ancient or modern, would not be unacceptable to you. The philosophers of this sect are, in the language of our university, called Loungers. I am of opinion, that as in many other things, so likewise in this, the ancients have been defective, viz. in mentioning no philosophers of this sort. Some indeed will affirm that they are a kind of Peripatetics, because we see them continually walking about. But I would have these gentlemen consider, that though the ancient Peripatetics walked much, yet they wrote much also (witness, to the sorrow of this seet, ARISTOTLE and others): whereas it is notorious that most of our professors never lay out a farthing either in pen, ink, or paper. Others are for deriving them from DIOGENES, because several of the leading 'men of the sect have a great deal of the cynical humour in them, and delight much in sunshine. But then a

gain, DIOGENES was content to have his constant habitation in a narrow tub, whilst our philosophers are so far from being of his opinion, that it is death to them to be confined within the limits of a good handsome convenient chamber but for half an hour. Others there are, who from the clearness of their heads deduce the pedigree of Loungers from that great man (I think it was either PLATO or SOCRATES), who, after all his study and learning, professed, that all he then knew was that he knew nothing. You easily see this is but a shallow argument, and may be soon confuted.

"I have with great pains and industry made my observations, from time to time, upon these sages; and having now all materials ready, am compiling a treatise, wherein I shall set forth the rise and progress of this famous sect, together with their maxims, austerities, manner of living, &c. Having prevailed with a friend who designs shortly to publish a new edition of D1OGENES LAERTIUS, to add this treatise of mine by way of supplement, I shall now, to let the world see what may be expected from me (first begging Mr SPECTATOR'S leave that the world may see it), briefly touch upon some of my chief observations, and then subscribe myself your humble servant. In the first place, I shall give you two or three of their maxims: The fundamental one, upon which their whole system is built, is this, viz.

That time being an implacable enemy to, and destroyer of, all things, ought to be paid in his own coin, and be destroyed and murdered without mercy, by all the ways that can be invented. Another favourite saying of theirs is, that business was designed only for knaves, and study for blockheads. A third seems to be a ludicrous one, but has a great effect upon their lives; and is this, that the devil is at home. Now for their manner of living: and here I have a large field to expatiate in; but I shall reservé particulars for my intended discourse, and now only mention one or two of their principal exercises. The elder proficients employ themselves in inspecting. mores hominum multorum, in getting acquainted with all: the signs and windows in the town. Some arrived to so great knowledge, that they can tell every time any butcher kills a calf, every time an old woman's cat is in the straw; and a thousand other matters as important. One ancient philosopher contemplates two or three hours every day over a sun-dial; and is true to the dial,

As the dial to the sun,
Although it be not shone upon.

carry their specu

Our students are content to younger lations as yet no farther than bowling-greens, billiardtables, and such like places. This may serve for a sketch of my design; in which I hope I shall have your encouragement. am,

[ocr errors]

Sin, Yours.”

I must be so just as to observe I have formerly seen of this sect at our other university; though not distinguished by the appellation which the learned historian, my correspondent, reports they bear at Cambridge. They were ever looked upon as a people that impaired themselves more by their strict application to the rules of their order, than any other students whatever. Others seldom hurt themselves any further than to gain weak. eyes and sometimes headaches; but these philosophers are seized all over with a general inability, indolence, and weariness, and a certain impatience of the place they are in, with a heaviness in removing to another.

The Loungers are satisfied with being merely part of the number of mankind, without distinguishing themselves from among them. They may be said rather to suffer their time to pass, than to spend it, without regard to the past, or prospect of the future. All they know of life is only the present instant, and do not taste even that. When one of this order happens to be a man of fortune, the expence of his time is transferred to his coach and horses, and his life is to be measured by their motion, not his own enjoyments or sufferings. The chief entertainment one of these philosophers can possibly propose to himself, is to get a relish of dress. This, methinks, might diversify the person he is weary of (his own dear self) to himself. I have known these two amusements make one of these philosophers, make a tole rable figure in the world; with variety of dresses in pub. lic assemblies in town, and quick motion of his horses out of it, now to Bath, now, to Tunbridge, then to Newmarket, and then to London, he has in process of time brought it to pass, that his coach and his horses have been mentioned in all those places. When the Loungers leave an academic life, and instead of this more ele gant way of appearing in the polite world, retire to the seats of their ancestors, they usually join a pack of dogs, and employ their days in defending their poultry from foxes. I do not know any other method that any of this order has ever taken to make a noise in the world; but I shall inquire into such about this town as have arrived at the dignity of being Loungers by the force of natural parts, without having ever seen an university; and send my correspondent, for the embellishment of his book, the names and history of those who pass their lives without any incidents at all; and how they shift coffee houses and chocolate houses from hour to hour, to get over the insupportable labour of doing nothing.


