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number ten, which is signified by the letter X, (and which has so much perplexed the town,) has in it many particular powers: that it is called by Platonic writers the comlete number; that one, two, three, and our put together make up the number ten; ‘and that ten is all. But these are not mysteries for ordinary readers to be let into. A man must have spent many years in hard study before he can arrive at the knowledge of them. We had a rabbinical divine in England, who was chaplain to the Earl of Essex, in Queen Elizabeth’s time, that had an admirable head for secrets of this nature. Upon his taking the doctor of divinity’s degree, he preached before the university of Cambridge, upon the first verse of the first chapter of the first book of Chronicles, “ in which,” says he, “you have the three following words: “Adam, Seth, Fnosh.” He divided this short text into many parts, and by discovering several mysteries in each word, made a most learned and elaborate discourse. The name of this profound preacher was Dr. Alabaster, of whom the reader mav find a more particular account in Dr. Fuller's book of English Worthies. This instance will, I hope, convince my readers that there may be a great deal of fine writing in the capital letters which bring up the rear of my paper, and give them some satisfaction in that particular. But as for the full explication of these matters, I must refer them to time, which discovers all things. C.
No. 222.] Wednesday, Movember 14, 1711.
Cur alter fratrum cessare, et ludere, et ungi, Praeferat Herodis palmetis pinguibus— Hor. Lib. 2 Ep. ii. 183. Why, of two brothers, one his pleasure loves, Prefers his sports to Herod's fragrant groves—Creech. *MR. SPECTAtoR,-There is one thing I have often looked for in your papers, and have as often wondered to find myself disappointed; the rather, because I think it a . every way agreeable to your design, and by being left ...] by others, seems reserved as a proper employment for you; I meanadisquisition,from whence it proceeds, that men of the brightest parts, and most comprehensive genius, completely furnished with talents for any province in human affairs; such as by their wise les. sons of economy to others, have made it evident that they have the justest notions of life, and of true sense in the conduct of it;-from what unhappy contradictious cause it proceeds, that persons thus finished by nature and by art, should so often fail in the management of that which they so well understand, and want the address to make a right application of their own rules. This is certainly a Prodigious inconsistency in behaviour, and makes such a figure in
morals, as a monstrous birth in naturals; with this difference only, which greatly aggravates the wonder, that it happens much more frequently; and what a blemish does it cast upon wit and learning in the general account of the world? and in how disadvantageous a light does it expose them to the busy class of mankind, that there should be so many instances of persons who have so conducted their lives in spite of these transcendent advantages, as neither to be lo. in themselves nor useful to their friends; when every body sees it was entirely in their own power to be eminent in both these characters? For my part, I think there is no reflection more astonishing, than to consider one of these gentlemen spending a fair fortune, running in every body's debt without the least apprehension of a future reckoning; and at last leaving not only his own children, but possibly those of other people, by his means, in starving circumstances; while a fellow, whom one would scarce suspect to have a human soul, shall perhaps raise a vast estate out of nothing, and be the founder of a family capable of being very considerable in their country, and doing many illustrious services to it. That this observation is just, experience has put beyond all dispute. But though the fact be so evident and glaring, yet the causes of it are still in the dark; which makes me persuade myself, that it would be no unacceptable piece of entertainment to the town, to inquire into the hidden sources of so unaccountable an evil. I am, sir, your most humble servant.”
What this correspondent wonders at, has been matter of admiration ever since there was any such thing as human life. Horace reflects upon this inconsistency very agreeably in the character of Tigelsius whom he makes a mighty pretender to economy, and tells you, you might one day hear him speak the most philosophic things imaginable concerning being contented with a little, and his contempt of everything but mere necessaries; and in half a week after spend a thousand pounds. When he says this of him with relation to expense, he describes him as unequal to himself in every other circumstance of life; and, indeed, if we consider lavish men carefully, we shall find it always proceeds from a certain incapacity of possessing themselves, and finding enjoyment in their own minds. Mr. Dryden has expressed this very excellently in the character of Zimri: “A man so various, that he seemed to be Not one, but all mankind's epitome. Stiff in opinion, always in the wrong, Was every thing by starts, and nothing long But in the course of one revolving moon, Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon. Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking, Besides ten thousand freaks, that died in thinking; Bless'd madman, who could every hour employ In something new to wish, or to enjoy! In squandering wealth was ...!?" art, Nothing went unrewarded but desert."
This loose state of the soul hurries the extravagant from one pursuit to another; and the reason that his expenses are greater than another's, is, that his wants are also more numerous. But what makes so many on in this way to their lives’ end, is, that they certainly do not know how contemptible they are in the eyes of the rest of mankind, or rather, that indeed they are not so contemptible as they deserve. Tully says, it is the greatest of wickedness to lessen your paternal estate. And if a man would thoroughly consider how much worse than banishment it must be to his child, to ride by the estate which should have been his, had it not been for his father's injustice to him, he would be smitten with reflection more deeply than can be understood by any but one who is a father. Sure there can be nothing more afflicting, than to think it had ...i. for his son to have been born of any other man living than himself. It is not perhaps much thought of, but it is certainly a very important lesson, to learn how to enjoy ordinary life, and to be able to relish your being without the transport of some passion, or gratification of some appetite. For want of this capacity, the world is filled with whetters, tipplers, cutters, sippers, and all the numerous train of those who for want of thinking, are forced to be everexercising their feeling, or tasting. It would be hard on this occasion to mention the harmless smokers of tobacco, and takers of snuff. The slower part of mankind, whom my correspondent wonders should get estates, are the more immediately formed for that pursuit. They can expect distant things without impatience, because o are not carried out of their way either by violent passion or keen appetite to anything. To men addicted to delights, business is an interruption; to such as are cold to delights, business is an entertainment. For which reason it was said to one who commended a dull man for his application, “No thanks to him; if he had . he would have nothing to do.” T.
No. 223.] Thursday, Movember 15, 1711.
Q suavis animal qualem tedicam bonam,
Osweet soul! how good must you have been hereto. fore when your remains are so delicious.
WHEN I reflect upon the various fate of those multitudes of ancient writers who flourished in Greece and Italy, I consider time as an immense ocean, in which many noble authors are entirely swallowed up, many very much shattered and damaged, some quite disjointed and broken into pieces, while some have wholly escaped the common wreck; but the number of the last is very small,
Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto. Virg. JEn. i. ver, 122. One here and there floats on the vast abyss. Among the mutilated poets of antiquity there is none whose fragments are so beautiful as those of Sappho. hey give us a taste of her way of writing, which is perfectly conformable with that extraordina character we find of her in the remarks .# those great critics who were conversant with her works when they were entire. One may see by what is left of them, that she followed nature in all her thoughts, without descending to those little points, conceits, and turns of wit with which many of our modern lyrics are so miserably infected. Her o seems to have been made up of love and poetry. She felt the passion in all its warmth, and described it in all its .* She is called by ancient authors the tenth muse; and by Plutarch is compared to Cacus the son of Vulcan, who breathed out nothing but flame. I do not know by the character that is given of her works, whether it is not for the benefit of mankind that they are lost. They were filled with such bewitching tenderness and rapture, that it might have been dangerous to have given them a reading. An inconstant lover called Phaon, occasioned great calamities to this poetical lady. She fell desperately in love with him, and took a voyage into Sicily, in pursuit of him, he having withdrawn himself thither on purpose to avoid her. It was in that island, and on this occasion, she is supposed to have made the Hymn to Venus, with a translation of which I shall present my reader. Her Hymn was ineffectual for o that happiness which she prayed or in it. Phaon was still obdurate, and Sappho so transported with the violence of her passion, that she was resolved to get rid of it at any price. here was a promontory in Acarnania called Leucate, on the top of which was a little temple dedicated to Apollo. In this temple it was usual for despairing lovers to make their vows in secret, and afterwards to fling themselves from the top of the precipice into the sea, where they were sometimes taken up alive. This place was therefore called the Lover’s Leap; and whether or no the fright they had been in, or the resolution that could push them to so dreadful a remedy, or the bruises which they often received in their fall, banished all the tender sentiments of love, and gave their spirits another turn; those who had taken this leap were observed never to relapse into that passion. Sappho tried the cure, but perished in the experiment. After having given this short account of Sappho, so far as it regards the following § I shall subjoin the translation of it as it was sent me by a friend, whose admirable Pastorals and Winter-pieces have been already so well received.* The reader will
* Ambrose Philips.
find in it that pathetic simplicity which is so peculiar to him, and so suitable to the ode he has here translated. This ode in the Greek (besides those beauties observed by Madam Dacier,) has several harmonious turns in the words, which are not lost in the English. I must farther add, that the translation has preserved every image and sentiment of Sappho, notwithstanding it has all the ease and spirit of an original. In a word, if the ladies have a mind to know the manner of writing practised by the so much celebrated Sappho, they may here see it in its genuine and natural beauty, without any foreign or affected ornaments.
