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numents, and monuments which had no poets. I observed indeed that the present war had filled the church with many of these uninhabited monuments, which had been erected to the memory of persons whose bodies were perhaps buried in the plains of Blenheim, or in the bosom of the ocean.
I could not but be very much delighted with several mod-rn epitaphs, which are written with great elegance of expression and justness of thought, and therefore do honour to the living as well as to the dead. As a foreigner is very apt to conceive an idea of the ignorance or politeness of a nation from the turn of their public monuments and inscriptions, they should be submitted to the perusal of men of learning and genius before they are put in execution. Sir Cloudesly Shovel's monument has very often given me great offence; instead of the brave rough English admiral, which was the distinguished character of that plain gallant man, he is represented on his tomb by the figure of a beau, dressed in a long perriwig, and reposing himself upon velvet cushions under a canopy of state. The inscription is answerable to the monument; for instead of celebrating the many remarkable actions he had performed in the service of his country, it acquaints us only with the manner of his death, in which it was impossible for him to reap any honour. The Dutch, whom we are apt to despise for want of genius, shew an infinitely greater taste of antiquity and politeness in their buildings and works of this nature, than what we meet with in those of our own country. The monuments of their admirals, which have been erected at the public expence, represent them like themselves; and are adorned with l'ostral crowns and naval ornaments, with beautiful festoons of sea-weed, shells, and coral. *
But to return to our subject. I have left the repository of our English kings for the contemplation of
another day, when I shall find my mind disposed for so serious an amusement. I know that entertainments of this nature are apt to raise dark and dismal thoughts in timorous minds and gloomy imaginations ; but for my own part, though I am always serious, I do not know what it is to be melancholy; and can therefore take a view of nature, in her deep and solemn scenes, with the same pleasure as in her most gay and delightful ones. By this means I can improve myself with those objects which others consider with terror. When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tomb-stone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow; when I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions and debates of inankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together,
No. XXVII. SATURDAY, MARCH 31.
Ut nox longa, quibus mentitur amica, diesque
Long as to him, who works for debt, the day;
THERE is scarce a thinking man in the world, who is involved in the business of it, but lives under a secret impatience of the hurry and fatigue he suffers, and has formed a resolution to fix himself, one time or other, in such a state as is suitable to the end of his being. You hear men every day in conversation profess that all the honour', power and riches, which they propose to themselves, cannot give satisfaction enough to reward them for half the anxiety they undergo in the pursuit or possession of them. While men are in this temper, which happens very frequently, how inconsistent are they with themselves! they are wearied with the toil they bear, but cannot find in their hearts to relinquish it; retirement is what they want, but they cannot betake themselves to it: while they pant after shade and covert, they still affect to appear in the most glittering scenes of life ; but sure this is but just as reasonable as if a man should call for more light when he has a mind to go to sleep.
Since then it is certain that our own hearts deceive us in the love of the world, and that we cannot command ourselves enough to resign it, though we every day wish ourselves disengaged from its allurements, let us not stand upon a formal taking of leave, but wean ourselves from them, while we are in the midst of them.
It is certainly the general intention of the greater part of mankind to accomplish this work, and live according to their own approbation, as soon as they possibly can; but since the duration of life is so uncertain, and that has been a common topic of discourse ever since there was such a thing as life itself, how is it possible that we should defer a moment the beginning to live according to the rules of reason ?
The man of business has ever some one point to carry, and then he tells himself he will bid adieu to all the vanity of ambition; the man of pleasure resolves to take leave at least, and part civilly with his mistress; but the ambitious man is entangled every moment in a fresh pursuit; and the lover sees new charms in the object he fancied he could abandon. It is therefore a fantastical way of thinking, when we promise ourselves an alteration in our conduct from change of place and difference of circumstances; the same passions will attend us wherever we are till they are conquered; and we can never live to our satisfaction in the deepest retirement, unless we are capable of living so in some measure amidst the noise and business of the world.
I have ever thought men were better known by what could be observed of them from a perusal of their
private letters, than any other way. My friend the clergyman, the other day, upon serious discourse with him concerning the danger of procrastination, gave me the following letters from persons with whom he lives in great friendship and intimacy, according to the good breeding and good sense of his character. The first is from a man of business, who is his convert; the second from one of whom he conceives good hopes; the third from one who is in no state at all, but carried one way and another by starts.
"Sir, • I KNOW not with what words to express to you " the sense I have of the high obligation you have laid I upon me, in the penance you enjoined me of doing ' some good or other to a person of worth every day
I live. The station I am in furnishes me with daily opportunities of this kind ; and the noble principle " with which you have inspired me, of benevolence to
all I have to deal with, quickens my application in ' every thing I undertake. When I relieve merit
from discountenance, when I assist a friendless perrson, when I produce concealed worth, I am dis
pleased with myself for having designed to leave
the world in order to be virtuous. I am sorry you r decline the occasions which the condition I am in "might afford me of enlarging your fortunes ; but
know I contribute more to your satisfaction when I i acknowledge I am the better man, from the influ
'ence and authority you have over,