, will have but little Relish for any outward Homage that is paid him, since what gives him Distinction to himself, cannot come within the Observation of his Beholders. Thus all the Words of Lordship, Honour, and Grace, are only Repetitions to a Man, that the King has ordered him to be called so; but no Evidences that there is any Thing in himself that would give the Man who applies to him those Ideas, without the Creation of his Master.

I have, most noble Pharamond, all Honours and all Titles in your own Approbation ; I triumph in them as they are your Gift

, I refuse them as they are to give me the Observation of others. Indulge me, my noble Master, in this Chastity of Renown; let me know my self in the Favour of Pharamond; and look down upon the Applause of the People.

I am,

In all Duty and Loyalty,
Your Majesty's most obedient

Subject and Servante

Jean Chezluy.

No. 480. Wednes day, Sept 10, 1712.

"Sir, I need not tell you with what Disadvantages Men of low Fortunes and great Modesty come into the World, what wrong Measures their Diffidence of themselves, and Fear of offending, often obliges them to take, and what a Pity it is that their greatest Virtues and Qualities, that should soonest recommend them, are the main Obstacle in the Way of their Preferment

This, Sir, is my Case; I was bred at a Country School, where I learned Latin and Greek. The Misfortunes of my Family forced me up to Town, where a Profession of the politer Sort has protected me against Infamy and Want 'I am now Clerk to a Lawyer, and, in Times of Vacancy and Recess from Business, have made my self Master of Italian and French; and though the Progress I have made in my Business has gain'd me Reputation enough for one of my Standing, yet my Mind suggests to me every Day, that it is not upon that Foundation I am to build my Fortune.

The Version I have my present Dependence upon, has it in his Nature, as well as in his Power, to advance me, by recommending me to a Gentleman that is going ber yond Sea in a publick Employment. I know the Printing this Letter would point me out to those I want Confidence to speak to, and I hope it is not in your Power to refuse making any Body happy. September 9,

Yours, &c. 1712.

M, DA

[ocr errors]

No. 481.
(ADDISON.]

Thursday, September 11.

-Uti non

Compositus melius cum Bitho Bacchius. In jus

Acres procurrunt, -Hora
I

T is something pleasant enough to consider the different Thing. If Men of low Condition very often set a Value on Things, which are not prized by those who are in an

higher

« PreviousContinue »