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ing to you the following treatise. Though this is the plain exposition of all I could possibly say to him with a good conscience, yet the silly custom has so universally prevailed, that my lord duke and I must necessarily be particular friends from this time forward, or else I have just room for being disobliged, and may turn my panegyric into a libel. But to carry this affair still more home; were it granted that praises in dedications were proper topics, what is it that gives a man authority to commend, or what makes it a favour to me that he does commend me? It is certain, that there is no praise valuable but from the praiseworthy. Were it otherwise, blame might be as much in the same hands. Were the good and evil of fame laid upon a level among mankind, the judge on the bench, and the criminal at the bar, would differ only in their stations; and if one's word is to pass as much as the other's, their reputation would be much alike to the jury. Pliny speaking of the death of Martial, expresses himself with great gratitude to him for the honours done him in the writings of that author; but he begins it with an account of his character, which only made the applause valuable. He indeed in the same epistle says, It is a sign we have left off doing things which deserve praise, when we think commendation impertinent. This is asserted with a just regard to the persons whose good opinion we wish for; otherwise reputation would be valued according to the number of voices a man has for it, which are not always to be insured on the more virtuous side. But however we pretend to model these nice affairs, true glory will never attend any thing but truth; and there is something so peculiar in it, that the very self-same action done by different men cannot merit the same degree of applause. The Roman, who was surprized in the enemy's camp before he had accomplished his design, and thrust his bare arm into a flaming pile, telling the general, there were many as determined as
himself, who (against sense of danger) had conspired his death, wrought in the very enemy an admiration of his fortitude, and a dismission with applause. But the condemned slave who represented him in the theatre, and consumed his arm in the same manner, with the same resolution, did not raise in the spectators a great idea of his virtue, but of him whom he imitated in action no way differing from that of the real Scæ. vola, but in the motive to it.
Thus true glory is inseparable from true merit, and whatever you call men, they are no more than what they are in themselves; but a romantic sense has crept into the minds of the generality, who will ever mistake words and appearances for persons and things.
The simplicity of the ancients was as conspicuous in the address of their writings, as in any other monuments they have left behind them. Casar and Augustus were much more high words of respect, when added to occasions fit for their characters to appear in, than any appellations which have ever been since thought of. The latter of these great men, had a very pleasant way of dealing with applications of this kind. When he received pieces of poetry which he thought had worth in them, he rewarded the writer: but where he thought them empty, he generally returned the compliment made him with some verses of his
This latter method I have at present occasion to imitate. A female author has dedicated a piece to me, wherein she would make my name (as she has others) the introduction of whatever is to follow in her book; and has spoke some panegyrical things which I know not how to return, for want of better acquaintance with the lady, and consequently being out of a capacity of giving her praise or blame. All therefore that is left for me, according to the foregoing rules, is to lay the picture of a good and evil woman before her eyes, which are but mere words if they do not
concern her. Now you are to observe, the way in a dedication is to make all the rest of the world as little like the person we address to as possible, according to the following epistle:
No. CLXXVIII. TUESDAY, MAY 30.
Sheer-lane, May 29. WHEN we look into the delightful history of the most ingenious Don Quixote de la Mancha, and considerthe exercises and mannerof life of that renowned gentleman, we cannot but admire the exquisite genius and discerning spirit of Michael Cervantes, who has not only painted his adventurer with great. mastery in the conspicuous parts of his story, which relate to love and honour, but also intimated in his ordinary life, in his economy and furniture, the infallible symptoms he gave of his growing phrensy, before he declared himself a knight errant. His hall was furnished with old launces, halbards, and morians; his food, lentils ; his dress amorous. He slept moderately, rose early, and spent his time in hunting. When by watchfulness and exercise he was thus qualified for the hardships of his intended peregrinations, he had nothing more to do but to fall hard to study; and before he should apply himself to the practical part, get into the methods of making love and war by reading books of knighthood. As for raising tender
passions in him, Cervantes reports, that he was wonderfully delighted with a smooth intricate sentence; and when they listened at his study door, they could frequently hear him read loud, “ The reason of the un“ reasonableness, which against my reason is wrought, “ doth so weaken my reason, as with all reason I do “ justly complain on your beauty.” Again, he would pause until he came to anothercharming sentence, and with the most pleasing accent imaginable be loud at a new paragraph : “ The high heavens, which, with
your divinity, do fortify you divinely with the stars, “ make you dleserveress of the deserts that your great“ ness deserves.” With these and other such passages, says my author, the poor gentleman grew distracted, and was breaking his brains day and night to understand and unravel their sense.
As much as the case of this distempered knight is received by all the readers of his history as the most incurable and ridiculous of all phrensies, it is very certain we have crowds among us far gone in as visible a madness as his, though they are not observed to be in that condition. As great and useful discoveries are sometimes made by accidental and small beginnings, I came to the knowledge of the most epidemic ill of this sort, by falling into a coffee-louse, where I saw my friend the upholsterer, whose crack towards politics I have heretofore mentioned. This touch in the brain of the British subject, is as certainly owing to the reading newspapers, as is that of the Spanish worthy abovementioned to the reading works of chivalry. My contemporaries, the novelists, have, for the better spinning out paragraphs, and working down to the end of their columns, a most happy art in saying and unsaying, giving hints of intelligence, and interpretations of indifferent actions, to the great disturbance of the brains of ordinary readers. This way of going on in the words, and making no progress in the sense, is more particularly the excellency of my most ingenious and
renowned fellow-labourer, the Post-man; and it is to this talent in him that I impute the loss of my upholsterer's intellects. That unfortunate tradesman has for years past been the chief orator in ragged assemblies, and the reader in alley coffee-houses.
He was yesterday surrounded by an audience of that sort, among whom I sat unobserved, through the favour of a cloud of tobacco, and saw him with the Post-man in his hand, and all the other papers safe under his elbow. He was intermixing remarks, and reading the Paris article of May the 30th, which says, “ That it “ was given out that an express arrived this day with " advice, that the armies were so near in the plain of “ Lens, that they cannonaded each other. (Ay, ay, “ here we will have sport.) And that it was highly pro“bable the next express would bring us an account of
an engagement. (They are welcome as soon as " they please.). Though some others say, that the " same will be put off till the 2d or 3d of June, because " the Marshal Villars expects some farther reinforce“ ments from Germany, and other parts before that “ time.” What a-pox does he put it off for? Does he think our horse is not marching up at the same time? but let us see what he says farther. “ They " hope that Monsieur Albergotti, being encouraged “ by the presence of so great an army, will make an 6 extraordinary defence.” Why then I find, Albergotti is one of those who love to have a great many on their side. Nay, I will say that for this paper, he makes the most natural inferences of any of them all. “ The Elector of Bavaria being uneasy to be without
any command, has desired leave to come to court to - communicate a certain project to his majesty..... 66 Whatever it be, it is said, that Prince is suddenly “ expected, and then we shall have a more certain ac“ count of his project, if this report has any founda“ tion.” Nay, this paper never imposes upon us, he goes upon sure grounds; for he will not be positive