Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

England, behaved himself in that great confer-ence which was managed between the most learned among the protestants and papifts in the reign of queen Mary. This venerable old man knowing how his abilities were impaired by age, and that it was impoffible for him to recollect all thofe reafons which had directed him in the choice, of his religion, left his companions, who were in the full poffeffion of their parts and learning, to baffle and confound their antagonists by the force of reafon. As for himself he only repeated to his adverfaries the articles in which he firmly believed; and in the profeffion of which he was determined to die. It is in this manner the mathematician proceeds upon propofitions which he has once demonftrated; and though the demonstration may have flipt out of his memory, he builds upon the truth, because he knows it was demonftrated. This rule

is abfolutely neceffary for weaker minds, and in fome measure for men of the greatest abilities; but to thefe laft I would propofe in the fecond place, that they fhould lay up in their memories, and always keep by them in readiness those arguments which appear to them of the greatest ftrength, and which cannot be got over by all the doubts and cavils of infidelity.

examples give a kind of juftification to our folly. In our retirements every thing difpofes us to be ferious. In courts and cities we are entertained with the works of men; in the country with thofe of God. One is the province of art, the other of nature. Faith and devotion naturally grow in the mind of every reasonable man, who fees the impreffions of Divine Power and Wisdom in every object, on which he cafts his eye. The Supreme Being has made the best arguments for his own existence, in the formation of the heavens and the earth, and thefe are arguments which a man of fenfe cannot forbear attending to, who is out of the noife and hurry of human affairs. Ariftote fays, that fhould a man live under ground, and there converfe with works of art and mechanifm, and fhould afterwards be brought up into the open day, and fee the feveral glories of the heaven and earth, he would immediately pronounce them the works of fuch a Being as we define God to be. The Pfalmift has very beautiful ftrokes of poetry to this purpose, in that exalted train: The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament fheweth his handywork. One day telleth another and one night certifieth another. There is neither fpeech nor language but their voices are heard among them. Their found is gone out into ali lands; and their words into the ends of the world.' As fuck a bold and fublime manner of thinking furnishes very noble matter for an ode, the reader may fee it wrought into the following one,

But, in the third place, there is nothing which ftrengthens faith more than morality. Faith and morality naturally produce each other. A man is quickly convinced of the truth of religion, who finds it not against his intereft that it should be true. The pleasure he receives at prefent, and the happiness which he promifes himself from it hereafter, will both difpofe him very powerfully to give credit to it, according to the ordinary obfervation that we may easily believe what we

with. It is very certain, a man of found reafon cannot forbear clofing with religion upon an impartial examination of it; but at the fame time it is certain, that faith is kept alive in us, and gathers ftrength from practice more than from fpeculation.

There is fill another method which is more perfuafive than any of the former, and that is an habitual adoration of the Supreme Being, as well in conftant acts of mental worship, as 'ward forms. The devout man does not only believe but feels there is a deity. He has actual fenfations of him; his experience concurs with his reafon; he fees him more and more in all his intercourfes with him, and even in this life almoft lofes his faith in conviction.

I.

The fpacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,

And fpangled heavens, a fhining frame,
Their great original proclaim:
Th' unwearied fun from day to day,
Does his Creator's power difplay,
And publishes to every land

The work of an Almighty Hand.
II.
Soon as th' ev'ning fhades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the lift'ning earth
Repeats the ftory of her birth:
Whilft all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
• Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And fpread the truth from pole to pole.
III.
What though, in folemn filence, all
Move round the dark terreftrial ball?
What tho' nor real voice nor found
Amid their radiant orbs be found?
In reafon's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
For ever finging, as they fhine,
"The hand that made us is divine."

The laft method which I fhall mention for the giving life to a man's faith, is frequent retirement from the world, accompanied with religious meditation. When a man thinks of any thing in the darkness of the night, whatever deep impreffions it may make in his mind, they are apt to vanish as foon as the day breaks about him. The light and noife of the day, which are perpetually foliciting his fenfes, and calling off his attention, wear out of his mind the thoughts

that imprinted themselves in it, with fo much No 466. MONDAY, AUGUST 25.
ftrength, during the filence and darkness of the
night. A man finds the fame difference as to
himself in a crowd and in a folitude: the mind

-Vera inceffu patuit dea.

с

VIRG. Æn. I. v. 409.

