« FöregåendeFortsätt »
rished out into so many shoots, and bent with so much fruit, that the old gentleman was quite out of countenance. To comfort me under this disgrace, he singled out a branch ten times more fruitful than the other which he told me he valued more than any in the tree, and bade me be of good comfort. This enormous bough was a graft out of a Welsh heiress, with so many Aps upon it that it might have made a little grove by itself. From the trunk of the pedigree, which was chiefly composed of labourers and shepherds, arose a huge sprout of farmers: this was branched out into yeomen, and ended in a sheriff of the county, who was knighted for his good service to the crown in bringing up an address. Several of the names that seemed to disparage the family, being looked upon as mistakes, were lopped off as rotten or withered; as, on the contrary, no small num. ber appearing without any titles, my cousin, to supply the defects of the manuscript, added esq. at the end of each of them.
• This tree, so pruned, dressed and cultivated, was, within a few days, transplanted into a large sheet of vellum, and placed in the great hall, where it attracts the veneration of his tenants every Sunday morning, while they wait until his worship is ready to go to church; wondering that a man who had so many fathers before him should not be made a knight, or at least a justice of the peace.'
-Studiis florentem ignobilis oti.
VIRG. Georg. iv. 564.
It is reckoned a piece of ill-breeding for one man to engross the whole talk to himself. For this reason, since I keep three visiting-days in the week, I am content now and then to let my friends put in a word.
There are several advantages hereby accruing both to my readers and myself. As first, young and modest writers have an opportunity of getting into print; again, the town enjoys the pleasures of variety; and posterity will see the humour of the present age, by the help of these lights into private and domestic life. The benefits I receive from thence are such as these : I gain more time for future speculations; pick up hints which I improve for the public good; give advice ; redress grievances; and, by leaving commodious
between the several letters that I print, furnish out a Spectator, with little labour and great ostentation. MR. SPECTATOR,
"I was mightily pleased with your speculation of Friday. Your sentiments are noble, and the whole worked up in such a manner as cannot but strike upon every reader. But give me leave to make this remark; that while you write so pathetically on contentment, and a retired life, you sooth the passion of melancholy, and depress the mind from actions truly glorious. Ti. tles and honours are the reward of virtue; we
therefore ought to be affected with them ; and though light minds are too much puffed up with exterior pomp, yet I cannot see why it is not as, truly philosophical, to admire the glowing ruby, or the sparkling green of an emerald, as the fainter and less permanent beauties of a rose or a myrtle. If there are men of extraordinary capacities who lie concealed from the world, I should impute it to them as a blot in their characters did not I be. lieve it owing to the meanness of their fortune rather than of their spirit. Cowley, who tells the story of Aglaüs with so much pleasure, was no stranger to courts, nor insensible of praise.
“ What shall I do to be for ever known,
And make the age to come my own ?" was the result of a laudable ambition. It was not until after frequent disappointments that he termed himself the melancholy Cowley; and he praised solitude when he despaired of shining in a court. The soul of man is an active principle. He, therefore, who withdraws himself from the scene before he has played his part, ought to be hissed off the stage, and cannot be deemed virtuous, because he refuses to answer his end. I must own I am fired with an honest ambition to imitate every illustrious example. The battles of Blenheim and Ramilies have more than once made me wish myself a soldier. And, when I have seen those actions so nobly celebrated by our poets, I have secretly aspired to be one of that distinguished class. But in vain I wish, in vain I pant with the desire of action. I am chained down in obscurity, and the only pleasure I can take is in seeing so many brighter geniuses join their friendly lights to add to the splendour of the throne.
Farewell then, dear Spec, and believe me to be with great emulation, and no envy, Your professed admirer,
Middle-Temple, Oct. 16, 1714. THOUGH
you have formerly made eloence the subject of one or more of your papers, I do not remember that you ever considered it as possessed by a set of people, who are so far from making Quintilian's rules their practice, that, I dare say for them, they never heard of such an author, and yet are no less masters of it than Tully or Demosthenes among the ancients, or whom you please among the moderns. The persons I am speaking of are our common beggars about this town; and, that what I say is true, I appeal to any man who has a heart one degree softer than a stone. As for my part, who do not pretend to more humanity than my neighbours. I have oftentimes gone from my chambers with money in my pocket, and returned to them not only pennyless, but destitute of a farthing, without bestowing of it any other way than on these seeming objects of pity. In short, I have seen more eloquence in a look from one of these despicable creatures than in the eye of the fairest she I ever saw, yet no one a greater admirer of that sex than myself. What I have to desire of you is, to lay down some directions in order to guard against these powerful orators, or else I know nothing to the contrary but I must myself be forced to leave the profession of the law, and endeavour to get the qualifications necessary to that more profitable one of begging. But, in whichsoever of these two capacities I shine, I sh..il always
desire to be your constant reader, and ever will be Your most humble servant,
UPON reading a Spectator last week, where Mrs. Fanny Fickle submitted the choice of a lover for life to your decisive determination, and imagining I might claim the favour of your advice in an affair of the like, but much more difficult nature, I called for pen and ink, in order to draw the characters of seven humble servants, whom I have equally encouraged for some time. But, alas! while I was reflecting on the agreeable subject, and contriving an advantageous description of the dear person I was most inclined to favour, I happened to look into my glass. The sight of the small-pox, out of which I am just recovered, tormented me at once with the loss of my captivating arts and my captives. The confusion I was in, on this unhappy, unseasonable discovery, is inexpressible. Believe me, sir, I was so taken up with the thoughts of your fair correspondent's case, and so intent on my own design, that I fancied myself as triumphant in my conquests as
Now, sir, finding I was incapacitated to amuse myself on that pleasing subject, I resolved to apply myself to you, or your casuistical agent, for advice in my present circumstances. I am sensible the tincture of my skin, and the regularity of my features, which the malice of my late illness has altered, are irrecoverable; yet do not despair but that that loss, by your assistance, may in some. measure be reparable, if you will please to propose a way for the recovery of one only of my fugitives.
One of them is in a more particular manner beholden to me than the rest; he, for some private reasons, being desirous to be a lover incognito, always addressed me with billet-doux, which