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" The blade had cut
And, as a serpent wreaths his wounded train,
If a tongue would be talking without a mouth, what eould it have done when it had all its organs of speech, and accomplices of sound about it! I might here mention the story of the pippin-woman, had I not some reason to look upon it as fabulous.
I must confess I am so wonderfully charmed with the music of this little instrument, that I would by no means discourage it. All that I aim at by this dissertation is, to cure it of several disagreeable notes, and in particular of those little jarrings and dissonances which arise from anger, censoriousness, gossiping and coquetry. In short, I would always have it tuned by good-nature, truth, discretion and sincerity,
No. CCXLVIII. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14.
Hoc maxir è officii est, ut quisque maxinè opis indigeat, ita ei potissimum opitulari.
It is a principal point of duty, to assist another most, when he
stands most in need of assistance.
THERE are none who deserve superiority over ethers in the esteem of mankinds who do not make it their endeavour to be beneficial to society; and who upon all occasions which their circumstances of life can administer, do not take a certain unfeigned pleasure in conferring benefits of one kind or other. Those whose great talents and high birth have placced them in conspicuous stations of life, are indispensibly obliged to exert some noble inclinations for the service ci the world, or else such advantages become misfortunes, and shade and privacy are a more eligible portion. Where opportunities and inclinations are gren to the same person, we sometimes see subin ei stances of virtue which so dazzle our ima. gluaticus, that we look with scorn on all which in lower scenes of life we may ourselves be able to practise. But this is a vicious way of thinking; and it bears some spice of romantic madness, for a man to imagine that he must grow ambitious, or seck adventures to be able to do great actions. It is in every man's power in the world who is above mere poverty, not only to do things worthy but heroic. The great foundation of civil virtue is self-denial; and there is no one above the necessities of life, but has opportunities of exercising that noble quality, and doing as much as his circumstances will bear for the ease and convenience of other men ; and he who does more than ordinary men practise upon such occasions as occur in his life, deserves the value of his friends as if he had done enterprizes which are usually attended with the highest glory. Men of public spirit differ rather in their circumstances than their virtue'; and the man who does all he can in a low station, is more a hero than he who omits any worthy action he is able to accomplish in a great one. It is not many years ago since Lapirius in wrong of his elder brother, came to a great estate by gist of his father, by reason of the dissolute behaviour of the first born. Shame and contrition reformed the life of the disinherited youth, and he became as
remarkable for his good qualities as formerly for his errors. Lapirius, who observed his brother's amendinent, sent him on a new-year's day in the morning the following letter :
- Honoured Brother, • I ENCLOSE to you the deeds whereby my fa“ther gave me this house and land : had he lived un5 til now, he would not have bestowed it in that man
ner; he took it from the man you were, and I re6 store it to the man you are.
I am, Sir,
6 P. T.
As great and exalted spirits undertake the pursuit of hazardous actions for the good of others, at the same time gratifying their passion for glory ; so do worthy minds in the domestic way of life deny themselves many advantages, to satisfy a generous benevolence which they bear to their friends oppressed with distresses and calamities. Such natures one may call stores of Providence, which are actuated by a secret celestial influence to undervalue the ordinary gratifications of wealth, to give comfort to an heart loaded with affliction, 10 save a falling family, to preserve a branch of trade in their neighbourhood, and give work to the industrious, preserve the portion of the helpless infant, and raise the head of the mourning father. People whose hearts are wholly bent towards pleasure, or intent upon gain, never hear of the noble occurrences among men of industry and humanity. It would look like a city romance, to tell them of the generous merchant, who the other day sent this billet to an eminent trader under difficulties to support himself, in whose fall many hundreds be
sides himself had perished; but because I think there is more spirit and true gallantry in it than in any letter I have ever read from Strcphon to Phillis, I shall insert it even in the mercantile honest stile in which it was sent.
Sir, "I HAVE heard of the casualties which have inI volved
in extreme distress at this time"; and, • knowing you to be a man of great good nature, in• dustry, and probity, have resolved to stand by you. • Be of good cheer, the bearer brings with him five ( thousand pounds, and has my order to answer your • drawing as much more on my account. I did this • in haste, for fear I should come too late for your • relief; but you may value yourself with me to the
sum of fifty thousand pounds ; for I can very cheerfully run the hazard of being so muci less rich
than I am now, to save an honest man whom I I love.
Your friend and servant,
" W. P.
I think there is somewhere in Montaigne mention made of a family book, wherein all the occurrences that happened from one generation of that house to another were recorded. Were there such a method in the families which are concerned in this generosity, it would be a hard task for the greatest in Europe to give, in their own, an instance of a benefit better placed, or conferred with a more graceful air. It has been heretofore urged how barbarous and inhuman is any unjust step made to the disadvantage of a trader; and by how much such an act towards him is detestable, by so much an act of kindness towards him is laudable. I remember to have heard a bencher of the temple tell a story of a tradition in their house,
where they had formerly a custom of choosing kings for such a season, and allowing him his expences at the charge of the society: one of our kings, said my friend, carried his royal inclination a little too far, and there was a committee ordered to look into the management of his treasury. Among other things it appeared, that his majesty walking incog, in the cloister, had overheard a poor man say to another, such a small sum would make me the happiest man in the world. The king out of his royal compassion privately enquired into his character, and finding him a proper object of charity, sent him the money. When the committee read the report, the house passed his accounts with a plaudit without farther examination, upon the recital of this article in them,
d. For making a man happy
10 : 00 : 00 T.
No. CCXLIX. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15.
Γέλως ακάιρος έν βροτοίς δεσνόν κακόν.
Mirth out of season is a grievous ill.
WHEN I make choice of a subject that has not been treated on by others, I throw together my reflections on it without any order or method, so that they may appear rather in the looseness and freedom of an essay, than in the regularity of a set discourse. It is after this manner that I shall consider laughterand ridicule in my present paper.
Man is the merriest species of the creation, all above and below him are serious. He sees things in