DRYDEN.

is stunned and dazzled amidst that variety of objects And by her graceful walk the queen of love is known. which prefs upon her in a great city. She cannot apply herself to the confideration of those things which are of the utmoft concern to her. The cares and pleafures of the world ftrike in with every thought, and a multitude of vicious the place on which he is landed, he is accofted

W

HEN Æneas, the hero of Virgil, is loft in the wood, and a perfect ftranger in

༈ ཧི ཨི p

I

by

It is

by a lady in a habit for the chace. She enquires of him, whether he has seen pafs by that way any young woman dreffed as fhe was? Whether the were following the fport in the wood, or any other way employed, according to the custom of huntrefles? The hero anfwers with the refpect due to the beautiful appearance fhe made; tells her, he faw no fuch perfon as fhe enquired for; but intimates that he knows her to be one of the deities, and defires fhe would conduct a stranger. Her form from her very first appearance manifested fhe was more than mortal; but though he was certainly a goddess, the poet does not make her known to be the goddefs of Beauty till the moved: all the charms of an agreeable perfon are then in their higheft exertion, every limb and feature appears with its refpective grace. from this obfervation, that I cannot help being fo paffionate an admirer as I am of good dancing. As all art is an imitation of nature this imitation of nature in its highest excellence, and at a time when the is most agreeable, the bufinefs of dancing is to display beauty, and for that reafon all diftortions and mimicries, as fuch, are what raise averfion instead of pleafure: but fuch things that are in themfelves excellent, are ever attended with impofture and falfe imitation. Thus as in poetry there are laborious fools who write anagrams and acroftics, there are pretenders in dancing, who think merely to do what others cannot, is to excel. Such creatures fhould be rewarded like him who had acquired a knack of throwing a grain of corn through the eye of a needle, with a bufhel to keep his hand in ufe. The dancers on our stage are very faulty in this kind; and what they mean by writhing themfelves into fuch poftures, as it would be a pain for any of the fpectators to ftand in, and yet hope to please thofe fpectators, is unintelligible. Mr. Prince has a genius, if he were encouraged, would prompt him to better things. In all the dances he invents, you fee he keeps clofe to the characters he reprefents. He does not hope to please by making his performers move in a manner in which no one else ever did, but by motions proper to the characters he reprefents. He gives to clowns and lubbards clumfy graces, that is, he makes them practife what they would think graces: And I have feen dances of his, which might give hints that would be ufeful to a comic writer. These performances have pleafed the taste of fuch as have not reflexion enough to know their excellence, because they are in nature; and the dif torted motions of others have offended thofe, who could not form reafons to themfelves for their difpleafure, from their being a contradiction to

nature.

When one confiders the inexpreffible advantage there is in arriving at fome excellence in this art, it is monstrous to behold it fo much neglected. The following letter has in it fomething very natural on this fubject.

6

C

·C

"

"

I caught her once, at eleven years old, at chuck'farthing among the boys. This put me upon new thoughts about my child, and I determined to place her at a boarding-fchool, and at the fame time gave a very difcreet young gentlewoman her maintenance at the fame place and rate, to be her companion. I took little notice of my girl from time to time, but faw her now and then in good health, out of harm's way, and was fatisfied. But by much importunity, I was lately prevailed with to go to one of their balls. I cannot express to you the anxiety my filly heart was in, when I faw my romp, now fifteen, taken out: I never felt the pangs of a father upon me fo ftrongly in my whole life before; and I could not have fuf•fered more, had my whole fortune been at stake. My girl came on with the most becoming modeity I had ever feen, and cafting a respectful eye, as if the feared me more than all the audience, I gave a nod, which I think gave her all the fpirit the affumed upon it, but the rose properly to that dignity of afpect. My romp, now the moft graceful perfon of her fex, affumed a majefty which commanded the highest refpect; and when he turned to me, and faw my face in rapture, fhe fell into the prettiest fmile, and I faw in all her motions that the exulted in her father's fatisfaction. You Mr. Spectator, will, better than I can tell you, imagine to yourself all the different beauties and changes of afpect in an accomplished young woman, fetting forth all her beauties with a defign to pleafe no one fo much as her father. My girl's lover can never know half the fatiffaction that I did in her that day. I could not poffibly have imagined, that fo great improvement could have been wrought by an art that I always held in itself ridiculous and contemptible. There is, I am convinced, no method like this, to give young women a fenfe of their own value and dignity; and I am fure there can be none fo expeditious to communicate that value to others. As to the flippant infipidly gay and wantonly forward, whom you behold among dancers, that carriage is more to be attributed to the perverfe genius of the performers, than imputed to the art itfelf. For my part, my child has danced herself into my efteem, and I have as great an honour for her as ever I had for her mother, from whom she derived thofe latent good qualities which appeared in her countenance when she was dancing; for my girl, though I fay it myself, fhewed in one quarter of an hour the innate principles of a modeft virgin, a tender wife, a generous friend, a kind mother, and an indulgent miftrefs. I will ftrain hard but I will purchase for her an hufband fuitable to her merit. I am

"

"

6

71

Mr. Spectator,

I

AM a widower with but one daughter; fhe was by nature much inclined to be a romp, and I had no way of educating her, but commanding a young woman, whom I entertained to take care of her. I am a man of business, obliged to be much abroad. The neighbours have told me, that in my abfence our maid has let in the fpruce fervants in the neighbourhood to junketings, while my girl played and romped even in the street. To tell you the plain truth

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6.

"

your convert in the admiration of what I thought you jefted when you recommended; and if you please to be at my houfe on Thursday next, I make a ball for my daughter, and you fhall fee her dance, or if you will do me that honour, dance with her.

I am, Sir, your most humble fervant,
PHILIPATER.

I have fome time ago fpoken of a treatise written by Mr. Weaver on this fubject, which is now, I understand ready to be published. This work fets this matter in a very plain and advantageous

light;

light; and I am convinced from it, that if the art was under proper regulations, it would be a mechanic way of implanting infenfibly in minds, not capable of receiving it fo well by any other rules, a fenfe of good breeding and virtue.

Were any one to see Mariamne dance, let him be never fo fenfual a brute, I defy him to entertain any thoughts but of the highest refpect and efteem towards her. I was thewed last week a picture in a lady's clofet, for which the had an hundred different dreffes, that the could clap on round the face, on purpose to demonftrate the force of habits in the diverfity of the fame countenance. Motion, and change of posture and afpect, has an effect no lefs furprifing on the perfon

of Mariamne when the dances.

For

Chloe is extremely pretty, and as filly as fhe is pretty. This idiot has a very good ear, and a moft agreeable thape; but the folly of the thing is fuch, that it smiles fo impertinently, and affects to pleafe fo fillily, that while the dances, you fee the fimpleton from head to foot. you must know as trivial (as this art is thought to be) no one ever was a good dancer, that had not a good understanding. If this be a truth, I fhall leave the reader to judge from that maxim, what esteem they ought to have for fuch impertinents as fly, hop, caper, tumble, twirl, turn round, and jump over their heads, and in a word, play a thoufand pranks which many animals can do better than a man, inftead of performing to perfection what the human figure only is capable of performing.

?

It may perhaps appear odd, that I, who fet up for a mighty lover, at leaft, of virtue, fhould take fo much pains to recommend what the foberer part of mankind look upon to be a trifle; but under favour of the foberer part of mankind, I think they have not enough confidered this matter, and for that reafon only difefteem it. I muft alfo, in my own juftification, fay, that I attempt to bring into the fervice of honour and virtue every thing in nature that can pretend to give elegant delight. It may pofiibly be proved, that vice is in itfelf deftructive of pleasure, and virtue in itself conducive to it. If the delights of a free fortune were under proper regulations, this truth would not want much argument to fupport it; but it would be obvious to every that there is a ftrict affinity between all things that are truly laudable and beautiful, from the highest fentiments of the foul, to the most indifferent gefture of the body.

man,

T

N° 467. TUESDAY, AUGUST 26.
-Quodcunque meæ poterunt audere Camœnæ,
Seu tibi par poterunt ; feu, quod fpes abnuit ultrà;
Sive minus; certeque canent minus: omne vovemus
Hoc tibi; ne tanto carcat mibi nomine charta.

TIBULL. ad Meffalam, Eleg. 1. l. i. v. 24.
Whate'er my mufe advent'rous dares indite,
Whether the nicenefs of thy piercing fight
Applaud my lays, or cenfure what I write;
To thee I fing, and hope to borrow fame,
By adding to my page Meffala's name.

