Imágenes de páginas

to his successor. To turn away all his old it stands with himself in that particular. Had friends and servants, that she may have the be kept his own counsel, he might have passed dear man to herself. To make him disinherit fot a much better man, though perhaps he the undutiful children of any former wife. would not have been so diverting an author. Never to be thoroughly convinced of his affec-The title of an Essay promises perhaps a distion, until he has made over to her all his goods course upon Virgil or Julius Cæsar; but, when and chattels.

you look into it, you are sure to meet with After so long a letter, I am, without more more upon Monsieur Montaigne than of either ceremony,

of them. The younger Scaliger, who seems to Your humble servant, &c.' have been no great friend to this author, after

having acquainted the world that his father sold

herrings, adds these words: La grande fadaise No. 562.] Friday, July 2, 1714.

de Montaigne, qui a crit qu'il aimoit mieux Præsens, absens ut sies.

le vin blanc.- Que diable a-t-on à faire de Ter. Eun. Act, i. Sc. 2. scavoir ce qu'il aime ? “For my part,' says Be present as if absent.

| Montaigne, I am a great lover of your white

wines. '- What the devil signifies it to the • It is a hard and nice subject for a man to public,' says Scaliger, whether he is a lover speak of himself,' says Cowley; "it grates his of white wines or of red wines ? own heart to say anything of disparagement. I cannot here forbear mentioning a tribe of and the reader s ears to hearany thing of praise egotists, for whom I have always had a mortal from him.' Let the tenour of his discourse aversion-I mean the authors of memoirs, who be what it will upon this subject, it generally are never mentioned in any works but their proceeds from vanity. An ostentatious man own, and who raise all their productions out will rather relate a blunder or an absurdity he of this single figure of speech. has committed, than be debarred of talking of Most of our modern prefaces savour very bis own dear person.

strongly of the egotism. Every insignificant Some very great writers have been guilty of author fancies it of importance to the world to this fault. It is observed of Tully in particu- know that he writ his book in the country, lar, that his works run very much in the first that he did it to pass away some of his idle person, and that he takes all occasions of doing hours, that it was published at the importunity himself justice. Does he think,' says Brutus, of friends, or that his natural temper, studies,

that his consulship deserves more applause or conversations, directed him to the choice of than my putting Cæsar to death, because I am his subject: not perpetually talking of the ides of March, as he is of the nones of December ?' I need

-Id populus curat scillicet.' not acquaint my learned reader, that in the Such informations cannot but be highly improvides of March Brutus destroyed Cæsar, and that ing to the reader. Cicero quashed the conspiracy of Cataline in In works of humour especially, when a man the calends of December. How shocking so-writes under a fictitious personage, the talking ever this great man's talking of himself might of oneself may give some diversion to the pubhave been to his contemporaries, I must con- lic; but I would advise every other writer never fess I am never bettter pleased than when he'is to speak of himself, unless there be something on this subject. Such openings of the heart very considerable in his character ; though I give a man a thorough insight into his personal am sensible this rule will be of little use in the character, and illustrate several passages in the world, because there is no man who fancies history of his life; besides that, there is some his thoughts worth publishing that does not look little pleasure in discovering the infirmity of upon himself as a considerable person. a great man, and seeing how the opinion he I shall close this paper with a remark upon has of himself agrees with what the world en-such as are egotists in conversation : these are tertains of him.

generally the vain or shallow part of mankind The gentlemen of Port Royal, who were more people being naturally full of themselves when eminent for their learning and for their humili- they have nothing else in them. There is one ty than any other in France, banished the way kind of egotist which is very common in the of speaking in the first person out of all their world, though I do not remember that any works, as rising from vain-glory and self-con-writer bas taken notice of them ; I mean those ceit. To show their particular aversion to it, empty conceited fellows who repeat, as sayings they branded this form of writing with the name of their own or some of their particular friends, of an egotism; a figure not to be found among several jests which were made before they were the ancient rhetoricians.

