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No. CCXXX. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23.
Honines ad Deos nullà re propiùs accedunt, quàin salutem hominibus dando.
Men resemble the gods in nothing so much, as in doing good
to their fellow-creatures.
HUMAN nature appears a very deformed, or a very beautiful object, according to the different lights in which it is viewed. When we see men of inflamed passions, or of wicked designs, tearing one another to pieces by open violence, or undermining each other by secret treachery; when we observe base and narrow ends pursued by ignominious and dishonest means ; when we behold men mixed in society as if it were for the destruction of it; we are even ashamed of our species, and out of humour with our own being ; but in another light, when we behold them mild, good, and benevolent, full of a generous regard for the public prosperity, compassionating each other's distresses, and relieving each other's wants, we can hardly believe they are creatures of the same kind. In this view they appear gods to each other, in the exercise of the noblest power, that of doing good ; and the greatest compliment we have ever been able to make to our own being, has been by calling this disposition of mind, humanity. We cannot but observe a pleasure arising in our own breast upon the seeing or hearing of a generous action, even when we are wholly disinterested in it. I cannot give a more proper instance of this, than by a letter from Pliny, in which he recommends a friend in the most handsome manner; and, methinks, it would be a great pleasure to know the success of this epistle, though each party concerned in it has been so many hundred
in his grave.
r To MAXIMUS. • WHAT I should gladly do for any 'friend of < your's, I think I may now with confidence request ( for a friend of mine. Arrianus Maturius is the most • considerable man of his country ; when I call him
So, I do not speak with relation to his fortune, • though that is very plentiful, but to his integrity, justice, gravity, and prudence ; his advice is useful to me in business, and his judgment in matters of learning : his fidelity, truth, and good understanding are very great ; besides this, he loves me as
you do, than which I cannot say any thing that sig• nifies a warmer affection. He has nothing that is • aspiring; and though he might rise to the highest
order of nobility, he keeps himself in an inferior í rank; yet I think myself bound to use my endea
vours to serve and promote him ; and would there"fore find the means of adding something to his ho
nours while he neither expects nor knows it, nay, « though he should refuse it. Something, in short, . I would have for him that may be honourable, but o not troublesome; and I entreat that you
will procure him the first thing of this kind that offers, by which you
will not only oblige me, but him also ; for " though he does not covet it, I know he will be es
grateful in acknowledging your favour as if he had ( asked it.'
• Mr. Spectatory 6 THE reflections in some of your papers on the servile manner of education now in use, have given (birth to an ambition, which, unless you discounte
nance it, will, I doubt, engage me in a very diffi
cult, though not ungrateful adventure. I am about • to undertake, for the sake of the British youth, to (instruct them in such a manner, that the most dan
gerous page in Virgil or Homer may be read by
" them with much pleasure, and with perfect safety 6 to their persons.
! Could I prevail so far as to be honoured with the • protection of some few of them, for I am not hero
enough to rescue many, my design is to retire with • them to an agreeable solitude ; though within the
neighbourhood of a city for the convenience of their
being instructed in music, dancing, drawing, de• signing, or any other such accomplishments, which • it is conceived may make as proper diversions for
them, and almost as pleasant, as the litile sordid games which dirty school-boys are so much de
lighted with. It may easily be imagined, how such ' a pretty society,conversing with none beneath them• selves, and sometimes admitted as perhaps not unen
tertaining parties amongst better company, com6 mended and caressed for their little performances, • and turned by such conversations to a certain gai• lantry of soul, might be brought early acquainted 6 with some of the most polite English writers. • This having given them some tolerable taste of
bocks, they would make themselves masters of the · Latin tongue by methods far easier than those in • Lilly, with as little difficulty or reluctance as young ladies learn to speak French, or to sing Italian Ope
When they had advanced thus far, it would 6 be time to form their taste something more exactly:
one that had any true relish of fine writing, might, with great pleasure both to himself and them, run over together with them the best Roman historians, • pocts, and orators, and point out their more re(markable beauties ; give them a short scheme of • chronology, a little view of geography, medals, • astronomy, or what else might best feed the busy in•quisitive humour so natural to that age. Such of " them as had the least spark of genius, when it was . once awakened by the shining thoughts and great • sentiments of those admired writers, could not, I
« believe, be easily withheld from attempting that
more difficult sister language, whose exalted beau' ties they would have heard so often celebrated as the • pride and wonder of the whole learned world. In " the mean while, it would be requisite to exercise • their style in writing any light pieces that ask more
of fancy than of judgment: and that frequently in ( their native language, which every one, methinks,
should be most concerned to cultivate, especially • letters, in which a gentleman must have so frequent
occasions to distinguish himself. A set of gentcel • good-natured youths fallen into such a manner of • life, would form almost a little academy, and doubi
less prove no such contemptible companions, as ' might not often tempt a wiser man to mingle him• self in their diversions, and draw them into such se' rious sports as might prove nothing less instruct
ing than the gravest lessons. I doubt not but it • might be made some of their favourite plays, to • contend which of them should recite a beautiful part
of a poem or oration most gracefully, or sometimes • to join in acting a scene of Terence, Sophocles, or
our own Shakspeare. The cause of Milo might
again be pleaded before more favourable judges, . Cæsar a second time be taught lo tremble, and an
other race of Athenians be afresh enraged at the « ambition of another Philip. Amidst these noble a
musements, we could hope to see the carly dawn' ings of their imagination daily brighten into sense, • their innocence improve into virtue, and their un' experienced good-nature directed to a generous love I of their country.
I am, &c.' T.
No. CCXXXI. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24.
O Pudor! O Pietas .........
O Modesty! O Piety!
LOOKING over the letters which I have lately received from my correspondents, I met with the following one, which is written with such a spirit of politeness, that I could not but be very much pleased with it myself, and question not but it will be as acceptable to the reader.
Mr. Spectator, - YOU, who are no stranger to public assemblies, cannot but have observed the awe they often strike on such as are obliged to exert any talent before them. This is a sort of elegant distress, to which • ingenuous minds are the most liable, and may there6 fore deserve some remarks in your paper. Many a • brave fellow, who has put his enemy to flight in the « field, has been in the utmost disorder upon making sa speech before a body of his friends at home : one ( would think there was some kind of fascination in
the eyes of a large circle of people, when darting • all together upon one person. I have seen a new actor in a tragedy so bound-up by it as to be scarce able to speak or move, and have expected he would have died above three acts before the dagger or cup • of poison were brought in. It would not be amiss if
such an one were at first introduced as a ghost, or 'a statue, until he recovered his spirits, and grew fit • for some living part.
• As this sudden desertion of one's self shews a dif• fidence which is not displeasing, it implies at the same time the greatest respect to an audience that can be. It is a sort of mute eloquence, which pleads