Page images
PDF
EPUB

and not by the eminence of those qualities abstracted from their use ; I say, however just such a way of . judging is, in all ages as well as this, the contra. ry has prevailed upon the generality of mankind. How many lewd devices have been preserved from one age to another, which had perished as soon as they were made, if painters and sculptors had been esteemed as much for the purpose as the execution of their designs ? Modest and well-governed imaginations have by this means lost the representations of ten thousand charming portraitures, filled with images of innate truth, generous zeal, courageous faith, and tender humanity; instead of which, fatyrs, furies, and monfters are recommended by those arts to a shameful eternity.

The unjust application of laudable talents, is tolerated, in the general opinion of men, not only in such cases as are here mentioned, but also in matters which concern ordinary life. If a lawyer were to be esteemed only as he uses his parts

in tending for justice, and were immediately defpicable when he appeared in a cause which he could not but know was an unjust one, how honourable would his character be! And how honourable is it in fuch among us, who follow the profeffion no other- wise, than as labouring to protect the injured, to fubdue the oppressor, to imprison the careless debtor, and. do right to the painful artificer? But many of this excellent character are overlooked by the greater number; who affect covering a weak place in a client's title, diverting the course of an inquiry, or finding a skilful refuge to palliate a falsehood : Yet it is still called eloquence in the latter, though thus unjustly employed : But resolution in an affalin is according to reason quite as laudable, as knowledge and wisdom exercised in the defence of an ill cause.

Were the intention stedfastly considered, as the measure of approbation, all falsehood would foon be out of countenance : And an-address in impor

ing

con

B3

ing upon mankind, would be as contemptible in one state of life as another. A couple of courtiers, making professions of esteem, would make the fame figure after breach of promise, as two knights of the post convicted of perjury. But converfation is fallen fo low in point of morality, that as they fay in a bargain, Let the buyer look to it; fo in friendship, he is the man in danger who is most apt to believe: He is the more likely to suffer in the commerce, who begins with the obligation of being the more ready to enter into it.

But those men only are truly great, who place their ambition rather in acquiring to themselves the conscience of worthy enterprises, than in the prospect of glory which attends them. Thefe exalted fpirits would rather be fecretly the authors of events which are serviceable to mankind, than, with: out being such, to have the publick fame of it, Where therefore an eminent merit is robbed by artifice or detraction, it does but increase by such en, deavours of its enemies: The impotent pains which are taken to fully it, or diffuse it among a crowd to the injury of a single person, will naturally pro: duce the contrary effect; the fire will blaze out, and burn up all that attempt to fmother what they cannot extinguih.

There is but one thing necessary to keep the pola feflion of true glory, which is, to hear the oppofers of it with patience, and preserve the virtue by which it was acquired. When a man is thoroughly perfuaded that he ought neither to admire, with for, or pursue any thing but what is exactly his duty, it is not in the power of seafons, persons or accidents, to diminish his value. He only is a great man who can neglect the applause of the multitude, and enjoy himself independent of its favour. This is indeed an arduous task; but it should comfort a glorious fpirit that it is the highest step to which human nature can arrive. Triumph, applause, ac

clamation

clamation, are dear to the mind of man; but it is fil a more exquisite delight to fay to yourtelf, you have done, well, than to hear the whole human race pronounce you glorious, except you yourself can join with them in your own reflections A mind shus equal and uniform may be deferted by little fashionable admirers and followers, but will ever be had in reverence by fouls like itself. The branches of the oak endure all the seasons of the year, tho? its leaves fall off in autumn; and those too will be peftored with the returning spring.

T

NO 173. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18.

Remove fera monftra, tuæque
Saxificos vultus, quacunque ea, tolle Medifa.

Ovid. Met. l. 4. ver. 216.

Remove that horrid monster, and take hence

Medusa's. perrifying countenance. IN a late paper I mentioned the project of an in

genious author for the erecting of several handicraft prizes to be contended for by our British artisans, and the infuence they might have towards the improvement of our several manufactures. I have fince that been very much surprifed by the following advertisement, which I find in the Post-Boy of the eleventh instant, and again repeated in the Pol-Boy of the fifteenth. ON N the ninth of October next will be run for up

on Coleshill-Heath in Warwickshire, a plate of fix guineas value, three heats, by any horfe, mare or gelding, that hath not won above the value of five pounds, the winning horse to be sold for ten pounds, to carry ten stone weight, if fourteen hands high; if above

, or under to.ca; ry or be allowed weight for inches, and to be entered Friday, the fifth, at the Swan in

Coleshill,

1

Coleshill, before fix in the evening. Also a plate of less value to be run for by afses. The same day a gold ring to be grinned for by men.

The first of thoie divifions that is to be exhibited by the ten pounds race-horses, may probably have its use; but the two last, in which the affes and men are concerned, seem to me altogether extraordinary and unaccountable. Why they should keep running affes at Colesbill, or how making mouths turns to account in Warwicksbire, more than in any other parts of England, I cannot comprehend. I have looked over all the olympic games, and do not find any thing in them like an ass-race, or a match at grinning. However it be, I am informed that several asses are now kept in body-clothes, and sweated every morning upon the heath, and that all the country-fellows within ten miles of the Swan, grin an hour or two in their glaffes every morning, in order to qualify themselves for the ninth of Ortober. The prize, which is proposed to be grinned for, has raised such an ambition among the common people of out-grinning one another, that many very discerning persons are afraid it should spoil most of the faces in the country; and that a Warwickshire man will be known by his grin, as Roman-catholicks imagine a Kentish man is by his tail. The gold ring which is made the prize of deformity, is just the reverse of the golden apple that was formerly made the prize of beauty, and fhould carry for its pofy the old motto inverted;

Detur tetriori. Or to accommodate it to the capacity of the combatants,

The frightfull’st grinner.

Be the winner. In the mean while I would advise a Dutch painter to be prefent at this great controversy of faces,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

in order to make a collection of the most remarkable grins that shall be there exhibited.

I must not here omit an account which I lately received of one of those grinning-matches from a gentleman, who, upon reading the above-inentioned advertisement, entertained a coffee-house with the following narrative. Upon the taking of Namure, amidst other publick rejoicings made on that occafion, there was a gold ring given by a whig juftice of peace to be grinned for. The first competitor that entered the lifts, was a black swarthy French. man, who accidentally passed that way, and being a man naturally of a withered look, and hard features, promised himself good fuccess. He was placed upon a table in the great point of view, and looking upon the company like Milton's death,

Grinn'd horribly a ghaftly smile His niuscles were so drawn together on each fide of his face, that he shewed twenty teeth at a grin, and put the country in some pain, left a foreigner fhould carry away the honour of the day; but upon a further trial they found he was master only of the merry grin.

The next that mounted the table was a malecontent in those days, and a great master in the whole art of grinning, but particularly excelled in the angry grin. He did his part so well, that he is said to have made half a dozen women miscarry; but the justice being apprized by one who stood near him, that the fellow who grinned in his face was a Jacobite, and being unwilling that a disaffected person should win the gold ring, and be looked upon as the best grinner in the country, he ordered the oaths to be tendered' unto hiin upon his quitting the table, which the grinner refusing, he was fet aside as an unqualified person, There were several other grotesque figures that presented thein. felves, which it would be too tedious to describe,

I must

« PreviousContinue »