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number ten, which is signified by the letter morals, as a monstrous birth in naturals; X, (and which has so much perplexed the with this difference only, which greatly town,) has in it many particular powers: aggravates the wonder, that it happens that it is called by Platonic writers the com- much more frequently; and what a blemish plete number; that one, two, three, and does it cast upon wit and learning in the four put together make up the number ten; general account of the world' and in how and that ten is all. But these are not mys- disadvantageous a light does it expose them teries for ordinary readers to be let into. to the busy class of mankind, that there A man must have spent many years in hard should be so many instances of persons who study before he can arrive at the know- have so conducted their lives in spite of ledge of them.
these transcendent advantages, as neither We had a rabbinical divine in England, to be happy in themselves nor useful to who was chaplain to the Earl of Essex, in their friends; when every body sees it was Queen Elizabeth's time, that had an admi- entirely in their own power to be eminent rable head for secrets of this nature. Upon in both these characters? For my part, I his taking the doctor of divinity's degree, think there is no reflection more astonishhe preached before the university of Cam-ing, than to consider one of these gentlebridge, upon the first verse of the first men spending a fair fortune, running in chapter of the first book of Chronicles, in every body's debt without the least apprewhich,' says he, 'you have the three fol- hension of a future reckoning; and at last lowing words:
leaving not only his own children, but pos“ Adam, Seth, Enosh."
sibly those of other people, by his means, He divided this short text into many parts,
starving circumstances; while a fellow, and by discovering several mysteries in whom one would scarce suspect to have a each word, made a most learned and elabo- human soul, shall perhaps raise a vasť rate discourse. The name of this profound estate out of nothing, and be the founder preacher was Dr. Alabaster, of whom the of a family capable of being very considerareader may find a more particular account ble in their country, and doing many illusin Dr. Fuller's book of English Worthies. trious services to it. That this observation This instance will, I hope, convince my is just, experience has put beyond all disreaders that there may be a great deal of pute. But though the fact be so evident fine writing in the capital letters which and glaring, yet the causes of it are still in bring up the rear of my paper, and give the dark; which makes me persuade mythem some satisfaction in that particular. self, that it would be no unacceptable piece But as for the full explication of these of entertainment to the town, to inquire matters, I must refer them to time, which into the hidden sources of so unaccountable discovers all things.
C. an evil. I am, sir, your most humble ser
What this correspondent wonders at, has No. 222.] Wednesday, November 14, 1711. been matter of admiration ever since there Cur alter fratrum cessare, et ludere, et ungi,
was any such thing as human life. Horace
reflects upon this inconsistency very agreePræferat Herodis palmetis pinguibusHor. Lib. 2. Ep. ii. 183.
ably in the character of Tigellius whom he Why, of two brothers, one his pleasure loves,
makes a mighty pretender to economy, and Prefers bis sports to Hetod's fragrant groves. Creech. tells you, you might one day hear him speak
* MR. SPECTATOR: --- There is one thing the most philosophic things imaginable conI have often looked for in your papers, and cerning being contented with a little, and have as often wondered to find myself dis- his contempt of every thing but mere neappointed; the rather, because I think it a cessaries; and in half a week after spend a subject every way agreeable to your design, thousand pounds. When he says this
of and by being left unattempted by others, him with relation to experise, he describes seems reserved as a proper employment him as unequal to himself in every other for you; I meana disquisition,
from whence it circumstance of life; and, indeed, if we conproceeds, that men of the brightest parts, sider lavish men carefully, we shall find it and most comprehensive genius, completely always proceeds from a certain
incapacity furnished with talents for any province in of possessing themselves, and finding enhuman affairs; such as by their wise les-joyment in their own minds. Mr. Dryden sons of economy to others, have made it has expressed this very excellently in the evident that they have the justest notions character of Zimri: of life, and of true sense in the conduct "A man so various, that he seemed to be of it;--from what unhappy contradictious
Not one, but all mankind's epitome.
Stiff in opinion, always in the wrong, cause it proceeds, that persons thus finished Was every thing by starts, and nothing long! by nature and by art, should so often fail in But in the course of one revolving moon, the management of that which they so well
Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon.
Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking, understand, and want the address to make Besides ten thousand freaks, that died in thinking; a right application of their own rules. This Bless'd madman, who could every hour employ is certainly a prodigious inconsistency in
In something new to wish, or to enjoy! behaviour, and makes such a figure in
In squandering wealth was his peculiar art,
This loose state of the soul hurries the Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto.
Virg. Æn. i. ver. 122. extravagant from one pursuit to another;
One here and there floats on the vast abyss. and the reason that his expenses are greater than another's, is, that his wants are also there is none whose fragments are so beau
Among the mutilated poets of antiquity But what makes so many tiful as those of Sappho. They give us a go on in this way to their lives' end, is, that taste of her way of writing, which is perthey certainly
do not know how contempti- fectly conformable with that extraordinary ble they are in the eyes of the rest of man- character we find of her in the remarks of kind, or rather, that indeed they are not so those great critics who were conversant contemptible as they deserve. Tully says, with her works when they were entire. it is the greatest of wickedness to lessen One may see by what is left of them, that your paternal estate. And if a man would she followed nature in all her thoughts, thoroughly consider how much worse than banishment it must be to his child, to ride without descending to those little points, by the estate which should have been his, conceits, and turns of wit with which many had it not been for his father's injustice to
of our modern lyrics are so miserably inhim, he would be smitten with reflection fected. Her soul seems to have been made more deeply than can be understood by any in all its warmth, and described it in all its
of love and poetry. She felt the passion but one who is a father. Sure there can be nothing more afflicting, than to think it symptoms. She is called by ancient auhad been happier for his
son to have been thors the tenth muse; and by Plutarch is born of any other man living than himself. compared to Cacus the son of Vulcan, who
It is not perhaps much thought of, but it breathed out nothing but fame. I do not is certainly a very important lesson, to know by the character that is given of her learn how to enjoy ordinary life, and to be works, whether it is not for the benefit of able to relish your being without the trans- mankind that they are lost. They were port of some passion, or gratification of
filled with such bewitching tenderness and some appetite. For want of this capacity, rapture, that it might have been dangerous the world is filled with whetters, tipplers,
to have given them a reading. cutters, sippers, and all the numerous train sioned great calamities to this poetical lady,
An inconstant lover called Phaon, occaof those who for want of thinking, are forced She feit desperately in love with him, and to be ever exercising their feeling, or tasting took a voyage into Sicily, in pursuit of him, It would be hard on this occasion to mention the harmless smokers of tobacco, and
he having withdrawn_himself thither on takers of snuff.
purpose to avoid her. It was in that island, The slower part of mankind, whom my have made the Hymn to Venus, with a
and on this occasion, she is supposed to correspondent wonders should get estates, are the more immediately formed for that translation of which I shall present my
reader. pursuit. They can expect distant things
Her Hymn was ineffectual for without impatience, because they are not procuring that happiness which she prayed
for in it. Phaon was still obdurate, and carried out of their way either by violent passion or keen appetite to any thing. To Sappho so transported with the violence of men addicted to delights, business is an in-, her passion, that she was resolved to get
rid of it at any price. terruption; to such as are cold to delights, business is an entertainment. For which
There was a promontory in Acarnania reason it was said to one who commended called Leucate, on the top of which was a a dull man for his application, No thanks little temple dedicated to Apollo. In this to him; if he had no business he would have temple it was usual for despairing lovers
to make their vows in secret, and afternothing to do.'
wards to fling themselves from the top of the precipice into the sea, where they were
sometimes taken up alive. This place was No. 223.] Thursday, November 15, 1711. therefore called the Lover's Leap; and
whether or no the fright they had been in, O suavis anima! qualem te dicam bonam,
or the resolution that could push them to Antehac fuisse, tales cum sint reliquæ! so dreadful a remedy, or the bruises which
they often received in their fall, banished O sweet soul! how good must you have been hereto. all the tender sentiments of love, and gave fore when your remains are so delicious.
their spirits another turn; those who had WHEN I reflect upon the various fate of taken this leap were observed never to rethose multitudes of ancient writers who
pse into that assion. Sappho tried the flourished in Greece and Italy, I consider cure, but perished in the experiment. time as an immense ocean, in which many
After having given this short account of noble authors are entirely swallowed up, Sappho, so far as it regards the following many very much shattered and damaged, ode, I shall subjoin the translation of it as some quite disjointed and broken into it was sent me by a friend, whose admirapieces, while some have wholly
escaped ble Pastorals and Winter-pieces have been the common wreck; but the number of the already so well received. * The reader
will last is very small.
* Ambrose Philips.
Phædr. Lib. 3. Fab. i. 5.
find in it that pathetic simplicity which is that these two finished pieces have never so peculiar to him, and so suitable to the been attempted before hy any of our own ode he has here translated. This ode in countrymen. But the truth of it is, the the Greek (besides those beauties observed compositions of the ancients, which have by Madam Dacier,) has several harmo- not in them any of those unnatural wittinious turns in the words, which are not lost cisms that are the delight of ordinary in the English. I must farther add, that readers, are extremely difficult to render the translation has preserved every image into another tongue, so as the beauties of and sentiment of Sappho, notwithstanding the original may not appear weak and faded it has all the ease and spirit of an original in the translation.
C. In a word, if the ladies have a mind to know the manner of writing practised by the so much celebrated Sappho, they may No. 224.] Friday, November 16, 1711. here see it in its genuine and natural beauty,
-Fulgente trahit constrictos gloria curru without any foreign or affected ornaments. Non minus ignotos generosis
Hor. Lib. 1. Sat. vi. 23. A HYMN TO VENUS.
Chain'd to her shining car, Fame draws along
With equal whirl the great and vulgar throng.
If we look abroad upon the great multiFull of love-perplexing wjles;
tude of mankind, and endeavour to trace O goddess! from my heart remove
out the principles of action in every inThe wasting cares and pains of love.
dividual, it will, I think, seem highly proIf ever thou hast kindly heard
bable that ambition runs through the whole A song in soft distress preferrd,
species, and that every man in proportion Propitious to my tuneful vow, O gentle goddess! bear me now,
to the vigour of his complexion is more or Descend, thou bright, immortal guest,
less actuated by it. It is indeed no uncomIn all thy radiant charms confess'd.
mon thing to meet with men, who, by the Thou once didst leave almighty Jove,
natural bent of their inclinations, and withAnd all the golden roofs above; The car thy wanton sparrows drew,
out the discipline of philosophy, aspire not Hov'ring in air they lightly flew;
to the heights of power and grandeur; who As to my bower they wing'd their way,
never set their hearts upon a numerous I saw their quiviring pinions play.
train of clients and dependencies, nor other The birds dismiss d (while you remain)
gay appendages of greatness; who are conBoro back their empty car again;
tented with a competency, and will not Then you with looks divinely mild, In ev'ry heavenly feature smild,
molest their tranquillity to gain an abunAnd askd what new complaints I made,
dance. But it is not therefore to be conAnd why I call'd you to my ajd ?
cluded that such a man is not ambitious; his What frenzy in my bosom rag'd,
desires may have cut out another channel, And by what cure to be assuag'd?
and determined him to other pursuits; the What gentle youth I would allure,
motive however may be still the same; and Whom in my artful tuils secure ? Who does thy tender heart subdue,
in these cases likewise the man may be Tell me, my Sappho, tell me, who?
equally pushed on with the desire of disThough now he shuns thy longing arms,
tinction. He soon shall court thy slighted charms;
Though the pure consciousness of worthy Though now thy off rings he despise,
actions, abstracted from the views of popuHe soon to thee shall sacrifice; Though now he freeze, he soon shall burn,
lar applause, be to a generous mind an amAnd be thy victim in his turn.
ple reward, yet the desire of distinction was Celestial visitant, once more
doubtless implanted in our natures as an Thy needful presence I implore!
additional incentive to exert ourselves in In pity come and ease my grief,
virtuous excellence. Bring my distemper'd soul relief, Favour ihy suppliant's hidden fires,
This passion, indeed, like all others, is And give me all my heart desires.
frequently perverted to evil and ignoble
purposes; so that we may account for many Madam Dacier observes, there is some of the excellences and follies of life upon thing very pretty in that circumstance of the same innate principle, to wit, the desire this ode, wherein Venus is described as of being remarkable; for this, as it has been sending away her chariot upon her arrival differently cultivated by education, study, at Sappho's lodgings, to denote that it was and converse, will bring forth suitable efnot a short transient visit which she in- fects as falls in with an ingenuous dispositended to make her
. This ode was pre- tion, or a corrupt mind. It does accordingly served by an eminent Greek critic, who express itself in acts of magnanimity or inserted it entire in his works, as a pattern selfish cunning, as it meets with a good or a of perfection in the structure of it.
weak understanding. As it has been emLonginus has quoted another ode of this ployed in embellishing the mind, or adorngreat poetess, which is likewise admirable ing the outside, it renders the man eminently in its kind, and has been translated by the praiseworthy or ridiculous. Ambition theresame hand with the foregoing one. I shall | fore is not to be confined only to one passion oblige my reader with it in another paper. or pursuit; for as the same humours in conIn the meanwhile, I cannot but wonder Istitutions otherwise different, affect the
body after different manners, so the same and irregular practices, as saliving out into aspiring, principle within us sometimes nocturnal exploits, breaking of windows, breaks forth upon one object, sometimes singing of catches, beating the watch, getupon another.