distinguishes mankind from the inferior crea-
tion. The Supreme Being himself is most
pleased with praife and thanksgiving; the other
part of our duty is but an acknowledgment of
our faults, whilst this is the immediate adora-
tion of his perfections. It was an excellent ob-
fervation, that we then only defpife commenda-
tion when we ceafe to deferve it: and we have
ftill extant two orations of Tully and Pliny,
fpoken to the greatest and beft princes of all the
Roman emperors, who, no doubt, heard with
the greatest fatisfaction, what even the most disin-
terefted perfons, and at fo large a distance of
Cæfar
time, cannot read without admiration.
thought his life confifted in the breath of praise,
when he profeffed he had lived long enough for
himself when he had for his glory. Others have
facrificed themfelves for a name which was not
to begin till they were dead, giving away them-
felves to purchase a found which was not to com-
mence till they were out of hearing: but by
merit and fuperior excellencies not only to gain,
but, whilft living, to enjoy a great and univerfal
reputation, is the laft degree of happiness which
we can hope for here. Bad characters are dif-
perfed abroad with profufion, I hope for example
fake, and (as punishments are defigned by the
civil power) more for the deterring the innocent,
than the chastising the guilty. The good are lefs
frequent, whether it be that there are indeed
fewer originals of this kind to copy after, or
that, through the malignity of our nature, we
rather delight in the ridicule than the virtues we

find in others. However it is but juft, as well
as pleafing, even for variety, fometimes to give
the world a reprefentation of the bright fide of
human nature, as well as the dark and gloomy:
the defire of imitation may, perhaps, be a greater
incentive to the practice of what is good, than
the averfion we may conceive at what is blame-
able; the one immediately directs you what you
fhould do, whilft the other only fhews you what
you thould avoid and I cannot at prefent do this
with more fatisfaction, than by endeavouring to
do fome juftice to the character of Manilius.

It would far exceed my prefent defign, to give a particular defcription of Manilius through all the parts of his excellent life: I fhall now only draw him in his retirement, and pass over in filence the various arts, the courtly manners, and the undefigning honefty by which he attained the honours he has enjoyed, and which now give a dignity and veneration to the eafe he does enjoy. It is here that he looks back with pleasure on the waves and billows through which he has fteered to fo fair an haven; he is now intent upon the practice of every virtue, which a great knowledge and ufe of mankind has difcovered to be the most useful to them. Thus in his private domeftic enployments he is no lefs glorious than in his public; for it is in reality a more difficult task to be confpicuous in a fedentary inactive life, than in one that is spent in hurry and bufinefs; perfons engaged in the latter, like bodies violently agitated, from the swiftnefs of their motion have a brightness added to them, which often vanishes when they are at reft; but if it then ftill remain, it must be the feeds of intrinfic, worth that thus thine out without any foreign aid or affiftance.

His liberality in another might almost bear the name of profufion; he feems to think it Audable even in the excefs, like that river which maft

[ocr errors]

HE love of praife is a paffion deeply fixed in the mind of every extraordinary perfon, and those who are most affected with it, feem moft to partake of that particle of the divinity which

T

moft enriches when it overflows: but Manilius had too perfect a taste of the pleasure of doing good, ever to let it be out of his power; and for that reafon he will have a just economy, and a fplendid frugality at home, the fountain from whence thofe ftreams fhould flow which he difperfes abroad. He looks with difdain on thofe who propofe their death, as the time when they are to begin their munificence; he will both fee and enjoy (which he then does in the higheft degree) what he bestows himself; he will be the living executor of his own bounty, whilft they who have the happiness to be within his care and patronage, at once pray for the continuation of his life, and their own good fortune. No one is out of the reach of his obligations; he knows how, by proper and becoming methods, to raife himself to a level with thofe of the highest rank; and his good nature is a fufficient warrant against the want of those who are fo unhappy as to be in the very loweft. One may say of him as Pindar bids his mufe fay of Theron.

haviour, instead of adorning himself like the rest, put on that day a plain fuit of clothes, and dressed all his fervants in the most costly gay habits he could procure; the event was, that the eyes of the whole court were fixed upon him, all the reft looked like his attendants, whilft he alone had the air of a perfon of quality and diftinction.

Swear, that Theron fure has fwore,
No one near him fhould be ppor.

Swear, that none e'er had fuch a graceful heart,
Fortune's free gifts as freely to impart,
With an unenvious hand, and an unbounded
heart.

Like Ariftippus, whatever fhape or condition he appears in, it ftill fits free and eafy upon him; but in fome part of his character, it is true, he differs from him; for as he is altogether equal to the largenefs of his prefent circumftances, the rectitude of his judgment has fo far corrected the inclinations of his ambition, that he will not trouble himself with either the defires or purfuits of any thing beyond his prefent enjoyments.