born, and which every one who has conversed The most violent egotism which I have met in the world has heard a hundred times over. with in the course of my reading, is that of A forward young fellow of my acquaintance was cardinal Wolsey, ego et rei meus, I and my very guilty of this absurdity: he would be king;' as perhaps the most eminent egotist always laying a new scene for some old piece that ever appeared in the world was Montaigne, of wit, and telling us, that, as he and Jack the author of the celebrated Essays. This Such-a-one were together, one or t'other of lively old Gascon has woven all his bodily in-them had such a conceit on such an occasion; firmities into his works ; and, after having upon which he would laugh very heartily, and spoken of the faults or virtues of any other wonder the company did not join with him. men, immediately publishes to the world how! When his mirth was over, I have often reprehended him out of Terence, Tuumne, obsecro One of these Blanks 'is equally qualified for te, hoc dictum erat ? vetus credidi. But find all offices; he can serve in time of need for a ing him still incorrigible, and having a kind- soldier, a politician, a lawyer, or what you ness for the young coxcomb, who was other- please. I have known in my time many a wise a gook-natured fellow, I recommended to brother Blank, that has been born under a his perusal the Oxford and Cambridge jests, lucky planet, heap up great riches, and swell with several little pieces of pleasantry of the into a man of figure and importance, before same nature. Upon the reading of them, ne the grandees of his party could agree among was under no small confusion to find that all themselves which of them should step into his his jokes had passed through several editions, place. Nay, I have known a Blank continue and that what he thought a new conceit, and so long in one of these vacant posts, (for such had appiopriated to his own use, had appeared it is to be reckoned all the time a Blank is in in print before he or his ingenious friends were it), that he has grown too formidable and ever heard of. This had so good an affect upon dangerous to be removed. him, that he is content at present to pass for a • But to return to myself Since I am so man of plain sense in his ordinary conversation, very commodious a person, and so very deand is never facetious but when he knows his cessary in all well-regulated governments, I company.

desire you will take my case into considera

tion, that I may be no longer made a tool of, No. 563.] Monday, July 6, 1714.

and only employed to stop a gap. Such usage,

without a pun, makes me look very blank. Magni nominis umbra. Lucan. Lib. 1. 135. For all which reasons I humbly recommend The shadow of a mighty name.

myself to your protection, and am

• Your most obedient servant, J SHALL entertain my reader with two very

•BLANK. curious letters. The first of them comes from a chimerical person, who I believe never writ

"PS. I herewith send you a paper drawn up to any body before.

by a country-attorney, employed by two gen

tlemen, whose names he was not acquainted 'SIR,

with, and who did not think fit to let him into LAM descended from the ancient family of the secret which they are transacting. I heard the Blanks, a name well known among all men

menhim call it " a blank instrument," and read of business. It is always read in those little it after the following manner. You may see white spaces of writing which want to be filled by this singie instance of what use I am to the up, and which for that reason are called blankus spaces, as of right appertaining to our family:

ily "1, T. Blank, esquire, of Blank town, in the for I consider myself as the lord of a manor,

county of Blank, do own myself indebted in who lays his claim to all wastes or spots of

the sum of Blank, to Goodman Blank, for the ground that are unappropriated. I am a near

service he did me in procuring for me the kinsman to John-a-Styles and John-a-Nokes: goods following ; Blank : and I do hereby and they, I am told, came in with the con-pr

Con I promise the said Blank to pay unto him the queror. I am mentioned oftener in both houses

said sum of Blank, on the Blank day of the of parliament than any other person in Great

month of Blank next ensuing, under the penBritain. My name is written, or, more pro

Jalty and forfeiture of Blank." perly speaking, not written, thus :

1 I shall take time to consider the case of this I am one that can turn my hand to every !

rerumy imaginary correspondent, and in the mean thing, and appear under any shape whatso

while shall present my reader with a letter ever. I can make myself man, woman, or

which seems to come from a person that is child. I am sometimes metamorphosed into made up of flesh and blood. a year of our Lord, a day of the month, or an

'GOOD MR. SPECTATOR, hour of the day. I very often represent a sum of money, and am generally the first sub- 'I am married to a very honest gentleman sidy that is granted to the crown. I have now that is exceeding good-natured, and at the and then supplied the place of several thous- same time very choleric. There is no stand. ands of land-soldiers, and have as frequently ing before him when he is in a passion ; but been employed in the sea-service.

as soon as it is over he is the best humoured Now, sir, my complaint is this, that I am creature in the world. When he is angry only made use of to serve a turu, being al- he breaks all my china-ware that chances to ways discarded as soon as a proper person is lie in his way, and the next morning sends me found out to fill up my place. !

in twice as much as he broke the day before. If you have ever been in the playhouse be- I may positively say, that he has broke me a fore the curtain rises, you sce the most of the child's fortune since we were first married to front-boxes filled with men of my family, who gether. forthwith turn out and resign their stations up. As soon as he begins to fret, down goes on the appearance of those for whom they every thing that is within reach of his cane. I are retained.

