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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 cach 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 years in his grave.
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 understand' ing 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 6 rank ; yet I think myself bound to use my endeavours to serve and promote him ; and would there
1 ; « 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 as
grateful in acknowledging your favour as if he had 6 asked it.'
• Mr. Spectator,
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 discountenance 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 dangerous page in Virgil or Homer may be read by
*thern with much pleasure, and with perfect safety 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 little sordid games which dirty school-boys are so much delighted with. It may easily be imagined, how such
a pretty society, conversing with none beneath themi 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, o with great pleasure both to himself and them, run
over together with them the best Roman historians,
poets, 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 beauties 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 genteel good-natured youths fallen into such a manner of life, would form almost a little academy, and doubiless 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 serious sports as might prove nothing less instructing than the gravest lessons. I doubt not but it
might be made some of their favourite plays, to o 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 to tremble, and an6 other race of Athenians be afresh enraged at the « ambition of another Philip. Amidst these noble a
musements, we could hope to see the early dawn
ings of their imagination daily brighten into sense, • their innocence improve into virtue, and their unexperienced good-nature directed to a generous love 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 con such as are obliged to exert any talent before • them. This is a sort of elegant distress, to which o ingenuous minds are the most liable, and may there
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 6 same time the greatest respect to an audience that can be. It is a sort of mute eloquence, which pleads