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Title: The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. IV (of X)—Great Britain and Ireland II
Author: Various
Language: English
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RESTRICTED TO PROSE, VOL. IV (OF X)--GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND II***


THE BEST
_of the_
WORLD'S CLASSICS

RESTRICTED TO PROSE

HENRY CABOT LODGE
Editor-in-Chief

FRANCIS W. HALSEY
Associate Editor

With an Introduction, Biographical and Explanatory Notes, etc.

In Ten Volumes

Vol. IV

GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND--II



[Illustration: DR. JOHNSON, GOLDSMITH, POPE, and GIBBON]



Funk & Wagnalls Company
New York and London
Copyright, 1909, by
Funk & Wagnalls Company



The Best of the World's Classics

VOL. IV

GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND--II

1672-1800



CONTENTS

VOL. IV--GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND--II


SIR RICHARD STEELE--(Born in 1672, died in 1729.)

     I     Of Companions and Flatterers

    II     The Story-Teller and His Art.
           (From _The Guardian_)

   III     Sir Roger and the Widow.
           (From _The Spectator_)

    IV     The Coverley Family Portraits.
           (From _The Spectator_)

     V     On Certain Symptoms of Greatness.
           (From _The Tatler_)

    VI     How to Be Happy tho Married.
           (From _The Tatler_)

LORD BOLINGBROKE--(Born in 1678, died in 1751.)

     I     Of the Shortness of Human Life

    II     Rules for the Study of History.
           (One of the "Letters on the Study of History")

ALEXANDER POPE--(Born in 1688, died in 1744.)

     I     An Ancient English Country Seat.
           (A Letter to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu)

    II     His Compliments to Lady Mary.
           (A Letter to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu)

   III     How to Make an Epic Poem.
           (From _The Guardian_)

LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU--(Born in 1689, died in 1762.)

     I     On Happiness in the Matrimonial State.
           (A Letter to Edward Wortley Montagu before she married him)

    II     Inoculation for the Smallpox.
           (A Letter to Sarah Criswell, written from Adrianople, Turkey)

LORD CHESTERFIELD--(Born in 1694, died in 1773.)

     I     Of Good Manners, Dress and the World.
           (From the "Letters to His Son")

    II     Of Attentions to Ladies.
           (From the "Letters to His Son")

HENRY FIELDING--(Born in 1707, died in 1754.)

     I     Tom the Hero Enters the Stage.
           (From "Tom Jones")

    II     Partridge Sees Garrick at the Play.
           (From "Tom Jones")

   III     Mr. Adams in a Political Light.
           (From "Joseph Andrews")

SAMUEL JOHNSON--(Born in 1709, died in 1784.)

     I     On Publishing His "Dictionary."
           (From the Preface to the "Dictionary")

    II     Pope and Dryden Compared.
           (From the "Lives of the Poets")

   III     Letter to Chesterfield on the Completion of the "Dictionary."
           (From Boswell's "Life")

    IV     On the Advantages of Living in a Garret.
           (From _The Rambler_)

DAVID HUME--(Born in 1711, died in 1776.)

     I     The Character of Queen Elizabeth.
           (From the "History of England")

    II     The Defeat of the Armada.
           (From the "History of England")

   III     The First Principles of Government

LAURENCE STERNE--(Born in 1713, died in 1768.)

     I     The Starling in Captivity.
           (From "The Sentimental Journey")

    II     To Moulines with Maria.
           (From "The Sentimental Journey")

   III     The Death of LeFevre.
           (From "Tristram Shandy")

    IV     Passages from the Romance of My Uncle Toby and the Widow.
           (From "Tristram Shandy")

THOMAS GRAY--(Born in 1716, died in 1771.)

     I     Warwick Castle.
           (A Letter to Thomas Wharton)

    II     To His Friend Mason on the Death of Mason's Mother

   III     On His Own Writings.
           (A Letter to Horace Walpole)

    IV     His Friendship for Bonstetten.
           (From a Letter to Bonstetten)

HORACE WALPOLE--(Born in 1717, died in 1797.)

     I     Hogarth.
           (From the "Anecdotes of Painting in England")

    II     The War in America.
           (From a Letter written at Strawberry Hill)

   III     The Death of George II.
           (A Letter to Sir Horace Mann)

GILBERT WHITE--(Born in 1720, died in 1793.)

           The Chimney Swallow.
           (From "The Natural History of Selborne")

ADAM SMITH--(Born in 1723, died in 1790.)

     I     Of Ambition Misdirected.
           (From the "Theory of Moral Sentiments")

    II     The Advantages of a Division of Labor.
           (From "The Wealth of Nations")

SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE--(Born in 1723, died in 1780.)

           Professional Soldiers in Free Countries.
           (From the "Commentaries")

OLIVER GOLDSMITH--(Born in 1728, died in 1774.)

     I     The Ambitions of the Vicar's Family.
           (From "The Vicar of Wakefield")

    II     Sagacity in Insects.
           (From "The Bee")

   III     A Chinaman's View of London.
           (From the "Citizen of the World")

EDMUND BURKE--(Born in 1729, died in 1797.)

     I     The Principles of Good Taste.
           (From "The Sublime and Beautiful")

    II     A Letter to a Noble Lord

   III     On the Death of His Son

    IV     Marie Antoinette.
           (From the "Reflections on the Revolution in France")

WILLIAM COWPER--(Born in 1731, died in 1800.)

     I     Of Keeping One's Self Employed.
           (A Letter to John Newton)

    II     Of Johnson's Treatment of Milton.
           (Letter to the Rev. William Unwin)

   III     On the Publication of His Books.
           (Letter to the Rev. William Unwin)

EDWARD GIBBON--(Born in 1737, died in 1794.)

     I     The Romance of His Youth.
           (From the "Memoirs")

    II     The Inception and Completion of the "Decline and Fall."
           (From the "Memoirs")

   III     The Fall of Zenobia.
           (From "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire")

    IV     Alaric's Entry into Rome.
           (From "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire")

     V     The Death of Hosein.
           (From "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire")

    VI     The Causes of the Destruction of the City of Rome.
           (From "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire")



GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND--II

1672-1800



SIR RICHARD STEELE

     Born in Ireland in 1672; died in Wales in 1729; companion of
     Addison at Oxford; served in the army in 1694, becoming a
     captain; elected to Parliament, but expelled for using
     seditious language; knighted under George I; quarreled with
     Addison in 1719; founded the Tatler, and next to Addison,
     was the chief writer for the Spectator.



I

OF COMPANIONS AND FLATTERERS


An old acquaintance who met me this morning seemed overjoyed to see
me, and told me I looked as well as he had known me do these forty
years; but, continued he, not quite the man you were when we visited
together at Lady Brightly's. Oh! Isaac, those days are over. Do you
think there are any such fine creatures now living as we then
conversed with? He went on with a thousand incoherent circumstances,
which, in his imagination, must needs please me; but they had the
quite contrary effect. The flattery with which he began, in telling me
how well I wore, was not disagreeable; but his indiscreet mention of a
set of acquaintance we had outlived, recalled ten thousand things to
my memory, which made me reflect upon my present condition with
regret. Had he indeed been so kind as, after a long absence, to
felicitate me upon an indolent and easy old age, and mentioned how
much he and I had to thank for, who at our time of day could walk
firmly, eat heartily and converse cheerfully, he had kept up my
pleasure in myself. But of all mankind, there are none so shocking as
these injudicious civil people. They ordinarily begin upon something
that they know must be a satisfaction; but then, for fear of the
imputation of flattery, they follow it with the last thing in the
world of which you would be reminded. It is this that perplexes civil
persons. The reason that there is such a general outcry among us
against flatterers is that there are so very few good ones. It is the
nicest art in this life, and is a part of eloquence which does not
want the preparation that is necessary to all other parts of it, that
your audience should be your well-wishers; for praise from an enemy is
the most pleasing of all commendations.

It is generally to be observed, that the person most agreeable to a
man for a constancy, is he that has no shining qualities, but is a
certain degree above great imperfections, whom he can live with as his
inferior, and who will either overlook or not observe his little
defects. Such an easy companion as this, either now and then throws
out a little flattery, or lets a man silently flatter himself in his
superiority to him. If you take notice, there is hardly a rich man in
the world who has not such a led friend of small consideration, who is
a darling for his insignificancy. It is a great ease to have one in
our own shape a species below us, and who, without being listed in our
service, is by nature of our retinue. These dependents are of
excellent use on a rainy day, or when a man has not a mind to dress;
or to exclude solitude, when one has neither a mind to that nor to
company. There are of this good-natured order who are so kind to
divide themselves, and do these good offices to many. Five or six of
them visit a whole quarter of the town, and exclude the spleen,
without fees, from the families they frequent. If they do not
prescribe physic, they can be company when you take it.

Very great benefactors to the rich, or those whom they call people at
their ease, are your persons of no consequence. I have known some of
them, by the help of a little cunning, make delicious flatterers. They
know the course of the town, and the general characters of persons; by
this means they will sometimes tell the most agreeable falsehoods
imaginable. They will acquaint you that such one of a quite contrary
party said, that tho you were engaged in different interests, yet he
had the greatest respect for your good sense and address. When one of
these has a little cunning, he passes his time in the utmost
satisfaction to himself and his friends; for his position is never to
report or speak a displeasing thing to his friend. As for letting him
go on in an error, he knows advice against them is the office of
persons of greater talents and less discretion.

The Latin word for a flatterer (_assentator_) implies no more than a
person that barely consents; and indeed such a one, if a man were able
to purchase or maintain him, can not be bought too dear. Such a one
never contradicts you, but gains upon you, not by a fulsome way of
commending you in broad terms, but liking whatever you propose or
utter; at the same time is ready to beg your pardon, and gainsay you
if you chance to speak ill of yourself. An old lady is very seldom
without such a companion as this, who can recite the names of all her
lovers, and the matches refused by her in the days when she minded
such vanities--as she is pleased to call them, tho she so much
approves the mention of them. It is to be noted, that a woman's
flatterer is generally elder than herself, her years serving to
recommend her patroness's age, and to add weight to her complaisance
in all other particulars.

We gentlemen of small fortunes are extremely necessitous in this
particular. I have indeed one who smokes with me often; but his parts
are so low, that all the incense he does me is to fill his pipe with
me, and to be out at just as many whiffs as I take. This is all the
praise or assent that he is capable of, yet there are more hours when
I would rather be in his company than that of the brightest man I
know. It would be a hard matter to give an account of this inclination
to be flattered; but if we go to the bottom of it, we shall find that
the pleasure in it is something like that of receiving money which lay
out. Every man thinks he has an estate of reputation, and is glad to
see one that will bring any of it home to him; it is no matter how
dirty a bag it is conveyed to him in, or by how clownish a messenger,
so the money is good. All that we want to be pleased with flattery, is
to believe that the man is sincere who gives it us. It is by this one
accident that absurd creatures often outrun the most skilful in this
art. Their want of ability is here an advantage, and their bluntness,
as it is the seeming effect of sincerity, is the best cover to
artifice.

It is indeed, the greatest of injuries to flatter any but the unhappy,
or such as are displeased with themselves for some infirmity. In this
latter case we have a member of our club, that, when Sir Jeffrey falls
asleep, wakens him with snoring. This makes Sir Jeffrey hold up for
some moments the longer, to see there are men younger than himself
among us, who are more lethargic than he is.



II

THE STORY-TELLER AND HIS ART[1]


I have often thought that a story-teller is born, as well as a poet.
It is, I think, certain, that some men have such a peculiar cast of
mind, that they see things in another light than men of grave
dispositions. Men of a lively imagination and a mirthful temper will
represent things to their hearers in the same manner as they
themselves were affected with them; and whereas serious spirits might
perhaps have been disgusted at the sight of some odd occurences in
life, yet the very same occurrences shall please them in a well-told
story, where the disagreeable parts of the images are concealed, and
those only which are pleasing exhibited to the fancy. Story-telling is
therefore not an art, but what we call a "knack"; it doth not so much
subsist upon wit as upon humor; and I will add, that it is not perfect
without proper gesticulations of the body, which naturally attend
such merry emotions of the mind. I know very well that a certain
gravity of countenance sets some stories off to advantage, where the
hearer is to be surprized in the end. But this is by no means a
general rule; for it is frequently convenient to aid and assist by
cheerful looks and whimsical agitations.

I will go yet further, and affirm that the success of a story very
often depends upon the make of the body, and the formation of the
features, of him who relates it. I have been of this opinion ever
since I criticized upon the chin of Dick Dewlap. I very often had the
weakness to repine at the prosperity of his conceits, which made him
pass for a wit with the widow at the coffee-house and the ordinary
mechanics that frequent it; nor could I myself forbear laughing at
them most heartily, tho upon examination I thought most of them very
flat and insipid. I found, after some time, that the merit of his wit
was founded upon the shaking of a fat paunch, and the tossing up of a
pair of rosy jowls. Poor Dick had a fit of sickness, which robbed him
of his fat and his fame at once; and it was full three months before
he regained his reputation, which rose in proportion to his floridity.
He is now very jolly and ingenious, and hath a good constitution for
wit.

Those who are thus adorned with the gifts of nature, are apt to show
their parts with too much ostentation. I would therefore advise all
the professors of this art never to tell stories but as they seem to
grow out of the subject-matter of the conversation, or as they serve
to illustrate or enliven it. Stories that are very common are
generally irksome; but may be aptly introduced, provided they be only
hinted at, and mentioned by way of allusion. Those that are altogether
new, should never be ushered in without a short and pertinent
character of the chief persons concerned, because, by that means, you
may make the company acquainted with them; and it is a certain rule,
that slight and trivial accounts of those who are familiar to us,
administer more mirth than the brightest points of wit in unknown
characters.

A little circumstance in the complexion of dress of the man you are
talking of, sets his image before the hearer, if it be chosen aptly
for the story. Thus, I remember Tom Lizard, after having made his
sisters merry with an account of a formal old man's way of
complimenting, owned very frankly that his story would not have been
worth one farthing, if he had made the hat of him whom he represented
one inch narrower. Besides the marking distinct characters, and
selecting pertinent circumstances, it is likewise necessary to leave
off in time, and end smartly; so that there is a kind of drama in the
forming of a story; and the manner of conducting and pointing it is
the same as in an epigram. It is a miserable thing, after one hath
raised the expectation of the company by humorous characters and a
pretty conceit, to pursue the matter too far. There is no retreating;
and how poor is it for a story-teller to end his relation by saying,
"that's all!"



III

SIR ROGER AND THE WIDOW[2]


In my first description of the company in which I pass most of my
time, it may be remembered that I mentioned a great affliction which
my friend Sir Roger had met with in his youth; which was no less than
a disappointment in love. It happened this evening that we fell into a
very pleasing walk at a distance from his house. As soon as we came
into it. "It is," quoth the good old man, looking round him with a
smile, "very hard that any part of my land should be settled upon one
who has used me so ill as the perverse widow did; and yet I am sure I
could not see a sprig of any bough of this whole walk of trees, but I
should reflect upon her and her severity. She has certainly the finest
hand of any woman in the world. You are to know, this was the place
wherein I used to muse upon her; and by that custom I can never come
into it, but the same tender sentiments revive in my mind, as if I had
actually walked with that beautiful creature under these shades. I
have been fool enough to carve her name on the bark of several of
these trees; so unhappy is the condition of men in love, to attempt
the removing of their passion by the methods which serve only to
imprint it deeper. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in
the world."

Here followed a profound silence; and I was not displeased to observe
my friend falling so naturally into a discourse, which I had ever
before taken notice he industriously avoided. After a very long pause,
he entered upon an account of this great circumstance in his life,
with an air which I thought raised my idea of him above what I had
ever had before; and gave me the picture of that cheerful mind of his
before it received that stroke which has ever since affected his words
and actions. But he went on as follows:

"I came to my estate in my twenty-second year, and resolved to follow
the steps of the most worthy of my ancestors who have inhabited this
spot of earth before me, in all the methods of hospitality and good
neighborhood, for the sake of my fame; and in country sports and
recreations, for the sake of my health. In my twenty-third year I was
obliged to serve as sheriff of the county; and in my servants,
officers, and whole equipage, indulged the pleasure of a young man
(who did not think ill of his own person) in taking that public
occasion of showing my figure and behavior to advantage. You may
easily imagine to yourself what appearance I made, who am pretty tall,
rode well, and was very well drest, at the head of a whole county,
with music before me, a feather in my hat, and my horse well bitted. I
can assure you, I was not a little pleased with the kind looks and
glances I had from all the balconies and windows as I rode to the hall
where the assizes were held.

"But when I came there, a beautiful creature, in a widow's habit, sat
in court to hear the event of a cause concerning her dower. This
commanding creature (who was born for the destruction of all who
behold her) put on such a resignation in her countenance, and bore the
whispers of all around the court with such a pretty uneasiness, I
warrant you, and then recovered herself from one eye to another, until
she was perfectly confused by meeting something so wistful in all she
encountered, that at last, with a murrain to her, she cast her
bewitching eye upon me. I no sooner met it but I bowed like a great
surprized booby; and knowing her cause was to be the first which came
on, I cried, like a great captivated calf as I was, 'Make way for the
defendant's witnesses.' This sudden partiality made all the county
immediately see the sheriff also was become a slave to the fine widow.
During the time her cause was upon trial, she behaved herself, I
warrant you, with such a deep attention to her business, took
opportunities to have little billets handed to her counsel, then would
be in such a pretty confusion, occasioned, you must know, by acting
before so much company, that not only I, but the whole court, was
prejudiced in her favor; and all that the next heir to her husband had
to urge was thought so groundless and frivolous, that when it came to
her counsel to reply, there was not half so much said as every one
besides in the court thought he could have urged to her advantage.

"You must understand, sir, this perverse woman is one of those
unaccountable creatures that secretly rejoice in the admiration of
men, but indulge themselves in no further consequences. Hence it is
that she has ever had a train of admirers, and she removes from her
slaves in town to those in the country, according to the seasons of
the year. She is a reading lady, and far gone in the pleasures of
friendship. She is always accompanied by a confidant, who is witness
to her daily protestations against our sex, and consequently a bar to
her first steps toward love upon the strength of her own maxims and
declarations.

"However, I must needs say this accomplished mistress of mine has
distinguished me above the rest, and has been known to declare Sir
Roger de Coverley was the tamest and most humane of all the brutes in
the country. I was told she said so by one who thought he rallied me;
but upon the strength of this slender encouragement of being thought
least detestable, I made new liveries, new paired my coach horses,
sent them all to town to be bitted, and taught to throw their legs
well, and move all together before I pretended to cross the country,
and wait upon her. As soon as I thought my retinue suitable to the
character of my fortune and youth, I set out from hence to make my
addresses. The particular skill of this lady has ever been to inflame
your wishes, and yet command respect. To make her mistress of this
art, she has a greater share of knowledge, wit, and good sense, than
is usual even among men of merit. Then she is beautiful beyond the
race of women. If you will not let her go on with a certain artifice
with her eyes, and the skill of beauty, she will arm herself with her
real charms, and strike you with admiration instead of desire. It is
certain that if you were to behold the whole woman, there is that
dignity in her aspect, that composure in her motion, that complacency
in her manner, that if her form makes you hope, her merit makes you
fear. But then again, she is such a desperate scholar, that no country
gentleman can approach her without being a jest.

"As I was going to tell you, when I came to her house, I was admitted
to her presence with great civility; at the same time she placed
herself to be first seen by me in such an attitude as I think you call
the posture of a picture, that she discovered new charms, and I at
last came toward her with such an awe as made me speechless. This she
no sooner observed but she made her advantage of it, and began a
discourse to me concerning love and honor, as they both are followed
by pretenders, and the real votaries to them. When she discust these
points in a discourse, which I verily believe was as learned as the
best philosopher in Europe could possibly make, she asked me whether
she was so happy as to fall in with my sentiments on these important
particulars. Her confidant sat by her, and upon my being in the last
confusion and silence, this malicious aid of hers, turning to her,
says, 'I am very glad to observe Sir Roger pauses upon this subject,
and seems resolved to deliver all his sentiments upon the matter when
he pleases to speak.'

"They both kept their countenances, and after I had sat half an hour
meditating how to behave before such profound casuists, I rose up and
took my leave. Chance has since that time thrown me very often in her
way, and she as often directed a discourse to me which I do not
understand.

"This barbarity has kept me ever at a distance from the most
beautiful object my eyes ever beheld. It is thus also she deals with
all mankind, and you must make love to her, as you would conquer the
sphinx, by posing her. But were she like other women, and that there
were any talking to her, how constant must the pleasure of that man
be, who could converse with a creature--but, after all, you may be
sure her heart is fixt on some one or other; and yet I have been
credibly informed; but who can believe half that is said! After she
had done speaking to me, she put her hand to her bosom, and adjusted
her tucker. Then she cast her eyes a little down, upon my beholding
her too earnestly. They say she sings excellently; her voice in her
ordinary speech has something in it inexpressibly sweet. You must know
I dined with her at a public table the day after I first saw her, and
she helped me to some tansy in the eye of all the gentlemen in the
country. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in the world.
I can assure you, sir, were you to behold her, you would be in the
same condition; for as her speech is music, her form is angelic. But I
find I grow irregular while I am talking of her; but, indeed, it would
be stupidity to be unconcerned at such perfection. Oh, the excellent
creature! she is as inimitable to all women as she is inaccessible to
all men."

I found my friend begin to rave, and insensibly led him toward the
house, that we might be joined by some other company; and am convinced
that the widow is the secret cause of all that inconsistency which
appears in some parts of my friend's discourse; tho he has so much
command of himself as not directly to mention her.



IV

THE COVERLEY FAMILY PORTRAITS[3]


I was this morning walking in the gallery, when Sir Roger entered at
the end opposite to me, and, advancing toward me, said he was glad to
meet me among his relations the de Coverleys, and hoped I liked the
conversation of so much good company who were as silent as myself. I
knew he alluded to the pictures, and as he is a gentleman who does not
a little value himself upon his ancient descent, I expected he would
give me some account of them. We were now arrived at the upper end of
the gallery, when the knight faced toward one of the pictures, and as
we stood before it, he entered into the matter, after his blunt way of
saying things, as they occur to his imagination, without regular
introduction, or care to preserve the appearance of chain of thought.

"It is," said he, "worth while to consider the force of dress; and how
the persons of one age differ from those of another, merely by that
only. One may observe also, that the general fashion of one age has
been followed by one particular set of people in another, and by them
preserved from one generation to another. Thus the vast jutting coat
and small bonnet, which was the habit in Henry the Seventh's time, is
kept on in the yeomen of the guard; not without a good and politic
view, because they look a foot taller, and a foot and a half broader;
besides, that the cap leaves the face expanded, and consequently more
terrible, and fitter to stand at the entrance of palaces.

"This predecessor of ours, you see, is drest after this manner, and
his cheeks would be no larger than mine, were he in a hat as I am. He
was the last man that won a prize in the Tilt-yard (which is now a
common street before Whitehall). You see the broken lance that lies
there by his right foot. He shivered that lance of his adversary all
to pieces; and bearing himself, look you, sir, in this manner, at the
same time he came within the target of the gentleman who rode against
him, and taking him with incredible force before him on the pommel of
his saddle, he in that manner rode the tournament over, with an air
that showed he did it rather to perform the rule of the lists than
expose his enemy; however, it appeared he knew how to make use of a
victory, and with a gentle trot he marched up to a gallery, where
their mistress sat (for they were rivals), and let him down with
laudable courtesy and pardonable insolence. I do not know but it might
be exactly where the coffee-house is now.

"You are to know this my ancestor was not only a military genius, but
fit also for the arts of peace, for he played on the bass viol as well
as any gentleman at court; you see where his viol hangs by his
basket-hilt sword. The action at the Tilt-yard you may be sure won the
fair lady, who was a maid of honor, and the greatest beauty of her
time; here she stands the next picture. You see, sir, my
great-great-great-grandmother has on the new-fashioned petticoat,
except that the modern is gathered at the waist. My grandmother
appears as if she stood in a large drum, whereas, the ladies now walk
as if they were in a go-cart. For all this lady was bred at court, she
became an excellent country wife, she brought ten children, and when I
show you the library, you shall see in her own hand (allowing for the
difference of the language) the best receipt now in English both for a
hasty pudding and a white-pot.

"If you please to fall back a little, because it is necessary to look
at the three next pictures at one view; these are three sisters. She
on the right hand, who is so very beautiful, died a maid; the next to
her, still handsomer, had the same fate, against her will; this homely
thing in the middle had both their portions added to her own, and was
stolen by a neighboring gentleman, a man of stratagem and resolution,
for he poisoned three mastiffs to come at her, and knocked down two
deer-stealers in carrying her off. Misfortunes happen in all families.
The theft of this romp, and so much money, was no great matter to our
estate. But the next heir that possess it was this soft gentleman whom
you see there. Observe the small buttons, the little boots, the laces,
the slashes about his clothes, and, above all, the posture he is drawn
in (which, to be sure, was his own choosing), you see he sits with one
hand on a desk writing and looking, as it were, another way, like an
easy writer, or a sonneteer. He was one of those that had too much wit
to know how to live in the world; he was a man of no justice, but
great good manners; he ruined everybody that had anything to do with
him, but never said a rude thing in his life; the most indolent person
in the world; he would sign a deed that passed away half his estate
with his gloves on, but would not put on his hat before a lady if it
were to save his country. He is said to be the first that made love by
squeezing the hand. He left the estate with ten thousand pounds debt
upon it; but, however, by all hands I have been informed that he was
every way the finest gentleman in the world. That debt lay heavy on
our house for one generation, but it was retrieved by a gift from that
honest man you see there, a citizen of our name, but nothing at all
akin to us. I know Sir Andrew Freeport has said behind my back that
this man was descended from one of the ten children of the maid of
honor I showed you above; but it was never made out. We winked at the
thing, indeed, because money was wanting at that time."

Here I saw my friend a little embarrassed, and turned my face to the
next portraiture. Sir Roger went on with his account of the gallery in
the following manner:

"This man [pointing to him I looked at] I take to be the honor of our
house. Sir Humphrey de Coverley; he was in his dealings as punctual as
a tradesman, and as generous as a gentleman. He would have thought
himself as much undone by breaking his word, as if it were to be
followed by bankruptcy. He served his country as a knight of the shire
to his dying day. He found it no easy matter to maintain an integrity
in his words and actions, even in things that regarded the offices
which were incumbent upon him, in the care of his own affairs and
relations of life, and therefore dreaded (tho he had great talents) to
go into employments of state, where he must be exposed to the snares
of ambition. Innocence of life and great ability were the
distinguishing parts of his character; the latter, he had often
observed, had led to the destruction of the former, and he used
frequently to lament that great and good had not the same
signification. He was an excellent husbandman, but had resolved not to
exceed such a degree of wealth; all above it he bestowed in secret
bounties many years after the sum he aimed at for his own use was
attained. Yet he did not slacken his industry, but to a decent old age
spent the life and fortune which was superfluous to himself, in the
service of his friends and neighbors."

Here we were called to dinner, and Sir Roger ended the discourse of
this gentleman, by telling me, as we followed the servant, that this
his ancestor was a brave man, and narrowly escaped being killed in the
civil wars. "For," said he, "he was sent out of the field upon a
private message the day before the battle of Worcester." The whim of
narrowly escaping by having been within a day of danger, with other
matters above mentioned, mixed with good sense, left me at a loss
whether I was more delighted with my friend's wisdom or simplicity.



V

ON CERTAIN SYMPTOMS OF GREATNESS[4]


There is no affection of the mind so much blended in human nature, and
wrought into our very constitution, as pride. It appears under a
multitude of disguises, and breaks out in ten thousand different
symptoms. Every one feels it in himself, and yet wonders to see it in
his neighbor. I must confess, I met with an instance of it the other
day where I should very little have expected it. Who would believe the
proud person I am going to speak of is a cobbler upon Ludgate hill?
This artist being naturally a lover of respect, and considering that
his circumstances are such that no man living will give it him, has
contrived the figure of a beau, in wood; who stands before him in a
bending posture, with his hat under his left arm, and his right hand
extended in such a manner as to hold a thread, a piece of wax, or an
awl, according to the particular service in which his master thinks
fit to employ him. When I saw him, he held a candle in this obsequious
posture. I was very well pleased with the cobbler's invention, that
had so ingeniously contrived an inferior, and stood a little while
contemplating this inverted idolatry, wherein the image did homage to
the man. When we meet with such a fantastic vanity in one of this
order, it is no wonder if we may trace it through all degrees above
it, and particularly through all the steps of greatness.

We easily see the absurdity of pride when it enters into the heart of
a cobbler; tho in reality it is altogether as ridiculous and
unreasonable, wherever it takes possession of a human creature. There
is no temptation to it from the reflection upon our being in general,
or upon any comparative perfection, whereby one man may excel another.
The greater a man's knowledge is, the greater motive he may seem to
have for pride; but in the same proportion as the one rises the other
sinks, it being the chief office of wisdom to discover to us our
weaknesses and imperfections.

As folly is the foundation of pride, the natural superstructure of it
is madness. If there was an occasion for the experiment, I would not
question to make a proud man a lunatic in three weeks' time, provided
I had it in my power to ripen his frenzy with proper applications. It
is an admirable reflection in Terence, where it is said of a parasite,
"_Hic homines ex stultis facit insanos._" "This fellow," says he, "has
an art of converting fools into madmen." When I was in France, the
region of complaisance and vanity, I have often observed that a great
man who has entered a levee of flatterers humble and temperate has
grown so insensibly heated by the court which was paid him on all
sides, that he has been quite distracted before he could get into his
coach.

If we consult the collegiates of Moorfields, we shall find most of
them are beholden to their pride for their introduction into that
magnificent palace. I had, some years ago, the curiosity to inquire
into the particular circumstances of these whimsical freeholders; and
learned from their own mouths the condition and character of each of
them. Indeed, I found that all I spoke to were persons of quality.
There were at that time five duchesses, three earls, two heathen gods,
an emperor, and a prophet. There were also a great number of such as
were locked up from their estates, and others who concealed their
titles. A leather-seller of Taunton whispered me in the ear that he
was the "Duke of Monmouth," but begged me not to betray him. At a
little distance from him sat a tailor's wife, who asked me, as I went,
if I had seen the sword-bearer, upon which I presumed to ask her who
she was, and was answered, "My lady mayoress."

I was very sensibly touched with compassion toward these miserable
people; and, indeed, extremely mortified to see human nature capable
of being thus disfigured. However, I reaped this benefit from it, that
I was resolved to guard myself against a passion which makes such
havoc in the brain, and produces so much disorder in the imagination.
For this reason I have endeavored to keep down the secret swellings of
resentment, and stifle the very first suggestions of self-esteem; to
establish my mind in tranquillity, and over-value nothing in my own or
in another's possession.

For the benefit of such whose heads are a little turned, tho not to so
great a degree as to qualify them for the place of which I have been
now speaking, I shall assign one of the sides of the college which I
am erecting, for the cure of this dangerous distemper.

