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man likes what he has chosen, which I thank God has befallen me; and though among the follies of my life, building and planting have not been the least, and have cost me more than I have the confidence to own; yet they have been fully recompensed by the sweetness and satisfaction of this retreat, where, since my resolution taken of never entering again into any public employments, I have passed five years without ever once going to town, though I am almost in sight of it, and have a house there always ready to receive me. Nor has this been any sort of affectation, as some have thought it, but a mere want of desire or humour to make so small a remove ; for when I am in this corner, I can truly say with Horace, Me quoties reficit, &c.
“Me, when the cold Digentian stream revives,
The writings of Temple are, in general, after this easy copy. On one occasion, indeed, his wit, which was mostly subordinate to nature and tenderness, has seduced him into a string of felicitous antitheses; which, it is obvious to remark, have been a model to Addison and succeeding essayists. “Who would not be covetous, and with reason,"
“ if health could be purchased with gold ? who not ambitious, if it were at the command of
power, or restored by honour ? but, alas ! a white staff will not help gouty feet to walk better than a common cane ; nor a blue riband bind up a wound so well as a fillet. The glitter of gold, or of diamonds, will but hurt sore eyes instead of curing them; and an aching head will be no more eased by wearing a crown, than a common night-cap.”. In a far better style, and more accordant with his own humour of plainness, are the concluding sentences of his “Discourse upon Poetry.” Temple took a part in the controversy about the ancient and the modern learning; and, with that partiality so natural and so graceful in an old man, whose state engagements had left him little leisure to look into modern productions, while his retirement gave him occasion to look back upon the classic studies of his youth-decided in favour of the latter. “ Certain it is,” he says, “that, whether the fierceness of the Gothic humours, or noise of their perpetual wars, frighted it away, or that the unequal mixture of the modern languages would not bear it--the great heights and excellency both of poetry and music fell with the Roman learning and empire, and have never since recovered the admiration and applauses that before attended them. Yet, such as they are amongst us, they must be confessed to be the softest and the sweetest, the most general and most innocent amusements of common time and life. They still find room in the courts of princes, and the cottages of shepherds. They serve to revive and animate the dead calm of poor and idle lives, and to allay or divert the violent passions and perturbations of
the greatest and the busiest men. And both these effects are of equal use to human life ; for the mind of man is like the sea, which is neither agreeable to the beholder nor the voyager, in a calm or in a storm, but is so to both when a little agitated by gentle gales; and so the mind, when moved by soft and easy passions or affections. I know very well that many who pretend to be wise by the forms of being grave, are apt to despise both poetry and music, as toys and trifles too light for the use or entertainment of serious men. But whoever find themselves wholly insensible to their charms, would, I think, do well to keep their own counsel, for fear of reproaching their own temper, and bringing the goodness of their natures, if not of their understandings, into question. While this world lasts, I doubt not but the pleasure and request of these two entertainments will do so too; and happy those that content themselves with these, or any other so easy and so innocent, and do not trouble the world or other men, because they cannot be quiet themselves, though nobody hurts them.” “When all is done (he concludes), human life is at the greatest and the best but like a froward child, that must be played with, and humoured a little, to keep it quiet, till it falls asleep, and then the care is over.”
7N the noon of the 14th of November,
1743 or 4, I forget which it was, just as the clock had struck one, Barbara S
with her accustomed punc. tuality, ascended the long rambling staircase, with awkward interposed landing-places, which led to the office, or rather a sort of box with a desk in it, whereat sat the then Treasurer of (what few of our readers may remember) the Old Bath Theatre. All over the island it was the custom, and remains so I believe to this day, for the players to receive their weekly stipend on the Saturday. It was not much that Barbara had to claim.
This little maid had just entered her eleventh year ; but her important station at the theatre, as it seemed to her, with the benefits which she felt to accrue from her pious application of her small earnings, had given an air of womanhood to her steps and to her behaviour. You would have taken her to have been at least five years older.
Till latterly she had merely been employed in choruses, or where children were wanted to fill up
But the manager, observing a diligence and adroitness in her above her age, had for some few months past instrusted to her the performance of whole parts. You may guess the self consequence of the promoted Barbara. She had already drawn tears in young Arthur ; had rallied Richard with infantine petulance in the Duke of York; and in her turn had rebuked that petulance when she was Prince of Wales. She would have done the elder child in Morton's pathetic after-piece to the life ; but as yet the “Children in the Wood ” was not.
Long after this little girl was grown an aged woman, I have seen some of these small parts, each making two or three pages at most, copied out in the rudest hand of the then prompter, who doubtless transcribed a little more carefully and fairly for the grown-up tragedy ladies of the establishment. But such as they were, blotted and scrawled, as for a child's use, she kept them all ; and in the zenith of her after reputation it was a delightful sight to behold them bound up in costliest Morocco, each single-each small part making a book--with fine clasps, gilt-splashed, &c. She had conscientiously kept them as they had been delivered to her ; not a blot had been effaced or tampered with. They were precious to her for their affecting remembrancings. They were her principia, her rudiments ; the elementary atoms; the little steps by which she pressed forward to perfection. “What,” she would say, “could Indian rubber, or a .pumice stone, have done for these darlings?"
I am in no hurry to begin my story-indeed I