Madam Dacier observes, there is something very pretty in that circumstance of this ode, wherein Venus is described as sending away her chariot upon her arrival at Sappho's lodgings, to denote that it was not a short transient visit which she intended to make her. This ode was preserved by an eminent Greek critic, who inserted it entire in his works, as a pattern of perfection in the structure of it. onginus has quoted another ode of this at tess, which is likewise admirable in its kind, and has been translated by the same hand with the foregoing one. I shall 9blige my reader, with it in another paper. In à. meanwhile, I cannot but wonder
that these two finished pieces have never been attempted before by any of our own countrymen. But the truth of it is, the compositions of the ancients, which have not in them any of those unnatural witticisms that are the delight of ordinary readers, are extremely difficult to render into another tongue, so as the beauties of the original may not appear weak and faded in the translation. C.
No. 224.] Friday, Movember 16, 1711.
Fulgente trahit constrictos gloria curru Non minus ignotos generosis Hor. Lib. 1. Sat. vi. 23.
Chain'd to her shining car, Fame draws along with equal whirl the great and vulgar throng.
If we look abroad upon the great multitude of mankind, and endeavour to trace out the principles of action in every individual, it will, I think, seem highly probable that ambition runs through the whole species, and that every man in proportion to the vigour of his complexion is more or less actuated by it. It is indeed no uncommon thing to meet with men, who, by the natural bent of their inclinations, and without the discipline of philosophy, aspire not to the heights of power and grandeur; who never set their hearts upon a numerous train of clients and dependencies, nor other gay appendages of greatness; who are contented with a competency, and will not molest their tranquillity to gain an abundance. But it is not therefore to be concluded that such a man is not ambitious; his desires may have cut out another channel, and determined him to other pursuits; the motive however may be still the same; and in these cases likewise the man may be equally pushed on with the desire of distinction. Though the pure consciousness of worthy actions, abstracted from the views of popular applause, be to a generous mind an ample reward, yet the desire of distinction was doubtless implanted in our natures as an additional incentive to exert ourselves in virtuous excellence. This passion, indeed, like all others, is frequently perverted to evil and ignoble purposes; so that we may account for many of the excellences and follies of life upon the same innate principle, to wit, the desire of being remarkable; for this, as it has been differently cultivated by education, study, and converse, will bring forth suitable effects as it falls in with an ingenuous disposition, or a corrupt mind. It does accordingly express itself in acts of magnanimity or selfish cunning, as it meets with a good or a weak understanding. As it has been employed in embellishing the mind, or adorning the outside, it renders the man eminently Fo or ridiculous. Ambition thereore is not to be confined only to one passion or pursuit; for as the same humours in constitutions otherwise different, affect the
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body after different manners, so the same aspiring principle within us sometimes breaks forth upon one object, sometimes upon another. It cannot be doubted, but that there is as great a desire of glory in a ring of wrestlers or cudgel-players, as in any other more refined competition for superiority. No man that could avoid it, would ever suffer his head to be broken but out of a principle of honour. This is the secret spring that pushes them forward; and the superiority which they gain above the undistinguished many, does more than repair those wounds they have received in the combat. It is Mr. Waller’s opinion, that Julius Cæsar, had he not been master of the Roman empire, would, in all probability, have made an excellent wrestler: “Great Julius on the mountains bred, A flock perhaps or herd had led; He that the world subdu'd, had been But the best wrestler on the green.’ That he subdued the world, was owing to the accidents of art and knowledge; had he not met with those advantages, the same sparks of emulation would have kindled within him, and prompted him to distinguish himself in some enterprise of a lower nature. Since therefore no man’s lot is so unalterably fixed in this life, but that a thousand accidents may either forward or disappoint his advancement, it is, methinks, a pleasant and inoffensive speculation, to consider a great man as divested of all the adventitious circumstances of fortune, and to bring him down in one’s imagination to that low station of life, the nature of which bears some distant resemblance to that high one he is at present possessed of. Thus one may view him, exercising in miniature those talents of nature, which being drawn out by education to their full length, enable him for the discharge of some important employment. On the other hand, one may raise uneducated merit to such a pitch of greatness as may seem equal to the possible extent of his ". capacity. Thus nature furnishes man with a general appetite of glory, education determines it to this or that particular object. The desire of distinction is not, I think, in any instance more observable than in the variety of outsides and new appearances, which the modish part of the world are obliged to provide, in order to make themselves remarkable; for anything glaring or particular, either in behaviour or apparel, is known to have this good effect, that it catches the eye, and will not suffer you to pass over the person so adorned without due notice and observation. It has likewise, upon this account, been o resented as a very great slight, to leave any gentleman out of a lampoon or satire, who has as much right to be there as his neighbour, because it supposes the person not eminent enough to be taken notice of. To this passionate fondness for distinction are owing various frolicksome
and irregular practices, as sallying out into nocturnal exploits, breaking of windows, singing of catches, beating the watch, getting drunk twice a day, killing a great number of horses; with many other enterprises of the like fiery nature: for certainly many a man is more rakish and extravagant than he would willingly be, were there not others to look on and give their approbation. One very common, and at the same time the most absurd ambition that ever showed itself in human nature, is that which comes upon a man with experience and old age, the season when it might be expected he should be wisest; and therefore it cannot receive any of those lessening circumstances which do, in some measure, excuse the disorderly ferments of youthful blood: I mean the passion for getting money, exclusive of the character of the provident father, the affectionate husband, or the generous friend. It may be remarked, for the comfort of honest poverty, that this desire reigns most in those who have but few good qualities to recommend them. This is a weed that will grow in a barren soil. Humanity, 5. nature, and the advantages of a liberal education, are incompatible with avarice. It is strange to see how suddenly this abject passion kills all the noble sentiments and generous ambitions that adorn human nature; it renders the man who is overrun with it a peevish and cruel master, a severe parent, an unsociable husband, a distant and mistrustful friend. But it is more to the present purpose to consider it as an absurd passion of the heart, rather than as a vicious affection of the mind. As there are frequent instances to be met with of a proud humility, so this passion, contrary to most others, affects applause, by avoiding all show and appearance; for this reason it will not sometimes endure even the common decencies of apparel. “A covetous man will call himself poor, that you may soothe his vanity by contradicting him.” Love and the desire of glory, as they are the most natural, so they are capable of being refined into the most delicate and rational passions. . It is true, the wise man who strikes out of the secret paths of a o life, for honour and dignity, allured by the splendour of a court, and the unfelt weight of public employment, whether he succeeds in his attempts or no, usually comes near enough to this ainted greatness to discern the daubing; É. is then desirous of extricating himself out of the hurry of life, that he may pass away the remainder of his days in tranquillity and retirement. It may be thought then but common prudence in a man not to change a better state for a worse, nor ever to quit that which he knows he shall take up again with pleasure; and yet if human life be not a little moved with the gentle gales of hopes and fears, there may be some danger of its stagnating in an unmanly indolence and security. It is a known story of Domitian, that after he
had possessed himself of the Roman em-
No. 225.] Saturday, Movember 17, 1711.
Nullum numen abest si sit prudentia Jun. Sat. x. 365. Prudence supplies the want of every good. I Have often thought if the minds of men were laid open, we should see but little difference between that of the wise man and that of the fool. There are infinite reveries, numberless extravagances, and a perpetual train, of vanities which pass through both. The great difference is that the first knows how to pick and cull his thoughts for conversation, by suppressing some and communicating others; whereas the other lets them all indifferently fly out in words. This sort of discretion, }. ever, has no place in private conversation between intimate friends. On such occasions the wisest men very often talk like the weakest: for indeed the talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud. Tully has therefore very justly exposed a precept delivered by some ancient writers, that a man should live with his enemy in such a manner, as might leave him room to become his friend; and with his friend in such a manner, that if he became his enemy, it should not be in his power to hurt him. The first part of this rule, which regards our behaviour towards an enemy is indeed very reasonable, as well as very prudential; but the latter part of it, which regards our behaviour towards a friend, savours more of cunning than of discretion, and would cut a man off from the greatest pleasures of life, which are the freedoms of conversation with a bosom friend. Besides that, when a friend is turned into an enemy, and, as the son of Sirach calls him, “a bewrayer of secrets,” the world is just enough to accuse the perfidiousness of the friend rather than the indiscretion of the person who confided in him. Discretion does not only show itself in words, but in all the circumstances of action, and is like an under-agent of Providence, to guide and direct usin the ordinary concerns of life. There are many more shining qualities in the mind of man, but there is none so useful as discretion; it is this indeed which gives a value to all the rest, which sets them at work in their proper times and places, and turns them to the advantage of the person who is possessed of them. Without it, learning is pedantry, and wit impertinence; virtue itself looks like weakness; the best parts only qualify a man to be more sprightly in errors, and active to his own prejudice. Nor does discretion only make a man the master of his own parts, but of other men's. The discreet man finds out the talents of those he converses with, and knows how to Poly them to proper uses. Accordingly, if we look into particular communities and divisions of men, we may observe, that it is
* Eccles. vi. 9, 24vii. 17,