The most remarkable of the persons, whose disturbance arises from
pride, and whom I shall use all possible diligence to cure, are such
as are hidden in the appearance of quite contrary habits and
dispositions. Among such, I shall, in the first place, take care of
one who is under the most subtle species of pride that I have observed
in my whole experience.

The patient is a person for whom I have a great respect, as being an
old courtier, and a friend of mine in my youth. The man has but a bare
subsistence, just enough to pay his reckoning with us at the Trumpet;
but, by having spent the beginning of his life is the hearing of great
men and persons of power, he is always promising to do good offices to
introduce every man he converses with into the world; will desire one
of ten times his substance to let him see him sometimes, and hints to
him that he does not forget him. He answers to matters of no
consequence with great circumspection; but, however, maintains a
general civility in his words and actions, and an insolent benevolence
to all whom he has to do with. This he practises with a grave tone and
air; and tho I am his senior by twelve years, and richer by forty
pounds per annum, he had yesterday the impudence to commend me to my
face, and tell me, "he should be always ready to encourage me." In a
word, he is a very insignificant fellow, but exceeding gracious. The
best return I can make him for his favors is to carry him myself to
Bedlam and see him well taken care of.

The next person I shall provide for is of a quite contrary character,
that has in him all the stiffness and insolence of quality, without a
grain of sense or good-nature, to make it either respected or
beloved. His pride has infected every muscle of his face; and yet,
after all his endeavors to show mankind that he contemns them, he is
only neglected by all that see him, as not of consequence enough to be
hated.

For the cure of this particular sort of madness, it will be necessary
to break through all forms with him, and familiarize his carriage by
the use of a good cudgel. It may likewise be of great benefit to make
him jump over a stick half a dozen times every morning.

A third, whom I have in my eye, is a young fellow, whose lunacy is
such that he boasts of nothing but what he ought to be ashamed of. He
is vain of being rotten, and talks publicly of having committed crimes
which he ought to be hanged for by the laws of his country.

There are several others whose brains are hurt with pride, and whom I
may hereafter attempt to recover; but shall conclude my present list
with an old woman, who is just dropping into her grave, that talks of
nothing but her birth. Tho she has not a tooth in her head, she
expects to be valued for the blood in her veins, which she fancies is
much better than that which glows in the cheeks of Belinda, and sets
half the town on fire.



VI

HOW TO BE HAPPY THO MARRIED[5]


My brother Tranquillus being gone out of town for some days, my sister
Jenny sent me word she would come and dine with me, and therefore
desired me to have no other company, I took care accordingly, and was
not a little pleased to see her enter the room with a decent and
matron-like behavior, which I thought very much became her. I saw she
had a great deal to say to me, and easily discovered in her eyes, and
the air of her countenance, that she had abundance of satisfaction in
her heart, which she longed to communicate. However, I was resolved to
let her break into her discourse her own way, and reduced her to a
thousand little devices and intimations to bring me to the mention of
her husband. But finding I was resolved not to name him, she began of
her own accord. "My husband," said she, "gives his humble service to
you," to which I only answered, "I hope he is well"; and, without
waiting for a reply, fell into other subjects.

She at last was out of all patience, and said, with a smile and manner
that I thought had more beauty and spirit than I had ever observed
before in her, "I did not think, brother, you had been so ill-natured.
You have seen, ever since I came in, that I had a mind to talk of my
husband, and you will not be so kind as to give me an occasion."

"I did not know," said I, "but it might be a disagreeable subject to
you. You do not take me for so old-fashioned a fellow as to think of
entertaining a young lady with the discourse of her husband. I know
nothing is more acceptable than to speak of one who is to be so, but
to speak of one who is so! indeed, Jenny, I am a better-bred man than
you think me."

She showed a little dislike at my raillery; and, by her bridling up, I
perceived she expected to be treated hereafter not as Jenny Distaff,
but Mrs. Tranquillus. I was very well pleased with this change in her
humor; and, upon talking with her on several subjects, I could not but
fancy I saw a great deal of her husband's way and manner in her
remarks, her phrases, the tone of her voice, and the very air of her
countenance. This gave me an unspeakable satisfaction, not only
because I had found her a husband, from whom she could learn many
things that were laudable, but also because I looked upon her
imitation of him as an infallible sign that she entirely loved him.
This is an observation that I never knew fail, tho I do not remember
that any other has made it. The natural shyness of her sex hindered
her from telling me the greatness of her own passion; but I easily
collected it from the representation she gave me of his.

"I have everything," says she, "in Tranquillus, that I can wish for;
and enjoy in him, what, indeed, you have told me were to be met with
in a good husband, the fondness of a lover, the tenderness of a
parent, and the intimacy of a friend."

It transported me to see her eyes swimming in tears of affection when
she spoke. "And is there not, dear sister," said I, "more pleasure in
the possession of such a man than in all the little impertinencies of
balls, assemblies, and equipage, which it cost me so much pains to
make you contemn?"

She answered, smiling, "Tranquillus has made me a sincere convert in a
few weeks, tho I am afraid you could not have done it in your whole
life. To tell you truly, I have only one fear hanging upon me, which
is apt to give me trouble in the midst of all my satisfactions: I am
afraid, you must know, that I shall not always make the same amiable
appearance in his eye that I do at present. You know, brother
Bickerstaff, that you have the reputation of a conjurer; and, if you
have any one secret in your art to make your sister always beautiful,
I should be happier than if I were mistress of all the worlds you have
shown me in a starry night."

"Jenny," said I, "without having recourse to magic, I shall give you
one plain rule that will not fail of making you always amiable to a
man who has so great a passion for you, and is of so equal and
reasonable a temper as Tranquillus. Endeavor to please, and you must
please; be always in the same disposition, as you are when you ask for
this secret, and you may take my word, you will never want it. An
inviolable fidelity, good humor, and complacency of temper outlive all
the charms of a fine face, and make the decays of it invisible."

We discoursed very long upon this head, which was equally agreeable to
us both; for, I must confess, as I tenderly love her, I take as much
pleasure in giving her instructions for her welfare, as she herself
does in receiving them. I proceeded, therefore, to inculcate these
sentiments by relating a very particular passage that happened within
my own knowledge.

There were several of us making merry at a friend's house in a country
village, when the sexton of the parish church entered the room in a
sort of surprize, and told us, "that as he was digging a grave in the
chancel, a little blow of his pickax opened a decayed coffin, in which
there were several written papers." Our curiosity was immediately
raised, so that we went to the place where the sexton had been at
work, and found a great concourse of people about the grave. Among the
rest there was an old woman, who told us the person buried there was a
lady whose name I do not think fit to mention, tho there is nothing in
the story but what tends very much to her honor. This lady lived
several years an exemplary pattern of conjugal love, and, dying soon
after her husband, who every way answered her character in virtue and
affection, made it her death-bed request, "that all the letters which
she had received from him, both before and after her marriage, should
be buried in the coffin with her." These, I found upon examination,
were the papers before us. Several of them had suffered so much by
time that I could only pick out a few words; as my soul! lilies!
roses! dearest angel! and the like. One of them, which was legible
throughout, ran thus:

_Madam_:--

If you would know the greatness of my love, consider that of your own
beauty. That blooming countenance, that snowy bosom, that graceful
person, return every moment to my imagination; the brightness of your
eyes hath hindered me from closing mine since I last saw you. You may
still add to your beauties by a smile. A frown will make me the most
wretched of men, as I am the most passionate of lovers.

It filled the whole company with a deep melancholy, to compare the
description of the letter with the person that occasioned it, who was
now reduced to a few crumbling bones, and a little moldering heap of
earth. With much ado I deciphered another letter which began with, "My
dear, dear wife." This gave me a curiosity to see how the style of one
written in marriage differed from one written in courtship. To my
surprize, I found the fondness rather augmented than lessened, tho the
panegyric turned upon a different accomplishment. The words were as
follows:

Before this short absence from you, I did not know that I loved you so
much as I really do; tho, at the same time, I thought I loved you as
much as possible. I am under great apprehension lest you should have
any uneasiness whilst I am defrauded of my share in it, and can not
think of tasting any pleasures that you do not partake with me. Pray,
my dear, be careful of your health, if for no other reason but because
you know I could not outlive you. It is natural in absence to make
professions of an inviolable constancy; but toward so much merit it
is scarce a virtue, especially when it is but a bare return to that of
which you have given me such continued proofs ever since our first
acquaintance. I am, etc.

It happened that the daughter of these two excellent persons was by
when I was reading this letter. At the sight of the coffin, in which
was the body of her mother, near that of her father, she melted into a
flood of tears. As I had heard a great character of her virtue, and
observed in her this instance of filial piety, I could not resist my
natural inclination, of giving advice to young people, and therefore
addrest myself to her. "Young lady," said I, "you see how short is the
possession of that beauty, in which nature has been so liberal to you.
You find the melancholy sight before you is a contradiction to the
first letter that you heard on that subject; whereas, you may observe
the second letter, which celebrates your mother's constancy, is
itself, being found in this place, an argument of it. But, madam, I
ought to caution you not to think the bodies that lie before you your
father and your mother. Know their constancy is rewarded by a nobler
union than by this mingling of their ashes, in a state where there is
no danger or possibility of a second separation."

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: From the Guardian.]

[Footnote 2: From the Spectator.]

[Footnote 3: From the Spectator.]

[Footnote 4: From the Tatler.]

[Footnote 5: From the Tatler.]



LORD BOLINGBROKE

     Born in 1678, died in 1751; his name, before he was a peer,
     Henry St. John; entered Parliament in 1701, acting with the
     Tories; Secretary of War in 1704-08; Secretary of State in
     1710-14; created Viscount Bolingbroke in 1714; opposed the
     accession of the House of Hanover, and on the death of Queen
     Anne in 1714, fled to France, entering the service of the
     Pretender, by whom he was soon dismissed and then returned
     to England; a friend of Pope and Swift, Pope's "Essay on
     Man" being addrest to him.



I

OF THE SHORTNESS OF HUMAN LIFE


I think very differently from most men of the time we have to pass,
and the business we have to do, in this world. I think we have more of
one, and less of the other, than is commonly supposed. Our want of
time, and the shortness of human life, are some of the principal
commonplace complaints which we prefer against the established order
of things; they are the grumblings of the vulgar, and the pathetic
lamentations of the philosopher; but they are impertinent and impious
in both. The man of business despises the man of pleasure for
squandering his time away; the man of pleasure pities or laughs at the
man of business for the same thing; and yet both concur superciliously
and absurdly to find fault with the Supreme Being for having given
them so little time. The philosopher, who misspends it very often as
much as the others, joins in the same cry, and authorizes this
impiety. Theophrastus thought it extremely hard to die at ninety, and
to go out of the world when he had just learned how to live in it. His
master Aristotle found fault with nature for treating man in this
respect worse than several other animals; both very unphilosophically!
and I love Seneca the better for his quarrel with the Stagirite[6] on
this head.

We see, in so many instances, a just proportion of things, according
to their several relations to one another, that philosophy should lead
as to conclude this proportion preserved, even where we can not
discern it; instead of leading us to conclude that it is not preserved
where we do not discern it, or where we think that we see the
contrary. To conclude otherwise is shocking presumption. It is to
presume that the system of the universe would have been more wisely
contrived, if creatures of our low rank among intellectual natures had
been called to the councils of the Most High; or that the Creator
ought to mend His work by the advice of the creature. That life which
seems to our self-love so short, when we compare it with the ideas we
frame of eternity, or even with the duration of some other beings,
will appear sufficient, upon a less partial view, to all the ends of
the creation, and of a just proportion in the successive course of
generations. The term itself is long; we render it short; and the want
we complain of flows from our profusion, not from our poverty.

Let us leave the men of pleasure and of business, who are often
candid enough to own that they throw away their time, and thereby to
confess that they complain of the Supreme Being for no other reason
than this, that He has not proportioned His bounty to their
extravagance. Let us consider the scholar and philosopher, who, far
from owning that he throws any time away, reproves others for doing
it; that solemn mortal who abstains from the pleasures, and declines
the business of the world, that he may dedicate his whole time to the
search of truth and the improvement of knowledge. When such a one
complains of the shortness of human life in general, or of his
remaining share in particular, might not a man more reasonable, tho
less solemn, expostulate thus with him: "Your complaint is indeed
consistent with your practise; but you would not possibly renew your
complaint if you reviewed your practise. Tho reading makes a scholar,
yet every scholar is not a philosopher, nor every philosopher a wise
man. It cost you twenty years to devour all the volumes on one side of
your library; you came out a great critic in Latin and Greek, in the
Oriental tongues, in history and chronology; but you were not
satisfied. You confest that these were the _literæ nihil sanantes_,
and you wanted more time to acquire other knowledge. You have had this
time; you have passed twenty years more on the other side of your
library, among philosophers, rabbis, commentators, school-men, and
whole legions of modern doctors. You are extremely well versed in all
that has been written concerning the nature of God, and of the soul of
man, about matter and form, body and spirit, and space and eternal
essences, and incorporeal substances, and the rest of those profound
speculations. You are a master of the controversies that have arisen
about nature and grace, about predestination and freewill, and all the
other abstruse questions that have made so much noise in the schools,
and done so much hurt in the world. You are going on, as fast as the
infirmities you have contracted will permit, in the same course of
study; but you begin to foresee that you shall want time, and you make
grievous complaints of the shortness of human life. Give me leave now
to ask you how many thousand years God must prolong your life in order
to reconcile you to His wisdom and goodness?

"It is plain, at least highly probable, that a life as long as that of
the most aged of the patriarchs would be too short to answer your
purposes; since the researches and disputes in which you are engaged
have been already for a much longer time the objects of learned
inquiries, and remain still as imperfect and undetermined as they were
at first. But let me ask you again, and deceive neither yourself nor
me, have you, in the course of these forty years, once examined the
first principles and the fundamental facts on which all those
questions depend, with an absolute indifference of judgment, and with
a scrupulous exactness? with the same care that you have employed in
examining the various consequences drawn from them, and the heterodox
opinions about them? Have you not taken them for granted in the whole
course of your studies? Or, if you have looked now and then on the
state of the proofs brought to maintain them, have you not done it as
a mathematician looks over a demonstration formerly made--to refresh
his memory, not to satisfy any doubt? If you have thus examined, it
may appear marvelous to some that you have spent so much time in many
parts of those studies which have reduced you to this hectic condition
of so much heat and weakness. But if you have not thus examined, it
must be evident to all, nay, to yourself on the least cool reflection,
that you are still, notwithstanding all your learning, in a state of
ignorance. For knowledge can alone produce knowledge; and without such
an examination of axioms and facts, you can have none about
inferences."

In this manner one might expostulate very reasonably with many a great
scholar, many a profound philosopher, many a dogmatical casuist. And
it serves to set the complaints about want of time, and the shortness
of human life, in a very ridiculous but a true light.



II

RULES FOR THE STUDY OF HISTORY[7]


I have considered formerly, with a good deal of attention, the subject
on which you command me to communicate my thoughts to you; and I
practised in those days, as much as business and pleasure allowed me
time to do, the rules that seemed to me necessary to be observed in
the study of history. They were very different from those which
writers on the same subject have recommended, and which are commonly
practised. But I confess to your lordship that this neither gave me
then, nor has given me since, any distrust of them. I do not affect
singularity. On the contrary, I think that a due deference is to be
paid to received opinions, and that a due compliance with received
customs is to be held; tho both the one and the other should be, what
they often are, absurd or ridiculous. But this servitude is outward
only, and abridges in no sort the liberty of private judgment. The
obligations of submitting to it likewise, even outwardly, extend no
further than to those opinions and customs which can not be opposed;
or from which we can not deviate without doing hurt, or giving
offense, to society. In all these cases, our speculations ought to be
free; in all other cases, our practise may be so. Without any regard,
therefore, to the opinion and practise even of the learned world, I am
very willing to tell you mine. But as it is hard to recover a thread
of thought long ago laid aside, and impossible to prove some things
and explain others, without the assistance of many books which I have
not here, your lordship must be content with such an imperfect sketch
as I am able to send you in this letter.

The motives that carry men to the study of history are different. Some
intend, if such as they may be said to study, nothing more than
amusement, and read the life of Aristides or Phocion, of Epaminondas
or Scipio, Alexander or Cæsar, just as they play a game at cards, or
as they would read the story of the seven champions.

Others there are whose motive to this study is nothing better, and who
have the further disadvantage of becoming a nuisance very often to
society, in proportion to the progress they make. The former do not
improve their reading to any good purpose; the latter pervert it to a
very bad one, and grow in impertinence as they increase in learning. I
think I have known most of the first kind in England, and most of the
last in France. The persons I mean are those who read to talk, to
shine in conversation, and to impose in company; who, having few ideas
to vend of their own growth, store their minds with crude unruminated
facts and sentences, and hope to supply by bare memory the want of
imagination and judgment.

But these are in the two lowest forms. The next I shall mention are in
one a little higher; in the form of those who grow neither wiser nor
better by study themselves, but who enable others to study with
greater ease, and to purposes more useful; who make fair copies of
foul manuscripts, give the signification of hard words, and take a
great deal of other grammatical pains. The obligation to these men
would be great indeed, if they were in general able to do anything
better, and submitted to this drudgery for the sake of the public; as
some of them, it must be owned with gratitude, have done, but not
later, I think, than about the time of the resurrection of letters.
When works of importance are pressing, generals themselves may take
up the pickax and the spade; but in the ordinary course of things,
when that pressing necessity is over, such tools are left in the hands
destined to use them, the hands of common soldiers and peasants. I
approve, therefore, very much the devotion of a studious man at Christ
Church, who was overheard in his oratory entering into a detail with
God, acknowledging the divine goodness in furnishing the world with
makers of dictionaries! These men court fame, as well as their
letters, by such means as God has given them to acquire it; and
Littleton exerted all the genius he had when he made a dictionary, tho
Stephens did not. They deserve encouragement, however, while they
continue to compile, and neither affect wit, nor presume to reason.

There is a fourth class, of much less use than these, but of much
greater name. Men of the first rank in learning, and to whom the whole
tribe of scholars bow with reverence. A man must be as indifferent as
I am to common censure or approbation, to avow a thorough contempt for
the whole business of these learned lives; for all the researches into
antiquity, for all the systems of chronology and history, that we owe
to the immense labors of a Scaliger, a Bochart, a Petavius, an Usher,
and even a Marsham. The same materials are common to them all; but
these materials are few, and there is a moral impossibility that they
should ever have more. They have combined these into every form that
can be given to them; they have supposed, they have guessed, they have
joined disjointed passages of different authors, and broken traditions
of uncertain originals, of various people, and of centuries remote
from one another as well as from ours. In short, that they might leave
no liberty untaken, even a wild fantastical similitude of sounds has
served to prop up a system. As the materials they have are few, so are
the very best and such as pass for authentic extremely precarious, as
learned persons themselves confess.

Julius Africanus, Eusebius, and George the Monk opened the principal
sources of all this science; but they corrupted the waters. Their
point of view was to make profane history and chronology agree with
sacred. For this purpose, the ancient monuments that these writers
conveyed to posterity were digested by them according to the system
they were to maintain; and none of these monuments were delivered down
in their original form and genuine purity. The dynasties of Manetho,
for instance, are broken to pieces by Eusebius, and such fragments of
them as suited his design are stuck into his work. We have, we know,
no more of them. The "Codex Alexandrinus" we owe to George the Monk.
We have no other authority for it; and one can not see without
amazement such a man as Sir John Marsham undervaluing this authority
in one page, and building his system upon it in the next. He seems
even by the lightness of his expressions, if I remember well, for it
is long since I looked into his canon, not to be much concerned what
foundation his system had, so he showed his skill in forming one, and
in reducing the immense antiquity of the Egyptians within the limits
of the Hebraic calculation.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 6: A name under which Aristotle was sometimes known, from
his birthplace Stag.]

[Footnote 7: One of the "Letters on the Study of History."]



ALEXANDER POPE

     Born to London in 1688, died in 1744; his father a linen
     draper, converted to the Catholic faith; not regularly
     educated, owing to his frail and sickly body; began to write
     in boyhood, and before he was seventeen had met the leading
     literary men of London; his "Essay on Criticism," published
     in 1711, translation of Homer in 1720 and 1725, "Essay on
     Man," in 1732-34.



I

AN ANCIENT ENGLISH COUNTRY SEAT[8]


'Tis not possible to express the least part of the joy your return
gives me; time only and experience will convince you how very sincere
it is. I excessively long to meet you, to say so much, so very much to
you, that I believe I shall say nothing. I have given orders to be
sent for the first minute of your arrival--which I beg you will let
them know at Mr. Jervas's. I am four-score miles from London, a short
journey compared to that I so often thought at least of undertaking,
rather than die without seeing you again. Tho the place I am in is
such as I would not quit for the town, if I did not value you more
than any, nay everybody else there; and you will be convinced how
little the town has engaged my affections in your absence from it,
when you know what a place this is which I prefer to it; I shall
therefore describe it to you at large, as the true picture of a
genuine ancient country-seat.

You must expect nothing regular in my description of a house that
seems to be built before rules were in fashion: the whole is so
disjointed, and the parts so detached from each other, and yet so
joining again, one can not tell how, that--in a poetical fit--you
would imagine it had been a village in Amphion's time, where twenty
cottages had taken a dance together, were all out, and stood still in
amazement ever since. A stranger would be grievously disappointed who
should ever think to get into this house the right way. One would
expect, after entering through the porch, to be let into the hall;
alas! nothing less, you find yourself in a brew-house. From the
parlor you think to step into the drawing-room; but, upon opening the
iron-nailed door, you are convinced, by a flight of birds about your
ears, and a cloud of dust in your eyes, that it is the pigeon-house.
On each side our porch are two chimneys, that wear their greens on the
outside, which would do as well within, for whenever we make a fire,
we let the smoke out of the windows. Over the parlor window hangs a
sloping balcony, which, time has turned to a very convenient
penthouse. The top is crowned with a very venerable tower, so like
that of the church just by, that the jackdaws build in it as if it
were the true steeple.

The great hall is high and spacious, flanked with long tables, images
of ancient hospitality; ornamented with monstrous horns, about twenty
broken pikes, and a matchlock musket or two, which they say were used
in the civil wars. Here is one vast arched window, beautifully
darkened with divers scutcheons of painted glass. There seems to be
great propriety in this old manner of blazoning upon glass, ancient
families being like ancient windows, in the course of generations
seldom free from cracks. One shining pane bears date 1286. The
youthful face of Dame Elinor owes more to this single piece than to
all the glasses she ever consulted in her life. Who can say after this
that glass is frail, when it is not half so perishable as human beauty
or glory? For in another pane you see the memory of a knight
preserved, whose marble nose is moldered from his monument in the
church adjoining. And yet, must not one sigh to reflect, that the
most authentic record of so ancient a family should lie at the mercy
of every boy that throws a stone? In this hall, in former days, have
dined gartered knights and courtly dames, with ushers, sewers, and
seneschals; and yet it was but the other night that an owl flew in
hither, and mistook it for a barn.

This hall lets you up (and down) over a very high threshold, into the
parlor. It is furnished with historical tapestry, whose marginal
fringes do confess the moisture of the air. The other contents of this
room are a broken-bellied virginal, a couple of crippled velvet
chairs, with two or three mildewed pictures of moldy ancestors, who
look as dismally as if they came fresh from hell with all their
brimstone about 'em. These are carefully set at the further corner:
for the windows being everywhere broken, make it so convenient a place
to dry poppies and mustard-seed in, that the room is appropriated to
that use.

Next this parlor lies, as I said before, the pigeon-house, by the side
of which runs an entry that leads, on one hand and t'other, into a
bed-chamber, a buttery, and a small hole called the chaplain's study.
Then follow a brew-house, a little green and gilt parlor, and the
great stairs, under which is the dairy. A little further on the right,
the servants' hall; and by the side of it, up six steps, the old
lady's closet, which has a lattice into the said hall, that, while she
said her prayers, she might cast an eye on the men and maids. There
are upon this ground floor in all twenty-four apartments, hard to be
distinguished by particular names; among which I must not forget a
chamber that has in it a large antiquity of timber, which seems to
have been either a bedstead or a cider-press.

Our best room above is very long and low, of the exact proportion of a
bandbox; it has hangings of the finest work in the world; those, I
mean, which Arachne spins out of her own bowels: indeed, the roof is
so decayed, that after a favorable shower of rain, we may, with God's
blessing, expect a crop of mushrooms between the chinks of the floors.

All this upper story has for many years had no other inhabitants than
certain rats, whose very age renders them worthy of this venerable
mansion, for the very rats of this ancient seat are gray. Since these
have not quitted it, we hope at least this house may stand during the
small remainder of days these poor animals have to live, who are now
too infirm to remove to another: they have still a small subsistence
left them in the few remaining books of the library.

I had never seen half what I have described, but for an old starched
gray-headed steward, who is as much an antiquity as any in the place,
and looks like an old family picture walked out of its frame. He
failed not, as we passed from room to room, to relate several memoirs
of the family; but his observations were particularly curious in the
cellar: he shewed where stood the triple rows of butts of sack, and
where were ranged the bottles of tent for toasts in the morning; he
pointed to the stands that supported the iron-hooped hogsheads of
strong beer; then stepping to a corner, he lugged out the tattered
fragment of an unframed picture: "This," says he, with tears in his
eyes, "was poor Sir Thomas, once master of all the drink I told you
of: he had two sons (poor young masters!) that never arrived to the
age of his beer; they both fell ill in this very cellar, and never
went out upon their own legs." He could not pass by a broken bottle
without taking it up to show us the arms of the family on it. He then
led me up the tower, by dark winding stone steps, which landed us into
several little rooms, one above the other; one of these was nailed up,
and my guide whispered to me the occasion of it. It seems the course
of this noble blood was a little interrupted about two centuries ago
by a freak of the Lady Frances, who was here taken with a neighboring
prior; ever since which the room has been nailed up, and branded with
the name of the adultery-chamber. The ghost of Lady Frances is
supposed to walk here: some prying maids of the family formerly
reported that they saw a lady in a farthingale through the keyhole;
but this matter was hushed up, and the servants forbid to talk of it.

I must needs have tired you with this long letter; but what engaged me
in the description was a generous principle to preserve the memory of
a thing that must itself soon fall to ruin; nay, perhaps, some part of
it before this reaches your hands: indeed, I owe this old house the
same sort of gratitude that we do to an old friend that harbors us in
his declining condition, nay, even in his last extremities. I have
found this an excellent place for retirement and study, where no one
who passes by can dream there is an inhabitant, and even anybody that
would visit me dares not venture under my roof. You will not wonder I
have translated a great deal of Homer in this retreat; any one that
sees it will own I could not have chosen a fitter or more likely place
to converse with the dead. As soon as I return to the living, it shall
be to converse with the best of them. I hope, therefore, very speedily
to tell you in person how sincerely and unalterably I am, madam, your
most faithful, obliged, and obedient servant.

I beg Mr. Wortley to believe me his most humble servant.



II

HIS COMPLIMENTS TO LADY MARY[9]


I have been (what I never was till now) in debt to you for a letter
some weeks. I was informed you were at sea, and that 'twas to no
purpose to write till some news had been heard of you somewhere or
other. Besides, I have had a second dangerous illness, from which I
was more diligent to be recovered than from the first, having now some
hopes of seeing you again. If you make any tour in Italy, I shall not
easily forgive you for not acquainting me soon enough to have met you
there. I am very certain I shall never be polite unless I travel with
you, and it is never to be repaired, the loss that Homer has sustained
for want of my translating him in Asia.

You will come here full of criticisms against a man who wanted nothing
to be in the right, but to have kept you company; you have no way of
making me amends but by continuing an Asiatic when you return to me,
whatever English airs you may put on to other people. I prodigiously
long for your sounds, your remarks, your Oriental learning; but I long
for nothing so much as your Oriental self. You must of necessity be
advanced so far back in true nature and simplicity of manners, by
these three years' residence in the East, that I shall look upon you
as so many years younger than you was, so much nearer innocence (that
is truth) and infancy (that is openness). I expect to see your soul as
much thinner drest than your body, and that you have left off as weary
and cumbersome a great many damned European habits. Without offense to
your modesty be it spoken, I have a burning desire to see your soul
stark naked, for I am confident it is the prettiest kind of white soul
in the universe. But I forget whom I am talking to; you may possibly
by this time believe according to the Prophet, that you have none; if
so, show me that which comes next to a soul, you may easily put it
upon a poor ignorant Christian for a soul and please him as well with
it--I mean your heart--Mohammed I think allows you hearts; which
(together with fine eyes and other agreeable equivalents) are with all
the souls on the other side of the world.

But if I must be content with seeing your body only, God send it come
quickly. I honor it more than the diamond casket that held Homer's
Iliads; for in the very twinkle of one eye of it there is more wit,
and in the very dimple of one cheek of it there is more meaning, than
all the souls that were carefully put into woman since God had the
making of them.

I have a mind to fill the rest of this paper with an accident that has
happened just under my eyes, and has made a great impression on me. I
have just passed part of the summer at an old romantic seat of my Lord
Harcourt's which he lent me. It overlooks a commonfield, where, under
the shade of the haycock, sat two lovers as constant as ever were
found in romance, beneath a spreading beech. The name of the one (let
it sound as it will) was John Hewet; of the other, Sarah Drew. John
was a well-set man of about five and twenty, Sarah a brown woman of
eighteen. John had for several months borne the labor of the day in
the same field with Sarah; when she milked it was his morning and
evening charge to bring the cows to her pail.

Their love was the talk, but not the scandal, of the whole
neighborhood; for all they aimed at was the blameless possession of
each other in marriage. It was but this very morning that he had
obtained her parent's consent, and it was but till the next week that
they were to wait to be happy. Perhaps this very day, in the interval
of their work, they were talking about their wedding clothes, and
John was now matching several kinds of poppies and field flowers to
her complexion to make her a present of knots for the day.

While they are thus employed (it was in the last of July) a terrible
storm of thunder and lightning arose, that drove the laborers to what
shelter the trees or hedge afforded. Sarah, frightened and out of
breath, sunk on a haycock, and John (who was never separated from her)
sate by her side, having raked two or three heaps together to secure
her. Immediately there was heard so loud a crash as if heaven were
burst asunder. The laborers, all solicitous for each other's safety,
called to one another. Those that were nearest our lovers, hearing no
answer, stept to the place where they lay; they first saw a little
smoke and after this the faithful pair--John with one arm about his
Sarah's neck, and the other held over her face as if to screen her
from the lightning. They were struck dead and already grown stiff and
cold in this tender posture. There was no mark or discoloring on their
bodies, only that Sarah's eyebrow was a little singed and a small spot
between her breasts. They were buried the next day in one grave, in
the parish of Stanton Harcourt, in Oxfordshire; where my lord
Harcourt, at my request, has erected a monument over them....

