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N° 424. MONDAY, JULY 7, 1712.
Hor. 1 Ep. xi. 30.
From our own mind our satisfaction springs. * MR. SPECTATOR,
London, June 24. A
company, would certainly be much to blame, should he not, to the best of his judgment, take such as are of a temper most suitable to his own; and where that choice is wanting, or where a man is mistaken in his choice, and yet under a necessity of continuing in the same company, it will certainly be his interest to carry himself as easily as possible.
"In this I am sensible I do but repeat what has been said a tbousand times, at which, however, I think nobody has
any title to take exception, but they who never failed to put this in practice. Not to use any longer preface, this being the season of the year in which great numbers of all sorts of people retire from this place of business and pleasure to country solitude, I think it not improper to advise them to take with them as great a stock of good humour as they can; for though a country life is described as the most pleasant of all others, and though it may in truth be so, yet it is so only to those who know how to enjoy leisure and retirement.
" As for those who cannot live without the constant helps of business or company, let them consider, that in the country there is no Exchange, there are no playhouses, no variety of coffee-houses, nor many of those other amuse ments which serve here as so many reliefs from the repeated occurrences in their own families; but that there the greatest part of their time must be spent within themselves, and consequently it behoves them to consider how agree able it will be to them before they leave this dear town.
“I remember, Mr. Spectator, we were very well entertained last year, with the advices you gave us from Sir Roger's country-seat; which I the rather mention, because it is almost impossible not to live pleasantly, where the
master of a family is such a one as you there describe your friend, who cannot therefore (I mean as to his domestic character) be too often recommended to the imitation of others. How amiable is that affability and benevolence with, which he treats his neighbours, and every one, even the meanest of his own family! and yet how seldom imitated! Instead of which we commonly meet with ill-natured expostulations, noise, and chidings—And this I hinted, because the humour and disposition of the head is what chiefly influences all the other parts of a family.
“An agreement and kind correspondence between friends and acquaintance is the greatest pleasure of life. This is an undoubted truth ; and yet any man who judges from the practice of the world will be almost persuaded to believe the contrary; for how can we suppose people should be so industrious to make themselves uneasy? What can engage them to entertain and foment jealousies of one another upon every the least occasion ? Yet so it is, there are people who (as it should seem)
delight in being troublesome and vexatious, who (as Tully speaks) miri sunt alacritate ad litigandum, ' have a certain cheerfulness in Wrangling.” And thus it happens, that there are very few families in which there are not feuds and animosities, though it is every one's interest, there more particularly, to avoid them, because there (as I would willingly hope) no one gives another uneasiness without feeling some share of it.-But I am gone beyond what I designed, and had almost forgot what I chiefly. proposed; which was, barely to tell you how hardly we, who pass most of our time in town, dispense with a long vacation in the country; how uneasy we grow to ourselves, and to one another, when our conversation is confined; insomuch that, by Michael mas, it is odds but we come to downright squabbling, and make as free with one another to our faces as we do with the rest of the world behind their backs. After I have told you this, I am to desire that you would now and then give us a lesson of good-humour, a family-piece, which, since we are all
you, I hope may have some influence upon us.
“After these plain observations, give me leave to give you a hint of what a set of company of my acquaintance, who are now gone into the country, and have the use of
an absent nobleman's seat, have settled among themselves, to avoid the inconveniences above mentioned. They are a collection of ten or twelve, of the same good inclination towards each other, but of very different talents and inclinations; from hence they hope that the variety of their tempers will only create variety of pleasures. But as there always will arise, among the same people, either for want of diversity of objects, or the like causes, a certain satiety, which may grow into ill-humour or discontent, there is a large wing of the house which they design to employ in the nature of an infirmary. Whoever says a peevish thing, or acts any thing which betrays a sourness or indisposition to company, is immediately to be conveyed to his chambers in the infirmary; from whence he is not to be relieved, till by his manner of submission, and the sentiments expressed in his petition for that purpose, he appears to the majority of the company to be again fit for society. You are to understand, that all ill-natured words or uneasy gestures are sufficient cause for banishment; speaking impatiently to servants, making a man repeat what he says, or any thing that betrays inattention or dishumour, are also criminal without reprieve. But it is provided, that whoever observes the ill-natured fit coming upon himself, and voluntarily retires, shall be received at his return from the infirmary with the highest marks of esteem. By these and other wholesome methods, it is expected that, if they cannot cure one another, yet at least they have taken care that the ill-humour of one shall not be troublesome to the rest of the company. There are many other rules which the society have established for the preservation of their ease and tranquillity, the effects of which, with the incidents that arise among them, shall be communicated to you from time to time, for the public good, by,
“Sir, your most humble servant, T.
N° 425. TUESDAY, JULY 8, 1712.
Bruma recurrit iners.-HOR. 4 Od. vii. 9.
But yields to autumn's fruitful rain,
SIR. W. TEMPLE.
delight than the enjoyment of a cool still evening after the uneasiness of a hot sultry day. Such a one I passed not long ago, which made me rejoice when the hour was come for the sun to set, that I might enjoy the freshness of the evening in my garden, which then affords me the pleasantest hours I pass in the whole four-and. twenty. I immediately rose from my couch, and went down into it. You descend at first by twelve stone steps into a large square divided into four grass-plots, in each of which is a statue of white marble. This is separated from a large parterre by a low wall; and from thence, through a pair of iron gates, you are led into a long broad walk of the finest turf, set on each side with tall yews, and on either hand bordered by a canal, which on the right divides the walk from a wilderness parted into a variety of alleys and arbours, and on the left from a kind of am. phitheatre, which is the receptacle of a great number of oranges and myrtles. The moon shone bright, and seemed then most agreeably to supply the place of the sun, obliging me with as much light as was necessary to discover a thousand pleasing objects, and at the same time divested of all power of heat. The reflection of it in the water, the fanning of the wind rustling on the leaves, the singing of the thrush and nightingale, and the coolness of the walks, all conspired to make me lay aside all displeasing thoughts, and brought me into such a tranquillity of mind, as is, I believe, the next happiness to that of hereafter. In this
sweet retirement I naturally fell into the repetition of some lines out of a poem of Milton's, which he entitles Il Penseroso, the ideas of which were exquisitely suited to my present wanderings of thought.
Sweet hird! that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Then let some strange mysterious dream
Or the unseen genius of the wood. " I reflected then upon the sweet vicissitudes of night and day, on the charming disposition of the seasons, and their return again in a perpetual circle : and oh! said I, that I could from these my declining years return again to my first spring of youth and vigour, but that, alas! is impossible: all that remains within my power is to soften the inconveniences I feel, with an easy contented mind, and the enjoyment of such delights as this solitude affords me. In this thought, I sat me down on a bank of flowers, and dropped into a slumber, which, whether it were the effect of fumes and vapours, or my present thoughts, I know not; but methought the genius of the garden stood before me, and introduced into the walk where I lay this drama and different scenes of the revolution of the year, which whilst I then saw, even in my dream, I resolved to write down, and send to the Spectator :
“ The first person whom I saw advancing towards me was a youth of a most beautiful air and shape, though he seemed not yet arrived at that exact proportion and symmetry of parts which a little more time would have given him; but, however, there was such a bloom in his coun: