« AnteriorContinuar »
laudable for such perfections as extend no farther than to his own private advantage and reputation.
But when I speak of you, I celebrate one who has had the happiness of possessing also those qualities which make a man useful to society, and of having had opportunities of exerting them in the most conspicuous manner.
The great part you had, as British ambassador, in procuring and cultivating the advantageous commerce between the courts of England and Portugal, has purchased you the lasting esteem of all who understand the interest of either nation.
Those personal excellencies which are over-rated by the ordinary world, and too much neglected by wise men, you have applied with the justest skill and judgment. The most graceful address in horsemanship, in the use of the sword, and in dancing, has been employed by you as lower arts, and as they have occasionally served to Gover, or introduce the talents of a skilful minister.
But your abilities have not appeared only in one nation.
When it was your province to act as her Majesty's minister at the court of Savoy, at that time encamped, you accompanied that gallant Prince through all the vicissitudes of his fortune, and shared, by his side, the dangers of that glorious day in which he recovered his capital. As far as it regards personal qualities, you attained, in that one hour, the highest military reputation. The behavior of our minister in the action, and the good offices done the vanquished in the name of the Queen of England, gave both the conqueror and the captive the most lively examples of the courage and generosity of the nation he represented.
Your friends and companions in your absence frequently talk these things of you ; and you cannot hide from us (by the most discreet silence in any thing which regards yourself), that the frank entertainment we have at your table, your easy condescension in little incidents of mirth and diversion, and general complacency of manners are far from being the greatest obligations we have to you. I do assure you there is not one of your friends has
a greater sense of your merit in general, and of the favors you every day do us, than,
Your most obedient, and
Most humble servant,
Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus
HOR. Od. 24. 1. 1. v.1. And who can grieve too much ? What time shall end Our mourning for so dear a friend ?
“ MR. SPECTATOR,
“THE just value you have expressed for the ma
frimonial state is the reason that I now venture to write to you without fear of being ridiculous; and confess to you, that though it is three months since I lost a very agreeable woman, who was my wife, my sorrow is still fresh; and I am often, in the midst of company, upon any circumstance that revives her memory, with a reflection what she would say or do on such an occasion; I say, upon an occurrence of that nature, which I can give you a sense of, though I cannot express it wholly, I am all over faintness, and am obliged to retire and give way to a few sighs and tears before I can be easy. I cannot but recommend the subject of male widowhood to you, and beg of you to touch upon it by the first opportunity. To those who have not lived like, husbands during the lives of their spouses, this would be a tasteless jumble of words; but to such (of whom there are not a few) who have enjoyed that state with the sentiments proper for it, you will have every line, which hits the sorrow, attended with a tear of pity and consolation. For I know not by what goodness of Providence it is, that every gush of passion is a step towards the relief of it ; and there is a certain comfort in the very act of sorrowing, which, I suppose, arises from a secret consciousness in the mind, that the affliction it is under flows from a virtuous cause. My concern is not indeed so outrageous as the first transport; for I think it has subsided rather into a soberer state of mind than any actual perturbation of spirit. There might be rules formed for men's behavior on this great incident, to bring them from that misfortune into the condition I am at present; which is, I think, that my sorrow has converted all roughness of temper into meekness, good-nature, and complacency : but indeed, when in a serious and lonely hour I present my departed consort to my imagination, with that air of persuasion in her countenance when I have been in passion, that sweet affability when I have been in good-humor, that tender compassion when I have had any thing which gave me uneasiness, I confess to you I am inconsolable, and my eyes gush with grief, as if I had seen her but just then expire. In