Upon the whole, I can't think these people unhappy. The greatest
happiness, next to living as they would have done, was to die as they
did. The greatest honor people of their low degree could have was to
be remembered on a little monument; unless you will give them
another--that of being honored with a tear from the finest eyes in
the world. I know you have tenderness; you must have it; it is the
very emanation of good sense and virtue; the finest minds like the
finest metals dissolve the easiest.

But when you are reflecting upon objects of pity, pray do not forget
one, who had no sooner found out an object of the highest esteem than
he was separated from it; and who is so very unhappy as not to be
susceptible of consolation from others, by being so miserable in the
right as to think other women what they really are. Such a one can't
but be desperately fond of any creature that is quite different from
these. If the Circassian be utterly void of such honor as these have,
and such virtue as these boast of, I am content. I have detested the
sound of honest woman, and loving spouse, ever since I heard the
pretty name of Odaliche.

Dear Madam, I am forever yours,

My most humble services to Mr. Wortley.[10] Pray let me hear from you
soon, tho I shall very soon write again. I am confident half our
letters are lost.



III

HOW TO MAKE AN EPIC POEM[11]


It is no small pleasure to me, who am zealous in the interests of
learning, to think I may have the honor of leading the town into a
very new and uncommon road of criticism. As that kind of literature is
at present carried on, it consists only in a knowledge of mechanic
rules which contribute to the structure of different sorts of poetry,
as the receipts of good housewives do to the making puddings of flour,
oranges, plums, or any other ingredients. It would, methinks, make
these my instructions more easily intelligible to ordinary readers, if
I discoursed of these matters in the style in which ladies learned in
economics dictate to their pupils for the improvement of the kitchen
and larder.

I shall begin with epic poetry, because the critics agree it is the
greatest work human nature is capable of. I know the French have
already laid down many mechanical rules for compositions of this sort,
but at the same time they cut off almost all undertakers from the
possibility of ever performing them; for the first qualification they
unanimously require in a poet is a genius. I shall here endeavor (for
the benefit of my countrymen) to make it manifest that epic poems may
be made "without a genius," nay, without learning, or much reading.
This must necessarily be of great use to all those poets who confess
they never read, and of whom the world is convinced they never learn.
What Molière observes of making a dinner, that any man can do it with
money, and if a profest cook can not without, he has his art for
nothing, the same may be said of making a poem--it is easily brought
about by him that has a genius, but the skill lies in doing it without
one. In pursuance of this end, I shall present the reader with a plain
and certain receipt, by which even sonneteers and ladies may be
qualified for this grand performance.

I know it will be objected that one of the chief qualifications of an
epic poet is to be knowing in all arts and sciences. But this ought
not to discourage those that have no learning, as long as indexes and
dictionaries may be had, which are the compendium of all knowledge.
Besides, since it is an established rule that none of the terms of
those arts and sciences are to be made use of, one may venture to
affirm our poet can not impertinently offend in this point. The
learning which will be more particularly necessary to him is the
ancient geography of towns, mountains, and rivers; for this let him
take Culverius, value fourpence.

Another quality required is a complete skill in languages. To this I
answer that it is notorious persons of no genius have been oftentimes
great linguists. To instance in the Greek, of which there are two
sorts; the original Greek, and that from which our modern authors
translate. I should be unwilling to promise impossibilities; but
modestly speaking, this may be learned in about an hour's time with
ease. I have known one who became a sudden professor of Greek
immediately upon application of the left-hand page of the Cambridge
Homer to his eye. It is in these days with authors as with other men,
the well bred are familiarly acquainted with, them at first sight; and
as it is sufficient for a good general to have surveyed the ground he
is to conquer, so it is enough for a good poet to have seen the author
he is to be master of. But to proceed to the purpose of this paper.

For the Fable.--Take out of any old poem, history book, romance or
legend (for instance, Geoffrey of Monmouth, or Don Belianis of
Greece[12]), those parts of story which afford most scope for long
descriptions. Put these pieces together, and throw all the adventures
you fancy into one tale. Then take a hero you may choose for the sound
of his name, and put him into the midst of these adventures. There let
him work for twelve books; at the end of which you may take him out
ready prepared to conquer, or to marry; it being necessary that the
conclusion of an epic poem be fortunate.

To Make an Episode.--Take any remaining adventure of your former
collection, in which you could no way involve your hero; or any
unfortunate accident that was too good to be thrown away; and it will
be of use applied to any other person, who may be lost and evaporate
in the course of the work, without the least damage to the
composition.

For the Moral and Allegory.--These you may extract out of the fable
afterward, at your leisure. Be sure you strain them sufficiently.

For the Manners.--For those of the hero, take all the best qualities
you can find in all the celebrated heroes of antiquity; if they will
not be reduced to a consistency, lay them all in a heap upon him. But
be sure they are qualities which your patron would be thought to have;
and, to prevent any mistake which the world may be subject to, select
from the alphabet those capital letters that compose his name, and set
them at the head of a dedication before your poem. However, do not
absolutely observe the exact quantity of these virtues, it not being
determined whether or no it be necessary for the hero of a poem to be
an honest man. For the under characters, gather them from Homer and
Virgil, and change the names as occasion serves.

For the Machines.--Take of deities, male and female, as many as you
can use. Separate them into two equal parts, and keep Jupiter in the
middle. Let Juno put him in a ferment, and Venus mollify him. Remember
on all occasions to make use of volatile Mercury. If you have need of
devils, draw them out of Milton's Paradise, and extract your spirits
from Tasso. The use of these machines is evident; for since no epic
poem can possibly subsist without them, the wisest way is to reserve
them for your greatest necessities. When you can not extricate your
hero by any human means, or yourself by your own wits, seek relief
from heaven, and the gods will do your business very readily. This is
according to the direct prescription of Horace in his "Art of
Poetry," verse 191:

    Never presume to make a god appear,
    But for a business worthy of a god.[13]

That is to say, a poet should never call upon the gods for their
assistance but when he is in great perplexity.

For a Tempest.--Take Eurus, Zephyr, Auster, and Boreas, and cast them
together in one verse. Add to these of rain, lightning, and of thunder
(the loudest you can) _quantum sufficit_. Mix your clouds and billows
well together until they foam, and thicken your description here and
there with a quicksand. Brew your tempest well in your head, before
you set it a-blowing.

For a Battle.--Pick a large quantity of images and descriptions from
Homer's "Iliad," with a spice or two of Virgil, and if there remain
any overplus you may lay them by for a skirmish. Season it well with
similes, and it will make an excellent battle.

For Burning a Town.--If such a description be necessary, because it is
certain there is one in Virgil, Old Troy is ready burned to your
hands. But if you fear that would be thought borrowed, a chapter or
two of the Theory of the Conflagration, well circumstanced, and done
into verse, will be a good succedaneum.

As for Similes and Metaphors, they may be found all over the creation;
the most ignorant may gather them, but the danger is in applying them.
For this advise with your bookseller.

For the Language (I mean the diction).--Here it will do well to be an
imitator of Milton, for you will find it easier to imitate him in this
than anything else. Hebraisms and Grecisms are to be found in him,
without the trouble of learning the languages. I knew a painter, who
(like our poet) had no genius, make his daubings to be thought
originals by setting them in the smoke. You may in the same manner
give the venerable air of antiquity to your piece by darkening it up
and down with old English. With this you may be easily furnished upon
any occasion by the dictionary commonly printed at the end of Chaucer.

I must not conclude without cautioning all writers without genius in
one material point, which is, never to be afraid of having too much
fire in their works. I should advise rather to take their warmest
thoughts, and spread them abroad upon paper; for they are observed to
cool before they are read.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 8: A letter to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. The mansion here
described is Stanton Harcourt, near the hamlet of Cokethorpe in
Oxfordshire. Here the Harcourts had lived since the twelfth century.
At the date of Pope's letter, it was the seat of Simon Harcourt, first
viscount, but Simon's father, Sir Philip Harcourt, for many years was
the last of the family actually to live there, his widow afterward
permitting the buildings to fall into the state of decay which Pope
describes. In the tower is an upper chamber over the chapel which
still bears the name of "Pope's Study." It was there, in 1718, that
Pope finished the fifth volume of his translation of Homer. Simon, the
first viscount, had taken up his residence at Stanton Harcourt a short
time before the date of Pope's letter--that is, about 1715. He
frequently had as guests Pope, Swift, Gay and Prior, being himself
fond of literary pursuits. Twelve letters written to him by Pope have
been preserved among the family papers. Pope, in his letter to Lady
Mary, of September 1, 1718, which here follows the one beginning on
the previous page, in referring to the mansion uses the words, "which
he lent me," indicating that Pope was occupying the mansion at the
invitation of Lord Harcourt. Swift and Harcourt sometimes quarreled
over political matters, in which Harcourt was prominent. On one
occasion Swift called him "Trimming Harcourt."]

[Footnote 9: A letter dated September 1, 1718, and addrest to Lady
Mary Wortley Montagu, who was then living in Turkey. Pope and she
afterward (about 1722) quarreled bitterly. Leslie Stephen, discussing
the matter, says "the extreme bitterness with which Pope ever
afterward assailed her can be explained most plausibly, and least to
his discredit, upon the assumption that his extravagant expressions of
gallantry covered some real passion." If this be a true inference, his
passion "was probably converted into antipathy by the contempt with
which she received his declaration."]

[Footnote 10: Her husband, Edward Wortley Montagu, the name Montagu
having been added for reasons connected with a family estate.]

[Footnote 11: From the Guardian.]

[Footnote 12: "Belianis of Greece" was a continuation of the romance
"Amadis of Gaul," which was published in Spanish in 1547, and
translated into English in 1598. The author was Jeronimo Fernandez.]

[Footnote 13: The translation is by Roscommon.]



LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU

     Baptized in 1689, died in 1762; eldest daughter of the Duke
     of Kingston; married Edward Wortley Montagu, grandson of the
     Earl of Sandwich, in 1712; her husband sent to Turkey as
     ambassador in 1716; she was a close friend of Pope, but
     afterward quarreled with him; in 1739 left England, settling
     in Venice, where she remained until 1762; her "Letters"
     published in 1763, with further instalments in 1767 and
     later years.



I

ON HAPPINESS IN THE MATRIMONIAL STATE[14]


I received both your Monday letters before I wrote the inclosed,
which, however, I send you. The kind letter was written and sent
Friday morning, and I did not receive yours till Saturday noon. To
speak truth, you would never have had it else; there were so many
things in yours to put me out of humor. Thus, you see, it was on no
design to repair anything that offended you. You only show me how
industrious you are to find faults in me: why will you not suffer me
to be pleased with you?

I would see you if I could (tho perhaps it may be wrong); but in the
way that I am here, 'tis impossible. I can't come to town but in
company with my sister-in-law: I can carry her nowhere but where she
pleases; or if I could, I would trust her with nothing. I could not
walk out alone without giving suspicion to the whole family; should I
be watched, and seen to meet a man--judge of the consequences!

You speak of treating with my father, as if you believed he would come
to terms afterward. I will not suffer you to remain in the thought,
however advantageous it might be to me; I will deceive you in nothing.
I am fully persuaded he will never hear of terms afterward. You may
say, 'tis talking oddly of him. I can't answer to that; but 'tis my
real opinion, and I think I know him. You talk to me of estates, as if
I was the most interested woman in the world. Whatever faults I may
have shown in my life, I know not one action in it that ever proved me
mercenary. I think there can not be a greater proof to the contrary
than my treating with you, where I am to depend entirely upon your
generosity, at the same time that I may have settled on me £500 per
annum pin-money, and a considerable jointure, in another place; not to
reckon that I may have by his temper what command of his estate I
please: and with you I have nothing to pretend to. I do not, however,
make a merit to you: money is very little to me, because all beyond
necessaries I do not value that is to be purchased by it. If the man
proposed to me had £10,000 per annum, and I was sure to dispose of it
all, I should act just as I do. I have in my life known a good deal of
show, and never found myself the happier for it.

In proposing to you to follow the scheme proposed by that friend, I
think 'tis absolutely necessary for both our sakes. I would have you
want no pleasure which a single life would afford you. You own you
think nothing so agreeable. A woman that adds nothing to a man's
fortune ought not to take from his happiness. If possible, I would add
to it; but I will not take from you any satisfaction you could enjoy
without me. On my own side, I endeavor to form as right a judgment of
the temper of human nature, and of my own in particular, as I am
capable of. I would throw off all partiality and passion, and be calm
in my opinion. Almost all people are apt to run into a mistake, that
when they once feel or give a passion, there needs nothing to
entertain it. This mistake makes, in the number of women that inspire
even violent passions, hardly one preserve one after possession. If we
marry, our happiness must consist in loving one another; 'tis
principally my concern to think of the most probable method of making
that love eternal. You object against living in London: I am not fond
of it myself, and readily give it up to you; tho I am assured there
needs more art to keep a fondness alive in solitude, where it
generally preys upon itself.

There is one article absolutely necessary: to be ever beloved, one
must ever be agreeable. There is no such thing as being agreeable
without a thorough good-humor, a natural sweetness of temper,
enlivened by cheerfulness. Whatever natural funds of gaiety one is
born with, 'tis necessary to be entertained with agreeable objects.
Anybody capable of tasting pleasure when they confine themselves to
one place, should take care 'tis the place in the world the most
agreeable. Whatever you may now think (now, perhaps, you have some
fondness for me), tho your love should continue in its full force
there are hours when the most beloved mistress would be troublesome.
People are not forever (nor is it in human nature that they should be)
disposed to be fond; you would be glad to find in me the friend and
the companion. To be agreeably the last, it is necessary to be gay and
entertaining. A perpetual solitude, in a place where you see nothing
to raise your spirits, at length wears them out, and conversation
insensibly becomes dull and insipid. When I have no more to say to
you, you will like me no longer.

How dreadful is that view! You will reflect for my sake you have
abandoned the conversation of a friend that you liked, and your
situation in a country where all things would have contributed to make
your life pass in (the true _volupté_) a smooth tranquillity. I shall
lose the vivacity which should entertain you, and you will have
nothing to recompense you for what you have lost. Very few people that
have settled entirely in the country, but have grown at length weary
of one another. The lady's conversation generally falls into a
thousand impertinent effects of idleness; and the gentleman falls in
love with his dogs and his horses, and out of love with everything
else. I am not now arguing in favor of the town: you have answered me
as to that point.

In respect of your health, 'tis the first thing to be considered, and
I shall never ask you to do anything injurious to that. But 'tis my
opinion, 'tis necessary, to be happy, that we neither of us think any
place more agreeable than that where we are. I have nothing to do in
London; and 'tis indifferent to me if I never see it more. I know not
how to answer your mentioning gallantry, nor in what sense to
understand you: whomever I marry, when I am married I renounce all
things of the kind. I am willing to abandon all conversation but
yours; I will part with anything for you, but you. I will not have you
a month, to lose you for the rest of my life. If you can pursue the
plan of happiness begun with your friend, and take me for that friend,
I am ever yours. I have examined my own heart whether I can leave
everything for you; I think I can: if I change my mind, you shall know
before Sunday; after that I will not change my mind.

If 'tis necessary for your affairs to stay in England, to assist your
father in his business, as I suppose the time will be short, I would
be as little injurious to your fortune as I can, and I will do it. But
I am still of opinion nothing is so likely to make us both happy as
what I propose. I foresee I may break with you on this point, and I
shall certainly be displeased with myself for it, and wish a thousand
times that I had done whatever you pleased; but, however, I hope I
shall always remember how much more miserable than anything else
would make me, should I be to live with you and to please you no
longer. You can be pleased with nothing when you are not pleased with
your wife. One of the "Spectators" is very just that says, "A man
ought always to be upon his guard against spleen and a too severe
philosophy; a woman, against levity and coquetry." If we go to Naples,
I will make no acquaintance there of any kind, and you will be in a
place where a variety of agreeable objects will dispose you to be ever
pleased. If such a thing is possible, this will secure our everlasting
happiness; and I am ready to wait on you without leaving a thought
behind me.



II

INOCULATION FOR THE SMALLPOX[15]


Apropos of distempers, I am going to tell you a thing that will make
you wish yourself here. The smallpox, so fatal and so general amongst
us, is here entirely harmless, by the invention of ingrafting, which
is the term they give it. There is a set of old women who make it
their business to perform the operation every autumn, in the month of
September, when the great heat is abated. People send to one another
to know if any of their family has a mind to have the smallpox; they
make parties for this purpose, and when they are met (commonly fifteen
or sixteen together), the old woman comes with a nutshell full of the
matter of the best sort of smallpox, and asks what vein you please to
have opened. She immediately rips open that you offer with a large
needle (which gives you no more pain than a common scratch), and puts
into the vein as much matter as can lie upon the head of her needle,
and after that binds up the little wound with a hollow bit of shell;
and in this manner opens four or five veins.

The Grecians have commonly the superstition of opening one in the
middle of the forehead, one in each arm, and one in the breast, to
mark the sign of the cross; but this has a very ill effect, all these
wounds leaving little scars, and is not done by those that are not
superstitious, who choose to have them in the legs, or that part of
the arm that is concealed. The children or young patients play
together all the rest of the day, and are in perfect health to the
eighth. Then the fever begins to seize them, and they keep their beds
two days, very seldom three. They have very rarely above twenty or
thirty [spots] in their faces, which never mark; and in eight days'
time they are as well as before their illness. Where they are wounded,
there remain running sores during the distemper, which I don't doubt
is a great relief to it. Every year thousands undergo this operation;
and the French ambassador says, pleasantly, that they take the
smallpox here by way of diversion, as they take the waters in other
countries. There is no example of any one that has died in it; and
you may believe that I am well satisfied of the safety of this
experiment, since I intend to try it on my dear little son.

I am patriot enough to take pains to bring this useful invention into
fashion in England; and I should not fail to write to some of our
doctors very particularly about it, if I knew any one of them that I
thought had virtue enough to destroy such a considerable branch of
their revenue for the good of mankind. But that distemper is too
beneficial to them, not to expose to all their resentment the hardy
wight that should undertake to put an end to it. Perhaps if I live to
return, I may, however, have courage to war with them. Upon this
occasion, admire the heroism in the heart of your friend, etc., etc.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 14: Letter to Edward Wortley Montagu, written before she
married him. Lady Mary was married to Montagu on August 12, 1712. At
his first proposal to her, he had been rejected. Lady Mary's father
insisted that she should marry another man; the settlements for this
marriage had been drawn and the wedding day fixt, when Lady Mary left
her father's house and married Montagu privately. Montagu was a man of
some eminence in public life, but noted for miserly habits. He
accumulated one of the largest private estates of his time.]

[Footnote 15: Letter to Sarah Criswell, dated Adrianople, Turkey,
April 1, O. S., 1717. To Lady Mary is usually accorded chief credit
for the introduction of inoculation into western Europe.]



LORD CHESTERFIELD

     Born in 1694, died in 1773; educated at Cambridge; became a
     member of Parliament; filled several places in the
     diplomatic service; became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in
     1734; his "Letters to His Son," published in 1774 after his
     death.



I

OF GOOD MANNERS, DRESS AND THE WORLD[16]


There is a _bienséance_ with regard to people of the lowest degree; a
gentleman observes it with his footman, even with the beggar in the
street. He considers them as objects of compassion, not of insult; he
speaks to neither _d'un ton brusque_, but corrects the one coolly, and
refuses the other with humanity. There is no one occasion in the
world, in which _le ton brusque_ is becoming a gentleman. In short,
_les bienséances_ are another word for manners, and extend to every
part of life. They are propriety; the Graces should attend in order to
complete them: the Graces enable us to do genteelly and pleasingly
what _les bienséances_ require to be done at all. The latter are an
obligation upon every man; the former are an infinite advantage and
ornament to any man.

People unused to the world have babbling countenances, and are
unskilful enough to show what they have sense enough not to tell. In
the course of the world, a man must very often put on an easy, frank
countenance, upon very disagreeable occasions; he must seem pleased,
when he is very much otherwise; he must be able to accost and receive
with smiles those whom he would much rather meet with swords. In
courts he must not turn himself inside out. All this may, nay, must be
done, without falsehood and treachery: for it must go no further than
politeness and manners, and must stop short of assurances and
professions of simulated friendship. Good manners to those one does
not love are no more a breach of truth than "your humble servant," at
the bottom of a challenge, is; they are universally agreed upon and
understood to be things of course. They are necessary guards of the
decency and peace of society: they must only act defensively; and then
not with arms poisoned with perfidy. Truth, but not the whole truth,
must be the invariable principle of every man who hath either
religion, honor, or prudence.

I can not help forming some opinion of a man's sense and character
from his dress; and I believe most people do as well as myself. Any
affectation whatsoever in dress implies in my mind a flaw in the
understanding.... A man of sense carefully avoids any particular
character in his dress; he is accurately clean for his own sake; but
all the rest is for other people's. He dresses as well, and in the
same manner, as the people of sense and fashion of the place where he
is. If he dresses better, as he thinks--that is, more than they--he is
a fop; if he dresses worse, he is unpardonably negligent: but of the
two, I would rather have a young fellow too much than too little
drest, the excess on that side will wear off with a little age and
reflection; but if he is negligent at twenty, he will be a sloven at
forty and stink at fifty years old. Dress yourself fine where others
are fine, and plain where others are plain; but take care always that
your clothes are well made and fit you, for otherwise they will give
you a very awkward air. When you are once well drest for the day,
think no more of it afterward; and without any stiffness or fear of
discomposing that dress, let all your motions be as easy and natural
as if you had no clothes on at all.

A friend of yours and mine has justly defined good breeding to be "the
result of much good sense, some good nature, and a little self-denial
for the sake of others, and with a view to obtain the same indulgence
from them." Taking this for granted (as I think it can not be
disputed), it is astonishing to me that anybody who has good sense and
good nature (and I believe you have both) can essentially fail in good
breeding. As to the modes of it, indeed, they vary according to
persons, places, and circumstances, and are only to be acquired by
observation and experience; but the substance of it is everywhere and
eternally the same. Good manners are to particular societies what good
morals are to society in general--their cement and their security.
And as laws are enacted to enforce good morals, or at least to prevent
the ill effects of bad ones, so there are certain rules of civility,
universally implied and received, to enforce good manners and punish
bad ones. And indeed there seems to me to be less difference, both
between the crimes and punishments, than at first one would
imagine.... Mutual complaisances, attentions, and sacrifices of little
conveniences are as natural an implied compact between civilized
people as protection and obedience are between kings and subjects:
whoever in either case violates that compact, justly forfeits all
advantages arising from it. For my own part, I really think that next
to the consciousness of doing a good action, that of doing a civil one
is the most pleasing: and the epithet which I should covet the most,
next to that of Aristides, would be that of "well-bred."

Men who converse only with women are frivolous, effeminate puppies,
and those who never converse with them are bears.

The desire of being pleased is universal. The desire of pleasing
should be so too. Misers are not so much blamed for being misers as
envied for being rich.

Dissimulation, to a certain degree, is as necessary in business as
clothes are in the common intercourse of life; and a man would be as
imprudent who should exhibit his inside naked, as he would be indecent
if he produced his outside so.

A woman will be implicitly governed by the man whom she is in love
with, but will not be directed by the man whom she esteems the most.
The former is the result of passion, which is her character; the
latter must be the effect of reasoning, which is by no means of the
feminine gender.

The best moral virtues are those of which the vulgar are, perhaps, the
best judges.

Let us, then, not only scatter benefits, but even strew flowers, for
our fellow travelers in the rugged ways of this wretched world.

Your duty to man is very short and clear; it is only to do to him
whatever you would be willing that he should do to you. And remember
in all the business of your life to ask your conscience this question,
Should I be willing that this should be done to me? If your
conscience, which will always tell you truth, answers no, do not do
that thing. Observe these rules, and you will be happy in this world
and still happier in the next.

Carefully avoid all affectation either of mind or body. It is a very
true and a very trite observation that no man is ridiculous for being
what he really is, but for affecting to be what he is not. No man is
awkward by nature, but by affecting to be genteel, and I have known
many a man of common sense pass generally for a fool because he
affected a degree of wit that God had denied him. A plowman is by no
means awkward in the exercise of his trade, but would be exceedingly
ridiculous if he attempted the airs and grace of a man of fashion.

What is commonly called in the world a man or a woman of spirit are
the two most detestable and most dangerous animals that inhabit it.
They are strong-headed, captious, jealous, offended without reason,
and offending with as little. The man of spirit has immediate
recourse to his sword, and the woman of spirit to her tongue, and it
is hard to say which of the two is the most mischievous weapon.

Speak to the King with full as little concern (tho with more respect)
as you would to your equals. This is the distinguishing characteristic
of a gentleman and a man of the world.

That silly article of dress is no trifle. Never be the first nor the
last in the fashion. Wear as fine clothes as those of your rank
commonly do, and rather better than worse, and when you are well drest
once a day do not seem to know that you have any clothes on at all,
but let your carriage and motion be as easy as they would be in your
nightgowns.

Let your address when you first come into any company be modest, but
without the least bashfulness or sheepishness, steady without
impudence, and as unembarrassed as if you were in your own room. This
is a difficult point to hit, and therefore deserves great attention;
nothing but a long usage of the world and in the best company can
possibly give it.



II

OF ATTENTIONS TO LADIES[17]


Women, in a great degree, establish or destroy every man's reputation
of good breeding; you must, therefore, in a manner, overwhelm them
with the attentions of which I have spoken; they are used to them,
they expect them; and, to do them justice, they commonly requite
them. You must be sedulous, and rather over officious than under, in
procuring them their coaches, their chairs, their conveniences in
public places; not see what you should not see; and rather assist,
where you can not help seeing. Opportunities of showing these
attentions present themselves perpetually; but if they do not, make
them. As Ovid advises his lover, when he sits in the circus near his
mistress, to wipe the dust off her neck, even if there be none. _Si
nullus tamen excute nullum._ Your conversation with women should
always be respectful; but at the same time, _enjoué_, and always
addrest to their vanity. Everything you say or do should convince them
of the regard you have (whether you have it or not) for their beauty,
their wit, or their merit. Men have possibly as much vanity as women,
tho of another kind; and both art and good breeding require that,
instead of mortifying, you should please and flatter it, by words and
looks of approbation.

Suppose (which is by no means improbable) that at your return to
England, I should place you near the person of some one of the royal
family; in that situation good breeding, engaging address, adorned
with all the graces that dwell at courts, would very probably make you
a favorite, and, from a favorite, a minister; but all the knowledge
and learning in the world, without them, never would. The penetration
of princes seldom goes deeper than the surface. It is the exterior
that always engages their hearts; and I would never advise you to give
yourself much trouble about their understandings. Princes in general
(I mean those Porphyrogenets who are born and bred in purple) are
about the pitch of women; bred up like them, and are to be addrest and
gained in the same manner. They always see, they seldom weigh. Your
luster, not your solidity, must take them; your inside will afterward
support and secure what your outside has acquired.

With weak people (and they undoubtedly are three parts in four of
mankind) good breeding, address, and manners are everything; they can
go no deeper: but let me assure you, that they are a great deal, even
with people of the best understandings. Where the eyes are not
pleased, and the heart is not flattered, the mind will be apt to stand
out. Be this right or wrong, I confess, I am so made myself.
Awkwardness and ill breeding shock me, to that degree, that where I
meet with them, I can not find in my heart to inquire into the
intrinsic merit of that person; I hastily decide in myself, that he
can have none; and am not sure, I should not even be sorry to know
that he had any. I often paint you in my imagination, in your present
_lontananza_; and, while I view you in the light of ancient and modern
learning, useful and ornamental knowledge, I am charmed with the
prospect; but when I view you in another light, and represent you
awkward, ungraceful, ill bred, with vulgar air and manners, shambling
toward me with inattention and distractions, I shall not pretend to
describe to you what I feel, but will do as a skilful painter did
formerly, draw a veil before the countenance of the father.

I dare say you know already enough of architecture to know that the
Tuscan is the strongest and most solid of all the orders; but, at the
same time, it is the coarsest and clumsiest of them. Its solidity does
extremely well for the foundation and base floor of a great edifice;
but, if the whole building be Tuscan, it will attract no eyes, it will
stop no passengers, it will invite no interior examination; people
will take it for granted that the finishing and furnishing can not be
worth seeing, where the front is so unadorned and clumsy. But, if upon
the solid Tuscan foundation, the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian
orders rise gradually with all their beauty, proportions, and
ornaments, the fabric seizes the most incurious eye, and stops the
most careless passenger, who solicits admission as a favor, nay, often
purchases it. Just so will it fare with your little fabric, which at
present I fear has more of the Tuscan than of the Corinthian order.
You must absolutely change the whole front or nobody will knock at the
door. The several parts which must compose this new front are elegant,
easy, natural, superior good breeding; and an engaging address;
genteel motions; an insinuating softness in your looks, words, and
actions; a spruce, lively air, and fashionable dress; and all the
glitter that a young fellow should have.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 16: From the "Letters to His Son," _passim_. Chesterfield,
the man of affairs--and he had real distinction in the public life of
his time--is quite forgotten, but his letters, which he wrote for
private purposes and never dreamed would be published, have made him
one of the English literary immortals.]

[Footnote 17: From the "Letters to His Son."]



HENRY FIELDING

     Born in 1707, died in 1754; son of Gen. Edmund Fielding;
     admitted to the bar in 1740; made a justice of the peace in
     1748; chairman of Quarter Sessions in 1749; published
     "Joseph Andrews" in 1742, "Tom Jones" in 1749, and "Amelia"
     in 1751; among other works wrote many plays and "A Journal
     of a Voyage to Lisbon," which was published in 1755, after
     his death which occurred in Lisbon.



I

TOM THE HERO ENTERS THE STAGE[18]


As we determined when we first sat down to write this history to
flatter no man, but to guide our pen throughout by the directions of
truth, we are obliged to bring our hero on the stage in a much more
disadvantageous manner than we could wish; and to declare honestly,
even at his first appearance, that it was the universal opinion of all
Mr. Allworthy's family that he was certainly born to be hanged.

Indeed, I am sorry to say there was too much reason for this
conjecture, the lad having from his earliest years discovered a
propensity to many vices, and especially to one, which hath as a
direct tendency as any other to that fate which we have just now
observed to have been prophetically denounced against him. He had been
already convicted of three robberies; viz., of robbing an orchard, of
stealing a duck out of a farmer's yard, and of picking Master
Blifil's pocket of a ball.

The vices of this young man were, moreover, heightened by the
disadvantageous light in which they appeared, when opposed to the
virtues of Master Blifil, his companion--a youth of so different a
caste from little Jones, that not only the family but all the
neighborhood resounded his praises. He was indeed a lad of a
remarkable disposition; sober, discreet, and pious beyond his
age,--qualities which gained him the love of every one who knew him;
whilst Tom Jones was universally disliked, and many exprest their
wonder that Mr. Allworthy would suffer such a lad to be educated with
his nephew, lest the morals of the latter should be corrupted by his
example.

An incident which happened about this time will set the character of
these two lads more fairly before the discerning reader than is in the
power of the longest dissertation.

Tom Jones, who bad as he is must serve for the hero of this history,
had only one friend among all the servants of the family; for as to
Mrs. Wilkins, she had long since given him up, and was perfectly
reconciled to her mistress. This friend was the gamekeeper, a fellow
of a loose kind of disposition, and who was thought not to entertain
much stricter notions concerning the difference of _meum_ and _tuum_
than the young gentleman himself. And hence this friendship gave
occasion to many sarcastical remarks among the domestics, most of
which were either proverbs before, or at least are become so now; and
indeed, the wit of them all may be comprised in that short Latin
proverb, "_Noscitur a socio_," which I think is thus exprest in
English: "You may know him by the company he keeps."

To say the truth, some of that atrocious wickedness in Jones, of which
we have just mentioned three examples, might perhaps be derived from
the encouragement he had received from this fellow, who in two or
three instances had been what the law calls an accessory after the
fact. For the whole duck and a great part of the apples were converted
to the use of the gamekeeper and his family. Tho as Jones alone was
discovered, the poor lad bore not only the whole smart but the whole
blame; both which fell again to his lot on the following occasion.

Contiguous to Mr. Allworthy's estate was the manor of one of those
gentlemen who are called preservers of the game. This species of men,
from the great severity with which they revenge the death of a hare or
a partridge, might be thought to cultivate the same superstition with
the Bannians in India, many of whom, we are told, dedicate their whole
lives to the preservation and protection of certain animals; was it
not that our English Bannians, while they preserve them from other
enemies, will most unmercifully slaughter whole horse-loads
themselves, so that they stand clearly acquitted of any such
heathenish superstition.

I have indeed a much better opinion of this kind of men than is
entertained by some, as I take them to answer the order of nature, and
the good purposes for which they were ordained, in a more ample manner
than many others. Now, as Horace tells us, that there are a set of
human beings, _fruges consumere nati_, "born to consume the fruits of
the earth," so I make no manner of doubt but that there are others,
_feras consumere nati_, "born to consume the beasts of the field," or
as it is commonly called, the game; and none, I believe, will deny but
that those squires fulfil this end of their creation.

Little Jones went one day a-shooting with the gamekeeper; when
happening to spring a covey of partridges, near the border of that
manor over which fortune, to fulfil the wise purposes of nature, had
planted one of the game-consumers, the birds flew into it and were
marked (as it is called) by the two sportsmen in some furze bushes,
about two or three hundred paces beyond Mr. Allworthy's dominions.

Mr. Allworthy had given the fellow strict orders, on pain of
forfeiting his place, never to trespass on any of his neighbors; no
more on those who were less rigid in this matter than on the lord of
the manor. With regard to others, indeed, these orders had not been
always very scrupulously kept; but as the disposition of the gentleman
with whom the partridges had taken sanctuary was well known, the
gamekeeper had never yet attempted to invade his territories. Nor had
he done it now, had not the younger sportsman, who was excessively
eager to pursue the flying game, over-persuaded him; but Jones being
very importunate, the other, who was himself keen enough after the
sport, yielded to his persuasions, entered the manor, and shot one of
the partridges.

The gentleman himself was at that time on horseback, at a little
distance from them; and hearing the gun go off, he immediately made
toward the place, and discovered poor Tom; for the gamekeeper had
leapt into the thickest part of the furze-brake, where he had happily
concealed himself.

The gentleman having searched the lad and found the partridge upon
him, denounced great vengeance, swearing he would acquaint Mr.
Allworthy. He was as good as his word, for he rode immediately to his
house and complained of the trespass on his manor, in as high terms
and as bitter language as if his house had been broken open and the
most valuable furniture stolen out of it. He added that some other
person was in his company, tho he could not discover him; for that two
guns had been discharged, almost in the same instant. And, says he,
"We have found only this partridge, but the Lord knows what mischief
they have done."

At his return home, Tom was presently convened before Mr. Allworthy.
He owned the fact, and alleged no other excuse but what was really
true; viz., that the covey was originally sprung in Mr. Allworthy's
own manor.

Tom was then interrogated who was with him, which Mr. Allworthy
declared he was resolved to know, acquainting the culprit with the
circumstance of the two guns, which had been deposed by the squire and
both his servants; but Tom stoutly persisted in asserting that he was
alone; yet, to say the truth, he hesitated a little at first, which
would have confirmed Mr. Allworthy's belief, had what the squire and
his servants said wanted any further confirmation.

The gamekeeper, being a suspected person, was now sent for and the
question put to him; but he, relying on the promise which Tom had made
him to take all upon himself, very resolutely denied being in company
with the young gentleman, or indeed having seen him the whole
afternoon.

Mr. Allworthy then turned toward Tom with more than usual anger in his
countenance, and advised him to confess who was with him; repeating
that he was resolved to know. The lad, however, still maintained his
resolution, and was dismissed with much wrath by Mr. Allworthy, who
told him he should have the next morning to consider of it, when he
should be questioned by another person and in another manner.

Poor Jones spent a very melancholy night, and the more so as he was
without his usual companion, for Master Blifil was gone abroad on a
visit with his mother. Fear of the punishment he was to suffer was on
this occasion his least evil; his chief anxiety being lest his
constancy should fail him and he should be brought to betray the
gamekeeper, whose ruin he knew must now be the consequence.

Nor did the gamekeeper pass his time much better. He had the same
apprehensions with the youth; for whose honor he had likewise a much
tenderer regard than for his skin.

In the morning, when Tom attended the Reverend Mr. Thwackum, the
person to whom Mr. Allworthy had committed the instruction of the two
boys, he had the same questions put to him by that gentleman which he
had been asked the evening before, to which he returned the same
answers. The consequence of this was so severe a whipping, that it
possibly fell little short of the torture with which confessions are
in some countries extorted from criminals.

Tom bore his punishment with great resolution; and tho his master
asked him between every stroke whether he would not confess, he was
contented to be flayed rather than betray his friend, or break the
promise he had made.

The gamekeeper was now relieved from his anxiety, and Mr. Allworthy
himself began to be concerned at Tom's sufferings: for besides that
Mr. Thwackum, being highly enraged that he was not able to make the
boy say what he himself pleased, had carried his severity much beyond
the good man's intention, this latter began now to suspect that the
squire had been mistaken, which his extreme eagerness and anger seemed
to make probable; and as for what the servants had said in
confirmation of their master's account, he laid no great stress upon
that. Now, as cruelty and injustice were two ideas of which Mr.
Allworthy could by no means support the consciousness a single moment,
he sent for Tom, and after many kind and friendly exhortations, said,
"I am convinced, my dear child, that my suspicions have wronged you; I
am sorry that you have been so severely punished on this account"; and
at last gave him a little horse to make him amends, again repeating
his sorrow for what had passed.

Tom's guilt now flew in his face more than any severity could make it.
He could more easily bear the lashes of Thwackum than the generosity
of Allworthy. The tears burst from his eyes, and he fell upon his
knees, crying, "Oh, sir, you are too good to me. Indeed you are.
Indeed I don't deserve it." And at that very instant, from the fulness
of his heart, had almost betrayed the secret; but the good genius of
the gamekeeper suggested to him what might be the consequence to the
poor fellow, and this consideration sealed his lips.

Thwackum did all he could to dissuade Allworthy from showing any
compassion or kindness to the boy, saying "he had persisted in
untruth"; and gave some hints that a second whipping might probably
bring the matter to light.

But Mr. Allworthy absolutely refused to consent to the experiment. He
said the boy had suffered enough already for concealing the truth,
even if he was guilty, seeing that he could have no motive but a
mistaken point of honor for so doing.

"Honor!" cried Thwackum with some warmth: "mere stubbornness and
obstinacy! Can honor teach any one to tell a lie, or can any honor
exist independent of religion?"

This discourse happened at table when dinner was just ended; and there
were present Mr. Allworthy, Mr. Thwackum, and a third gentleman.



II

PARTRIDGE SEES GARRICK AT THE PLAY[19]


Mr. Jones having spent three hours in reading and kissing the
aforesaid letter,[20] and being, at last, in a state of good spirits,
from the last-mentioned considerations, he agreed to carry an
appointment, which he had before made, into execution. This was, to
attend Mrs. Miller, and her younger daughter, into the gallery at the
playhouse, and to admit Mr. Partridge as one of the company. For as
Jones had really that taste for humor which many affect, he expected
to enjoy much entertainment in the criticisms of Partridge, from whom
he expected the simple dictates of nature, unimproved, indeed, but
likewise unadulterated by art.

In the first row then of the first gallery did Mr. Jones, Mrs. Miller,
her youngest daughter, and Partridge take their places. Partridge
immediately declared it was the finest place he had ever been in. When
the first music was played, he said, "it was a wonder how so many
fiddlers could play at one time, without putting one another out."
While the fellow was lighting the upper candles, he cried out to Mrs.
Miller, "Look, look, madam, the very picture of the man in the end of
the common prayer book before the gunpowder-treason service." Nor
could he help observing with a sigh, when all the candles were
lighted, "That here were candles enough burned in one night to keep an
honest poor family for a whole twelvemonth."

As soon as the play, which was "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark," began,
Partridge was all attention, nor did he break silence till the
entrance of the ghost; upon which he asked Jones, "What man that was
in the strange dress; something," said he, "like what I have seen in
the picture. Sure it is not armor, is it?" Jones answered, "That is
the ghost." To which Partridge replied with a smile, "Persuade me to
that, sir, if you can. Tho I can't say I ever actually saw a ghost in
my life, yet I am certain I should know one, if I saw him, better than
that comes to. No, no, sir; ghosts don't appear in such dresses as
that, neither." In this mistake, which caused much laughter in the
neighborhood of Partridge, he was suffered to continue, till the scene
between the ghost and Hamlet, when Partridge gave that credit to Mr.
Garrick, which he had denied to Jones, and fell into so violent a
trembling that his knees knocked against each other. Jones asked him
what was the matter, and whether he was afraid of the warrior upon the
stage? "O la! sir," said he, "I perceive now it is what you told me. I
am not afraid of anything; for I know it is but a play. And if it was
really a ghost, it could do one no harm at such a distance, and in so
much company; and yet if I was frightened, I am not the only person."
"Why, who," cries Jones, "dost thou take to be such a coward here
besides thyself?" "Nay, you may call me a coward if you will; but if
that little man there upon the stage is not frightened, I never saw
any man frightened in my life. Ay, ay: go along with you! Ay, to be
sure! Who's fool then? Will you? lud have mercy upon such
foolhardiness? Whatever happens, it is good enough for you. Follow
you? I'd follow the devil as soon. Nay, perhaps it is the devil--for
they say he can put on what likeness he pleases. Oh! here he is again.
No farther! No, you have gone far enough already; farther than I'd
have gone for all the king's dominions." Jones offered to speak, but
Partridge cried, "Hush! hush! dear sir, don't you hear him?" And
during the whole speech of the ghost, he sat with his eyes fixt partly
on the ghost and partly on Hamlet, and with his mouth open; the same
passions which succeeded each other in Hamlet, succeeding likewise in
him.

When the scene was over Jones said, "Why, Mr. Partridge, you exceed my
expectations. You enjoy the play more than I conceived possible."
"Nay, sir," answered Partridge, "if you are not afraid of the devil, I
can't help it; but to be sure, it is natural to be surprized at such
things, tho I know there is nothing in them: not that it was the ghost
that surprized me, neither; for I should have known that to have been
only a man in a strange dress; but when I saw the little man so
frightened himself, it was that which took hold of me." "And dost thou
imagine, then, Partridge," cries Jones, "that he was really
frightened?" "Nay, sir," said Partridge, "did not you yourself
observe afterward, when he found it was his own father's spirit and
how he was murdered in the garden, how his fear forsook him by
degrees, and he was struck dumb with sorrow, as it were, just as I
should have been, had it been my own case? But hush! O la! what noise
is that! There he is again. Well, to be certain, tho I know there is
nothing at all in it, I am glad I am not down yonder, where those men
are." Then turning his eyes again upon Hamlet, "Ay, you may draw your
sword; what signifies a sword against the power of the devil?"

During the second act Partridge made very few remarks. He greatly
admired the fineness of the dresses; nor could he help observing upon
the king's countenance. "Well," said he, "how people may be deceived
by faces? _Nulla fides fronti_ is, I find, a true saying. Who would
think, by looking in the king's face, that he had ever committed a
murder?" He then inquired after the ghost; but Jones, who intended he
should be surprized, gave him no other satisfaction than, "that he
might possibly see him again soon, and in a flash of fire."

Partridge sat in fearful expectation of this; and now, when the ghost
made his next appearance, Partridge cried out, "There sir, now; what
say you now? is he frightened now or no? As much frightened as you
think me, and, to be sure, nobody can help some fears. I would not be
in so bad a condition as what's his name, Squire Hamlet, is there, for
all the world. Bless me! what's become of the spirit? As I am a living
soul, I thought I saw him sink into the earth." "Indeed, you saw
right," answered Jones. "Well, well," cries Partridge, "I know it is
only a play; and besides, if there was anything in all this, Madam
Miller would not laugh so; for as to you, sir, you would not be
afraid, I believe, if the devil was here in person. There, there--ay,
no wonder you are in such a passion; shake the vile wicked wretch to
pieces. If she was my own mother, I would serve her so. To be sure all
duty to a mother is forfeited by such wicked doings.--Ay, go about
your business; I hate the sight of you."

Our critic was now pretty silent till the play which Hamlet introduces
before the king. This he did not at first understand, till Jones
explained it to him; but he no sooner entered into the spirit of it,
than he began to bless himself that he had never committed murder.
Then turning to Mrs. Miller, he asked her, "If she did not imagine the
king looked as if he was touched; tho he is," said he, "a good actor,
and doth all he can to hide it. Well, I would not have so much to
answer for, as that wicked man there hath, to sit upon a much higher
chair than he sits upon. No wonder he run away; for your sake I'll
never trust an innocent face again."

The grave-digging scene next engaged the attention of Partridge, who
exprest much surprize at the number of skulls thrown upon the stage.
To which Jones answered, "That it was one of the most famous
burial-places about town." "No wonder then," cries Partridge, "that
the place is haunted. But I never saw in my life a worse grave-digger.
I had a sexton, when I was clerk, that should have dug three graves
while he is digging one. The fellow handles a spade as if it was the
first time he had ever had one in his hand. Ay, ay, you may sing. You
had rather sing than work, I believe." Upon Hamlet's taking up the
skull, he cried out, "Well! it is strange to see how fearless some men
are: I never could bring myself to touch anything belonging to a dead
man, on any account. He seemed frightened enough too at the ghost, I
thought. _Nemo omnibus horis sapit._"

Little more worth remembering occurred during the play, at the end of
which Jones asked him, "Which of the players he had liked best?" To
this he answered, with some appearance of indignation at the question,
"The king, without doubt." "Indeed, Mr. Partridge," says Mrs. Miller,
"you are not of the same opinion with the town; for they are all
agreed that Hamlet is acted by the best player who ever was on the
stage." "He the best player!" cries Partridge, with a contemptuous
sneer, "why, I could act as well as he himself. I am sure, if I had
seen a ghost, I should have looked in the very same manner, and done
just as he did. And then, to be sure, in that scene, as you called it,
between him and his mother, where you told me he acted so fine, why,
Lord help me, any man, that is, any good man, that had such a mother,
would have done exactly the same. I know you are only joking with me;
but indeed, madam, tho I was never to a play in London, yet I have
seen acting before in the country; and the king for my money; he
speaks all his words distinctly, half as loud again as the other.
Anybody may see he is an actor."



III

MR. ADAMS IN A POLITICAL LIGHT[21]


"I do assure you, sir," says he, taking the gentleman by the hand, "I
am heartily glad to meet with a man of your kidney; for, tho I am a
poor parson, I will be bold to say I am an honest man, and would not
do an ill thing to be made a bishop; nay, tho it hath not fallen in my
way to offer so noble a sacrifice, I have not been without
opportunities of suffering for the sake of my conscience, I thank
heaven for them; for I have had relations, tho I say it, who made some
figure in the world, particularly a nephew, who was a shopkeeper and
an alderman of a corporation. He was a good lad, and was under my care
when a boy, and I believe would do what I bade him to his dying day.

"Indeed, it looks like extreme vanity in me to affect being a man of
such consequence as to have so great an interest in an alderman; but
others have thought so too, as manifestly appeared by the rector whose
curate I formerly was sending for me on the approach of an election,
and telling me if I expected to continue in his cure that I must bring
my nephew to vote for one Colonel Courtly, a gentleman whom I had
never heard tidings of till that instant. I told the rector I had no
power over my nephew's vote (God forgive me for such prevarication!);
that I supposed he would give it according to his conscience; that I
would by no means endeavor to influence him to give it otherwise. He
told me it was in vain to equivocate; that he knew I had already spoke
to him in favor of Squire Fickle, my neighbor; and indeed it was true
I had; for it was at a season when the church was in danger, and when
all good men expected they knew not what would happen to us all. I
then answered boldly, if he thought I had given my promise he
affronted me in proposing any breach of it.

"Not to be too prolix, I persevered, and so did my nephew, in the
esquire's interest, who was chose chiefly through his means; and so I
lost my curacy. Well, sir, but do you think the esquire ever mentioned
a word of the church? _ne verbum quidem, ut ita dicam_; within two
years he got a place, and hath ever since lived in London, where I
have been informed (but God forbid I should believe that) that he
never so much as goeth to church. I remained, sir, a considerable time
without any cure, and lived a full month on one funeral sermon, which
I preached on the indisposition of a clergyman; but this by the bye.

"At last, when Mr. Fickle got his place, Colonel Courtly stood again;
and who should make interest for him but Mr. Fickle himself! that very
identical Mr. Fickle, who had formerly told me the colonel was an
enemy to both the church and state, had the confidence to solicit my
nephew for him; and the colonel himself offered me to make me chaplain
to his regiment, which I refused in favor of Sir Oliver Hearty, who
told us he would sacrifice everything to his country; and I believe
he would, except his hunting, which he stuck so close to that in five
years together he went but twice up to Parliament; and one of those
times, I have been told, never was within sight of the House. However,
he was a worthy man, and the best friend I ever had; for, by his
interest with a bishop, he got me replaced into my curacy, and gave me
eight pounds out of his own pocket to buy me a gown and cassock and
furnish my house. He had our interest while he lived, which was not
many years.

"On his death I had fresh applications made to me; for all the world
knew the interest I had in my good nephew, who now was a leading man
in the corporation; and Sir Thomas Booby, buying the estate which had
been Sir Oliver's, proposed himself a candidate. He was then a young
gentleman just come from his travels; and it did me good to hear him
discourse on affairs, which, for my part, I knew nothing of. If I had
been master of a thousand votes he should have had them all.

"I engaged my nephew in his interest, and he was elected; and a very
fine Parliament-man he was. They tell me he made speeches of an hour
long, and, I have been told, very fine ones; but he could never
persuade the Parliament to be of his opinion. _Non omnia possumus
omnes._ He promised me a living, poor man! and I believe I should have
had it, but an accident happened, which was that my lady had promised
it before, unknown to him. This indeed I never heard till afterward;
for my nephew, who died about a month before the incumbent, always
told me I might be assured of it.

"Since that time, Sir Thomas, poor man! had always so much business
that he never could find leisure to see me. I believe it was partly my
lady's fault, too, who did not think my dress good enough for the
gentry at her table. However, I must do him the justice to say he
never was ungrateful; and I have always found his kitchen, and his
cellar too, open to me: many a time, after service on a Sunday--for I
preached at four churches--have I recruited my spirits with a glass of
his ale. Since my nephew's death, the corporation is in other hands;
and I am not a man of that consequence I was formerly. I have now no
longer any talents to lay out in service of my country; and to whom
nothing is given, of him can nothing be required.

"However, on all proper seasons, such as the approach of an election,
I throw a suitable dash or two into my sermons, which I have the
pleasure to hear is not disagreeable to Sir Thomas and the other
honest gentlemen my neighbors, who have all promised me these five
years to procure an ordination for a son of mine, who is now near
thirty, hath an infinite stock of learning, and is, I thank Heaven, of
an unexceptionable life; tho, as he was never at a university, the
bishop refuses to ordain him. Too much care can not indeed be taken in
admitting any to the sacred office; tho I hope he will never act so as
to be a disgrace to any order, but will serve his God and his country
to the utmost of his power, as I have endeavored to do before him;
nay, and will lay down his life whenever called to that purpose. I am
sure I have educated him in those principles; so that I have acquitted
my duty, and shall have nothing to answer for on that account. But I
do not distrust him, for he is a good boy; and if Providence should
throw it in his way to be of as much consequence in a public light as
his father once was, I can answer for him he will use his talents as
honestly as I have done."

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 18: From "Tom Jones, a Foundling," Book 3, Chapter 2.]

[Footnote 19: From Book 16, Chapter 5, of "The History of Tom Jones, a
Foundling."]

[Footnote 20: This was a letter from Sophia Weston, hoping "that
Fortune may be sometime kinder to us than at present."]

[Footnote 21: From Book 2, Chapter 8, of "The Adventures of Joseph
Andrews."]



SAMUEL JOHNSON

     Born in 1709, died in 1784; son of a bookseller; educated at
     Oxford, where he made a translation into Latin of Pope's
     "Messiah"; established a school near Lichfield in 1736,
     which soon failed; among its pupils David Garrick, with whom
     he went to London in 1737; issued the plan of his
     "Dictionary" in 1747, and published it in two volumes in
     1755; published "The Vanity of Human Wishes" in 1749;
     started _The Rambler_, a periodical, in 1750; writing nearly
     the whole of it; wrote "Rasselas" in 1759; went to Scotland
     with Boswell in 1773; published an edition of Shakespeare in
     1765.



I

ON PUBLISHING HIS "DICTIONARY"[22]


It is the fate of those who toil at the lower employments of life to
be rather driven by the fear of evil than attracted by the prospect of
good; to be exposed to censure without hope of praise; to be disgraced
by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been
without applause, and diligence without reward.

Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries; whom
mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science,
the pioneer of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear
obstructions from the paths through which learning and genius press
forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble
drudge that facilitates their progress. Every other author may aspire
to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and
even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few....

In hope of giving longevity to that which its own nature forbids to be
immortal, I have devoted this book, the labor of years, to the honor
of my country, that we may no longer yield the palm of philology
without a contest to the nations of the continent. The chief glory of
every people arises from its authors: whether I shall add anything by
my own writings to the reputation of English literature, must be left
to time; much of my life has been lost under the pressures of disease;
much has been trifled away; and much has always been spent in
provision for the day that was passing over me; but I shall not think
my employment useless or ignoble if, by my assistance, foreign nations
and distant ages gain access to the propagators of knowledge, and
understand the teachers of truth; if my labors afford light to the
repositories of science, and add celebrity to Bacon, to Hooker, to
Milton, and to Boyle.

When I am animated by this wish, I look with pleasure on my book,
however defective, and deliver it to the world with the spirit of a
man that has endeavored well. That it will immediately become popular,
I have not promised to myself; a few wild blunders and risible
absurdities, from which no work of such multiplicity was ever free,
may for a time furnish folly with laughter, and harden ignorance into
contempt; but useful diligence will at last prevail, and there never
can be wanting some who distinguish desert, who will consider that no
dictionary of a living tongue ever can be perfect, since, while it is
hastening to publication, some words are budding and some falling
away; that a whole life can not be spent upon syntax and etymology,
and that even a whole life would not be sufficient; that he whose
design includes whatever language can express, must often speak of
what he does not understand; that a writer will sometimes be hurried
by eagerness to the end, and sometimes faint with weariness under a
task which Scaliger compares to the labors of the anvil and the mine;
that what is obvious is not always known, and what is known is not
always present; that sudden fits of inadvertency will surprize
vigilance, slight avocations will seduce attention, and casual
eclipses of the mind will darken learning; and that the writer shall
often in vain trace his memory at the moment of need for that which
yesterday he knew with intuitive readiness, and which will come
uncalled into his thoughts tomorrow.

In this work, when it shall be found that much is omitted, let it not
be forgotten that much likewise is performed; and tho no book was ever
spared out of tenderness to the author, and the world is little
solicitous to know whence proceeded the faults of that which it
condemns, yet it may gratify curiosity to inform it, that the English
Dictionary was written with little assistance of the learned, and
without any patronage of the great; not in the soft obscurities of
retirement, or under the shelter of academic bowers, but amid
inconvenience and distraction, in sickness and in sorrow. It may
repress the triumph of malignant criticism to observe, that if our
language is not here fully displayed, I have only failed in an attempt
which no human powers have hitherto completed. If the lexicons of
ancient tongues, now immutably fixt, and comprized in a few volumes,
be yet, after the toil of successive ages, inadequate and delusive; if
the aggregated knowledge and cooperating diligence of the Italian
academicians did not secure them from the censure of Beni;[23] if the
embodied critics of France, when fifty years had been spent upon their
work, were obliged to change its economy, and give their second
edition another form, I may surely be contented without the praise of
perfection, which if I could obtain in this gloom of solitude, what
would it avail me? I have protracted my work till most of those whom I
wished to please have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage
are empty sounds. I therefore dismiss it with frigid tranquillity,
having little to fear or hope from censure or from praise.



II

POPE AND DRYDEN COMPARED[24]


Pope profest to have learned his poetry from Dryden, whom, whenever an
opportunity was presented, he praised through his whole life with
unvaried liberality; and perhaps his character may receive some
illustration, if he be compared with his master.

Integrity of understanding and nicety of discernment were not allotted
in a less proportion to Dryden than to Pope. The rectitude of Dryden's
mind was sufficiently shown by the dismission of his poetical
prejudices, and the rejection of unnatural thoughts and rugged
numbers. But Dryden never desired to apply all the judgment that he
had. He wrote, and profest to write, merely for the people; and when
he pleased others he contented himself. He spent no time in struggles
to rouse latent powers; he never attempted to make that better which
was already good, not often to mend what he must have known to be
faulty. He wrote, as he tells us, with very little consideration; when
occasion or necessity called upon him, he poured out what the present
moment happened to supply, and, when once it had passed the press,
ejected it from his mind; for when he had no pecuniary interest, he
had no further solicitude.

Pope was not content to satisfy: he desired to excel, and therefore
always endeavored to do his best: he did not court the candor, but
dared the judgment of his reader, and expecting no indulgence from
others, he showed none to himself. He examined lines and words with
minute and punctilious observation, and retouched every part with
indefatigable diligence, till he had left nothing to be forgiven.

For this reason he kept his pieces very long in his hands, while he
considered and reconsidered them. The only poems which can be
supposed to have been written with such regard to the times as might
hasten their publication, were the two satires of "Thirty-eight," of
which Dodsley[25] told me that they were brought to him by the author
that they might be fairly copied. "Almost every line," he said, "was
then written twice over. I gave him a clean transcript, which he sent
some time afterward to me for the press with almost every line written
twice over a second time."

His declaration, that his care for his works ceased at their
publication, was not strictly true. His parental attention never
abandoned them; what he found amiss in the first edition, he silently
corrected in those that followed. He appears to have revised the
"Iliad," and freed it from some of its imperfections; and the "Essay
on Criticism" received many improvements after its first appearance.
It will seldom be found that he altered without adding clearness,
elegance, or vigor.

Pope had perhaps the judgment of Dryden, but Dryden certainly wanted
the diligence of Pope.

In acquired knowledge the superiority must be allowed to Dryden, whose
education was more scholastic, and who, before he became an author,
had been allowed more time for study, with better means of
information. His mind has a larger range, and he collects his images
and illustrations from a more extensive circumference of science.
Dryden knew more of man in his general nature, and Pope in his local
manners. The notions of Dryden were formed by comprehensive
speculation, and those of Pope by minute attention. There is more
dignity in the knowledge of Dryden, and more certainty in that of
Pope.

Poetry was not the sole praise of either; for both excelled likewise
in prose; but Pope did not borrow his prose from his predecessor. The
style of Dryden is capricious and varied, that of Pope is cautious and
uniform. Dryden obeys the motions of his own mind, Pope constrains his
mind to his own rules of composition. Dryden is sometimes vehement and
rapid, Pope is always smooth, uniform, and gentle. Dryden's page is a
natural field, rising into inequalities, and diversified by the varied
exuberance of abundant vegetation; Pope's is a velvet lawn, shaven by
the scythe, and leveled by the roller.

Of genius, that power which constitutes a poet, that quality without
which judgment is cold and knowledge is inert, that energy which
collects, combines, amplifies, and animates, the superiority must,
with some hesitation, be allowed to Dryden. It is not to be inferred,
that of this poetical vigor Pope had only a little because Dryden had
more; for every other writer since Milton must give place to Pope; and
even of Dryden it must be said, that if he has brighter paragraphs, he
has not better poems. Dryden's performances were always hasty, either
excited by some external occasion, or extorted by domestic necessity;
he composed without consideration, and published without correction.
What his mind could supply at call, or gather in one excursion, was
all that he sought, and all that he gave. The dilatory caution of Pope
enabled him to condense his sentiments, to multiply his images, and
to accumulate all that study might produce or chance might supply. If
the flights of Dryden, therefore, are higher, Pope continues longer on
the wing. If of Dryden's fire the blaze is brighter, of Pope's the
heat is more regular and constant. Dryden often surpasses expectation,
and Pope never falls below it. Dryden is read with frequent
astonishment, and Pope with perpetual delight.



III

LETTER TO CHESTERFIELD ON THE COMPLETION OF THE "DICTIONARY"[26]


My Lord: I have been lately informed by the proprietor of the _World_
that two papers, in which my Dictionary is recommended to the public,
were written by your Lordship. To be so distinguished is an honor,
which, being very little accustomed to favors from the great, I know
not well how to receive, or in what terms to acknowledge.

When, upon some slight encouragement, I first visited your Lordship, I
was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the enchantment of your
address, and could not forbear to wish that I might boast myself _le
vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre_--that I might obtain that regard
for which I saw the world contending; but I found my attendance so
little encouraged, that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to
continue it. When I had once addrest your Lordship in public, I had
exhausted all the art of pleasing which a retired and uncourtly
scholar can possess. I had done all that I could; and no man is well
pleased to have his all neglected, be it ever so little.

Seven years, my lord, have now passed since I waited in your outward
rooms, or was repulsed from your door; during which time I have been
pushing on my work through difficulties of which it is useless to
complain, and have brought it at last to the verge of publication,
without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile
of favor. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron
before.

The shepherd in Virgil grew at last acquainted with Love, and found
him a native of the rocks.

Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man
struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground,
encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to
take of my labors, had it been early had been kind: but it has been
delayed till I am indifferent, and can not enjoy it; till I am
solitary, and can not impart it; till I am known, and do not want it.
I hope it is no very cynical asperity not to confess obligations where
no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling that the public
should consider me as owing that to a patron which Providence has
enabled me to do for myself.

Having carried on my work thus far with so little obligation to any
favorer of learning, I shall not be disappointed tho I should conclude
it, if less be possible, with less; for I have been long wakened from
that dream of hope in which I once boasted myself with so much
exultation, my lord,

Your Lordship's most humble, most obedient servant,

SAM. JOHNSON.



IV

ON THE ADVANTAGES OF LIVING IN A GARRET[27]


Nothing has more retarded the advancement of learning than the
disposition of vulgar minds to ridicule and vilify what they can not
comprehend. All industry must be excited by hope; and as the student
often proposes no other reward to himself than praise, he is easily
discouraged by contempt and insult. He who brings with him into a
clamorous multitude the timidity of recluse speculation, and has never
hardened his front in public life, or accustomed his passions to the
vicissitudes and accidents, the triumphs and defeats of mixt
conversation, will blush at the stare of petulant incredulity, and
suffer himself to be driven, by a burst of laughter, from the
fortresses of demonstration. The mechanist will be afraid to assert
before hardy contradictions the possibility of tearing down bulwarks
with a silkworm's thread; and the astronomer of relating the rapidity
of light, the distance of the fixt stars, and the height of the lunar
mountains.

If I could by any efforts have shaken off this cowardice, I had not
sheltered myself under a borrowed name, nor applied to you for the
means of communicating to the public the theory of a garret; a subject
which, except some slight and transient strictures, has been hitherto
neglected by those who were best qualified to adorn it, either for
want of leisure to prosecute the various researches in which a nice
discussion must engage them, or because it requires such diversity of
knowledge, and such extent of curiosity, as is scarcely to be found in
any single intellect; or perhaps others foresaw the tumults which
would be raised against them, and confined their knowledge to their
own breasts, and abandoned prejudice and folly to the direction of
chance.

That the professors of literature generally reside in the highest
stories has been immemorially observed. The wisdom of the ancients was
well acquainted with the intellectual advantages of an elevated
situation; why else were the Muses stationed on Olympus, or Parnassus,
by those who could with equal right have raised them bowers in the
vale of Tempe, or erected their altars among the flexures of Meander?
Why was Jove himself nursed upon a mountain? or why did the goddesses,
when the prize of beauty was contested, try the cause upon the top of
Ida? Such were the fictions by which the great masters of the earlier
ages endeavored to inculcate to posterity the importance of a garret,
which, tho they had been long obscured by the negligence and ignorance
of succeeding times, were well enforced by the celebrated symbol of
Pythagoras, "when the wind blows, worship its echo." This could not
but be understood by his disciples as an inviolable injunction to live
in a garret, which I have found frequently visited by the echo and the
wind. Nor was the tradition wholly obliterated in the age of Augustus,
for Tibullus evidently congratulates himself upon his garret, not
without some allusion to the Pythagorean precept:

    How sweet in sleep to pass the careless hours,
    Lull'd by the beating winds and dashing showers!

And it is impossible not to discover the fondness of Lucretius, an
early writer, for a garret, in his description of the lofty towers of
serene learning, and of the pleasure with which a wise man looks down
upon the confused and erratic state of the world moving below him:

    ... 'Tis sweet thy laboring steps to guide
    To virtue's heights, with wisdom well supplied,
    And all the magazines of learning fortified:
    From thence to look below on human kind,
    Bewilder'd in the maze of life, and blind.[28]

The institution has, indeed, continued to our own time; the garret is
still the usual receptacle of the philosopher and poet; but this, like
many ancient customs, is perpetuated only by an accidental imitation,
without knowledge of the original reason for which it was established:

     The cause is secret, but th' effect is known.

Conjectures have, indeed, been advanced concerning these habitations
of literature, but without much satisfaction to the judicious
inquirer. Some have imagined that the garret is generally chosen by
the wits as most easily rented; and concluded that no man rejoices in
his aerial abode, but on the days of payment. Others suspect that a
garret is chiefly convenient, as it is remoter than any other part of
the house from the outer door, which is often observed to be infested
by visitants, who talk incessantly of beer, or linen, or a coat, and
repeat the same sounds every morning, and sometimes again in the
afternoon, without any variation, except that they grow daily more
importunate and clamorous, and raise their voices in time from
mournful murmurs to raging vociferations. This eternal monotony is
always detestable to a man whose chief pleasure is to enlarge his
knowledge, and vary his ideas. Others talk of freedom from noise, and
abstraction from common business or amusements; and some, yet more
visionary, tell us that the faculties are enlarged by open prospects,
and that the fancy is more at liberty when the eye ranges without
confinement.

These conveniences may perhaps all be found in a well-chosen garret;
but surely they can not be supposed sufficiently important to have
operated invariably upon different climates, distant ages, and
separate nations. Of a universal practise, there must still be
presumed a universal cause, which, however recondite and abstruse, may
be perhaps reserved to make me illustrious by its discovery, and you
by its promulgation.

It is universally known that the faculties of the mind are invigorated
or weakened by the state of the body, and that the body is in a great
measure regulated by the various compressions of the ambient element.
The effects of the air in the production or cure of corporeal
maladies have been acknowledged from the time of Hippocrates; but no
man has yet sufficiently considered how far it may influence the
operations of the genius, tho every day affords instances of local
understanding, of wits and reasoners, whose faculties are adapted to
some single spot, and who, when they are removed to any other place,
sink at once into silence and stupidity. I have discovered by a long
series of observations that invention and elocution suffer great
impediments from dense and impure vapors, and that the tenuity of a
defecated air at a proper distance from the surface of the earth
accelerates the fancy and sets at liberty those intellectual powers
which were before shackled by too strong attraction, and unable to
expand themselves under the pressure of a gross atmosphere. I have
found dulness to quicken into sentiment in a thin ether, as water, tho
not very hot, boils in a receiver partly exhausted; and heads, in
appearance empty, have teemed with notions upon rising ground, as the
flaccid sides of a football would have swelled out into stiffness and
extension.

For this reason I never think myself qualified to judge decisively of
any man's faculties, whom I have only known in one degree of
elevation; but take some opportunity of attending him from the cellar
to the garret, and try upon him all the various degrees of rarefaction
and condensation, tension and laxity. If he is neither vivacious
aloft, nor serious below, I then consider him as hopeless; but as it
seldom happens that I do not find the temper to which the texture of
his brain is fitted, I accommodate him in time with a tube of mercury,
first marking the point most favorable to his intellects, according
to rules which I have long studied, and which I may perhaps reveal to
mankind in a complete treatise of barometrical pneumatology.

Another cause of the gaiety and sprightliness of the dwellers in
garrets is probably the increase of that vertiginous motion, with
which we are carried round by the diurnal revolution of the earth. The
power of agitation upon the spirits is well known; every man has felt
his heart lightened in a rapid vehicle, or on a galloping horse; and
nothing is plainer than that he who towers to the fifth story is
whirled through more space by every circumrotation, than another that
grovels upon the ground floor. The nations between the tropics are
known to be fiery, inconstant, inventive, and fanciful, because,
living at the utmost length of the earth's diameter, they are carried
about with more swiftness than those whom nature has placed nearer to
the poles; and, therefore, as it becomes a wise man to struggle with
the inconveniences of his country, whenever celerity and acuteness are
requisite, we must actuate our languor by taking a few turns round the
center in a garret.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 22: From the Preface to the "Dictionary."]

[Footnote 23: Paul Beni was an Italian literary critic, who was born
in 1552, and died in 1625. He was a professor of theology, philosophy
and belles-lettres. The severity of his criticisms created many
enemies. He supported Tasso as against the Della Cruscans.]

[Footnote 24: From the "Lives of the Poets."]

[Footnote 25: Robert Dodsley, publisher, bookseller and author, was
born about 1703 and died in 1764.]

[Footnote 26: The date of this famous letter--perhaps now the most
famous of all Johnson's writings--is February 7, 1755. Leslie Stephen
has probably said the most definite word as to the circumstances in
which it was written, and in its justification. Johnson and
Chesterfield at one time were friendly. The first offense on
Chesterfield's part is said to have been caused by a reception
accorded to Colley Cibber, while Johnson was kept waiting in an
anteroom: this, however, has been denied by Boswell on the authority
of Johnson himself. There seems to be no doubt that Chesterfield
neglected Johnson while he was struggling with the "Dictionary." The
articles which he wrote for the _World_, to which the first sentence
in the letter refers, are believed to have been written with a view to
securing from Johnson a dedication of the "Dictionary" to himself. Mr.
Stephen remarks on the "singular dignity and energy" of Johnson's
letter. Johnson did not make it public in his own lifetime, but
ultimately gave copies of it to two of his friends, one of whom was
Boswell. Boswell published it in his "Life of Johnson," and deposited
the original in the British Museum. Chesterfield made no reply to the
letter, but, in conversation with Dodsley, the bookseller, a friend of
both men, said he had always been ready to receive Johnson, and blamed
Johnson's pride and shyness for the outcome of the acquaintance.
Chesterfield was long thought to have referred to Johnson as a
"respectable Hottentot," this being on the authority of Boswell, but
Dr. Birkbeck Hill has shown that this was not true. Mr. Stephen
declares that Johnson's letter "justifies itself," and that no author
can fail to sympathize with his declaration of literary
independence.]

[Footnote 27: From No. 117 of _The Rambler._]

[Footnote 28: This translation of the passage from Lucretius is
Dryden's.]



DAVID HUME

     Born in 1711, died in 1776; educated at Edinburgh; lived in
     France from 1734 to 1737; accompanied Gen. St. Clair on an
     embassy to Vienna and Turin as judge-advocate; appointed
     keeper of the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh in 1752;
     visited France again in 1763; Under-secretary of State in
     1767; published his treatise on "Human Nature" in 1739; his
     "Essays" in 1741; his "Human Understanding" in 1748; his
     "History of England" in 1754-61.



I

THE CHARACTER OF QUEEN ELIZABETH[29]


So dark a cloud overcast the evening of that day, which had shone out
with a mighty luster in the eyes of all Europe! There are few great
personages in history who have been more exposed to the calumny of
enemies and the adulation of friends than Queen Elizabeth; and yet
there is scarcely any whose reputation has been more certainly
determined by the unanimous consent of posterity. The unusual length
of her administration, and the strong features of her character, were
able to overcome all prejudices; and obliging her detractors to abate
much of their invectives, and her admirers somewhat of their
panegyrics, have at last, in spite of political factions, and what is
more, of religious animosities, produced a uniform judgment with
regard to her conduct. Her vigor, her constancy, her magnanimity, her
penetration, vigilance, and address are allowed to merit the highest
praises, and appear not to have been surpassed by any person that ever
filled a throne: a conduct less rigorous, less imperious, more
sincere, more indulgent to her people, would have been requisite to
form a perfect character. By the force of her mind she controlled all
her more active and stronger qualities, and prevented them from
running into excess: her heroism was exempt from temerity, her
frugality from avarice, her friendship from partiality, her active
temper from turbulency and a vain ambition: she guarded not herself
with equal care or equal success from lesser infirmities--the
rivalship of beauty, the desire of admiration, the jealousy of love,
and the sallies of anger.

Her singular talents for government were founded equally on her temper
and on her capacity. Endowed with a great command over herself, she
soon obtained an uncontrolled ascendent over her people; and while she
merited all their esteem by her real virtues, she also engaged their
affections by her pretended ones. Few sovereigns of England succeeded
to the throne in more difficult circumstances; and none ever conducted
the government with such uniform success and felicity. Tho
unacquainted with the practise of toleration--the true secret for
managing religious factions--she preserved her people, by her superior
prudence, from those confusions in which theological controversy had
involved all the neighboring nations: and tho her enemies were the
most powerful princes of Europe, the most active, the most
enterprising, the least scrupulous, she was able by her vigor to make
deep impressions on their states; her own greatness meanwhile remained
untouched and unimpaired.

The wise ministers and brave warriors who flourished under her reign,
share the praise of her success; but instead of lessening the applause
due to her, they make great addition to it. They owed, all of them,
their advancement to her choice; they were supported by her constancy,
and with all their abilities they were never able to acquire any undue
ascendant over her. In her family, in her court, in her kingdom, she
remained equally mistress: the force of the tender passions was great
over her, but the force of her mind was still superior; and the combat
which her victory visibly cost her, serves only to display the
firmness of her resolution, and the loftiness of her ambitious
sentiments.

The fame of this princess, tho it has surmounted the prejudices both
of faction and bigotry, yet lies still exposed to another prejudice,
which is more durable because more natural, and which, according to
the different views in which we survey her, is capable either of
exalting beyond measure or diminishing the luster of her character.
This prejudice is founded on the consideration of her sex. When we
contemplate her as a woman, we are apt to be struck with the highest
admiration of her great qualities and extensive capacity; but we are
also apt to require some more softness of disposition, some greater
lenity of temper, some of those amiable weaknesses by which her sex is
distinguished. But the true method of estimating her merit is to lay
aside all these considerations, and consider her merely as a rational
being placed in authority, and intrusted with the government of
mankind. We may find it difficult to reconcile our fancy to her as a
wife or a mistress; but her qualities as a sovereign, tho with some
considerable exceptions, are the object of undisputed applause and
approbation.



II

THE DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA[30]


The Lizard was the first land made by the Armada, about sunset; and as
the Spaniards took it for the Ramhead near Plymouth, they bore out to
sea with an intention of returning next day, and attacking the English
navy. They were descried by Fleming, a Scottish pirate, who was roving
in those seas, and who immediately set sail to inform the English
admiral of their approach, another fortunate event which contributed
extremely to the safety of the fleet. Effingham[31] had just time to
get out of port, when he saw the Spanish Armada coming full sail
toward him, disposed in the form of a crescent, and stretching the
distance of seven miles from the extremity of one division to that of
the other.

The writers of that age raise their style by a pompous description of
this spectacle; the most magnificent that had ever appeared upon the
ocean, infusing equal terror and admiration into the minds of all
beholders. The lofty masts, the swelling sails, and the towering prows
of the Spanish galleons seem impossible to be justly painted, but by
assuming the colors of poetry; and an eloquent historian of Italy, in
imitation of Camden, has asserted that the Armada, tho the ships bore
every sail, yet advanced with a slow motion; as if the ocean groaned
with supporting, and the winds were tired with impelling, so enormous
a weight. The truth, however, is, that the largest of the Spanish
vessels would scarcely pass for third rates in the present navy of
England; yet were they so ill framed or so ill governed, that they
were quite unwieldy, and could not sail upon a wind, nor tack on
occasion, nor be managed in stormy weather, by the seamen. Neither the
mechanics of shipbuilding, nor the experience of mariners, had
attained so great perfection as could serve for the security and
government of such bulky vessels; and the English, who had already had
experience how unserviceable they commonly were, beheld without dismay
their tremendous appearance.

Effingham gave orders not to come to close fight with the Spaniards;
where the size of the ships, he inspected, and the numbers of the
soldiers, would be a disadvantage to the English; but to cannonade
them at a distance, and to wait the opportunity which winds, currents,
or various accidents, must afford him, of intercepting some scattered
vessels of the enemy. Nor was it long before the event answered
expectation. A great ship of Biscay, on board of which was a
considerable part of the Spanish money, took fire by accident; and
while all hands were employed in extinguishing the flames, she fell
behind the rest of the Armada. The great galleon of Andalusia was
detained by the springing of her mast, and both these vessels were
taken, after some resistance, by Sir Francis Drake. As the Armada
advanced up the channel, the English hung upon its rear, and still
infested it with skirmishes. Each trial abated the confidence of the
Spaniards, and added courage to the English; and the latter soon
found, that even in close fight the size of the Spanish ships was no
advantage to them. Their bulk exposed them the more to the fire of the
enemy; while their cannon, placed too high, shot over the heads of the
English. The alarm having now reached the coast of England, the
nobility and gentry hastened out with their vessels from every harbor,
and reenforced the admiral. The Earls of Oxford, Northumberland, and
Cumberland, Sir Thomas Cecil, Sir Robert Cecil, Sir Walter Raleigh,
Sir Thomas Vavasor, Sir Thomas Gerrard, Sir Charles Blount, with many
others, distinguished themselves by this generous and disinterested
service of their country. The English fleet, after the conjunction of
those ships, amounted to a hundred and forty sail.

The Armada had now reached Calais, and cast anchor before that place
in expectation that the Duke of Parma, who had gotten intelligence of
their approach, would put to sea and join his forces to them. The
English admiral practised here a successful stratagem upon the
Spaniards. He took eight of his smaller ships, and filling them with
all combustible materials, sent them one after another into the midst
of the enemy. The Spaniards fancied that they were fireships of the
same contrivance with a famous vessel which had lately done so much
execution in the Schelde near Antwerp; and they immediately cut their
cables, and took to flight with the greatest disorder and
precipitation. The English fell upon them next morning while in
confusion; and besides doing great damage to other ships, they took or
destroyed about twelve of the enemy.

By this time it was become apparent, that the intention for which
these preparations were made by the Spaniards was entirely frustrated.
The vessels provided by the Duke of Parma were made for transporting
soldiers, not for fighting; and that general, when urged to leave the
harbor, positively refused to expose his flourishing army to such
apparent hazard; while the English not only were able to keep the sea,
but seemed even to triumph over their enemy. The Spanish admiral
found, in many recounters, that while he lost so considerable a part
of his own navy, he had destroyed only one small vessel of the
English; and he foresaw that by continuing so unequal a combat, he
must draw inevitable destruction on all the remainder. He prepared
therefore to return homeward; but as the wind was contrary to his
passage through the channel, he resolved to sail northward, and making
the tour of the island, reach the Spanish harbors by the ocean. The
English fleet followed him during some time; and had not their
ammunition fallen short, by the negligence of the officers in
supplying them, they had obliged the whole Armada to surrender at
discretion. The Duke of Medina[32] had once taken that resolution; but
was diverted from it by the advice of his confessor. This conclusion
of the enterprise would have been more glorious to the English; but
the event proved almost equally fatal to the Spaniards. A violent
tempest overtook the Armada after it passed the Orkneys. The ships had
already lost their anchors, and were obliged to keep to sea. The
mariners, unaccustomed to such hardships, and not able to govern such
unwieldy vessels, yielded to the fury of the storm, and allowed their
ships to drive either on the western isles of Scotland, or on the
coast of Ireland, where they were miserably wrecked. Not a half of the
navy returned to Spain; and the seamen as well as soldiers who
remained were so overcome with hardships and fatigue, and so
dispirited by their discomfiture, that they filled all Spain with
accounts of the desperate valor of the English, and of the tempestuous
violence of that ocean which surrounds them.



III

THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT


Nothing appears more surprizing to those who consider human affairs
with a philosophical eye than the easiness with which the many are
governed by the few; and the implicit submission with which men resign
their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we
inquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find that as
Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have
nothing to support them but opinion. It is, therefore, on opinion only
that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most
despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free
and most popular. The soldan of Egypt, or the emperor of Rome, might
drive his harmless subjects, like brute beasts, against their
sentiments and inclination; but he must, at least, have led his
mamelukes, or prætorian bands, like men, by their opinions.

Opinion is of two kinds, to wit, opinion of interest, and opinion of
right. By opinion of interest, I chiefly understand the sense of the
general advantage which is reaped from government, together with the
persuasion that the particular government, which is established, is
equally advantageous with any other that could easily be settled. When
this opinion prevails among the generality of a state, or among those
who have the force in their hands, it will give great security to any
government.

Right is of two kinds, right to Power and right to Property. What
prevalence opinion of the first kind has over mankind may easily be
understood by observing the attachment which all nations have to their
ancient government, and even to those names which have had the
sanction of antiquity. Antiquity always begets the opinion of right;
and whatever disadvantageous sentiments we may entertain of mankind,
they are always found to be prodigal both of blood and treasure in the
maintenance of public justice. There is, indeed, no particular in
which, at first sight, there may appear a greater contradiction in the
frame of the human mind than the present. When men act in a faction,
they are apt, without shame or remorse, to neglect all the ties of
honor and morality, in order to serve their party; and yet when a
faction is formed upon a point of right or principle, there is no
occasion where men discover a greater obstinacy, and a more determined
sense of justice and equity. The same social disposition of mankind is
the cause of these contradictory appearances.

It is sufficiently understood that the opinion of right to property is
of moment in all matters of government. A noted author has made
property the foundation of all government; and most of our political
writers seem inclined to follow him in that particular. This is
carrying the matter too far; but still it must be owned that the
opinion of right to property has a great influence in this subject.

Upon these three opinions, therefore, of public interest, of right to
power, and of right to property, are all governments founded, and all
authority of the few over the many. There are, indeed, other
principles, which add force to these, and determine, limit, or alter
their operation--such as self-interest, fear, and affection; but still
we may assert that these other principles can have no influence alone,
but suppose the antecedent influence of those opinions above
mentioned. They are, therefore, to be esteemed the secondary, not the
original principles of government.

For, first, as to self-interest, by which I mean the expectation of
particular rewards, distinct from the general protection which we
receive from government, it is evident that the magistrate's authority
must be antecedently established, at least be hoped for, in order to
produce this expectation. The prospect of reward may augment his
authority with regard to some particular persons; but can never give
birth to it, with regard to the public. Men naturally look for the
greatest favors from their friends and acquaintance; and, therefore,
the hopes of any considerable number of the state would never center
in any particular set of men, if these men had no other title to
magistracy, and had no separate influence over the opinions of
mankind. The same observation may be extended to the other two
principles of fear and affection. No man would have any reason to fear
the fury of a tyrant, if he had no authority over any but from fear;
since, as a single man, his bodily force can reach but a small way,
and all the further power he possesses must be founded either on our
own opinion, or on the presumed opinion of others. And tho affection
to wisdom and virtue in a sovereign extends very far, and has great
influence, yet he must antecedently be supposed invested with a public
character, otherwise the public esteem will serve him in no stead, nor
will his virtue have any influence beyond a narrow sphere.

A government may endure for several ages, tho the balance of power and
the balance of property do not coincide. This chiefly happens where
any rank or order of the state has acquired a large share in the
property; but, from the original constitution of the government, has
no share in the power. Under what pretense would any individual of
that order assume authority in public affairs? As men are commonly
much attached to their ancient government, it is not to be expected
that the public would ever favor such usurpations. But where the
original constitution allows any share of power, tho small, to an
order of men, who possess a large share of the property, it is easy
for them gradually to stretch their authority, and bring the balance
of power to coincide with that of property. This has been the case
with the House of Commons in England.

Most writers that have treated of the British Government have supposed
that, as the Lower House represents all the commons of Great Britain,
its weight in the scale is proportioned to the property and power of
all whom it represents. But this principle must not be received as
absolutely true. For tho the people are apt to attach themselves more
to the House of Commons than to any other member of the constitution,
the House being chosen by them as their representatives, and as the
public guardians of their liberty, yet are there instances where the
House, even when in opposition to the crown, has not been followed by
the people; as we may particularly observe of the Tory House of
Commons in the reign of King William. Were the members obliged to
receive instructions from their constituents, like the Dutch deputies,
this would entirely alter the case; and if such immense power and
riches, as those of all the commons of Great Britain, were brought
into the scale, it is not easy to conceive that the crown could either
influence that multitude of people, or withstand that balance of
property. It is true the crown has great influence over the collective
body in the elections of members; but were this influence, which at
present is only exerted once in seven years, to be employed in
bringing over the people to every vote, it would soon be wasted, and
no skill, popularity, or revenue could support it. I must, therefore,
be of opinion that an alteration in this particular would introduce a
total alteration in our government, and would soon reduce it to a pure
republic--and, perhaps, to a republic of no inconvenient form. For tho
the people, collected in a body like the Roman tribes, be quite unfit
for government, yet, when dispersed in small bodies, they are more
susceptible both of reason and order; the force of popular currents
and tides is, in a great measure, broken; and the public interest may
be pursued with some method and constancy. But it is needless to
reason any further concerning a form of government which is never
likely to have place.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 29: From Chapter 44 of the "History of England."]

[Footnote 30: From Chapter 42 of the "History of England."]

[Footnote 31: Lord Howard, of Effingham, admiral of the English
fleet.]

[Footnote 32: The Duke of Medina-Sidonia commanded the Armada, as
successor to Santa Cruz, "the ablest seaman of Spain," who had died
just as the ships were ready to sail. Medina-Sidonia is understood to
have taken the command reluctantly, as if aware of his unfitness for
so great a task, as indeed was proved by the event.]



LAURENCE STERNE

     Born in 1713, died in 1768; his father an officer in one of
     Marlborough's regiments; educated at Cambridge, admitted to
     holy orders in 1738; became Prebendary of York, published
     "Tristram Shandy" in 1760; visited France in 1762 and Italy
     in 1765; published "The Sentimental Journey" in 1768, and
     died the same year.



I

THE STARLING IN CAPTIVITY[33]


And as for the Bastile, the terror is in the word. Make the most of it
you can, said I to myself, the Bastile is but another word for a
tower, and a tower is but another word for a house you can't get out
of. Mercy on the gouty! for they are in it twice a year; but with nine
livres a day, and pen, and ink, and paper, and patience, albeit a man
can't get out, he may do very well within, at least for a month or six
weeks; at the end of which, if he is a harmless fellow, his innocence
appears, and he comes out a better and wiser man than he went in.

I had some occasion--I forget what--to step into the courtyard as I
settled this account; and remember I walked down-stairs in no small
triumph with the conceit of my reasoning. Beshrew the somber pencil,
said I vauntingly, for I envy not its powers, which paints the evils
of life with so hard and deadly a coloring. The mind sits terrified
at the objects she has magnified herself and blackened: reduce them to
their proper size and hue, she overlooks them. "'Tis true," said I,
correcting the proposition, "the Bastile is not an evil to be
despised; but strip it of its towers, fill up the fosse, unbarricade
the doors, call it simply a confinement, and suppose 'tis some tyrant
of a distemper and not of a man which holds you in it, the evil
vanishes, and you bear the other half without complaint." I was
interrupted in the heyday of this soliloquy with a voice which I took
to be of a child, which complained "it could not get out." I looked up
and down the passage, and seeing neither man, woman nor child, I went
out without further attention.

In my return back through the passage, I heard the same words repeated
twice over; and looking up I saw it was a starling hung in a little
cage; "I can't get out, I can't get out," said the starling. I stood
looking at the bird; and to every person who came through the passage,
it ran fluttering to the side toward which they approached it, with
the same lamentation of its captivity: "I can't get out," said the
starling. "God help thee!" said I, "but I'll let thee out, cost what
it will"; so I turned about the cage to get the door. It was twisted
and double-twisted so fast with wire, there was no getting it open
without pulling the cage to pieces. I took both hands to it. The bird
flew to the place where I was attempting his deliverance, and
thrusting his head through the trellis, prest his breast against it as
if impatient. "I fear, poor creature," said I, "I can not set thee at
liberty." "No," said the starling, "I can't get out; I can't get
out," said the starling. I vow I never had my affections more
tenderly awakened; or do I remember an incident in my life where the
dissipated spirits, to which my reason had been a bubble, were so
suddenly called home. Mechanical as the notes were, yet so true in
tune to nature were they chanted, that in one moment they overthrew
all my systematic reasonings upon the Bastile; and I heavily walked
up-stairs, unsaying every word I had said in going down them.

"Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, Slavery," said I, "still thou
art a bitter draft; and tho thousands in all ages have been made to
drink of thee, thou art no less bitter on that account. 'Tis thou,
thrice sweet and gracious goddess," addressing myself to liberty,
"whom all in public or in private worship, whose taste is grateful,
and ever will be so, till Nature herself shall change; no tint of
words can spot thy snowy mantle, or chemic power turn thy scepter into
iron; with thee to smile upon him as he eats his crust, the swain is
happier than his monarch, from whose court thou art exiled. Gracious
Heaven!" cried I, kneeling down upon the last step but one in my
ascent, "grant me but health, thou great bestower of it, and give me
but this fair goddess as my companion, and shower down thy miters, if
it seem good unto thy divine providence, upon those heads which are
aching for them."

The bird in his cage pursued me into my room. I sat down close to my
table, and leaning my head upon my hand, I began to figure to myself
the miseries of confinement. I was in a right frame for it, and so I
gave full scope to my imagination. I was going to begin with the
millions of my fellow creatures born to no inheritance but slavery;
but finding, however affecting the picture was, that I could not bring
it near me, and that the multitude of sad groups in it did but
distract me, I took a single captive, and having first shut him up in
his dungeon, I then looked through the twilight of his grated door to
take his picture. I beheld his body half-wasted away with long
expectation and confinement, and felt what kind of sickness of the
heart it was which arises from hope deferred. Upon looking nearer I
saw him pale and feverish; in thirty years the western breeze had not
once fanned his blood; he had seen no sun, no moon, in all that time,
nor had the voice of friend or kinsman breathed through his lattice;
his children--but here my heart began to bleed, and I was forced to go
on with another part of the portrait. He was sitting upon the ground
upon a little straw, in the furthest corner of his dungeon, which was
alternately his chair and bed; a little calendar of small sticks lay
at the head, notched all over with the dismal days and nights he had
passed there; he had one of these little sticks in his hand, and with
a rusty nail he was etching another day of misery to add to the heap.
As I darkened the little light he had, he lifted up a hopeless eye
toward the door, then cast it down, shook his head, and went on with
his work of affliction. I heard his chains upon his legs, as he turned
his body to lay his little stick upon the bundle. He gave a deep sigh:
I saw the iron enter into his soul. I burst into tears: I could not
sustain the picture of confinement which my fancy had drawn.



II

TO MOULINES WITH MARIA[34]


When Maria had come a little to herself, I asked her if she remembered
a pale thin person of a man who had sat down betwixt her and her goat
about two years before? She said she was unsettled much at that time,
but remembered it upon two accounts; that, ill as she was, she saw the
person pitied her: and next, that her goat had stolen his
handkerchief, and that she had beat him for the theft. "She had washed
it," she said, "in the brook, and kept it ever since in her pocket to
restore it to him in case she should ever see him again, which," she
added, "he had half promised her."

As she told me this, she took the handkerchief out of her pocket to
let me see it: she had folded it up neatly in a couple of vine-leaves,
tied around with a tendril: on opening it, I saw an S. marked in one
of the corners.

She had since that, she told me, strayed as far as Rome, and walked
around St. Peter's once, and returned back: that she found her way
alone across the Apennines, had traveled over all Lombardy without
money, and through the flinty roads of Savoy without shoes: how she
had borne it, and how she had got supported she could not tell: "But,
'God tempers the wind,'" said Maria, "'to the shorn lamb.'"

"Shorn, indeed, and to the quick," said I: "and wast thou in my own
land, where I have a cottage, I would take thee to it, and shelter
thee; thou shouldst eat of my own bread, and drink of my own cup: I
would be kind to thy Sylvio; in all thy weaknesses and wanderings I
would seek after thee, and bring thee back; when the sun went down, I
would say my prayers; and when I had done, thou shouldst play thy
evening song upon thy pipe, nor would the incense of my sacrifice be
worse accepted for entering heaven along with that of a broken heart!"

Nature melted within me as I uttered this: and Maria observing, as I
took out my handkerchief, that it was steeped too much already to be
of use, would needs go wash it in the stream. "And where will you dry
it, Maria?" said I.

"I'll dry it in my bosom," said she: "'twill do me good."

"And is your heart still so warm, Maria?" said I.

I touched upon a string on which hung all her sorrows: she looked with
wistful disorder for some time in my face; and then, without saying
anything, took her pipe, and played her service to the Virgin. The
string I had touched ceased to vibrate; in a moment or two, Maria
returned to herself, let her pipe fall, and rose up.

"And where are you going, Maria?" said I.

She said, "To Moulines."

"Let us go," said I, "together."

Maria put her arm within mine, and lengthening the string to let the
dog follow, in that order we entered Moulines.



III

THE DEATH OF LE FEVRE[35]


"In a fortnight or three weeks," added my uncle Toby, smiling, "he
might march."

"He will never march, an' please your Honor, in this world," said the
Corporal.

"He will march," said my uncle Toby, rising up from the side of the
bed with one shoe off.

"An' please your Honor," said the Corporal, "he will never march but
to his grave."

"He shall march," cried my uncle Toby, marching the foot which had a
shoe on, tho without advancing an inch--"he shall march to his
regiment."

"He can not stand it," said the Corporal.

"He shall be supported," said my uncle Toby.

"He'll drop at last," said the Corporal, "and what will become of his
body?"

"He shall not drop," said my uncle Toby firmly.

"Ah, well--a--day!--do what we can for him," said Trim, maintaining
his point, "the poor soul will die."

"He shall not die, by G--," cried my uncle Toby.

The accusing spirit, which flew up to heaven's chancery with the oath,
blushed as he gave it in; and the recording angel, as he wrote it
down, dropt a tear upon the word, and blotted it out forever.

My uncle Toby went to his bureau, put his purse into his
breeches-pocket, and, having ordered the Corporal to go early in the
morning for a physician, he went to bed and fell asleep. The sun
looked bright the morning after to every eye in the village but to Le
Fevre's and his afflicted son's; the hand of death prest heavy upon
his eyelids; and hardly could the wheel at the cistern turn round its
circle, when my uncle Toby, who had rose up an hour before his wonted
time, entered the Lieutenant's room, and without preface or apology,
sat himself down upon the chair by the bedside, and independently of
all modes and customs, opened the curtain in the manner an old friend
and brother-officer would have done it, and asked him how he did, how
he had rested in the night, what was his complaint, where was his
pain, and what he could do to help him; and without giving him time to
answer any one of these inquiries, went on, and told him of the little
plan which he had been concerting with Corporal the night before for
him.

"You shall go home directly, Le Fevre," said my uncle Toby, "to my
house, and we'll send for a doctor to see what's the matter: and we'll
have an apothecary; and the Corporal shall be your nurse; and I'll be
your servant, Le Fevre."

There was a frankness in my uncle Toby, not the effect of familiarity,
but the cause of it, which let you at once into his soul, and showed
you the goodness of his nature. To this, there was something in his
looks, and voice, and manner, super-added, which eternally beckoned to
the unfortunate to come and take shelter under him; so that, before my
uncle Toby had half finished the kind offers he was making to the
father, had the son insensibly prest up close to his knees, and had
taken hold of the breast of his coat, and was pulling it toward him.
The blood and spirits of Le Fevre, which were waxing cold and slow
within him, and were retreating to their last citadel, the heart,
rallied back, the film forsook his eyes for a moment; he looked up
wishfully in my uncle Toby's face; then cast a look upon his boy; and
that ligament, fine as it was, was never broken.

Nature instantly ebbed again; the film returned to its place; the
pulse fluttered, stopt, went on, throbbed, stopt again, moved, stopt.
Shall I go on? No.



IV

PASSAGES FROM THE ROMANCE OF MY UNCLE TOBY AND THE WIDOW[36]


Now, as Widow Wadman did love my uncle Toby, and my uncle Toby did not
love Widow Wadman, there was nothing for Widow Wadman to do, but to go
on and love my uncle Toby--or let it alone.

Widow Wadman would do neither the one nor the other....

As soon as the Corporal had finished the story of his amour--or rather
my uncle Toby for him--Mrs. Wadman silently sallied forth from her
arbor, replaced the pin in her mob, passed the wicker-gate, and
advanced slowly toward my uncle Toby's sentry-box; the disposition
which Trim had made in my uncle Toby's mind was too favorable a
crisis to be let slipt.

The attack was determined upon: it was facilitated still more by my
uncle Toby's having ordered the Corporal to wheel off the pioneer's
shovel, the spade, the pickax, the piquets, and other military stores
which lay scattered upon the ground where Dunkirk stood. The Corporal
had marched; the field was clear.

Now, consider, sir, what nonsense it is, either in fighting or
writing, or anything else (whether in rime to it or not) which a man
has occasion to do, to act by plan: for if ever Plan, independent of
all circumstances, deserved registering in letters of gold (I mean in
the archives of Gotham) it was certainly the Plan of Mrs. Wadman's
attack of my uncle Toby in his sentry-box, by Plan. Now, the plan
hanging up in it at this juncture, being the Plan of Dunkirk, and the
tale of Dunkirk a tale of relaxation, it opposed every impression she
could make: and, besides, could she have gone upon it, the maneuver of
fingers and hands in the attack of the sentry-box was so outdone by
that of the fair Beguine's, in Trim's story, that just then, that
particular attack, however successful before, became the most
heartless attack that could be made.

Oh! let woman alone for this. Mrs. Wadman had scarce opened the
wicker-gate, when her genius sported with the change of circumstances.

She formed a new attack in a moment.

"I am half distracted, Captain Shandy," said Mrs. Wadman, holding up
her cambric handkerchief to her left eye, as she approached the door
of my uncle Toby's sentry-box; "a mote, or sand, or something I know
not what, has got into this eye of mine; do look into it; it is not in
the white."

In saying which, Mrs. Wadman edged herself close in beside my uncle
Toby, and squeezing herself down upon the corner of his bench, she
gave him an opportunity of doing it without rising up. "Do look into
it," said she.

Honest soul! thou didst look into it with as much innocency of heart
as ever child looked into a raree show-box; and 'twere as much a sin
to have hurt thee.

If a man will be peeping of his own accord into things of that nature,
I've nothing to say to it.

My uncle Toby never did: and I will answer for him, that he would have
sat quietly upon a sofa from June to January (which, you know, takes
in both the hot and cold months) with an eye as fine as the Thracian
Rhodope's beside him, without being able to tell whether it was a
black or a blue one.

The difficulty was, to get my uncle Toby to look at one at all.

'Tis surmounted. And--

I see him yonder, with his pipe pendulous in his hand, and the ashes
falling out of it, looking and looking, then rubbing his eyes, and
looking again, with twice the good nature that ever Galileo looked for
a spot in the sun.

In vain! for, by all the powers which animate the organ, Widow
Wadman's left eye shines this moment as lucid as her right; there is
neither mote, nor sand, nor dust, nor chaff, nor speck, nor particle
of opaque matter floating in it. There is nothing, my dear paternal
uncle! but one lambent delicious fire, furtively shooting out from
every part of it, in all directions into thine.

If thou lookest, Uncle Toby, in search of this mote one moment longer,
thou art undone.

An eye is, for all the world, exactly like a cannon, in this respect,
that it is not so much the eye or the cannon, in themselves, as it is
the carriage of the eye and the carriage of the cannon; by which both
the one and the other are enabled to do so much execution. I don't
think the comparison a bad one; however, as 'tis made and placed at
the head of the chapter, as much for use as ornament, all I desire in
return is, that whenever I speak of Mrs. Wadman's eyes (except once in
the next period) that you keep it in your fancy.

"I protest, madam," said my uncle Toby, "I can see nothing whatever in
your eye."

"It is not in the white," said Mrs. Wadman. My uncle Toby looked with
might and main into the pupil.

Now, of all the eyes which ever were created, from your own, madam, up
to those of Venus herself, which certainly were as venereal a pair of
eyes as ever stood in a head, there never was an eye of them all so
fitted to rob my uncle Toby of his repose as the very eye at which he
was looking; it was not, madam, a rolling eye, a romping, or a wanton
one; nor was it an eye sparkling, petulant, or imperious, of high
claims and terrifying expectations, which would have curdled at once
that milk of human nature, of which my uncle Toby was made up; but
'twas an eye full of gentle salutations and soft responses, speaking,
not like the trumpet-stop of some ill-made organ, in which many an
eye I talk to holds coarse converse, but whispering soft, like that
last low accent of an expiring saint, "How can you live comfortless,
Captain Shandy, and alone, without a bosom to lean your head on--or
trust your cares to?"

It was an eye--

But I shall be in love with it myself, if I say another word about it.

It did my uncle Toby's business....

The world is ashamed of being virtuous. My uncle Toby knew little of
the world; and therefore, when he felt he was in love with Widow
Wadman, he had no conception that the thing was any more to be made a
mystery of than if Mrs. Wadman had given him a cut with a gap'd knife
across his finger. Had it been otherwise--yet, as he ever looked upon
Trim as a humbler friend, and saw fresh reasons every day of his life
to treat him as such--it would have made no variation in the manner in
which he informed him of the affair.

"I am in love, Corporal!" quoth my uncle Toby....

Tho the Corporal had been as good as his word in putting my uncle
Toby's great Ramillies wig into pipes, yet the time was too short to
produce any great effects from it; it had lain many years squeezed up
in the corner of his old campaign-trunk; and as bad forms are not so
easy to be got the better of, and the use of candle-ends not so well
understood, it was not so pliable a business as one would have wished.
The Corporal, with cheery eye and both arms extended, had fallen back
perpendicular from it a score times, to inspire it, if possible, with
a better air:--had Spleen given a look at it, 'twould have cost her
ladyship a smile; it curled everywhere but where the Corporal would
have it; and where a buckle or two, in his opinion, would have done it
honor, he could as soon have raised the dead.

Such it was, or rather, such would it have seemed upon any other brow;
but the sweet look of goodness which sat upon my uncle Toby's
assimilated everything around it so sovereignly to itself, and Nature
had, moreover, wrote gentleman with so fair a hand in every line of
his countenance, that even his tarnished gold-laced hat and huge
cockade of flimsy taffeta became him; and, tho not worth a button in
themselves, yet the moment my uncle Toby put them on, they became
serious objects, and, altogether, seemed to have been picked up by the
hand of Science to set him off to advantage.

Nothing, in this world could have cooperated more powerfully toward
this than my uncle Toby's blue and gold, had not Quantity, in some
measure, been necessary to grace. In a period of fifteen or sixteen
years since they had been made, by a total inactivity in my uncle
Toby's life (for he seldom went further than the bowling green), his
blue and gold had become so miserably too straight for him that it was
with the utmost difficulty the Corporal was able to get him into them;
the taking up at the sleeves was of no advantage; they were laced,
however, down the back, and at the seams of the sides, etc., in the
mode of King William's reign; and to shorten all description, they
shone so bright against the sun that morning, and had so metallic and
doughty an air with them, that, had my uncle Toby thought of attacking
in armor, nothing could have so well imposed upon his imagination.

As for the thin scarlet breeches, they had been unripped by the tailor
between the legs, and left at sixes and sevens.

Yes, madam; but let us govern our fancies. It is enough they were held
impracticable the night before; and, as there was no alternative in my
uncle Toby's wardrobe, he sallied forth in the red plush.

The Corporal had arrayed himself in poor Le Fevre's regimental coat;
and with his hair tucked up under his Montero-cap, which he had
furbished up for the occasion, marched three paces distant from his
master; a whiff of military pride had puffed out his shirt at the
wrist; and upon that, in a black leather thong clipt into a tassel
beyond the knot, hung the Corporal's stick. My uncle Toby carried his
cane like a pike.

"It looks well, at least," quoth my father to himself....

When my uncle Toby and the Corporal had marched down to the bottom of
the avenue, they recollected their business lay the other way; so they
faced about, and marched up straight to Mrs. Wadman's door.

"I warrant your Honor," said the Corporal, touching his Montero-cap
with his hand as he passed him in order to give a knock at the door.
My uncle Toby, contrary to his invariable way of treating his faithful
servant, said nothing good or bad; the truth was, he had not
altogether marshaled his ideas; he wished for another conference, and,
as the Corporal was mounting up the three steps before the door, he
hem'd twice; a portion of my uncle Toby's most modest spirits fled, at
each expulsion, toward the Corporal; he stood with the rapper of the
door suspended for a full minute in his hand, he scarce knew why.
Bridget stood perdue within, with her finger and her thumb upon the
latch, benumbed with expectation; and Mrs. Wadman, with an eye ready
to be deflowered again, sat breathless behind the window-curtain of
her bed-chamber, watching their approach.

"Trim!" said my uncle Toby; but, as he articulated the word, the
minute expired, and Trim let fall the rapper.

My uncle Toby, perceiving that all hopes of a conference were knocked
on the head by it, whistled Lillabullero.

As Mrs. Bridget opened the door before the Corporal had well given the
rap, the interval betwixt that and my uncle Toby's introduction into
the parlor was so short that Mrs. Wadman had but just time to get from
behind the curtain, lay a Bible upon the table, and advance a step or
two toward the door to receive him.

My uncle Toby saluted Mrs. Wadman, after the manner in which women
were saluted by men in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred
and thirteen; then facing about, he marched up abreast with her to the
sofa, and in three plain words, tho not before he was sat down, nor
after he was sat down, but as he was sitting down, told her, "he was
in love"; so that my uncle Toby strained himself more in the
declaration than he needed.

Mrs. Wadman naturally looked down upon a slit she had been darning up
in her apron, in expectation every moment that my uncle Toby would go
on; but having no talents for amplification, and Love, moreover, of
all others, being a subject of which he was the least a master, when
he had told Mrs. Wadman once that he loved her, he let it alone, and
left the matter to work after its own way.

My father was always in raptures with this system of my uncle Toby's,
as he falsely called it, and would often say, That could his brother
Toby to his process have added but a pipe of tobacco, he had
wherewithal to have his way, if there was faith in a Spanish proverb,
toward the hearts of half the women upon the globe.

My uncle Toby never understood what my father meant; nor will I
presume to extract more from it than a condemnation of an error which
the bulk of the world lie under; but the French, every one of them to
a man, who believe in it almost as much as the Real Presence, "That
talking of love is making it."

I would as soon set about making a black pudding by the same receipt.

Let us go on: Mrs. Wadman sat in expectation my uncle Toby would do
so, to almost the first pulsation of that minute, wherein silence on
one side or the other generally becomes indecent; so edging herself a
little more toward him, and raising up her eyes, sub-blushing as she
did it, she took up the gantlet, or the discourse (if you like it
better), and communed with my uncle Toby thus:

"The cares and disquietudes of the marriage-state," quoth Mrs. Wadman,
"are very great."

"I suppose so," said my uncle Toby.

"And therefore when a person," continued Mrs. Wadman, "is so much at
his ease as you are, so happy, Captain Shandy, in yourself, your
friends, and your amusements, I wonder what reasons can incline you to
the state?"

"They are written," quoth my uncle Toby, "in the Common Prayer-Book."

Thus far my uncle Toby went on warily, and kept within his depth,
leaving Mrs. Wadman to sail upon the gulf as she pleased.

"As for children," said Mrs. Wadman, "tho a principal end, perhaps, of
the institution, and the natural wish, I suppose, of every parent, yet
do not we all find that they are certain sorrows, and very uncertain
comforts? and what is there, dear sir, to pay one for the heart-aches,
what compensation for the many tender and disquieting apprehensions of
a suffering and defenseless mother who brings them into life?"

"I declare," said my uncle Toby, smitten with pity, "I know of none:
unless it be the pleasure which it has pleased God ..."

"A fiddlestick!" quoth she....

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 33: From the "Sentimental Journey."]

[Footnote 34: From the "Sentimental Journey."]

[Footnote 35: From "Tristram Shandy."]

[Footnote 36: From "Tristram Shandy."]



THOMAS GRAY

     Born in 1716, died in 1771; educated at Eton, where he began
     a lifelong friendship with Horace Walpole; traveled on the
     Continent with Walpole in 1739; settled in Cambridge in
     1741, where in 1768 he was made professor of Modern History;
     refused the laureateship in 1757; published his "Elegy
     Written in a Country Churchyard" in 1751; his poems and
     letters collected by Mason in 1775.



I

WARWICK CASTLE[37]


I have been at Warwick, which is a place worth seeing. The town is on
an eminence surrounded every way with a fine cultivated valley,
through which the Avon winds, and at the distance of five or six
miles, a circle of hills, well wooded, and with various objects
crowning them, that close the prospect. Out of the town on one side of
it, rises a rock that might remind one of your rocks at Durham, but
that it is not so savage, or so lofty, and that the river, which,
washes its foot, is perfectly clear, and so gentle, that its current
is hardly visible. Upon it stands the castle, the noble old residence
of the Beauchamps and Nevilles, and now of Earl Brooke. He has sash'd
the great apartment that's to be sure (I can't help these things), and
being since told, that square sash-windows were not Gothic, he has put
certain whim-whams within side the glass, which appearing through are
to look like fret-work. Then he has scooped out a little burrow in the
massy walls of the place for his little self and his children, which
is hung with paper and printed linen, and carved chimney-pieces, in
the exact manner of Berkley Square or Argyle buildings. What in short
can a lord do nowadays, that is lost in a great old solitary castle,
but skulk about, and get into the first hole he finds, as a rat would
do in like case.

A pretty long old stone bridge leads you into the town with a mill at
the end of it, over which the rock rises with the castle upon it with
all its battlements and queer ruined towers, and on your left hand the
Avon strays through the park, whose ancient elms seem to remember Sir
Philip Sidney, who often walk'd under them, and talk of him to this
day. The Beauchamp Earls of Warwick lie under stately monuments in the
choir of the great church, and in our lady's chapel adjoining to it.
There also lie Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick; and his brother, the
famous Lord Leicester, with Lettice, his countess. This chapel is
preserved entire, tho the body of the church was burned down sixty
years ago, and rebuilt by Sir C. Wren.

I had heard often of Guy-Cliff, two miles from the town; so I walked
to see it, and of all improvers commend me to Mr. Greathead, its
present owner. He shew'd it me himself, and is literally a fat young
man with a head and face much bigger than they are usually worn. It
was naturally a very agreeable rock, whose cliffs cover'd with large
trees hung beetling over the Avon, which twists twenty ways in sight
of it. There was the cell of Guy, Earl of Warwick, cut in the living
stone, where he died a hermit (as you may see in a penny history, that
hangs upon the rails in Moorfields). There were his fountains bubbling
out of the cliff; there was a chantry founded to his memory in Henry
the Sixth's time. But behold the trees are cut down to make room for
flowering shrubs; the rock is cut up, till it is as smooth and as
sleek as satin; the river has a gravel-walk by its side; the cell is a
grotto with cockle-shells and looking glass; the fountains have an
iron gate before them, and the chantry is a barn, or a little house.
Even the poorest bite of nature that remain are daily threatened, for
he says (and I am sure, when the Greatheads are once set upon a thing,
they will do it) he is determined it shall be all new. These were his
words, and they are fate.



II

TO HIS FRIEND MASON ON THE DEATH OF MASON'S MOTHER[38]


I break in upon you at a moment when we least of all are permitted to
disturb our friends, only to say that you are daily and hourly present
to my thoughts. If the worst be not yet passed, you will neglect and
pardon me; but if the last struggle be over, if the poor object of
your long anxieties be no longer sensible to your kindness, or to her
own sufferings, allow me (at least in idea, for what could I do were I
present more than this), to sit by you in silence, and pity from my
heart, not her who is at rest, but you who lose her. May He who made
us, the Master of our pleasures and of our pains, preserve and support
you. Adieu.

I have long understood how little you had to hope.



III

ON HIS OWN WRITINGS[39]


To your friendly accusation I am glad I can plead not guilty with a
safe conscience. Dodsley told me in the Spring that the plates from
Mr. Bentley's designs were worn out, and he wanted to have them copied
and reduced to a smaller scale for a new edition. I dissuaded him from
so silly an expense, and desired he would put in no ornaments at all.
The "Long Story" was to be totally omitted, as its only use (that of
explaining the prints) was gone: but to supply the place of it in
bulk, lest my works should be mistaken for the works of a flea, or a
pismire, I promised to send him an equal weight of poetry or prose:
so, since my return hither, I put up about two ounces of stuff, viz.,
the "Fatal Sisters," the "Descent of Odin" (of both which you have
copies), a bit of something from the Welch, and certain little Notes,
partly from justice (to acknowledge the debt where I had borrowed
anything), partly from ill temper, just to tell the gentle reader that
Edward I was not Oliver Cromwell, nor Queen Elizabeth the Witch of
Endor. This is literally all; and with all this, I shall be but a
shrimp of an author. I gave leave also to print the same thing at
Glasgow; but I doubt my packet has miscarried, for I hear nothing of
its arrival as yet.

To what you say to me so civilly, that I ought to write more, I reply
in your own words (like the Pamphleteer, who is going to confute you
out of your own mouth), What has one to do when turned of fifty, but
really to think of finishing? However, I will be candid (for you seem
to be so with me), and avow to you, that till four-score-and-ten,
whenever the humor takes me, I will write, because I like it; and
because I like myself better when I do so. If I do not write much, it
is because I can not. As you have not this last plea, I see no reason
why you should not continue as long as it is agreeable to yourself,
and to all such as have any curiosity or judgment in the subject you
choose to treat. By the way let me tell you (while it is fresh) that
Lord Sandwich, who was lately dining at Cambridge, speaking (as I am
told) handsomely of your book, said, it was pity you did not know that
his cousin Manchester had a genealogy of Kings, which came down no
lower than to Richard III, and at the end of it were two portraits of
Richard and his son, in which that king appeared to be a handsome man.
I tell you it as I heard it; perhaps you may think it worth inquiring
into....

Mr. Boswell's book[40] I was going to recommend to you, when I
received your letter: it has pleased and moved me strangely, all (I
mean) that relates to Paoli. He is a man born two thousand years after
his time! The pamphlet proves what I have always maintained, that any
fool may write a most valuable book by chance, if he will only tell us
what he heard and saw with veracity. Of Mr. Boswell's truth I have not
the least suspicion, because I am sure he could invent nothing of this
kind. The true title of this part of his work is, a Dialogue between a
Green-Goose and a Hero.



IV

HIS FRIENDSHIP FOR BONSTETTEN[41]


Never did I feel, my dear Bonstetten, to what a tedious length the few
short moments of our life may be extended by impatience and
expectation, till you had left me; nor ever knew before with so strong
a conviction how much this frail body sympathizes with the inquietude
of the mind. I am grown old in the compass of less than three weeks,
like the Sultan in the Turkish tales, that did but plunge his head
into a vessel of water and take it out again, as the standers by
affirmed, at the command of a Dervish, and found he had passed many
years in captivity, and begot a large family of children.

The strength and spirits that now enable me to write to you, are only
owing to your last letter a temporary gleam of sunshine. Heaven knows
when it may shine again! I did not conceive till now, I own, what it
was to lose you, nor felt the solitude and insipidity of my own
condition before I possest the happiness of your friendship. I must
cite another Greek writer to you, because it is much to my purpose; he
is describing the character of a genius truly inclined to philosophy.
"It includes," he says, "qualifications rarely united in one single
mind, quickness of apprehension and a retentive memory, vivacity and
application, gentleness and magnanimity"; to these he adds an
invincible love of truth, and consequently of probity and justice.
"Such a soul," continues he, "will be little inclined to sensual
pleasures, and consequently temperate; a stranger to illiberality and
avarice; being accustomed to the most extensive views of things, and
sublimest contemplations, it will contract an habitual greatness, will
look down with a kind of disregard on human life and on death;
consequently, will possess the truest fortitude. Such," says he, "is
the mind born to govern the rest of mankind."

But these very endowments, so necessary to a soul formed for
philosophy, are often its ruin, especially when joined to the external
advantages of wealth, nobility, strength, and beauty; that is, if it
light on a bad soil, and want its proper nurture, which nothing but an
excellent education can bestow. In this case he is depraved by the
public example, the assemblies of the people, the courts of justice,
the theaters, that inspire it with false opinions, terrify it with
false infamy, or elevate it with false applause; and remember, that
extraordinary vices and extraordinary virtues are equally the produce
of a vigorous mind: little souls are alike incapable of the one and
the other.

If you have ever met with the portrait sketched out by Plato, you will
know it again: for my part, to my sorrow I have had that happiness. I
see the principal features, and I foresee the dangers with a trembling
anxiety. But enough of this, I return to your letter. It proves at
least, that in the midst of your new gaieties I still hold some place
in your memory, and, what pleases me above all, it had an air of
undissembled sincerity. Go on, my best and amiable friend, to shew me
your heart simply and without the shadow of disguise, and leave me to
weep over it, as I now do, no matter whether from joy or sorrow.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 37: From a letter to Thomas Wharton, dated "Stoke Pogis,
September 18, 1754."]

[Footnote 38: Written on March 28, 1767. The tenderness of this brief
letter of condolence will recall the inscription which Gray placed on
the tomb of his own mother in Stoke Pogis church-yard--the tomb in
which he himself was afterward buried "She was the careful, tender
mother of many children," says the inscription, "only one of whom had
the misfortune to survive her."]

[Footnote 39: From a letter to Horace Walpole, dated "Pembroke
College, February 25, 1768."]

[Footnote 40: This refers to Boswell's visit to Corsica in 1766. The
book he wrote was his "Journal of a Tour to Corsica, with Memoirs of
Pascal Paoli."]

[Footnote 41: From a letter to Bonstetten, dated "Cambridge, April 12,
1770." Bonstetten was a Swiss philosopher and essayist who had formed
a close friendship with Gray and many other eminent English men of
culture. Bonstetten left England in March of the year in which this
letter was written, Gray going with him as far as London, where he
pointed out in the street the "great bear," Samuel Johnson, and saw
Bonstetten safely into a coach bound for Dover.]



HORACE WALPOLE

     Born in 1717, died in 1797; third son of Sir Robert Walpole,
     the Prime Minister; educated at Eton and Cambridge; traveled
     with Thomas Gray in 1739-41; entered Parliament in 1741;
     settled at Strawberry Hill in 1747; made fourth Earl of
     Orford in 1791; author of many books, but best known now for
     his letters.



I

HOGARTH[42]


Hogarth was born in the parish of St. Bartholomew, London, the son of
a low tradesman, who bound him to a mean engraver of arms on plate;
but before his time was expired he felt the impulse of genius, and
felt it directed him to painting, tho little apprized at that time of
the mode nature had intended he should pursue. His apprenticeship was
no sooner expired than he entered into the academy in St. Martin's
Lane, and studied drawing from the life, in which he never attained to
great excellence. It was character, the passions, the soul, that his
genius was given him to copy. In coloring he proved no greater a
master; his force lay in expression, not in tints and chiaroscuro. At
first he worked for booksellers, and designed and engraved plates for
several books; and, which is extraordinary, no symptom of genius
dawned in those plates. His "Hudibras" was the first of his works that
marked him as a man above the common; yet what made him then noticed
now surprizes us, to find so little humor in an undertaking so
congenial to his talents. On the success, however, of those plates, he
commenced painter, a painter of portraits: the most ill-suited
employment imaginable to a man whose turn certainly was not flattery,
nor his talent adapted to look on vanity without a sneer. Yet his
facility in catching a likeness, and the methods he chose of painting
families and conversations in small, then a novelty, drew him
prodigious business for some time. It did not last: either from his
applying to the real bent of his disposition, or from his customers
apprehending that a satirist was too formidable a confessor for the
devotees of self-love. He had already dropt a few of his smaller
prints on some reigning follies; but as the dates are wanting on most
of them, I can not ascertain which, tho those on the South Sea and
"Rabbit Woman" prove that he had early discovered his talent for
ridicule, tho he did not then think of building his reputation or
fortune on its powers.

His "Midnight Modern Conversation" was the first work that showed his
command of character; but it was "The Harlot's Progress," published in
1729 or 1730, that established his fame. The pictures were scarce
finished, and no sooner exhibited to the public, and the subscription
opened, than above twelve hundred names were entered on his book. The
familiarity of the subject and the propriety of the execution made it
tasted by all ranks of people. Every engraver set himself to copy it,
and thousands of imitations were dispersed all over the kingdom. It
was made into a pantomime, and performed on the stage. The "Rake's
Progress," perhaps superior, had not so much success, from want of
novelty; nor, indeed, is the print of "The Arrest" equal in merit to
the others.

The curtain was now drawn aside, and his genius stood displayed in its
full luster. From time to time he continued to give those works that
should be immortal, if the nature of his art will allow it. Even the
receipts for his subscriptions had wit in them. Many of his plates he
engraved himself, and often expunged faces etched by his assistants
when they had not done justice to his ideas.

Not content with shining in a path untrodden before, he was ambitious
of distinguishing himself as a painter of history. But not only his
coloring and drawing rendered him unequal to the task; the genius that
had entered so feelingly into the calamities and crimes of familiar
life deserted him in a walk that called for dignity and grace. The
burlesque turn of his mind mixt itself with the most serious subjects.
In his "Danaë," the old nurse tries a coin of the golden shower with
her teeth to see if it is true gold; in the "Pool of Bethesda," a
servant of a rich ulcerated lady beats back a poor man that sought the
same celestial remedy. Both circumstances are justly thought, but
rather too ludicrous. It is a much more capital fault that "Danaë"
herself is a mere nymph of Drury. He seems to have conceived no higher
idea of beauty.

So little had he eyes to his own deficiencies, that he believed he had
discovered the principle of grace. With the enthusiasm of a
discoverer he cried, "Eureka!" This was his famous line of beauty,
the groundwork of his "Analysis," a book that has many sensible hints
and observations, but that did not carry the conviction nor meet the
universal acquiescence he expected. As he treated his contemporaries
with scorn, they triumphed over this publication, and imitated him to
expose him. Many wretched burlesque prints came out to ridicule his
system. There was a better answer to it in one of the two prints that
he gave to illustrate his hypothesis. In "The Ball," had he confined
himself to such outlines as compose awkwardness and deformity, he
would have proved half his assertion; but he has added two samples of
grace in a young lord and lady that are strikingly stiff and affected.
They are a Bath beau and a country beauty.

But this was the failing of a visionary. He fell afterward into a
grosser mistake. From a contempt of the ignorant virtuosi of the age,
and from indignation at the impudent tricks of picture-dealers, whom
he saw continually recommending and vending vile copies to bubble
collectors, and from having never studied, indeed having seen, few
good pictures of the great Italian masters, he persuaded himself that
the praises bestowed on those glorious works were nothing but the
effects of prejudice. He talked this language till he believed it; and
having heard it often asserted, as is true, that time gives a
mellowness to colors and improves them, he not only denied the
proposition, but maintained that pictures only grew black and worse by
age, not distinguishing between the degrees in which the proposition
might be true or false. He went further; he determined to rival the
ancients, and unfortunately chose one of the finest pictures in
England as the object of his compensation. This was the celebrated
"Sigismonda" of Sir Luke Schaub, now in the possession of the Duke of
Newcastle, said to be painted by Correggio, probably by Furino, but no
matter by whom. It is impossible to see the picture, or read Dryden's
inimitable tale, and not feel that the same soul animated both. After
many essays Hogarth at last produced his "Sigismonda," but no more
like "Sigismonda" than I to Hercules. Hogarth's performance was more
ridiculous than anything he had ever ridiculed. He set the price of
£400 on it, and had it returned on his hands by the person for whom it
was painted. He took subscriptions for a plate of it, but had the
sense at last to suppress it. I make no more apology for this account
than for the encomiums I have bestowed on him. Both are dictated by
truth, and are the history of a great man's excellences and errors.
Milton, it is said, preferred his "Paradise Regained" to his immortal
poem.

The last memorable event of our artist's life was his quarrel with Mr.
Wilkes; in which, if Mr. Hogarth did not commence direct hostilities
on the latter, he at least obliquely gave the first offense by an
attack on the friends and party of that gentleman. This conduct was
the more surprizing, as he had all his life avoided dipping his pencil
in political contests, and had early refused a very lucrative offer
that was made to engage him in a set of prints against the head of a
court party. Without entering into the merits of the cause, I shall
only state the fact. In September, 1762, Mr. Hogarth published his
print of _The Times_. It was answered by Mr. Wilkes in a severe _North
Briton_. On this the painter exhibited the caricature of the writer.
Mr. Churchill, the poet, then engaged in the war, and wrote his
epistle to Hogarth, not the brightest of his works, and in which the
severest strokes fell on a defect that the painter had neither caused
nor could amend--his age; and which, however, was neither remarkable
nor decrepit, much less had it impaired his talents, as appeared by
his having composed but six months before one of his most capital
works, the satire on the Methodists. In revenge for this epistle,
Hogarth caricatured Churchill under the form of a canonical bear, with
a club and a pot of porter--_Et vitulâ tu dignus et hic_. Never did
two angry men of their abilities throw mud with less dexterity.

Mr. Hogarth, in the year 1730, married the only daughter of Sir James
Thornhill, by whom he had no children. He died of a dropsy in his
breast at his house in Leicester Fields, October 26, 1764.



II

THE WAR IN AMERICA[43]


In spite of all my modesty, I can not help thinking I have a little
something of the prophet about me. At least we have not conquered
America yet. I did not send you immediate word of our victory at
Boston, because the success not only seemed very equivocal, but
because the conquerors lost three to one more than the vanquished. The
last do not pique themselves upon modern good breeding, but level only
at the officers, of whom they have slain a vast number. We are a
little disappointed, indeed, at their fighting at all, which was not
in our calculation. We knew we could conquer America in Germany, and I
doubt had better have gone thither now for that purpose, as it does
not appear hitherto to be quite so feasible in America itself.
However, we are determined to know the worst, and are sending away all
the men and ammunition we can muster. The Congress, not asleep,
neither, have appointed a generalissimo, Washington, allowed a very
able officer, who distinguished himself in the last war. Well, we had
better have gone on robbing the Indies! it was a more lucrative trade.



III

THE DEATH OF GEORGE II[44]


The deaths of kings travel so much faster than any post, that I can
not expect to tell you news, when I say your old master is dead. But I
can pretty well tell you what I like best to be able to say to you on
this occasion, that you are in no danger. Change will scarce reach to
Florence when its hand is checked even in the capital. But I will
move a little regularly, and then you will form your judgment more
easily.

This is Tuesday; on Friday night the King went to bed in perfect
health, and rose so the next morning at his usual hour of six; he
called for and drank his chocolate. At seven, his _valet de chambre_
heard a groan. He ran in, and in a small room between the closet and
bed-chamber he found the King on the floor, who had cut the right side
of his face against the edge of a bureau, and who after a gasp
expired. Lady Yarmouth was called, and sent for Princess Amelia; but
they only told the latter that the King was ill and wanted her. She
had been confined some days with a rheumatism, but hurried down, ran
into the room without further notice, and saw her father extended on
the bed. She is very purblind, and more than a little deaf. They had
not closed his eyes; she bent down close to his face, and concluded he
spoke to her, tho she could not hear him--guess what a shock when she
found the truth.

She wrote to the Prince of Wales--but so had one of the _valets de
chambre_ first. He came to town, and saw the Duke [of Cumberland] and
the Privy Council. He was extremely kind to the first--and in general
has behaved with the greatest propriety, dignity, and decency. He read
his speech to the Council with much grace, and dismissed the guards on
himself to wait on his grandfather's body. It is intimated, that he
means to employ the same ministers, but with reserve to himself of
more authority than has lately been in fashion. The Duke of York and
Lord Bute are named of the Cabinet Council. The late King's will is
not yet opened. To-day everybody kissed hands at Leicester House, and
this week, I believe, the King will go to St. James's. The body has
been opened; the great ventricle of the heart had burst. What an
enviable death! In the greatest period of the glory of this country,
and of his reign, in perfect tranquillity at home, at seventy-seven,
growing blind and deaf, to die without a pang, before any reverse of
fortune, or any distasted peace, nay, but two days before a ship-load
of bad news: could he have chosen such another moment?

The news is bad indeed! Berlin taken by capitulation, and yet the
Austrians behaved so savagely that even Russians felt delicacy, were
shocked, and checked them! Nearer home, the hereditary prince has been
much beaten by Monsieur de Castries, and forced to raise the siege of
Wesel, whither Prince Ferdinand had sent him most unadvisedly: we have
scarce an officer unwounded. The secret expedition will now, I
conclude, sail, to give an _éclat_ to the new reign. Lord Albemarle
does not command it, as I told you, nor Mr. Conway, tho both applied.

Nothing is settled about the Parliament; not even the necessary
changes in the Household. Committees of council are regulating the
mourning and the funeral. The town, which between armies, militia, and
approaching elections, was likely to be a desert all the winter, is
filled in a minute, but everything is in the deepest tranquillity.
People stare; the only expression. The moment anything is declared,
one shall not perceive the novelty of the reign. A nation without
parties is soon a nation without curiosity.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 42: From the "Anecdotes of Painting in England."]

[Footnote 43: Letter dated "Strawberry Hill, August 3, 1775."]

[Footnote 44: Letter to Sir Horace Mann, dated "Arlington Street,
October 28, 1760."]



GILBERT WHITE

     Born in 1720, died in 1793; educated at Oxford and became a
     fellow of Oriel; later made curate at Selborne; his "Natural
     History of Selborne," published in 1789.



THE CHIMNEY-SWALLOW[45]


The house-swallow, or chimney-swallow, is undoubtedly the first comer
of all the British _hirundines_; and appears in general on or about
the 13th of April, as I have remarked from many years' observation.
Not but now and then a straggler is seen much earlier: and in
particular, when I was a boy I observed a swallow for a whole day
together on a sunny warm Shrove Tuesday; which day could not fall out
later than the middle of March, and often happened early in February.

It is worth remarking that these birds are seen first about lakes and
mill-ponds; and it is also very particular, that if these early
visitors happen to find frost and snow, as was the case in the two
dreadful springs of 1770 and 1771, they immediately withdraw for a
time. A circumstance this, much more in favor of hiding than
migration; since it is much more probable that a bird should retire to
its hybernaculum just at hand, than return for a week or two to warmer
latitudes.

The swallow, tho called the chimney-swallow, by no means builds
altogether in chimneys, but often within barns and outhouses against
the rafters; and so she did in Virgil's time: "Garrula quam tignis
nidos suspendat hirundo" (the twittering swallow hangs its nest from
the beams).

In Sweden she builds in barns, and is called _Ladu swala_, the
barn-swallow. Besides, in the warmer parts of Europe, there are no
chimneys to houses, except they are English built: in these countries
she constructs her nest in porches, and gateways, and galleries, and
open halls.

Here and there a bird may affect some odd peculiar place; as we have
known a swallow build down a shaft of an old well through which chalk
had been formerly drawn up for the purpose of manure: but in general
with us this _hirundo_ breeds in chimneys, and loves to haunt those
stacks where there is a constant fire--no doubt for the sake of
warmth. Not that it can subsist in the immediate shaft where there is
a fire; but prefers one adjoining to that of the kitchen, and
disregards the perpetual smoke of the funnel, as I have often observed
with some degree of wonder.

Five or six feet more down the chimney does this little bird begin to
form her nest, about the middle of May: which consists, like that of
the house-martin, of a crust or shell composed of dirt or mud, mixt
with short pieces of straw to render it tough and permanent; with this
difference, that whereas the shell of the martin is nearly
hemispheric, that of the swallow is open at the top, and like half a
deep ditch; this nest is lined with fine grasses, and feathers which
are often collected as they float in the air.

Wonderful is the address which this adroit bird shows all day long, in
ascending and descending with security through so narrow a pass. When
hovering over the mouth of the funnel, the vibration of her wings,
acting on the confined air, occasions a rumbling like thunder. It is
not improbable that the dam submits to this inconvenient situation so
low in the shaft, in order to secure her broods from rapacious birds;
and particularly from owls, which frequently fall down chimneys,
perhaps in attempting to get at these nestlings.

The swallow lays from four to six white eggs, dotted with red specks;
and brings out her first brood about the last week in June, or the
first week in July. The progressive method by which the young are
introduced into life is very amusing: first they emerge from the shaft
with difficulty enough, and often fall down into the rooms below; for
a day or so they are fed on the chimney-top, and then are conducted to
the dead leafless bough of some tree, where, sitting in a row, they
are attended with great assiduity, and may then be called perchers. In
a day or two more they become fliers, but are still unable to take
their own food; therefore they play about near the place where the
dams are hawking for flies: and when a mouthful is collected, at a
certain signal given, the dam and the nestling advance, rising toward
each other, and meeting at an angle; the young one all the while
uttering such a little quick note of gratitude and complacency, that a
person must have paid very little regard for the wonders of nature
that has not often remarked this feat.

The dam betakes herself immediately to the business of a second brood
as soon as she is disengaged from her first, which at once associates
with the first broods of house-martins, and with them congregates,
clustering on sunny roofs, towers and trees. This _hirundo_ brings out
her second brood toward the middle and end of August.

All summer long, the swallow is a most instructive pattern of
unwearied industry and affection: for from morning to night, while
there is a family to be supported, she spends the whole day in
skimming close to the ground, and exerting the most sudden turns and
quick evolutions. Avenues, and long walks under the hedges, and
pasture-fields, and mown meadows where cattle graze, are her delight,
especially if there are trees interspersed; because in such spots
insects most abound. When a fly is taken, a smart snap from her bill
is heard, resembling the noise at the shutting of a watch-case; but
the motion of the mandibles is too quick for the eye.

The swallow, probably the male bird, is the _excubitor_ to
house-martins and other little birds; announcing the approach of birds
of prey. For as soon as a hawk appears, with a shrill alarming note he
calls all the swallows and martins about him; who pursue in a body,
and buffet and strike their enemy till they have driven him from the
village; darting down from above on his back, and rising in a
perpendicular line in perfect security. This bird will also sound the
alarm, and strike at cats when they climb on the roofs of houses, or
otherwise approach the nest. Each species of _hirundo_ drinks as it
flies along, sipping the surface of the water; but the swallow alone
in general washes on the wing, by dropping into a pool for many times
together: in very hot weather house-martins and bank-martins also dip
and wash a little.

The swallow is a delicate songster, and in soft sunny weather sings
both perching and flying; on trees in a kind of concert, and on
chimney-tops: it is also a bold flier, ranging to distant downs and
commons even in windy weather, which the other species seems much to
dislike; nay, even frequenting exposed seaport towns, and making
little excursions over the salt water. Horsemen on the wide downs are
often closely attended by a little party of swallows for miles
together, which plays before and behind them, sweeping around and
collecting all the skulking insects that are roused by the trampling
of the horses' feet: when the wind blows hard, without this expedient,
they are often forced to settle to pick up their lurking prey....

A certain swallow built for two years together on the handles of a
pair of garden shears that were stuck up against the boards in an
outhouse, and therefore must have her nest spoiled whenever that
implement was wanted; and what is stranger still, another bird of the
same species built its nest on the wings and body of an owl that
happened by accident to hang dead and dry from the rafter of a barn.
This owl, with the nest on its wings, and with eggs in the nest, was
brought as a curiosity worthy of the most elegant private museum in
Great Britain.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 45: From "The Natural History of Selborne," being a letter
to the Hon. Daines Barrington.]



ADAM SMITH

     Born in 1723, died in 1790; educated at Glasgow and Oxford;
     lecturer in Edinburgh in 1748; professor in Glasgow in 1751;
     became tutor to the Duke of Buccleuch in 1763; traveled on
     the Continent in 1764-66; lived afterwards in retirement at
     Kirkcaldy; became Commissioner of Customs in Edinburgh in
     1778; elected Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow in
     1787; his "Moral Sentiments" published in 1759; his "Wealth
     of Nations" in 1776.



I

OF AMBITION MISDIRECTED[46]


To attain to this envied situation, the candidates for fortune too
frequently abandon the paths of virtue; for unhappily, the road which
leads to the one, and that which leads to the other, lie sometimes in
very opposite directions. But the ambitious man flatters himself that,
in the splendid situation to which he advances, he will have so many
means of commanding the respect and admiration of mankind, and will be
enabled to act with such superior propriety and grace, that the luster
of his future conduct will entirely cover or efface the foulness of
the steps by which he arrived at that elevation. In many governments
the candidates for the highest stations are above the law, and if they
can attain the object of their ambition, they have no fear of being
called to account for the means by which they acquired it. They often
endeavor, therefore, not only by fraud and falsehood, the ordinary and
vulgar arts of intrigue and cabal, but sometimes by the perpetration
of the most enormous crimes, by murder and assassination, by rebellion
and civil war, to supplant and destroy those who oppose or stand in
the way of their greatness. They more frequently miscarry than
succeed, and commonly gain nothing but the disgraceful punishment
which is due to their crimes.

But tho they should be so lucky as to attain that wished-for
greatness, they are always most miserably disappointed in the
happiness which they expect to enjoy in it. It is not ease or
pleasure, but always honor, of one kind or another, tho frequently an
honor very ill understood, that the ambitious man really pursues. But
the honor of his exalted station appears, both in his own eyes and in
those of other people, polluted and defiled by the baseness of the
means through which he rose to it. Tho by the profusion of every
liberal expense; tho by excessive indulgence in every profligate
pleasure--the wretched but usual resource of ruined characters; tho by
the hurry of public business, or by the prouder and more dazzling
tumult of war, he may endeavor to efface, both from his own memory and
from that of other people, the remembrance of what he has done, that
remembrance never fails to pursue him. He invokes in vain the dark and
dismal powers of forgetfulness and oblivion. He remembers himself what
he has done, and that remembrance tells him that other people must
likewise remember it. Amidst all the gaudy pomp of the most
ostentatious greatness, amidst the venal and vile adulation of the
great and of the learned, amidst the more innocent tho more foolish
acclamations of the common people, amidst all the pride of conquest
and the triumph of successful war, he is still secretly pursued by the
avenging furies of shame and remorse; and while glory seems to
surround him on all sides, he himself, in his own imagination, sees
black and foul infamy fast pursuing him, and every moment ready to
overtake him from behind.

Even the great Cæsar, tho he had the magnanimity to dismiss his
guards, could not dismiss his suspicions. The remembrance of Pharsalia
still haunted and pursued him. When, at the request of the senate, he
had the generosity to pardon Marcellus, he told that assembly that he
was not unaware of the designs which were carrying on against his
life; but that, as he had lived long enough both for nature and for
glory, he was contented to die, and therefore despised all
conspiracies. He had, perhaps, lived long enough for nature; but the
man who felt himself the object of such deadly resentment, from those
whose favor he wished to gain, and whom he still wished to consider as
his friends, had certainly lived too long for real glory, or for all
the happiness which he could ever hope to enjoy in the love and esteem
of his equals.



II

THE ADVANTAGES OF A DIVISION OF LABOR[47]


Observe the accommodation of the most common artificer or day-laborer
in a civilized and thriving country, and you will perceive that the
number of people, of whose industry a part, tho but a small part, has
been employed in procuring him this accommodation, exceeds all
computation. The woolen coat, for example, which covers the
day-laborer, as coarse and rough as it may appear, is the product of
the joint labor of a great multitude of workmen. The shepherd, the
sorter of the wool, the wool-comber or carder, the dyer, the
scribbler, the spinner, the weaver, the fuller, the dresser, with many
others, must all join their different arts in order to complete even
this homely production.

How many merchants and carriers, besides, must have been employed in
transporting the materials from some of those workmen to others, who
often live in a very distant part of the country! How much commerce
and navigation in particular, how many ship-builders, sailors,
sail-makers, rope-makers, must have been employed in order to bring
together the different drugs made use of by the dyer, which often come
from the remotest corners of the world! What a variety of labor, too,
is necessary in order to produce the tools of the meanest of those
workmen!

To say nothing of such complicated machines as the ship of the sailor,
the mill of the fuller, or even the loom of the weaver, let us
consider only what a variety of labor is requisite in order to form
that very simple machine, the shears with which the shepherd clips the
wool. The miner, the builder of the furnace for smelting the ore, the
feller of the timber, the burner of the charcoal to be made use of in
the smelting-house, the brick-maker, the bricklayer, the workmen who
attend the furnace, the millwright, the forger, the smith, must all of
them join their different arts in order to produce them.

Were we to examine in the same manner all the different parts of his
dress and household furniture, the coarse linen shirt which he wears
next his skin, the shoes which cover his feet, the bed which he lies
on, and all the different parts which compose it, the kitchen-grate at
which he prepares his victuals, the coals which he makes use of for
that purpose, dug from the bowels of the earth, and brought to him,
perhaps, by a long sea and a long land carriage, all the other
utensils of his kitchen, all the furniture of his table, the knives
and forks, the earthen or pewter plates upon which he serves up and
divides his victuals, the different hands employed in preparing his
bread and his beer, the glass window which lets in the heat and the
light, and keeps out the wind and the rain, with all the knowledge and
art requisite for preparing that beautiful and happy invention,
without which these northern parts of the world could scarce have
afforded a very comfortable habitation, together with the tools of all
the different workmen employed in producing those different
conveniences; if we examine, I say, all these things, and consider
what a variety of labor is employed about each of them, we shall be
sensible that, without the assistance and cooperation of many
thousands, the very meanest person in a civilized country could not be
provided, even according to what we very falsely imagine the easy and
simple manner in which he is commonly accommodated. Compared, indeed,
with the more extravagant luxury of the great, his accommodation must
no doubt appear extremely simple and easy; and yet it may be true,
perhaps, that the accommodation of a European prince does not always
so much exceed that of an industrious and frugal peasant, as the
accommodation of the latter exceeds that of many an African king, the
absolute masters of the lives and liberties of ten thousand naked
savages.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 46: From the "Theory of Moral Sentiments."]

[Footnote 47: From "The Wealth of Nations."]



SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE

     Born in 1723, died in 1780; professor of Common Law at
     Oxford in 1758; justice in the Court of Common Pleas in
     1770; published his "Commentaries" in 1765-68, eight
     editions appearing in his own lifetime, and innumerable ones
     since.



PROFESSIONAL SOLDIERS IN FREE COUNTRIES[48]


In a land of liberty it is extremely dangerous to make a distinct
order of the profession of arms. In absolute monarchies this is
necessary for the safety of the prince, and arises from the main
principle of their constitution, which is that of governing by fear;
but in free states the profession of a soldier, taken singly and
merely as a profession, is justly an object of jealousy. In these no
man should take up arms, but with a view to defend his country and its
laws; he puts not off the citizen when he enters the camp; but it is
because he is a citizen, and would wish to continue so, that he makes
himself for a while a soldier. The laws therefore and constitution of
these kingdoms know no such state as that of a perpetual standing
soldier, bred up to no other profession than that of war; and it was
not till the reign of Henry VII that the kings of England had so much
as a guard about their persons.

In the time of our Saxon ancestors, as appears from Edward the
Confessor's laws, the military force of this kingdom was in the hands
of the dukes or heretochs, who were constituted through every province
and county in the kingdom; being taken out of the principal nobility,
and such as were most remarkable for being "_sapientes, fideles, et
animosi_." Their duty was to lead and regulate the English armies,
with a very unlimited power; "_prout eis visum fuerit, ad honorem
coronæ et utilitatem regni_." And because of this great power they
were elected by the people in their full assembly, or folkmote, in the
manner as sheriffs were elected; following still that old fundamental
maxim of the Saxon constitution, that where any officer was entrusted
with such power, as if abused might tend to the oppression of the
people, that power was delegated to him by the vote of the people
themselves. So, too, among the ancient Germans, the ancestors of our
Saxon forefathers, they had their dukes, as well as kings, with an
independent power over the military, as the kings had over the civil
state. The dukes were elective, the kings hereditary; for so only can
be consistently understood that passage of Tacitus, "_reges ex
nobilitate, duces ex virtute sumunt_"; in constituting their kings,
the family or blood royal was regarded; in choosing their dukes or
leaders, warlike merit; just as Cæsar relates of their ancestors in
his time, that whenever they went to war, by way either of attack or
defense, they elected leaders to command them. This large share of
power, thus conferred by the people, tho intended to preserve the
liberty of the subject, was perhaps unreasonably detrimental to the
prerogative of the crown; and accordingly we find ill use made of it
by Edric, Duke of Mercia, in the reign of King Edmund Ironside, who,
by his office of duke or heretoch, was entitled to a large command in
the king's army, and by his repeated treacheries at last transferred
the crown to Canute the Dane.

It seems universally agreed by all historians, that King Alfred first
settled a national militia in this kingdom, and by his prudent
discipline made all the subjects of his dominion soldiers; but we are
unfortunately left in the dark as to the particulars of this his so
celebrated regulation; tho, from what was last observed, the dukes
seem to have been left in possession of too large and independent a
power; which enabled Duke Harold on the death of Edward the Confessor,
tho a stranger to the royal blood, to mount for a short space the
throne of this kingdom, in prejudice of Edgar Atheling the rightful
heir.

Upon the Norman Conquest the feudal law was introduced here in all its
rigor, the whole of which is built on a military plan. I shall not now
enter into the particulars of that constitution, which belongs more
properly to the next part of our "Commentaries"; but shall only
observe that, in consequence thereof, all the lands in the kingdom
were divided into what were called knights' fees, in number above
sixty thousand (1); and for every knight's fee a knight or soldier,
_miles_, was bound to attend the king in his wars, for forty days in a
year (2); in which space of time, before war was reduced to a science,
the campaign was generally finished, and a kingdom either conquered
or victorious. By this means the king had, without any expense, an
army of sixty thousand men always ready at his command. And
accordingly we find one, among the laws of William the Conqueror,
which in the king's name commands and firmly enjoins the personal
attendance of all knights and others: "_quod habeant et teneant se
semper in armis et equis, ut decet et oportet; et quod semper sint
prompti et parati ad servitium suum integrum nobis explendum et
peragendum, cum opus adfuerit, secundum quod debent feodis et
tenementis suis de jure nobis facere_." This personal service in
process of time degenerated into pecuniary commutations or aids, and
at last the military part of the feudal system was abolished at the
Restoration....

As the fashion of keeping standing armies, which was first introduced
by Charles VII in France, 1445 A.D., has of late years universally
prevailed over Europe (tho some of its potentates, being unable
themselves to maintain them, are obliged to have recourse to richer
powers, and receive subsidiary pensions for that purpose), it has also
for many years past been annually judged necessary by our legislature,
for the safety of the kingdom, the defense of the possessions of the
crown of Great Britain, and the preservation of the balance of power
in Europe, to maintain even in time of peace a standing body of
troops, under the command of the crown; who are, however, _ipso facto_
disbanded at the expiration of every year, unless continued by
Parliament. And it was enacted by statute (10 W. III, c. 1) that not
more than twelve thousand regular forces should be kept on foot in
Ireland, tho paid at the charge of that kingdom; which permission is
extended by statute (8 Geo. III, c. 13) to 16,235 men, in time of
peace.

To prevent the executive power from being able to oppress, says Baron
Montesquieu,[49] it is requisite that the armies with which it is
entrusted should consist of the people, and have the same spirit with
the people; as was the case at Rome, till Marius new modeled the
legions by enlisting the rabble of Italy, and laid the foundation of
all the military tyranny that ensued. Nothing, then, according to
these principles, ought to be more guarded against in a free state,
than making the military power, when such a one is necessary to be
kept on foot, a body too distinct from the people. Like ours, it
should be wholly composed of natural subjects; it ought only to be
enlisted for a short and limited time; the soldiers also should live
intermixt with the people; no separate camp, no barracks, no inland
fortresses should be allowed. And perhaps it might be still better if,
by dismissing a stated number, and enlisting others at every renewal
of their term, a circulation could be kept up between the army and the
people, and the citizen and the soldier be mere intimately connected
together.

To keep this body of troops in order, an annual act of Parliament
likewise passes, "to punish mutiny and desertion, and for the better
payment of the army and their quarters." This regulates the manner in
which they are to be dispersed among the several innkeepers and
victualers throughout the kingdom, and establishes a law martial for
their government. By this, among other things, it is enacted that if
any officer or soldier shall excite, or join any mutiny, or, knowing
of it, shall not give notice to the commanding officer; or shall
desert, or list in any other regiment, or sleep upon his post, or
leave it before he is relieved, or hold correspondence with a rebel or
enemy, or strike or use violence to his superior officer, or shall
disobey his lawful commands; such offender shall suffer such
punishment a court martial shall inflict, tho it extend to death
itself.

However expedient the most strict regulations may be in time of actual
war, yet in times of profound peace a little relaxation of military
rigor would not, one should hope, be productive of much inconvenience.
And upon this principle, tho by our standing laws (still remaining in
force, tho not attended to), desertion in time of war is made felony,
without benefit of clergy, and the offense is triable by a jury and
before justices at the common law; yet, by our militia laws before
mentioned, a much lighter punishment is inflicted for desertion in
time of peace. So, by the Roman law also, desertion in time of war was
punished with death, but more mildly in time of tranquillity. But our
Mutiny Act makes no such distinction; for any of the faults above
mentioned are, equally at all times, punishable with death itself, if
a court martial shall think proper.

This discretionary power of the court martial is indeed to be guided
by the directions of the crown; which, with regard to military
offenses, has almost an absolute legislative power. "His Majesty,"
says the act, "may form articles of war, and constitute courts
martial, with power to try any crime by such articles, and inflict
penalties by sentence or judgment of the same." A vast and most
important trust! an unlimited power to create crimes, and annex to
them any punishments, not extending to life or limb! These are indeed
forbidden to be inflicted, except for crimes declared to be so
punishable by this act; which crimes we have just enumerated, and
among which we may observe that any disobedience to lawful commands is
one. Perhaps in some future revision of this act, which is in many
respects hastily penned, it may be thought worthy the wisdom of
Parliament to ascertain the limits of military subjection, and to
enact express articles of war for the government of the army, as is
done for the government of the navy; especially as, by our
constitution, the nobility and the gentry of the kingdom, who serve
their country as militia officers, are annually subjected to the same
arbitrary rule during their time of exercise.

One of the greatest advantages of our English law is that not only the
crimes themselves which it punishes, but also the penalties which it
inflicts, are ascertained and notorious; nothing is left to arbitrary
discretion; the king by his judges dispenses what the law has
previously ordained, but is not himself the legislator. How much
therefore is it to be regretted that a set of men, whose bravery has
so often preserved the liberties of their country, should be reduced
to a state of servitude in the midst of a nation of free men! for Sir
Edward Coke[50] will inform us that it is one of the genuine marks of
servitude, to have the law, which is our rule of action, either
concealed or precarious; "_misera est servitus ubi jus est vagum aut
incognitum_." Nor is this the state of servitude quite consistent with
the maxims of sound policy observed by other free nations. For the
greater the general liberty is which any state enjoys, the more
cautious has it usually been in introducing slavery in any particular
order or profession. These men, as Baron Montesquieu observes, seeing
the liberty which others possess, and which they themselves are
excluded from, are apt (like eunuchs in the eastern seraglios) to live
in a state of perpetual envy and hatred toward the rest of the
community, and indulge a malignant pleasure in contributing to destroy
those privileges to which they can never be admitted. Hence have many
free states, by departing from this rule, been endangered by the
revolt of their slaves; while in absolute and despotic governments,
where no real liberty exists, and consequently no invidious
comparisons can be formed, such incidents are extremely rare. Two
precautions are therefore advised to be observed in all prudent and
free governments: 1. To prevent the introduction of slavery at all;
or, 2. If it be already introduced, not to entrust those slaves with
arms; who will then find themselves an overmatch for the freemen. Much
less ought the soldiery to be an exception to the people in general.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 48: From the "Commentaries on the Laws of England."]

[Footnote 49: Author of "The Spirit of the Laws."]

[Footnote 50: Noted as jurist and as the author of comments on
Littleton's "Tenures," a book commonly known as "Coke Upon Littleton."
The great blot on his noble reputation is the brutality with which he
prosecuted Sir Walter Raleigh.]



OLIVER GOLDSMITH

     Born in Ireland in 1728, died in 1774; educated at Trinity
     College, Dublin; studied medicine in Edinburgh; traveled on
     the Continent, chiefly on foot, in 1755-56; became a writer
     for periodicals in London in 1757; published "The Present
     State of Polite Learning" in 1759, "The Citizen of the
     World" in 1762; "The Traveler" in 1765; "The Vicar of
     Wakefield" in 1766; "The Deserted Village" in 1770.



I

THE AMBITIONS OF THE VICAR'S FAMILY[51]


I now began to find that all my long and painful lectures upon
temperance, simplicity, and contentment were entirely disregarded. The
distinctions lately paid us by our betters awakened that pride which I
had laid asleep, but not removed. Our windows again, as formerly, were
filled with washes for the neck and face. The sun was dreaded as an
enemy to the skin without doors, and the fire as a spoiler of the
complexion within. My wife observed that rising too early would hurt
her daughters' eyes, that working after dinner would redden their
noses, and she convinced me that the hands never looked so white as
when they did nothing. Instead therefore of finishing George's shirts,
we now had them new-modeling their old gauzes, or flourishing upon
catgut. The poor Miss Flamboroughs, their former gay companions, were
cast off as mean acquaintance, and the whole conversation ran upon
high life and high-lived company, with pictures, taste, Shakespeare,
and the musical glasses.