A thoufand obliging things flow from him upon every occafion, and they are always fo just and natural, that it is impoffible to think he was at the leaft pains to look for them. One would think it was the demon of good thoughts that difcovered to him thofe treasures, which he must have blinded others from feeing, they lay fo directly in their way. Nothing can equal the pleasure is taken in hearing him fpeak, but the fatisfaction one receives in the civility and attention he pays to the difcourfe of others. His looks are a filent recommendation of what is good and praife-worthy, and a fecret reproof of what is licentious and extravagant. He knows how to appear free and open without danger or intrufion, and to be cautious without feeming referved. The gravity of his converfation is always enlivened with his wit and humour, and the gaiety of it is tempered with fomething that is inftructive, as well as barely agreeable. Thus with him you are fure not to be merry at the expence of your reafon, nor ferious with the lofs of your good-humour; but, by a happy mixture of his temper, they either go together, or perpetually fucceed each other. In fine, his whole behaviour is equally diftant from conftraint and negligence, and he commands your refpect, while he gains your heart.

There is in his whole carriage fuch an engaging foftnefs, that one cannot perfuade one's felf he is ever actuated by thofe rougher paffions, which, wherever they find place, feldom fail of thewing themselves in the outward demeanor of the perfons they belong to: but his conftitution is a just temperature between indolence on the one hand and violence on the other. He is mild and gentle, wherever his affairs will give him leave to follow his own inclinations; but yet never failing to exert himself with vigour and refolution in the fervice of his prince, his country, or his friend. Z

Never did Atticus fucceed better in gaining the univerfal love and efteem of all men; nor fteer with more fuccefs betwixt the extremes of two contending parties. It is his peculiar happinefs, that while he efpoufes neither with an intemperate zeal, he is not only admired, but what is a more rare and unufual felicity, he is loved and careffed by both; and I never yet saw any perfon of whatfoever age or fex, but was immediately ftruck with the merit of Manilius. There are many who are acceptable to fome particular perfons, whilft the rest of mankind look upon them with coldnefs and indifference; but he is the first whofe entire good fortune it is ever to please and to be pleafed, wherever he comes to be adinired, and wherever he is abfent to be lamented. His merit fares like the pictures of Raphael, which are either feen with admiration by all, or at leaft no one dare own he has no tafte for a compofition which has received fo univerfal an applaufe. Envy and malice find it against their intereft to indulge flander and obloquy. It is as hard for an enemy to detract from, as for a friend to add to his praife. An attempt upon his reputation is a fure leffening of one's own; and there is but one way to injure him, which is to refufe his just commendations, and to be obftinately filent.

It is below him to catch the fight with any care of drefs; his outward garb is but the emblem of his mind. It is genteel, plain, and unaffected; he knows that gold and embroidery can add no. thing to the opinion which all have of his merit, and that he gives a luftré to the plaineft drefs, whilft it is impoffible the richest fhould communicate any thing to him. He is ftill the principal figure in the room; he firft engages your eye, as if there were fome point of light which thone stronger upon him than on any other perfon.

He puts me in mind of a story of the famous Buffy d'Amboife, who at an affembly at court, where every one appeared with the utmoft mag. nificence, relying upon his own fuperior be

N°, 468. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27. Erat bomo ingeniofus, acutus, acer, & qui plurimum &falis baberet & fellis, nec candoris minus, PLIN. Epift, He was an ingenious, pleafant fellow, and one, who had a great deal of wit and fatire, with an equal share of good-humour.

MY

Y paper is in a kind a letter of news but it regards rather what passes in the world of converfation than that of bufinefs. I am very ferry that I have at prefent a circumftance before me, which is of very great importance to all who have a relith for gaiety, wit,

mirth

[ocr errors]

mirth, or humour; I mean the death of poor Dick Eaftcourt. I have been obliged to him for fo many hours of jollity, that it is but à fmall récompence, though all I can give him, to pass a moment or two in fadnefs for the lofs of fo a

greeable a man. Poor Eaftcourt! the last time I faw him, we were plotting to fhew the town his great capacity of acting in its full light, by introducing him as dictating to a fe of young players, in what manner to speak this fentence, and utter the other paffion-He had fo exquifite a difcerning of what was defective in any object before him, that in an inftant he could fhew you the ridiculous fide of what would pafs for beautiful and just, even to men of no ill judgment, before he had pointed at the failure, He was no lefs fkilful in the knowledge of beauty; and, I dare fay, there is no one who knew him well, but can repeat more well-turned compliments, as well as fmart repartees of Mr., Eaftcourt's, than of any other man in England. This was eafily to be obferved in his inimitable faculty of telling a ftory, in which he would throw in natural and unexpected incidents to make his court to one part, and rally the other part of the company; then he would vary the ufage he gave them, according as he faw them bear kind or sharp language. He had the knack to raise up a penfive temper, and mortify an impertinently gay one, with the most agreeable skill imaginable. There are a thoufand things which croud into my memory, which make me too much concerned to tell on about him. Hamlet holding up the fkull which the grave digger threw to him, with an account that it was the head of the king's jefter, falls into very pleafing reflections, and cries out to his companion.

to let him lead the way in converfation, and play after his own manner; but fools who provoked him to mimicry, found he had the indignation to let it be at their expence, who called for it, and he would fhew the form of conceited heavy fellows as jefts to the company at their own requeft, in revenge for interrupting him from being a companion to put on the character of a jefter.

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jeft, of moft excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thoufand times and now how abhorred in my imagination is it! my gorge rifes at it. Here hung thofe lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now, your gambols, your fongs, your flashes of merriment that were wont to fet the table on a roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning? quite chop-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour the must come. Make her laugh at that.'

It is an infolence natural to the wealthy, to affix, as much as in them lies, the character of a man to his circumstances. Thus it is ordinary with them to praise faintly the good qualities of those below them, and fay, it is very extraordinary in fuch a man as he is, or the like, when they are forced to acknowledge the value of him whofe lowness upbraids their exaltation. It is to this humour only, that it is to be afcribed, that a quick wit in converfation, a nice judgment upon any emergency that could arife, and, a most blameless inoffenfive behaviour could not raife this man above being received only upon the foot of contributing to mirth and diverfion. But he was as eafy under that constraint, as a man of fo excellent talents was capable, and fince they would have it, that to divert was his bufinefs, he did it with all the feeming alacrity imaginable, though it ftung him to the heart that it was his bufinefs. Men of fenfe who could tafte his excellencies, were well fatisfied

What was peculiarly excellent in this memorable companion, was that in the accounts he gave of perfons and fentiments, he did not only. hit the figure of their faces, and manner of their geftures, but he would in his narration fall into their very way of thinking, and this when he recounted paffages, wherein men of the best wit are concerned, as well as fuch wherein were reprefented men of the loweft rank of underfanding. It is certainly as great an inftance of felf-love to a weaknefs, to be impatient of being mimicked, as any can be imagined. There were none but the vain, the formal, the proud, or those that were incapable of amending their faults, that dreaded him; to others he was in the highest degree pleafing; and I do not know any fatisfaction of any indifferent kind I ever tafted fo much, as having got over an impatience of my feeing myfelf in the air he could put me when I have difpleafed him. It is indeed to his excellent talent this way, more than any philofophy I could read on the subject, that my perfon is very little of my care; and it is indifferent to me, what is faid of my fhape, my air, my.manner, my fpeech, or my addrefs. It is to poor Eaftcourt I chiefly owe that I am arrived at the happiness of thinking nothing a diminution to me, but what argues a depravity of my will.

It has as much furprised me as any thing in nature, to have it frequently faid, that he was not a good player: but that must be owing to a partiality for former actors in the parts in which he fucceeded them, and judging by comparifon of what was liked before, rather than by the nature of the thing. When a man of his wit and fmartnefs could put on an utter absence of common fenfe in his face, as he did in the character of Bullfinch, in the Northern Lafs, and an air of infipid cunning and vivacity in the character of Pounce, in The Tender Hufband, it is folly to difpute his capacity and fuccefs, as he was an actor.

Poor Eaftcourt! let the vain and proud be at reft, they will no more disturb their admiration of their dear felves, and thou art no longer to drudge in raising the mirth of ftupids, who know nothing of thy merit, for thy maintenance.

It is natural for the generality of mankind to run into reflections upon morality, when difturbers of the world are laid at reft, but to take no notice when they who can please and divert are pulled from us: but for my part, I cannot but think the lofs of fuch talents as the man of whom I am fpeaking was mafter of, a more melancholy inftance of mortality than the diffolution of perfons of never fo high characters in the world, whofe pretenfions were that they were noify and mifchievous.

But I must grow more fuccinct, and as a Spectator, give an account of this extraordinary man, who, in his way, never had an equal in any age before him, or in that wherein he lived. 1 fpeak of him as a companion, and a man qua

1

« VorigeDoorgaan »