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that passion which burns with the greatest fury in a virtuous and noble heart, when he received in sudden summons from Leontine to repair to him in the country the next day : for it seems Eudoxus was so filled with the report of his son's reputation, that he could no longer withhold making himself known to him. The morning after his arrival at the house of his supposed father, Leontine told him that Eudoxus had something of great importance to communicate to him ; upon which the good man embraced him, and wept. Florio was no sooner axrived at the great house that stood in his neighbourhood, but Eudoxus took him by the hand, arter the first salutes were over, and conducted him into his closet. He there opened to him the whole secret of his parentage and education, concluding after this manner: I have no other way left of acknowledging my gratitude to Leontine, than by marrying you to his daughter. He shall not lose the
, pleasure of being your father by the discovery I have made to you. Leonilla too shall be still my daughter; her filial piety, though. misplaced, has been so exemplary, that it deserves the greatest reward I can confer upon it. You shall have the pleasure of seeing a great estate fall to you, which you
. would have lost the relish of had
yourself born to it. Continue only to deserve it in the same inanner you did before you were possessed of it. I have left your mother in the next room. Her heart yearns towards you. She is making the same discoveries to Leonilla which I have made to yourself. Florio was so overwhelmed with this profusion of happiness, that he was not able to make a reply, but threw himself down at his father's feet, and amidst a flood of tears kissed and embraced his knees, asking his blessing, and expressing in dumb show those sentiments of love, duty, and gratitude, that were too big for utterance. To conclude, the happy pair were married, and half liudoxus's estate settled upon them. Leontine and Eudoxus passed the remainder of their lives together; and received
in the dutiful and affectionate behaviour of Florio and Leonilla the just recompence, as well as the natural effects, of that care which they had bestowed upon them in their education.
NO. 127. MONDAY, JULY 23, 1711.
Μεγα βιβλιον, μελα κακον.
A great book is a great evil.
MAN who publishes his works in a volume, has an infinite advantage over one who communicates his writings to the world in loose tracts and single pieces. We do not expect to meet with any thing
. in a bulky volume, till after some heavy preamble, and several words of course, to prepare the reader for what follows. Nay, authors have established it as a kind of rule, that a man ought to be dull sometimes ; as the most severe reader makes allowances for many rests and nodding-places in a vo.' luminous writer. This gave occasion to the famous Greek proverb which I have chosen for my motto, that ' a great book is a great evil.'
On the contrary, those who publish their thoughts in distinct sheets, and as it were by piece-meal, have none of these advantages. We must immediately fall into our subject, and treat every part of it in a lively manner, or our papers are thrown by as dull and insipid. Our matter must lie close together, and either be wholly new in itself, or in the turn it receives from our expressions. Were the books of our best authors thus to be retailed to the public, and every page submitted to the taste of forty or fifty thousand readers, I am afraid we should complain of many, flat expressions, trivial observations, beaten topics, and common thoughts,
go off very well in the lump. At the same time, notwithstanding some papers may be made
up of broken hints and irregular sketcbes, it is often espected that every sheet should be a kind of treatise, and make out in thought what it wants in bulk : that a point of humour should be worked up in all its parts; and a subject touched upon in its most essential articles, without the repetitions, tautologies, and enlargements, that are indulged to longer labours. The ordinary writers of morality prescribe to their readers after the Galenic way ;. their medicines are made up in large quantities. An essay-writer must practise in the chymical method, and give the virtue of a full draught in a few drops. Were all books reduced thus to their quint. essence, many a bulky autizor would make his appearance in a penny-paper. There would be scarce such a thing in nature as a folio; the works of an age would be contained on a few shelves; not to meo-, tion millions of volumes, that would be utterly annihilated.
I cannot think that the difficulty of furnishing out separate papers of this nature, has hindered autbors from communicating their thoughts to the world after such a manner : though I must confess I am amazed that the press should be only made use of in this way by: news-writers, and the zealots of
parties: as if it were not more advantageous to mankind, to be instructed in wisdom and virtue, than in politics; and to be made good fathers, husbands and sons, than counsellors and statesmen. Had the philosophers and great men of antiquity, who took so much pains in order to instruct mankind, and leave the world wiser and better than they found it; had they, I say, been possessed of the art of printing, there is no question but they would have made such an advantage of it in dealing out their lectures to the public. Our common prints* would be of great use were they thus calculated to diffuse good sense through the bulk of a people, to clear up their understandings, animate their minds with virtue, dissipate the sorrows of a heavy heart, or
* Meaning the news-papers.
unbend the mind from its more severe employments with innocent amusements. When knowledge, instead of being bound up in books and kept in libraries and retirements, is thus obtruded upon the public; when it is canvassed in every assembly, and exposed upon every table, I cannot forbear reflect
I ing upon that passsge in the Proverbs : " Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets; she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates. In the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ve love simplicity? And the scorners delight in their Scorning? And tools hate knowledge*?'
The inany letters which come to me from persous of the best sense in both sexes, (for I may pronounce their characters from their way of writing) do not a little encourage me in the prosecution of this my undertaking: besides that, my bookseller tells me, the demand for these my papers increases daily. It is at his instance that I shall continue ..my rural speculations to the end of this month ; several having made up separate sets of them, as they have done before of those relating to wit, to operas, to points of morality, or subjects of hu..
I am not at all mortified, when sometimes I see. my works thrown aside by men of no taste nor learning. There is a kind of heaviness and ignorance that hangs upon the minds of ordinary men, which is too thick for knowledge to break through. Their souls are not to be enlightened. -Nox atra cavá circumvolat umbra.
VIRG. Æn. ii. ver. 360.
To these I must apply the fable of the mole, that, after having consulted many oculists for the bettering of his sight, was at last provided with a good pair of spectacles; upon his endeavouring to make
* Prov. 1. 20, 21, 22.
use of them, his mother told him very prudently, • That spectacles, though they might help the eye of a man, could be of no use to a mole.' It is not therefore for the benefit of moles that I publish these my daily essays.
But besides such as are moles through ignorance; there are others who are moles through envy. As it is said in the Latin proverb, ' That one man is a wolf to another* ;' so, generally speaking, oneauthor is a mole to another. It is impossible for them to discover beauties in one another's works; they have eyes only for spots and blemishes : they can indeed see the light, as it is said of the animals which are their namne-sakes, but the idea of it is painful to them; they immediately shut their eyes upon it, and withdraw themselves into a wilful obscurity. I have already caught two or three of these dark undermining vermin, and intend to make a string of them, in order to hang them up in one of my papers, as an example to all such voluntary moles,
No 125. TUESDAY, JULY 24, 1711.
Ne, pueri, ne tanta animis (assuescite bella :
VIRG. Æn. vi. ver 832. ,
y worthy friend Sir Roger, when we are talking of the malice of parties, very frequently tells us an accident that happened to him when he was a school-boy, which was at the time when the feuds ran high between the Round-heads and Cavaliers. This wortky knight, being then but a stripling, back occasion to inquire which was the way to St. Anne's Lane ; upon which the person whom he spoke tog
* Plautus's Asinaria. act fi, sc. iv.