ting drunk twice a day, killing a great It cannot be doubted, but that there is as number of horses; with many other entergreat a desire of glory in a ring of wrestlers prises of the like fiery nature: for certainly or cudgel-players, as in any other more re- many a man is more rakish and extravagant fined competition for superiority. No man than he would willingly be, were there not that could avoid it, would ever suffer his others to look on and give their approbation. head to be broken but out of a principle of One very common, and at the same time honour. This is the secret spring that the most absurd ambition that ever showed pushes them forward; and the superiority itself in human nature, is that which comes which they gain above the undistinguished upon a man with experience and old age, many, does more than repair those wounds the season when it might be expected he they have received in the combat. It is Mr. should be wisest; and therefore it cannot Waller's opinion, that Julius Cæsar, had receive any of those lessening circumstances he not been master of the Roman empire, which do, in some measure, excuse the diswould, in all probability, have made an ex- orderly ferments of youthful blood: I mean cellent wrestler:
the passion for getting money, exclusive of "Great Julius on the mountains bred,
the character of the provident father, the A flock perhaps or herd had led;
affectionate husband, or the generous friend. He that the world subdu'd, had been But the best wrestler on the green.'
It may be remarked, for the comfort of
honest poverty, that this desire reigns most That he subdued the world, was owing to in those who have but few good qualities to the accidents of art and knowledge; had he recommend them. This is a weed that will not met with those advantages, the same grow in a barren soil. Humanity, goodsparks of emulation would have kindled nature, and the advantages of a liberal within him, and prompted him to distin- education, are incompatible with avarice. guish himself in some enterprise of a lower It is strange to see how suddenly this abject nature. Since therefore no man's lot is so passion kills all the noble sentiments and unalterably fixed in this life, but that a generous ambitions that adorn human nathousand accidents may either forward or ture; it renders the man who is overrun disappoint his advancement, it is, methinks, with it a peevish and cruel master, a severe a pleasant and inoffensive speculation, to parent, an unsociable husband, a distant consider a great man as divested of all the and mistrustful friend. But it is more to the adventitious circumstances of fortune, and present purpose to consider it as an absurd to bring him down in one's imagination to passion of the heart, rather than as a vicious that low station of life, the nature of which affection of the mind. As there are frequent bears some distant resemblance to that high instances to be met with of a proud humility, one he is at present possessed of. Thus so this passion, contrary to most others, one may view him, exercising in miniature affects applause, by avoiding all show and those talents of nature, which being drawn appearance; for this reason it will not someout by education to their full length, enable times endure even the common decencies him for the discharge of some important of apparel. A covetous man will call himemployment. On the other hand, one may self poor, that you may soothe his vanity by raise uneducated merit to such a pitch of contradicting him.' Love and the desire of greatness as may seem equal to the possible glory, as they are the most natural, so they extent of his improved capacity.
are capable of being refined into the most Thus nature furnishes man with a gene- delicate and rational passions. It is true, ral appetite of glory, education determines the wise man who strikes out of the secret it to this or that particular object. The paths of a private life, for honour and digdesire of distinction is not, I think, in any nity, allured by the splendour of a court, instance more observable than in the variety and the unfelt weight of public employof outsides and new appearances, which the ment, whether he succeeds in his attempts modish part of the world are obliged to or no, usually comes near enough to this provide, in order to make themselves re- painted greatness to discern the daubing; markable; for any thing glaring or particu- he is then desirous of extricating himself lar, either in behaviour or apparel, is known out of the hurry of life, that he may pass to have this good effect, that it catches the away the remainder of his days in tranquileye, and will not suffer you to pass over the lity and retirement. person só adorned without due notice and It may be thought then but common pruobservation. It has likewise, upon this ac- dence in a man not to change a better state count, been frequently resented as a very for a worse, nor ever to quit that which he great slight, to leave any gentleman out of knows he shall take up again with pleasure; a lampoon or satire, who has as much right and yet if human life be not a little moved to be there as his neighbour, because it sup with the gentle gales of hopes and fears, poses the person not eminent enough to be there may be some danger of its stagnating taken notice of. To this passionate fondness in an unmanly indolence and security. It is for distinction are owing various frolicksome la known story of Domitian, that after he
had possessed himself of the Roman em- | No. 225.] Saturday, November 17, 1711. pire, his desires turned upon catching fies.
Nullum numen abest si sit prudentia Active and masculine spirits in the vigour
Jun. Sat. x. 305. of youth neither can nor ought to remain at Prudence supplies the want of every good. rest. If they debar themselves from aiming I have often thought if the minds of men at a noble object, their desires will move
were laid open, we should see but little downwards, and they will feel themselves difference between that of the wise man actuated by some low and abject passion. and that of the fool. There are infinite Thus, if you cut off the top branches of a reveries, numberless extravagances, and a tree, and will not suffer it to grow any perpetual train of vanities which pass higher, it will not therefore cease to grow, through both. The great difference is that but will quickly shoot out at the bottom. the first knows how to pick and cull his The man indeed who goes into the world thoughts for conversation, by suppressing only with the narrow views of self-interest, some and communicating others; whereas who catches at the applause of an idle mul- the other lets them all indifferently fly out titude, as he can find no solid contentment in words. This sort of discretion, howat the end of his journey, so he deserves to ever, has no place in private conversation /meet with disappointments in his way: but between intimate friends. On such occahe who is actuated by a nobler principle; sions the wisest men very often talk like whose mind is so far enlarged as to take in the weakest: for indeed the talking with a the prospect of his country's good; who is friend is nothing else but thinking aloud, enamoured with that praise which is one Tully has therefore very justly exposed of the fair attendants of virtue, and values a precept delivered by some ancient wrinot those acclamations which are not se- ters, that a man should live with his enemy conded by the impartial testimony of his in such a manner, as might leave him room own mind; who repines not at the low sta- to become his friend; and with his friend in tion which Providence has at present allot- such a manner, that if he became his eneted him, but yet would willingly advance my, it should not be in his power to hurt himself by justifiable means to a more rising him. The first part of this rule, which and advantageous ground; such a man is regards our behaviour towards an enemy warmed with a generous emulation; it is a is indeed very reasonable, as well as very virtuous movement in him to wish and to prudential; but the latter part of it, which endeavour that his power of doing good may regards our behaviour towards a friend, be equal to his will.
savours more of cunning than of discretion, The man who is fitted out by nature, and and would cut a man off from the greatest sent into the world with great abilities, is pleasures of life, which are the freedoms of capable of doing great good or mischief in conversation with a bosom friend. Besides it. It ought therefore to be the care of that, when a friend is turned into an enemy, education to infuse into the untainted youth and, as the son of Sirach calls him, 'a early notices of justice and honour, that so bewrayer of secrets,'* the world is just the possible advantages of good parts may enough to accuse the perfidiousness of the not take an evil turn, nor be perverted to friend rather than the indiscretion of the base and unworthy purposes. It is the person who confided in him. business of religion and philosophy not so Discretion does not only show itself in much to extinguish our passions as to words, but in all the circumstances of acregulate and direct them to valuable well- tion, and is like an under-agent of Provichosen objects. When these have pointed dence, to guide and direct us in the ordinary out to us which course we may lawfully cor
cerns of life. steer, it is no harm to set out all our sail;
There are many more shining qualities if the storms and tempests of adversity in the mind of man, but there is none so should rise upon us, and not suffer us to useful as discretion; it is this indeed which make the haven where we would be, it gives a value to all the rest, which sets will however prove no small consolation to them at work in their proper times and us in these circumstances, that we have places, and turns them to the advantage of neither mistaken our course, nor fallen into the person who is possessed of them. Withcalamities of our own procuring.
out it, learning is pedantry, and wit imperReligion therefore (were we to consider tinence; virtue itself looks like weakness; it no farther than as it interposes in the the best parts only qualify a man to be affairs of this life) is highly valuable, and more sprightly in errors, and active to his worthy of great veneration; as it settles the own prejudice. various pretensions, and otherwise interfer Nor does discretion only make a man the ing interests of mortal men, and thereby master of his own parts, but of other men's, consults the harmony and order of the great The discreet man finds out the talents of community; as it gives a man room to play those he converses with, and knows how to leis part, and exert his abilities; as it'ani- apply them to proper uses. Accordingly; mates to actions truly laudable in them- if we look into particular communities and selves, in their effects beneficial to society; divisions of men, we may observe, that it is as it inspires rational ambition, correct love, and elegant desire.
* Eccles. vi. 9. xxvij. 17,