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part in perfection. We may indeed say, that our part does not suit us, and that we could act another better. But this, says the philosopher, is not our business. All that we are concerned in is to excel in the part which is given us. If it be an improper one, the fault is not in us, but in him who has cast our several parts, and is the great disposer of the drama.
The part that was acted by this philosopher himself was but a very indifferent one, for he lived and died a slave. His motive to contentment in this particular, receives a very great enforcement from the above-mentioned consideration, if we remember that our parts in the other world will be new cast, and that mankind will be there ranged in different stations of superiority and pre-eminence, in proportion as they have here excelled one another in virtue, and performed in their several posts of life the duties which belong to them.
There are many beautiful passages in the little apocryphal book, entitled “ The Wisdom of Solo
to set forth the vanity of honour, and the like temporal blessings which are in so great repute among men, and to comfort those who have not the possession of them. It represents in very warm and noble terms this advancement of a good man in the other world, and the great surprise which it will produce among those who are his superiors in this. i Then shall the righteous man stand in great bold
ness before the face of such as have afflicted him, « and inade no account of his labours. When they
see it, they shall be troubled with terrible fear, and • shall be amazed at the strangeness of his salvation,
far beyond all that they looked for. And they repenting and groaning for anguish of spirit, shall
say within themselves, This was he whom we had o sometimes in derision, and a proverb of reproach. “We fools accounted his life madness, and his end
(to be without honour. How is he numbered among (the children of God, and his lot is among the 6 saints.'
If the reader would see the description of a life that is passed away in vanity, and among the shadows of pomp and greatness, he may see it very finely drawn in the same place. In the mean time, since it is necessary in the present constitution of things, that order and distinction should be kept in the world, we should be happy, if those who enjoy the upper stations in it, would endeavour to surpass others in virtue, as much as in rank, and by their humanity and condescension make their superiority easy and acceptable to those who are beneath them; and if, on the contrary, those who are in meaner posts of life, would consider how they may better their condition hereafter, and by a just deference and submission to their superiors, make them happy in those blessings with which Providence thought fit to distinguish them.
Ņo. CCXX. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12.
Rumoresque serit varios......
A thousand rumours spreads.
WHY will you apply to my father for my love? I cannot help it if he will give you my person ? but • I assure you it is not in his power, nor even in my
own to give you my heart. Dear Sir, do but con. • sider the ill-consequence of such a match ; you are fifty-five, I twenty-one. You are a man of business, and mightily conversant in arithmetic and ' making calculations ; be pleased therefore to con• sider what proportion your spirits bear to mine, . and when you have made a just estimate of the necessary decay on one side, and the redundance
on the other, you will act accordingly. This per• haps is such language as you may not expect from
a young lady ; but my happiness is at stake, and I must talk plainly. I mortally hate
you; and so, as you and my father agree, you may take me or « leave me : but if you will be so good as never to see me more, you will for ever oblige,
“ Your most humble servant,
Mr. Spectator, • THERE are so many artifices and modes of • false wit, and such a variety of humour discovers • itself among it's votaries, that it would be impos. • sible to exhaust so fertile a subject, if you
would « think fit to resume it. The following instances may, if
think fit, be added by way of appen• dix to your discourses on that subject.
« That feat of poetical activity mentioned by Ho• race, of an author who could compose two hun• dred verses while he stood upon one leg, has been • imitated, as I have heard, by a modern writer; (who priding himself on the hurry of his inven• tion, thought it no small addition to his fame to « have each piece minuted with the exact number of 6 hours or days it cost him in the composition.
He • could taste no praise until he had acquainted you
in how short space of time he had deserved it; 6 and was not so much led to an ostentation of his
art as of his dispatch.
.Accipe, si vis,
Here's pen and ink, and time, and place ; let's try,
• This was the whole of his ambition, and there(fore I cannot but think the flights of this rapid au'thor very proper to be opposed to those laborious • nothings which you have observed were the delight of the German wits, and in which they so happily
rid of such a tedious quantity of their time. I hare known a gentleman of another turn of humour, who, despising the name of an author, never ' printed his works, but contracted his talents, and by " the help of a very fine diamond which he wore on « his little finger, was a considerable poet upon glass. • He had a very good epigrammatic wit ; and there was not a parlour or tavern window where he visited
dined for so.ne years, which did not receive some sketches or memorials of it. It was his misfortune at last to lose his genius and his ring to a sharper at play, and he has not attempted to make a verse since.
• But of all contractions or expedients for wit, I ' admire that of an ingenious projector whose book I I have seen. This virtuoso being a mathematician,
has, according to his taste, thrown the art of poetry into a short problem, and contrived tables by · which any one without knowing a word of gram
mar or sense, may, to his great comfort, be able ' to compose, or rather to erect Latin verses. His • tables are a kind of poetical logarithms, which be' ing divided into several squares, and all inscribed with so many incoherent words, appear to the eye somewhat like a fortune-telling screen.
What a ' joy must it be to the unlearned operator to find
• that these words being carefully collected and writ • down in order according to the problem, start of • themselves into hexameter and pentameter verses? • A friend of mine, who is a student in astrology,
meeting with this book, performed the operation, • by the rules there set down ; he shewed his verses « to the next of his acquaintance, who happened to “ understand Latin ; and being informed they de
scribed a tempest of wind, very luckily prefixed ' them, together with a translation, to an almanac • he was just then printing, and was supposed to • have foretold the last great storm.
• I think the only improvement beyond this, would • be that which the late duke of Buckingham men• tioned to a stupid pretender to poetry, as the project of a Dutch mechanic, viz. a mill to make ver
This being the most compendious method of ( all which have yet been proposed, may deserve the
thoughts of our modern virtuosi who are employed • in new discoveries for the public good; and it may • be worth the while to consider, whether in an island • where few are content without being thought wits, it I will not be a common benefit, that wit as well as labour should be made cheap.
. I am, Sir,
• Your humble servant, &c.'
( Mr. Spectator, " I OFTEN dine at a gentleman's house, where 5 there are two young ladies, in themselves very
agreeable, but very cold in their behaviour, because ( they understand me for a person that is to break my • mind, as the phrase is, very suddenly to one of " them. But I take this way to acquaint them, that "I am not in love with either of them, in hopes • they
will use me with that agreeable freedom and • indifference which they do all the rest of the world,