« 上一頁繼續 »
Became a sceptic, and could raise a doubt
"No joys, and would abridge the scanty few
"Her let me worship, as herself enjoins,
"At the full board of plenty." Thoughtless boy!
A man of honour, boastful empty names
And when at home under a cautious mask
He called him home, with great applause dismiss'd
With warm heart He drew his purse-strings, and the utmost doit Pour'd in the youngster's palm. "Away, he cries, "Go to the seat of learning, boy.
"Be wise, be frugal, for 'tis all I can.'
"I will," said Toby, as he bang'd the door,
A sturdy fresh man. See him just arriv'd,
To drown his freshness in a pipe of port.
"Quick, Mr. Vintner, twenty dozen more;
"Some claret, too. Here's to our friends at home. "There let 'em doze. Be it our nobler aim
"To live-where stands the bottle?" Then to town Hies the gay spark for futile purposes,
And deeds, my bashful musc disclaims to name.
From town to college, till a fresh supply
The weekly post to the vex'd parent brings
So, blaming with good cause the vast expense,
And no one knows what charming things are doing
So Toby fares, nor heeds
Till terms are wasted, and the proud degree,
Vain was the hope. Though many a wolf as féll
He penn'd a challenge, sent it, fought, and fell.
KNOW no two words that have been more abused by the different and wrong interpretations which are put upon them, than these two, Modesty and Assurance. To say, such a one is a modest man, sometimes indeed passes for a good character; but at present it is very often used to signify a sheepish awkward fellow, who has neither good breeding, politeness, nor any knowledge of the world."
Again, a man of assurance, though at first it only denoted a person of a free and open carriage, is now very usually applied to a profligate wretch, who can break through all the rules of decency and morality without a blush.
I shall endeavour, therefore, in this essay to restore these words to their true meaning, to prevent the idea of Modesty from being confounded with that of Sheepishness, and to hinder Impudence from passing for Assurance.
If I was put to define Modesty, I would call it, The reflection of an ingenuous mind, either when a man has committed an action for which he censures himself, or fancies that he is exposed to the censure of others.
For this reason, a man truly modest is as much so when he is alone as in company, and as subject to a blush in his closet, as when the eyes of multitudes are upon him.
I do not remember to have met with any instance of modesty with which I am so well pleased, as that cele
brated one of the young prince, whose father, being a tributary king to the Romaus, had several complaints laid against him before the senate, as a tyrant and oppressor of his subjects. The prince went to Rome to defend his father, but coming into the senate, and hearing a multitude of crimes proved upon him, was so oppressed when it came to his turn to speak, that he was unable to utter a word. The story tells us, that the fathers were more moved at this instance of modesty and ingenuousness, than they could have been by the most pathetic oration; and, in short, pardoned the guilty father for this early promise of virtue
in the son.
I take Assurance to be, the faculty of possessing a man's self, or of saying and doing indifferent things without any uneasiness or emotion in the mind. That which generally gives a man assurance, is a morate knowledge of the -world, but above all, a mind fixed and determined in itself to do nothing against the rules of honour and decency. An open and assured behaviour is the natural consequence of such a resolution. A man thus armed, if his words or actions are at any time misinterpreted, retires within himself, and from a consciousness of his own integrity, assumes force enough to despise the little censures of ignorance or malice.
Every one ought to cherish an encourage in himself the modesty and assurance I have here mentioned.
A man without assurance is liable to be made uneasy by the folly or ill-nature of every one he converses with. A man without modesty is lost to all sense of honour and
It is more than probable, that the prince above-mentioned possessed both these qualifications in a very eminent degree. Without assurance he would never have undertaken to speak before the most august assembly in the world; without modesty he would have pleaded the cause he had taken upon him, though it had appeared ever so scandalous:
From what has been said, it is plain, that modesty and assurance are both amiable, and may very well meet in the same person. When they are thus mixed and blended together, they compose what we endeavour to express when
we say a modest assurance; by which we understand the just mean between bashfulness and impudence.
I shall conclude with observing, that as the same man may be both modest and assured, so it is also possible for the same person to be both impudent and bashful.
We have frequent instances of this odd kind of mixture in people of depraved minds and mean education; who though they are not able to meet a man's eye, or pronounce a sentence without confusion, can voluntarily commit the greatest villanies or the most indecent actions.
Such a person seems to have made a resolution to do ill even in spite of himself, and in defiance of all those checks and restraints his temper and complexion seem to have laid in his way.
Upon the whole, I would endeavour to establish this maxim, That the practice of virtue is the most proper method to give a man a becoming assurance in his words and actions. Guilt always seeks to shelter itself in one of the extremes, and is sometimes attended with both. SPECTATOR
I HAVE always preferred Cheerfulness to Mirth. The latter I consider as an act, the former as a habit of the mind. Mirth is short and transient, cheerfulness fixed and permanent. Those are often raised into the greatest transports of mirth, who are subject to the greatest depressions of melancholy; on the contrary, cheerfulness, though it does not give the mind such an exquisite gladness, prevents us from falling into any depths of sorrow. Mirth is like a flash of lightning that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.
Men of austere principles look upon mirth as too wanton and dissolute for a state of probation, and as filled with a