Слике страница
PDF
ePub

not driven to our duty by laws, so much as by ambition. Whatever princes do, in their own persons, they seem to authorize in their subjects. If it were enacted, that only persons of high rank should dine upon three dishes, the lower sort would desire to have three; but, if commoners were permitted to have as many dishes as they pleased, whilst the nobility were limited to two, the inferior sort would not exceed that number. An order to abolish the wearing of jewels has set a whole country in an uproar; but, if the order had only prohibited ear-rings to ladies of the first quality, other women would not have desired to wear them. Some do not rise till noon; but, if all people were ordered to lie in bed so long, the present morning sleepers would rise carlier. There are those who seldom speak truth; but, if lying passed for a virtue, these liars would speak as true as their neighbours. If gaming were reckoned ungenteel, cards and dice would lose of their re. , lish. Some pretend to disbelieve religiou, because others hold faith as a duty. All this may be thought extravagant; but I judge of things that may happen, from things that have happened, and know no better way to foretell the behaviour of men.

Gregorius Leti, in his “ History of the Duke d'Ossuna," gives a remarkable instance of this perverse nature in man. A rich Neapolitan merchant, Jacob Morel, prided himself in not having once set his foot out of the city, during the space of forty-eight years. This coming to the ears of the Duke, Morel had notice sent him, that he was to take no journey out of the kingdom, under the penalty of 10,000 .crowns. The merchant smiled at recciving the order; but afterwards, not being able to fathom the reason of such a prohibition, grew so uneasy, that he paid the fine, and took a little trip out of the kingdom.-The Reflector.

VOL. 1. 7

[ocr errors]

Aversion to Study.-Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labour; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ig. nurant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.Johnson.

[ocr errors]

Money well laid out.--No money is better spent than what is laid out for domestic satisfaction. A man is pleased that his wife is dressed as well as other people, and the wife is pleased that she is dressed.-Ibid.

CXXVII. Judgment. The most necessary talent in a man of conversation, is a good judgment. He that has this in perfection is master of his companion, without letting bim see it; and has the same advantage over men of any other qualifications whatsoever, as one that can see would have over a blind man of ten times his strength.-Steele.

CXXVIII. Conversation. It is a wonderful thing that so many, and they not reckoned absurd, shall entertain those with whom they converse, by giving them the history of their pains, and aches; and imagine such narrations their quota of the conversation. This is, of all other, the meanest help to discourse, and a man must not think at all, or think himself very insignificant, when he finds an account of his headach answered by another's asking what news in the last mail.--Ibid.

CXXIX. Advice.-There is nothing of which men are more liberal than their good advice, be their stock of it ever so

small; because it seems to carry in it an intimation of our own influence, importance, or worth.--Young,

. cxxx. The End of Prudence. The great end of prudence is to give cheerfulness to those hours, which splendour cannot gild, and acclamation cannot exhilarate. Those soft intervals of unbended amusement, in which a man shrinks to his natural dimensions, and throws aside the ornaments or disguises which he feels, in privacy, to be useless en. cumbrances, and to lose all effect when they become familiar. To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labour tends, and of which every desire prompts the pro. secution. It is, indeed, at home that every man must be known by those who would make a just estimate of his virtue, or felicity; for smiles and embroidery are alike occasional, and the mind is often dressed for show in painted honour and fictitious benevolence.-Johnson.

CXXXI. How to form a Judgment.-In forming a judgment, lay your hearts void of foretaken opinions: else, whatso. ever is done or said, will be measured by a wrong rule, like them who have the jaundice, to whom every thing appeareth yellow.—Sir P. Sidney. '

CXXXII. Of Speaking of One's Self.—" It is a hard and nice subject for a man to speak of himself,” says Cowley: "it grates his own heart to say any thing of disparagement, and the reader's ears to hear any thing of praise from him." Let the tenour of his discourse be what it will upon this subject, it generally proceeds from vanity. An ostentatious man will rather relate a blunder or an absurdity he has committed, than be debarred from talking of his own dear person. --Addison.

CXXXIII. Folly and Madness. Folly consists in the drawing of false conclusions from just principles, by which it is distinguished from madness, which draws just conclusions from false principles.-Locke.

C*XXIV. Topics of Discourse.—The weather is not a safe topic of discourse; your company may be hippish: nor is health; your associate may be a malade imaginaire: nor is money; you may be suspected as a borrower.-Zimmer

man.

cxxxv. Rich and Poor. The difference between a rich man and a poor man is this—the former eats when he pleases, and the latter when he can get it.—Sir W. Raleigh.

CXXXVI. True Courage.—True courage has so little to do with anger that there lies always the strongest suspicion against it where this passion is highest. The true courage is cool and calm. The bravest of men have the least of a brutal bullying insolence; and, in the very time of danger, are found the most serene, pleasant, and free. Rage, we know, can make a coward forget himself and fight. But what is done in fury or anger can never be placed to the account of courage. Were it otherwise, womankind might claim to be the stoutest sex: for their hatred and

anger have ever been allowed the strongest and most lasting.-Shaftesbury.

cxxxvII. . Liberty.—'The liberty of a people consists in being governed by laws which they have made themselves, under whatsoever form it be of government; the liberty of a private man, in being master of his own time and actions, as far as may consist with the laws of God, and of his country.-Cowley.

CXXXVIII. Philosophy.-Philosophy can add to our happiness in no other manner but by diminishing our misery: it should not pretend to increase our present stock, but make us economists of what we are possessed of. The great source of calamity lies in regret or anticipation; he, therefore, is most wise, who thinks of the present alone, regardless of the past or future. This is impossible to a man of plea. sure; it is difficult to the man of business; and is, in some degree, attainable by the philosopher. Happy were we all born philosophers, all born with a talent of thus dissipating our own carcs by spreading them upon all mankind.-Goldsmith. . .

cxxxIx. Reputation.Whatever indifference we affect to show for the good of mankind, every one seeks for esteem, and believes himself more worthy of it, in proportion as ho finds himself generally esteemed: he considers the public suffrage as a surety for the high opinion he has of himself. The pretended contempt, therefore, for reputation, and sacrifice said to be made of it to fortune and reflec

« ПретходнаНастави »