once prevailed upon hin, never to carry a • But the most illustrious branch of the stick in bis band, but this saved me nothing; Blanks are those who are planted in high for upon seeing me do something that did not posts, till such times as persons of greater please him, he kicked down a great jar that consequence can be found out to supply tbem. cost him above ten pounds but the week be

fore. I then laid the fragments together in a tells us, that Cyrus having taken a most beauheap, and gave him his cane again, desiring tiful lady, named Panthea, the wife of Abradahim that, if he chanced to be in anger, he tas, committed her to the custody of Araspas, whould spend his passion upon the china that a young Persian nobleman, who had a little was broke to his hand ; but the very next day, before maintained in discourse that a mind upon my giving a wrong message to one of the truly virtuous was incapable of entertaining servants, be flew into such a rage, that he an unlawful passion. The young gentleman swept down a do zen tea-dishes, which, to my had not long been in possession of his fair capmisfortune, stood very convenient for a side tive, when a complaint was made to Cyrus, blow.

that he not only solicited the lady Panthea to I then removed all my china into a room receive him in the room of her absent husband, which he never frequents; but I got nothing but that, finding his entreaties had no effect, by this neither, for my looking-glasses imme- he was preparing to make use of force. Cydiately went to rack.

rus, who loved the young man, immediately In short, sir, whenever he is in a passion sent for him, and in a gentle manner reprehe is angry at every thing that is brittle ; and senting to him his fault, and putting him in if on such occasions he hath nothing to vent mind of his former assertion, the unhappy his rage upon, I do not know whether my youth, confounded with a quick sense of his bones would be in safety. Let me beg of you, guilt and shame, burst out into a flood of tears, sir, to let me know whether there be any and spoke as follows: cure for this unaccountable distemper; or if "Oh Cyrus, I am convinced that I have two not, that you will be pleased to publish this souls. Love has taught me this piece of philetter : for my husband having a great vene-losophy. If I had but one soul, it could not ration for your writings, will by that means at the same time pant after virtue and vice, know you do not approve of his conduct. wish and abhor the same thing. It is certain

I am, &c.'

I therefore we have two souls: when the good

soul rules, I undertake poble and virtuous No. 564.) Wednesday, July 7, 1714.

actions; but, when the bad soul predomi

nates, I am forced to do evil. All I can say -Adsit

at present is, that I find my good soul, encourRegula, peccatis que pænas irroget aquas. Ne scuticâ dignum horribili sectére dagello.

Jaged by your presence has got the better of Hur. Sac. ij. Lib. 1.1

my bad.' Let rules be fixed that may our rage contain,

II know not whether my readers wil} allow And punish faults with a proportion'd pain ; of this piece of philosophy; but if they will And do pot flay him who deserves alone

not, they must confess we meet with as dirA whipping for the fault that he hath done.

ferent passions in one and the same soul as

can be supposed in two. We can hardly read It is the work of a philosopher to be every the life of a great man who lived in former day subduing his passions, and laying aside ages, or converse with any who is eminent his prejudices. I endeavour at least to look among our contemporaries, that is not an inupon men and their actions only as an im- stance of what I am saying. partial Spectator, without any regard to them. But as I have hitherto only argued against as they happen to advance or cross my own the partiality and injustice of giving our judg. private interest. But while I am thus employ- ment upon men in gross, who are such a comed myself, I cannot help observing how those position of virtues and vices, of good and evil about me suffer themselves to be blinded by I might carry this reflection still further, and prejudice and inclination, how readily they make it extend 10 most of their actions. If on pronounce on every man's character, which the one hand we fairly weighed every cir. they can give in two words, and make him cumstance, we should frequently find them either good for nothing, or qualified for every obliged to do that action we at first sight conthing. On the contrary, those who search demi, in order to avoid another we should thoroughly into human nature will find it have been much more displeased with. - If on much more difficult to determine the value of the other hand we nicely examined such actheir fellow-creatures, and that men's charac- tione as appear most dazzling to the eye, we ters are not thus to be given in general words. should find most of them either deficient and There is indeed no such thing as a person en- lame in several parts, produced by a bad am. tirely good or bad; virtue and vice are blend- bition, or directed to an ill end. The very ed and mixed t gether, in a great or less pro- same action may sometimes be so oddly cirportion, in every one; and if you would cumstanced, that it is difficult to determine search for some particular good quality in whether it ought to be rewarded or punished. its most eminent degree of perfection, you Those who compiled the laws of England were will often find it in a mind where it is darkened so sensible of this, that they have laid it down and eclipsed by an hundred other irregular as one of their first maxims, “It is better sufpassions.

fering a mischief than an inconvenience ;' Men have either no character at all, says a which is as much as to say, in other words, celebrated author, or it is that of being incon- that, since no law can take in or provide for sistent with themselves. They find it easier all cases, it is better private men should bave to join extremities, than to be uniform and of some injustice done them than that a public a piece. This is finely illustrated in Xeno- grievance should not be redressed. This is phon's life of Cyrus the Great. That author/usually pleaded in defence of all those hard


ships which fall en particular persons on after another, until the whole firmament was particular occasions, which could not be for- in a glow. The blueness of the ether was seen when a law was made. To remedy this exceedingly heightened and enlivened by the however as much as possible, the court of chan- season of the year, and by the rays of cery was erected, which frequently mitigates all those luminaries that passed through it. and breaks the teeth of the common law, in The galaxy appeared in its most beautiful cases of men's properties, while in criminal white. To complete the scene, the full moon cases there is a power of pardoning still lodg- rose at length in that clouded majesty which ed in the crown.

Milton takes notice of, and opened to the Notwithstanding this, it is perhaps impossi- eye a new picture of nature, which was more ble in a large government to distribute re-finely shaded, and disposed among softer wards and punishinents strictly proportioned lights than that which the sun had before to the merits of every action. The Spartan discovered to us. commonwealth was indeed wonderfully exact As I was surveying the moon walking in her in this particular; and I do not remember brightness, and taking her progress among the in all my reading to have met with so nice constellations, a thought rose in me which I an example of justice as that recorded by believe very often perplexes and disturbs men Plutarch, with which I shall close my paper of serious and contemplative natures. David of this day.

himself fell into it in that reflection, · When The city of Sparta being unexpectedly at. I consider the heavens the work of thy fingers, tacked by a powerful army of Thebans, was the moon and the stars which thou hast or. in very great danger of falling into the hands dained; what is man that thou art mindful of of their enemies. The citizens suddenly him, and the son of man that thou regardest gathered themselves into a body, fought with him ! In the same manner, when I consia resolution equal to the necessity of theirdered that infinite host of stars, or, to speak affairs, yet no one so remarkably distinguished more philosophically, of suns which were himself on this occasion, to the amazement then shining upon me, with those innumera. or both armies, as Isidas the son of Phæbidas, ble sets of planets or worlds which were who was at that time in the bloom of his moving round their respective suns ; when youth, and very remarkable for the comeli. I still enlarged the idea, and supposed another ness of his person. He was coming out of heaven of suns and worlds rising still above the bath when the alarm was given, so that this which we discavered, and these still enhe had not tiine to put on his clothes, much lightened by a superior firmanent of luminaless his armour; however, transported with ries, which are planted at so great a distance, a desire to serve his country in so great an that they may appear to the inhabitants of exigency, snatching up a spear in one hand the former as the stars do to us ; in short, and a sword in the other, he flung himself while I pursued this thought, I could not but into the thickest ranks of his enemies. No-reflect on that little insignificant figure which thing could withstand his fury: in what part I myself bore amidst the immensity of God's soever he fought he put the enemies to works. Bight without receiving a single wound.- Were the sun, which enlightens this part Whether, says Plutarch he was the particular of the creation, with all the host of planetary care of some god, who rewarded his valour that worlds that move about him, utterly extinday with an extraordinary protection, or that guished and annihilated, they would not be his enemies, struck with the unusualness of missed more than a grain of sand upon the his dress, and beauty of his shape, supposed sea-shore. The space they possess is so exhim something more than man, I shall not ceedingly little in comparison of the whole, determine.

. that it would scarce make a blank in the The gallantry of this action was judged so creation. The chasm would be imperceptible great by the Spartans, that the ephori, or chief to an eye that could take in the whole commagistrates, decreed he should be presented pass of nature, and pass from one end of the with a garland; but, as soon as they had done creation to the other ; as it is possible there so, fined him a thousand drachmas for going may be such a sepse in ourselves hereafter, out to the battle unarmed.

or in creatures which are at present more

exalted than ourselves. We see many stars No. 565.] Friday, July 9, 1714.

by the help of glasses, which we do not

discover with our naked eyes; and the finer Deum namque ire per omnes

our telescopes are, the more still are our Terrasque, tractusque maris, cælumque profundum.

Virg. Geor. iv. 221.

discoveries. Huygenius carries this thought

so far, that he does not think it impossible Kor God the whole created mass inspires : Thro' heaven and earth, and ocean's depths he throws

there may be stars whose light is not yet His influence round, and kindles as he goes.-Dryden.

travelled down to us since their first creation.

There is no question but the universe has cer. I was yesterday, about sun-set, walking in tain bounds set to it; but when we consider the open fields, until the night insensibly fell that it is the work of infinite power, prompted upon me. I at first amused myself with all by infinite goodness, with an infinite space to the richness and variety of colours wbich exert itself in, how can our imagination set appeared in the western parts of heaven; any bounds to it? in proportion as they faded away and weot To return therefore to my first thought: out, several stars and planets appeared one I could not but look upon myself with secret

horror, as a being that was not worth the well as omnipresent. His omniscience insmallest regard of one who had so great a work deed necessarily and naturally flows from under his care and superintendency. I was his oinnipresence; he cannot but be conscious afraid of being overlooked amidst the immen- of every motion that arises in the whole masity of nature, and lost among that infinite terial world, which he thus essentially pervariety of creatures, which in all probability vades, and of every thought that is stirring swarm through all these immeasurable regions in the intellectual world, to every part of of matter.

which he is thus intimately united. Several In order to recover myself from this morti- moralists have considered the creation as the fying thought, I considered that it took its rise temple of God, which he has built with his from those narrow conceptions which we are own hands, and which is filled with his apt to entertain of the divine nature. We presence. Others have considered infinite ourselves cannot attend to many different space as the receptacle, or rather the hab. objects at the same time. If we are carefullitation, of the Almighty : but the noblest to inspect some things, we must of coursc and most exalted way of considering this neglect others. This imperfection, which we infinite space is that of Sir Isaac Newton, observe in ourselves, is an imperfection that who calls it the sensorium of the Godhead, cleaves in some degree to creatures of the Brutes and men have their sensoriola, or little highest capacities, as they are creatures, that sensoriums, by which they apprehend the is, beings of finite and limited natures. The presence and perceive the actions of a few presence of every created being is confined objects that lie contiguous to them. Their to a certain measure of space, and conse- knowledge and observation turn within a very quently his observation is stinted to a certain narrow circle. But as God Almighty cannot number of objects. The sphere in which we but perceive and know every thing in which move, and act, and understand, is of a wider be resides, infinite space gives room to inticircumference to one creature than another, nite knowledge, and is, as it were, an organ to according as we rise one above another in omniscience. the scale of existence. But the widest of these were the soul separate from the body, our spheres has its circumferance. When, and with one glance of thought should start therefore, we reflect on the divine nature, beyond the bonds of the creation, should we are so used and accustomed to this im- it for millions of years continue its progress perfection in ourselves, that we cannot forbear through infinite space with the same activiin some measure ascribing it to him in whom ty, it would still find itself within the emthere is no shadow of imperfection. One rea- brace of its Creator, and encompassed round son indeed assures us that his attributes are with the immensity of the Godhead. Whilst infinite ; but the poorness of our conceptions we are in the body he is not less present with is such, that it cannot forbear setting bounds us because he is concealed from us. “O that to every thing it contemplates, until our rea- I knew where I might find him!' says Job. son comes again to our succour, and throws · Behold I go forward, but he is not there; and down all those little prejudices which rise backward, but I cannot perceive him; on the in us unawares and are natural to the mind left hand, where he does work, but I cannot beof man.

hold him: he hideth himself on the right hand We shall therefore utterly extinguish this that I cannot see binn.' In short, reason, as melancholy thought, of our being overlook- well as revelation assures us, that he capnot be ed by our Maker in the multiplicity of his absent from us, notwithstanding he is uodisco. works, and the infinity of those objects among vered by us. which he seems to be incessantly employed, In this consideration of God Almighty's if we consider, in the first place, that he is omnipresence and omniscience, every apcomomnipresent; and, in the second, that be is fortable thought vanishes. He cannot but omniscient.

regard every thing that bas being, especially If we consider him in his omnipresence, such of his creatures who fear they are not his being passes through, actuates, and sup- regarded by him. He is privy to all their ports the whole frame of nature. His crea- thoughts, and to that anxiety of heart in tion, and every part of it, is full of him. particular, which is apt to trouble them on There is nothing he has made that is either this occasion : for, as it is impossible he should so distant, so little, or so inconsiderable which overlook any of his creatures, so we may be lie does not essentially inhabit. His sub-confident that he regards, with an eye of merstance is within the substance of every being, cy, those who endeavour to recommend them whether material or immaterial, and as inti- selves to his potice, and in an apseigned hu. mately present to it as that being is to itself. mility of heart think themselves unworthy that It would be an imperfection in him, were he he should be mindful of them. able to remove out of one place into another, or to withdraw himself from any thing he

No. 566.) Monday, July 12, 1714. has created, or from any part of that space which is diffused and spread abroad to in Militiæ species amor est. finity. In short, to speak of him in the lan

Ovid, Ars. Am. ii. 233. guage of the old philosopher, he is a Being

. Love is a kind of warfare. whose centre is every where, and his circumference no where.

As my correspondents begin to grow pretty In the second place, he is omniscient as numerous, I think myself obliged to take Vol. II.

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