[ocr errors]

NO. 55. THURSDAY, MAY 3. 1711.

Intus et in jecore ægro

Nascunttur domini

PARS. SAT. V. 129.

Our passions play the tyrants in our breasts.


[ocr errors]

Most of the trades, professions, and ways of living among mankind, take their original cither from the love of pleasure, or the fear of want. The former, when it becomes too violent, degenerates into Luxury, and the latter into Avarice. As these two principles of action draw different ways, PERSIUS has given us a very humoursome account of a young fellow, who was roused out of his bed, in order to be sent upon a long voyage by AVARICE, and afterwards over-persuaded and kept at home by LUXURY. I shall set down at length the pleadings of these two imaginary persons, as they are in the original, with Mr DRYDEN's translation of them.

Mane, piger, stertis: surge, inquit AVARITIA ; eja
Surge. Negas, Instat, surge, inquit. Non queo.. turge,
Et quid agam? Rogitas? Saperdas advehe Fonto,
Castoreum, stuppas, habenum, thus, lubrica Coa.
Tolle recens primus piper e sitiente camelo.
Verte aliquid; jura. Sed JUPITER audiet. Ehcu!
Baro, regustatum digito terebrare salinum
Contentus perages, si vivere cum Jove tendis.
Jam pueris pellum succinctus et nophorum ́aptas;
Ocyus ad navem. Nil obstat quin trabe vesta
Ageum rapias, nisi solers LuxXURIA ante,
Seductum moneat; quo deinde insane ruis? Quo?
Quid tibi vis? Calido sed pectore mascula bilis
Intumuit, quam non extinxerit urna cicuta?
Tun' mare transilias? Tibi torta cannabe fulto
Cœna sit in transtro? Veientanumque rebellum
Exhalat vapidæ læsum pice sessilis obba?

Quid petis? Ut nummi, quos hic quincunce modesto
Nutrieras, pergant avidos sudare deunces?

Indulge genio: carpanus dulcia; nostrum est
Quod vivis; cinis, et manes, et fabula fies.

Vive memor lethi: fugit hora. Hoc quod loquor, inde est.

To En quid agis? Duplici in diversum scinderis amo.

Hunecine, an huncce sequeris?

SAT. V. 131

Whether alone, or in thy harlot's lap,
When thou would'st take a fazy morning's nap;
Up, up, says AVARICE; thou snor'st again,
Stretchest thy limbs, and yawn'st, but all in vain.
The rugged tyrant no denial takes;

At his command th' unwilling sluggard wakes,
What must I do? he cries; What? says his lord:
Why rise, make ready, and go straight abroad:
With fish, from Euxine seas, thy vessels freight;
Flax, castor, Coan wines, the precious weight
Of pepper, and Sabean incense, take

With thy own hands, from the tir'd camel's back,
And with post-haste thy running markets make.
Be sure to turn the penny; lie and swear,

"Tis wholesome sin: but Jove, thou say'st, will hear.
Swear, fool, or starve; for the dilemma's even;
A tradesman thou! and hope-to go to heaven?
Resolv'd for sea, the slaves thy baggage pack,
Each saddled with his burden on his back.
but he,

Nothing retards thy voyage now,

That soft voluptuous prince, call'd LUXURY;
And he may ask this civil question; Friend,

What dost thou make a-shipboard? To what end?
Art thou of Bethlem's noble college free?

Stark, staring mad, that thou, would'st tempt the sea;
Cubb'd in a cabin, on a mattress laid,

On a brown George, with lousy swobbers fed;
Dead wine that stinks of the Borachio, sup
From a foul jack, or greasy maple cup?

Say, would'st thou bear all this, to raise thy store,
From six i'th' hundred to six hundred more?
Indulge, and to thy genius freely give;

For not to live at ease, is not to live:

Death stalks behind thee, and each flying hour
Does some loose remnant of thy life devour.

Live, while thou liv'st; for DEATH will make us all
A name, a nothing, but an old wife's tale.

Speak; wilt thou AVARICE or PLEASURE choose
To be thy lord? take one, and one refuse.

When a government flourishes in conquests, and is se cure from foreign attacks, it naturally falls into all the pleasures of luxury; and as these pleasures are very expensive, they put those who are addicted to them upon raising fresh supplies of money, by all the methods of rapaciousness and corruption; so that avarice and luxury very often become one complicated principle of action, in those whose hearts are wholly set upon ease, magnificence, and pleasure. The most elegant and correct of all the Latin historians observes, that in his

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »