« 上一頁繼續 »
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 completest image of heaven and hell we are capable of receiving in this life.
N° 480. WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 10, 1712.
Responsare cupidinibus, contemnere honores
HoR. 2 Sat. vii. 83.
He, Sir, is proof to grandeur, pride, or pelf,
which I have formerly given some account, and 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 more out of respect and inclination to me, rather than regard to your own service ; for which reason I beg leave to lay before your majesty my reason's for declining to depart from home; and will not doubt but as your motive in desiring my attendance was to make me a happier man, when you think that will not be effected by my remove, you will permit me to stay where I
Those who have an ambition to appear in "courts, have either 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, to take upon themselves whatever. the generosity of their 'inaster 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 me the plainest creature in your dominions. Those less capacities of moving with a good grace, bearing a ready affability to all around me, and acting with ease 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 remembering that this habitation of clay.will in a few years be a meaner piece of earth than any utensil about
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 myself, 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,
children, of whom your majesty condescended to inquire, 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 (merely for their being related to me) into high distinctions, who ought for their own sakes, as well as that of the public, 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 expense 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 yourself, for the readier service and good of the public, 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 me, if you would let Eucrate send me word how often, and in what cases, you allow a constable to insist
upon the prerogative. From the highest to the lowest officer in your dominions, something of their own carriage they would exempt from examination, under the shelter of the word prerogative. I would fain, 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, apparantly 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 public; and it would be a romantic madness for a man to be a lord in his closet. Nothing can be honourable to a man apart from the world, but the reflection 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 myself 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
“ JEAN CHEZLU Y." " SIR, “ I need not tell with what disadvantages men of low for tunes and great modesty come into the world; what wrong measures their diffidence of themselves, and fear of offending, often oblige 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
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 myself master of Italian and French; and though the progress I have made in my business has gained 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 person I have my present dependance upon has it in his nature, as well as in his power, to advance me, by recommending me to a gentleman that is going beyond sea in a public 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.
“ Yours, &c. September 9, 1712.
" M.D." T.
N°481. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1712.
Compositus melius cum Bitho Bacchius. In jus
Hor. Sat. 1. vii. 19.
If men of low condition very often set a value on things which are not prized by those who are in a higher station of life, there are many things these esteem which are in no value among persons of an inferior rank. Common people are, in particular, very much astonished when they hear of those solemn contests and debates, which are made among the great upon the punctilios of a public ceremony; and wonder to hear that any business of consequence should be retarded by those little circumstances, which they represent to themselves as trifling and insignificant. I am mightily pleased with a porter's decision in one of Mr. Southern's plays, which is founded upon that fine distress of a virtuous woman's marrying a second husband, while the first was yet living. The first husband, who was supposed to have been dead, returning to his house, after a long absence, raises a noble perplexity for the tragic part of the play. In the meanwhile the nurse and the porter conferring upon the difficulties that would ensue in such a case, honest Samson thinks the matter may be easily decided, and solves it very judiciously by the old proverb, that, if his first master be still living, the man must have his mare again." There is nothing in my time which has so much surprised and confounded the greatest part of my honest countrymen, as the present controversy between Count Rechteren and Monsieur Mesnager, which employs the wise heads of so many nations, and holds all the affairs of Europe in suspense.
Upon my going into a coffee-house yesterday, and lending an ear to the next table, which was encompassed with a circle of inferior politicians, one of them, after having read over the news very attentively, broke out into