But we could have borne all this, had not a fortune-telling gipsy come
to raise us into perfect sublimity. The tawny sibyl no sooner appeared
than my girls came running to me for a shilling apiece, to cross her
hand with silver. To say the truth, I was tired of being always wise,
and could not help gratifying their request, because I loved to see
them happy. I gave each of them a shilling, tho for the honor of the
family it must be observed that they never went without money
themselves, as my wife always generously let them have a guinea each
to keep in their pockets, but with strict injunctions never to change
it. After they had been closeted up with the fortune-teller for some
time, I knew by their looks upon their returning that they had been
promised something great. "Well, my girls, how have you sped? Tell me,
Livy, has the fortune-teller given thee a pennyworth?" "I protest,
papa," says the girl, "I believe she deals with somebody that is not
right, for she positively declared that I am to be married to a squire
in less than a twelvemonth!" "Well now, Sophy, my child," said I, "and
what sort of a husband are you to have?" "Sir," replied she, "I am to
have a lord soon after my sister has married the squire." "How," cried
I, "is that all you are to have for your two shillings? Only a lord
and a squire for two shillings! You fools, I could have promised you a
prince and a nabob for half the money!"

This curiosity of theirs, however, was attended with very serious
effects: we now began to think ourselves designed by the stars to
something exalted, and already anticipated our future grandeur....

It has been a thousand times observed, and I must observe it once
more, that the hours we pass with happy prospects in view are more
pleasing than those crowned with fruition. In the first case we cook
the dish to our own appetite; in the latter, nature cooks it for us.
It is impossible to repeat the train of agreeable reveries we called
up for our entertainment. We looked upon our fortunes as once more
rising; and as the whole parish asserted that the Squire was in love
with my daughter, she was actually so with him, for they persuaded her
into the passion. In this agreeable interval my wife had the most
lucky dreams in the world, which she took care to tell us every
morning with great solemnity and exactness. It was one night a coffin
and crossbones, the sign of an approaching wedding; at another time
she imagined her daughter's pockets filled with farthings, a certain
sign of their being shortly stuffed with gold. The girls themselves
had their omens. They felt strange kisses on their lips; they saw
rings in the candle; purses bounced from the fire, and true-love knots
lurked in the bottom of every teacup.

Toward the end of the week we received a card from the town ladies, in
which, with their compliments, they hoped to see all our family at
church the Sunday following. All Saturday morning I could perceive, in
consequence of this, my wife and daughters in close conference
together, and now and then glancing at me with looks that betrayed a
latent plot. To be sincere, I had strong suspicions that some absurd
proposal was preparing for appearing with splendor the next day. In
the evening they began their operations in a very regular manner, and
my wife undertook to conduct the siege.

After tea, when I seemed in spirits, she began thus: "I fancy, Charles
my dear, we shall have a great deal of good company at our church
tomorrow." "Perhaps we may, my dear," returned I; "tho you need be
under no uneasiness about that; you shall have a sermon whether there
be or not." "That is what I expect," returned she; "but I think, my
dear, we ought to appear there as decently as possible, for who knows
what may happen?" "Your precautions," replied I, "are highly
commendable. A decent behavior and appearance in church is what charms
me. We should be devout and humble, cheerful and serene." "Yes," cried
she, "I know that; but I mean we should go there in as proper a manner
as possible; not altogether like the scrubs about us." "You are quite
right, my dear," returned I; "and I was going to make the very same
proposal. The proper manner of going is to go there as early as
possible, to have time for meditation before the service begins."
"Phoo, Charles!" interrupted she; "all that is very true, but not what
I would be at. I mean we should go there genteelly. You know the
church is two miles off, and I protest I don't like to see my
daughters trudging up to their pew all blowzed and red with walking,
and looking for all the world as if they had been winners at a
smock-race. Now, my dear, my proposal is this: there are our two
plow-horses, the colt that has been in our family these nine years,
and his companion Blackberry that has scarcely done an earthly thing
this month past. They are both grown fat and lazy. Why should not they
do something as well as we? And let me tell you, when Moses has
trimmed them a little they will cut a very tolerable figure."

To this proposal I objected that walking would be twenty times more
genteel than such a paltry conveyance, as Blackberry was wall-eyed and
the colt wanted a tail; that they had never been broke to the rein,
but had a hundred vicious tricks; and that we had but one saddle and
pillion in the whole house. All these objections, however, were
overruled; so that I was obliged to comply. The next morning I
perceived them not a little busy in collecting such materials as might
be necessary for the expedition, but as I found it would be a business
of time, I walked on to the church before, and they promised speedily
to follow. I waited near an hour in the reading-desk for their
arrival, but not finding them come as I expected, I was obliged to
begin, and went through the service, not without some uneasiness at
finding them absent. This was increased when all was finished, and no
appearance of the family.

I therefore walked back to the horse-way, which was five miles around,
tho the foot-way was but two, and when I got about half-way home,
perceived the procession marching slowly forward toward the church; my
son, my wife, and the two little ones exalted upon one horse, and my
two daughters upon the other. I demanded the cause of their delay; but
I soon found by their looks they had met with a thousand misfortunes
on the road. The horses had at first refused to move from the door,
till Mr. Burchell was kind enough to beat them forward for about two
hundred yards with his cudgel. Next, the straps of my wife's pillion
broke down, and they were obliged to stop to repair them before they
could proceed. After that, one of the horses took it into his head to
stand still, and neither blows nor entreaties could prevail with him
to proceed. They were just recovering from this dismal situation when
I found them; but perceiving everything safe, I own their present
mortification did not much displease me, as it would give me many
opportunities of future triumph, and teach my daughters more humility.



II

SAGACITY IN INSECTS[52]


Animals in general are sagacious in proportion as they cultivate
society. The elephant and the beaver show the greatest signs of this
when united; but when man intrudes into their communities they lose
all their spirit of industry and testify but a very small share of
that sagacity for which, when in a social state, they are so
remarkable.

Among insects, the labors of the bee and the ant have employed the
attention and admiration of the naturalist; but their whole sagacity
is lost upon separation, and a single bee or ant seems destitute of
every degree of industry, is the most stupid insect imaginable,
languishes for a time in solitude, and soon dies.

Of all the solitary insects I have ever remarked, the spider is the
most sagacious; and its actions, to me who have attentively considered
them, seem almost to exceed belief. This insect is formed by nature
for a state of war, not only upon other insects, but upon each other.
For this state nature seems perfectly well to have formed it. Its head
and breast are covered with a strong natural coat of mail, which is
impenetrable to the attempts of every other insect, and its belly is
enveloped in a soft, pliant skin, which eludes the sting even of a
wasp. Its legs are terminated by strong claws, not unlike those of a
lobster; and their vast length, like spears, serve to keep every
assailant at a distance.

Not worse furnished for observation than for an attack or a defense,
it has several eyes, large, transparent, and covered with a horny
substance, which, however, does not impede its vision. Besides this,
it is furnished with a forceps above the mouth, which serves to kill
or secure the prey already caught in its claws or its net.

Such are the implements of war with which the body is immediately
furnished; but its net to entangle the enemy seems what it chiefly
trusts to, and what it takes most pains to render as complete as
possible. Nature has furnished the body of this little creature with a
glutinous liquid, which, proceeding from the anus, it spins into
thread, coarser or finer, as it chooses to contract or dilate its
sphincter. In order to fix its thread when it begins to weave, it
emits a small drop of its liquid against the wall, which hardening by
degrees, serves to hold the thread very firmly. Then receding from its
first point, as it recedes the thread lengthens; and when the spider
has come to the place where the other end of the thread should be
fixt, gathering up with its claws the thread which would otherwise be
too slack, it is stretched tightly and fixt in the same manner to the
wall as before.

In this manner it spins and fixes several threads parallel to each
other, which, so to speak serve as the warp to the intended web. To
form the woof, it spins in the same manner its thread, transversely
fixing one end to the first thread that was spun, and which is always
the strongest of the whole web, and the other to the wall. All these
threads being newly spun, are glutinous and therefore stick to each
other wherever they happen to touch; and in those parts of the web
most exposed to be torn, our natural artist strengthens them, by
doubling the threads sometimes sixfold.

Thus far naturalists have gone in the description of this animal; what
follows is the result of my own observation upon that species of the
insect called a house spider. I perceived about four years ago a large
spider in one corner of my room, making its web; and tho the maid
frequently leveled her fatal broom against the labors of the little
animal, I had the good fortune then to prevent its destruction; and I
may say it more than paid me by the entertainment it afforded.

In three days the web was with incredible diligence completed; nor
could I avoid thinking that the insect seemed to exult in its new
abode. It frequently traversed it round, examined the strength of
every part of it, retired into its hole, and came out very frequently.
The first enemy, however, it had to encounter, was another and a much
larger spider, which, having no web of its own, and having probably
exhausted all its stock in former labors of this kind, came to invade
the property of its neighbor. Soon, then, a terrible encounter ensued,
in which the invader seemed to have the victory, and the laborious
spider was obliged to take refuge in its hole. Upon this I perceived
the victor using every art to draw the enemy from his stronghold. He
seemed to go off, but quickly returned; and when he found all arts
vain, began to demolish the new web without mercy. This brought on
another battle, and, contrary to my expectations, the laborious spider
became conqueror, and fairly killed his antagonist.

Now, then, in peaceable possession of what was justly its own, it
waited three days with the utmost impatience, repairing the breaches
of its web, and taking no sustenance that I could perceive. At last,
however, a large blue fly fell into the snare, and struggled hard to
get loose. The spider gave it leave to entangle itself as much as
possible, but it seemed to be too strong for the cobweb. I must own I
was greatly surprized when I saw the spider immediately sally out,
and in less than a minute weave a new net around its captive, by which
the motion of its wings was stopt; and when it was fairly hampered in
this manner, it was seized and dragged into the hole.

In this manner it lived in a precarious state; and nature seemed to
have fitted it for such a life, for upon a single fly it subsisted for
more than a week. I once put a wasp into the net; but when the spider
came out in order to seize it as usual, upon perceiving what kind of
an enemy it had to deal with, it instantly broke all the bands that
held it fast and contributed all that lay in its power to disengage so
formidable an antagonist. When the wasp was at liberty, I expected the
spider would have set about repairing the breaches that were made in
its net, but those it seems were irreparable; wherefore the cobweb was
now entirely forsaken, and a new one begun, which was completed in the
usual time.

I had now a mind to try how many cobwebs a single spider could
furnish; wherefore I destroyed this, and the insect set about another.
When I destroyed the other also its whole stock seemed entirely
exhausted, and it could spin no more. The arts it made use of to
support itself, now deprived of its great means of subsistence, were
indeed surprizing. I have seen it roll up its legs like a ball and lie
motionless for hours together, but cautiously watching all the time.
When a fly happened to approach sufficiently near, it would dart out
all at once, and often seize its prey.

Of this life, however, it soon began to grow weary, and resolved to
invade the possession of some other spider, since it could not make a
web of its own. It formed an attack upon a neighboring fortification
with great vigor, and at first was as vigorously repulsed. Not
daunted, however, with one defeat, in this manner it continued to lay
siege to another's web for three days, and at length, having killed
the defendant, actually took possession. When smaller flies happen to
fall into the snare, the spider does not sally out at once, but very
patiently waits till it is sure of them; for upon his immediately
approaching, the terror of his appearance might give the captive
strength sufficient to get loose; the manner then is to wait patiently
till by ineffectual and impotent struggles the captive has wasted all
its strength, and then it becomes a certain and easy conquest.

The insect I am now describing lived three years; every year it
changed its skin and got a new set of legs. I have sometimes plucked
off a leg, which grew again in two or three days. At first it dreaded
my approach to its web, but at last it became so familiar as to take a
fly out of my hand; and upon my touching any part of the web, would
immediately leave its hole, prepared either for a defense or an
attack.

To complete this description, it may be observed that the male spiders
are much less than the female, and that the latter are oviparous. When
they come to lay, they spread a part of their web under the eggs, and
then roll them up carefully, as we roll up things in a cloth, and thus
hatch them in their hole. If disturbed in their holes they never
attempt to escape without carrying this young brood, in their forceps,
away with them, and thus frequently are sacrificed to their paternal
affection.

As soon as ever the young ones leave their artificial covering, they
begin to spin, and almost sensibly seem to grow bigger. If they have
the good fortune, when even but a day old, to catch a fly, they fall
to with good appetites; but they live sometimes three or four days
without any sort of sustenance, and yet still continue to grow larger,
so as every day to double their former size. As they grow old,
however, they do not still continue to increase, but their legs only
continue to grow longer; and when a spider becomes entirely stiff with
age and unable to seize its prey, it dies at length of hunger.



III

A CHINAMAN'S VIEW OF LONDON[53]


Think not, O thou guide of my youth! that absence can impair my
respect, or interposing trackless deserts blot your reverend figure
from my memory. The further I travel I feel the pain of separation
with stronger force; those ties that bind me to my native country and
you are still unbroken. By every remove I only drag a greater length
of chain.

Could I find aught worth transmitting from so remote a region as this
to which I have wandered I should gladly send it; but, instead of
this, you must be contented with a renewal of my former professions
and an imperfect account of a people with whom I am as yet but
superficially acquainted. The remarks of a man who has been but three
days in the country can only be those obvious circumstances which
force themselves upon the imagination. I consider myself here as a
newly created being introduced into a new world; every object strikes
with wonder and surprize. The imagination, still unsated, seems the
only active principle of the mind. The most trifling occurrences give
pleasure till the gloss of novelty is worn away. When I have ceased to
wonder, I may possibly grow wise; I may then call the reasoning
principle to my aid, and compare those objects with each other, which
were before examined without reflection.

Behold me then in London, gazing at the strangers, and they at me; it
seems they find somewhat absurd in my figure; and had I been never
from home, it is possible I might find an infinite fund of ridicule in
theirs; but by long traveling I am taught to laugh at folly alone, and
to find nothing truly ridiculous but villainy and vice.

When I had quitted my native country, and crossed the Chinese wall, I
fancied every deviation from the customs and manners of China was a
departing from nature. I smiled at the blue lips and red foreheads of
the Tonguese; and could hardly contain when I saw the Daures dress
their heads with horns. The Ostiacs powdered with red earth; and the
Calmuck beauties, tricked out in all the finery of sheepskin, appeared
highly ridiculous: but I soon perceived that the ridicule lay not in
them, but in me; that I falsely condemned others for absurdity
because they happened to differ from a standard originally founded in
prejudice or partiality.

I find no pleasure therefore in taxing the English with departing from
nature in their external appearance, which is all I yet know of their
character: it is possible they only endeavor to improve her simple
plan, since every extravagance in dress proceeds from a desire of
becoming more beautiful than nature made us; and this is so harmless a
vanity that I not only pardon but approve it. A desire to be more
excellent than others is what actually makes us so; and as thousands
find a livelihood in society by such appetites, none but the ignorant
inveigh against them.

You are not insensible, most reverend Fum Hoam, what numberless
trades, even among the Chinese, subsist by the harmless pride of each
other. Your nose-borers, feet-swathers, tooth-stainers,
eyebrow-pluckers would all want bread should their neighbors want
vanity. These vanities, however, employ much fewer hands in China than
in England; and a fine gentleman or a fine lady here, drest up to the
fashion, seems scarcely to have a single limb that does not suffer
some distortions from art.

To make a fine gentleman, several trades are required, but chiefly a
barber. You have undoubtedly heard of the Jewish champion whose
strength lay in his hair. One would think that the English were for
placing all wisdom there. To appear wise nothing more is requisite
here than for a man to borrow hair from the heads of all his neighbors
and clap it like a bush on his own; the distributors of law and
physic stick on such quantities that it is almost impossible, even in
idea, to distinguish between the head and the hair.

Those whom I have been now describing affect the gravity of the lion;
those I am going to describe more resemble the pert vivacity of
smaller animals. The barber, who is still master of the ceremonies,
cuts their hair close to the crown, and then with a composition of
meal and hog's lard plasters the whole in such a manner as to make it
impossible to distinguish whether the patient wears a cap or a
plaster; but, to make the picture more perfectly striking, conceive
the tail of some beast, a greyhound's tail, or a pig's tail, for
instance, appended to the back of the head, and reaching down to that
place where tails in other animals are generally seen to begin; thus
betailed and bepowdered, the man of taste fancies he improves in
beauty, dresses up his hard-featured face in smiles, and attempts to
look hideously tender. Thus equipped, he is qualified to make love,
and hopes for success more from the powder on the outside of his head
than the sentiments within.

Yet when I consider what sort of a creature the fine lady is to whom
he is supposed to pay his addresses, it is not strange to find him
thus equipped in order to please. She is herself every whit as fond of
powder, and tails, and hog's lard, as he. To speak my secret
sentiments, most reverend Fum, the ladies here are horribly ugly; I
can hardly endure the sight of them; they no way resemble the beauties
of China: the Europeans have quite a different idea of beauty from
us. When I reflect on the small-footed perfections of an Eastern
beauty, how is it possible I should have eyes for a woman whose feet
are ten inches long? I shall never forget the beauties of my native
city of Nanfew. How very broad their faces! how very short their
noses! how very little their eyes! how very thin their lips! how very
black their teeth! the snow on the tops of Bao is not fairer than
their cheeks; and their eyebrows are small as the line by the pencil
of Quamsi. Here a lady with such perfections would be frightful; Dutch
and Chinese beauties, indeed, have some resemblance, but English women
are entirely different; red cheeks, big eyes, and teeth of a most
odious whiteness, are not only seen here, but wished for; and then
they have such masculine feet, as actually serve some for walking!

Yet uncivil as Nature has been, they seem resolved to outdo her in
unkindness; they use white powder, blue powder, and black powder; for
their hair, and a red powder for the face on some particular
occasions.

They like to have the face of various colors, as among the Tatars of
Koreki, frequently sticking on with spittle, little black patches on
every part of it, except on the tip of the nose, which I have never
seen with a patch. You'll have a better idea of their manner of
placing these spots, when I have finished the map of an English face
patched up to the fashion, which shall shortly be sent to increase
your curious collection of paintings, medals, and monsters.

But what surprizes more than all the rest is what I have just now been
credibly informed by one of this country. "Most ladies here," says
he, "have two faces; one face to sleep in, and another to show in
company. The first is generally reserved for the husband and family at
home; the other put on to please strangers abroad. The family face is
often indifferent enough, but the outdoor one looks something better;
this is always made at the toilet, where the looking-glass and
toadeater sit in council, and settle the complexion of the day."

I can't ascertain the truth of this remark; however, it is actually
certain that they wear more clothes within doors than without, and I
have seen a lady, who seemed to shudder at a breeze in her own
apartment, appear half-naked in the streets. Farewell.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 51: From "The Vicar of Wakefield."]

[Footnote 52: From "The Bee, Being Essays on the Most Interesting
Subjects," and published in 1759. Of these essays eight had been
previously published as weekly contributions.]

[Footnote 53: Letter No. III in "The Citizen of the World," the writer
being a Chinaman.]



EDMUND BURKE

     Born in Ireland in 1729, died is 1797; educated at Trinity
     College, Dublin; elected to Parliament in 1766; made his
     famous speech on American affairs in 1774; became
     Paymaster-general and Privy Counselor in 1782; conducted the
     impeachment trial of Warren Hastings in 1787-95; published
     "Natural Society" in 1756; "The Sublime and Beautiful" in
     1756; "The Present Discontent" in 1770; "Reflections on the
     Revolution in France" in 1790.



I

THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD TASTE[54]


On a superficial view we may seem to differ very widely from each
other in our reasonings, and no less in our pleasures; but
notwithstanding this difference, which I think to be rather apparent
than real, it is probable that the standard both of reason and taste
is the same in all human creatures. For if there were not some
principles of judgment as well as of sentiment common to all mankind,
no hold could possibly be taken either on their reason or their
passions sufficient to maintain the ordinary correspondence of life.
It appears indeed to be generally acknowledged that with regard to
truth and falsehood there is something fixt. We find people in their
disputes continually appealing to certain tests and standards, which
are allowed on all sides, and are supposed to be established in our
common nature.

But there is not the same obvious concurrence in any uniform or
settled principles which relate to taste. It is even commonly supposed
that this delicate and aerial faculty, which seems too volatile to
endure even the chains of a definition, can not be properly tried by
any test, nor regulated by any standard. There is so continual a call
for the exercise of the reasoning faculty, and it is so much
strengthened by perpetual contention, that certain maxims of right
reason seem to be tacitly settled amongst the most ignorant. The
learned have improved on this rude science and reduced those maxims
into a system. If taste has not been so happily cultivated, it was not
that the subject was barren, but that the laborers were few or
negligent; for to say the truth, there are not the same interesting
motives to impel us to fix the one which urge us to ascertain the
other.

And after all, if men differ in their opinion concerning such matters,
their difference is not attended with the same important consequences;
else I make no doubt but that the logic of taste, if I may be allowed
the expression, might very possibly be as well digested, and we might
come to discuss matters of this nature with as much certainty as those
which seem more immediately within the province of mere reason. And
indeed, it is very necessary, at the entrance into such an inquiry as
our present, to make this point as clear as possible; for if taste has
no fixt principles, if the imagination is not affected according to
some invariable and certain laws, our labor is like to be employed to
very little purpose; as it must be judged a useless, if not an absurd
undertaking, to lay down rules for caprice, and to set up for a
legislator of whims and fancies.

The term taste, like all other figurative terms, is not extremely
accurate; the thing which we understand by it is far from a simple and
determinate idea in the minds of most men, and it is therefore liable
to uncertainty and confusion. I have no great opinion of a definition,
the celebrated remedy for the cure of this disorder. For when we
define, we seem in danger of circumscribing nature within the bounds
of our own notions, which we often take up by hazard, or embrace on
trust, or form out of a limited and partial consideration of the
object before us, instead of extending our ideas to take in all that
nature comprehends, according to her manner of combining. We are
limited in our inquiry by the strict laws to which we have submitted
at our setting out.

     _... Circa vilem patulumque morabimur orbem,
      Unde pudor proferre pedem vetet aut operis lex._

A definition may be very exact, and yet go but a very little way
toward informing us of the nature of the thing defined; but let the
virtue of a definition be what it will, in the order of things, it
seems rather to follow than to precede our inquiry, of which it ought
to be considered as the result. It must be acknowledged that the
methods of disquisition and teaching may be sometimes different, and
on very good reason undoubtedly; but for my part, I am convinced that
the method of teaching which approaches most nearly to the method of
investigation is incomparably the best; since, not content with
serving up a few barren and lifeless truths, it leads to the stock on
which they grew; it tends to set the reader himself in the track of
invention, and to direct him into those paths in which the author has
made his own discoveries, if he should be so happy as to have made any
that are valuable.

But to cut off all pretense for caviling, I mean by the word Taste no
more than that faculty or those faculties of the mind which are
affected with, or which form a judgment of, the works of imagination
and the elegant arts. This is, I think the most general idea of that
word, and what is the least connected with any particular theory. And
my point in this inquiry is, to find whether there are any principles
on which the imagination is affected, so common to all, so grounded
and certain, as to supply the means of reasoning satisfactorily about
them. And such principles of taste I fancy there are, however
paradoxical it may seem to those who on a superficial view imagine
that there is so great a diversity of tastes, both in kind and degree,
that nothing can be more determinate.

All the natural powers in man, which I know, that are conversant about
external objects are the senses, the imagination, and the judgment.
And first with regard to the senses. We do and we must suppose, that
as the conformation of their organs are nearly or altogether the same
in all men, so the manner of perceiving external objects is in all men
the same, or with little difference. We are satisfied that what
appears to be light to one eye appears light to another; that what
seems sweet to one palate is sweet to another; that what is dark and
bitter to this man is likewise dark and bitter to that; and we
conclude in the same manner of great and little, hard and soft, hot
and cold, rough and smooth; and indeed of all the natural qualities
and affections of bodies. If we suffer ourselves to imagine that their
senses present to different men different images of things this
skeptical proceeding will make every sort of reasoning on every
subject vain and frivolous, even that skeptical reasoning itself which
had persuaded us to entertain a doubt concerning the agreement of our
perceptions.

But as there will be little doubt that bodies present similar images
to the whole species, it must necessarily be allowed that the
pleasures and the pains which every object excites in one man, it must
raise in all mankind, whilst it operates, naturally, simply, and by
its proper powers only; for if we deny this, we must imagine that the
same cause operating in the same manner, and on subjects of the same
kind, will produce different effects, which would be highly absurd.
Let us first consider this point in the sense of taste, and the rather
as the faculty in question has taken its name from that sense. All men
are agreed to call vinegar sour, honey sweet, and aloes bitter; and as
they are all agreed in finding these qualities in those objects, they
do not in the least differ concerning their effects with regard to
pleasure and pain. They all concur in calling sweetness pleasant, and
sourness and bitterness unpleasant.

Here there is no diversity in their sentiments; and that there is not
appears fully from the consent of all men in the metaphors which are
taken from the sense of taste. A sour temper, bitter expressions,
bitter curses, a bitter fate, are terms well and strongly understood
by all. And we are altogether as well understood when we say a sweet
disposition, a sweet person, a sweet condition, and the like. It is
confest that custom and some other causes have made many deviations
from the natural pleasures or pains which belong to these several
tastes; but then the power of distinguishing between the natural and
the acquired relish remains to the very last. A man frequently comes
to prefer the taste of tobacco to that of sugar, and the flavor of
vinegar to that of milk; but this makes no confusion in tastes, whilst
he is sensible that the tobacco and vinegar are not sweet, and whilst
he knows that habit alone has reconciled his palate to these alien
pleasures. Even with such a person we may speak, and with sufficient
precision, concerning tastes. But should any man be found who declares
that to him tobacco has a taste like sugar, and that he can not
distinguish between milk and vinegar; or that tobacco and vinegar are
sweet, milk bitter, and sugar sour; we immediately conclude that the
organs of this man are out of order and that his palate is utterly
vitiated. We are as far from conferring with such a person upon tastes
as from reasoning concerning the relations of quantity with one who
should deny that all the parts together were equal to the whole. We do
not call a man of this kind wrong in his notions, but absolutely mad.
Exceptions of this sort, in either way, do not at all impeach our
general rule, nor make us conclude that men have various principles
concerning the relations of quantity or the taste of things. So that
when it is said taste can not be disputed, it can only mean that no
one can strictly answer what pleasure or pain some particular man may
find from the taste of some particular thing. This indeed can not be
disputed; but we may dispute, and with sufficient clearness too,
concerning the things which are naturally pleasing or disagreeable to
the sense. But when we talk of any peculiar or acquired relish, then
we must know the habits, the prejudices, or the distempers of this
particular man, and we must draw our conclusion from those.

This agreement of mankind is not confined to the taste solely. The
principle of pleasure derived from sight is the same in all. Light is
more pleasing than darkness. Summer, when the earth is clad in green,
when the heavens are serene and bright, is more agreeable than winter,
when everything makes a different appearance. I never remember that
anything beautiful, whether a man, a beast, a bird, or a plant, was
ever shown, tho it were to a hundred people, that they did not all
immediately agree that it was beautiful, tho some might have thought
that it fell short of their expectation, or that other things were
still finer. I believe no man thinks a goose to be more beautiful than
a swan, or imagines that what they call a Friesland hen excels a
peacock. It must be observed, too, that the pleasures of the sight are
not nearly so complicated and confused and altered by unnatural habits
and associations as the pleasures of the taste are; because the
pleasures of the sight more commonly acquiesce in themselves, and are
not so often altered by conditions which are independent of the sight
itself.

But things do not spontaneously present themselves to the palate as
they do to the sight; they are generally applied to it, either as food
or as medicine; and from the qualities which they possess for
nutritive or medicinal purposes, they often form the palate by
degrees, and by force of these associations. Thus opium is pleasing to
Turks on account of the agreeable delirium it produces. Tobacco is the
delight of Dutchmen, as it diffuses a torpor and pleasing
stupefaction. Fermented spirits please our common people, because they
banish care and all consideration of future or present evils. All of
these would lie absolutely neglected if their properties had
originally gone no further than the taste; but all these, together
with tea and coffee, and some other things, have passed from the
apothecary's shop to our tables, and were taken for health long before
they were thought of for pleasure. The effect of the drug has made us
use it frequently; and frequent use, combined with the agreeable
effect, has made the taste itself at last agreeable. But this does not
in the least perplex our reasoning, because we distinguish to the last
the acquired from the natural relish. In describing the taste of an
unknown fruit, you would scarcely say that it had a sweet and pleasant
flavor like tobacco, opium, or garlic, altho you spoke to those who
were in the constant use of these drugs, and had great pleasure in
them.

There is in all men a sufficient remembrance of the original natural
causes of pleasure to enable them to bring all things offered to their
senses to that standard, and to regulate their feelings and opinions
by it. Suppose one who had so vitiated his palate as to take more
pleasure in the taste of opium than in that of butter or honey to be
presented with a bolus of squills; there is hardly any doubt but that
he would prefer the butter or honey to this nauseous morsel, or to any
other bitter drug to which he had not been accustomed; which proves
that his palate was naturally like that of other men in all things,
that it is still like the palate of other men in many things, and only
vitiated in some particular points. For in judging of any new thing,
even of a taste similar to that which he has been formed by habit to
like, he finds his palate affected in the natural manner and on the
common principles. Thus the pleasure of all senses, of the sight, and
even of the taste, that most ambiguous of the senses, is the same in
all, high and low, learned and unlearned.

Besides the ideas, with their annexed pains and pleasures, which are
presented by the sense the mind of man possesses a sort of creative
power of its own; either in representing at pleasure the images of
things in the order and manner in which they were received by the
senses, or in combining those images in a new manner, and according to
a different order. This power is called imagination; and to this
belongs whatever is called wit, fancy, invention, and the like. But it
must be observed that the power of the imagination is incapable of
producing anything absolutely new; it can only vary the disposition of
those ideas which it has received from the senses. Now the imagination
is the most extensive province of pleasure and pain, as it is the
region of our fears and our hopes, and of all our passions that are
connected with them; and whatever is calculated to affect the
imagination with these commanding ideas, by force of any original
natural impression, must have the same power pretty equally over all
men. For since the imagination is only the representation of the
senses, it can only be pleased or displeased with the images, from the
same principle on which the sense is pleased or displeased with the
realities; and consequently there must be just as close an agreement
in the imaginations as in the senses of men. A little attention will
convince us that this must of necessity be the case.

But in the imaginations, besides the pain or pleasure arising from the
properties of the natural object, a pleasure is perceived from the
resemblance which the imitation has to the original; the imagination,
I conceive, can have no pleasure but what results from one or other of
these causes. And these causes operate pretty uniformly upon all men,
because they operate by principles in nature, and which are not
derived from any particular habits or advantages. Mr. Locke very
justly and finely observes of wit that it is chiefly conversant in
tracing resemblances; he remarks at the same time that the business of
judgment is rather in finding differences. It may perhaps appear, on
this supposition, that there is no material distinction between the
wit and the judgment, as they both seem to result from different
operations of the same faculty of comparing.

But in reality, whether they are or are not dependent on the same
power of the mind, they differ so very materially in many respects
that a perfect union of wit and judgment is one of the rarest things
in the world. When two distinct objects are unlike to each other, it
is only what we expect; things are in their common way, and therefore
they make no impression on the imagination; but when two distinct
objects have a resemblance, we are struck, we attend to them, and we
are pleased. The mind of man has naturally a far greater alacrity and
satisfaction in tracing resemblances than in searching for
differences; because by making resemblances we produce new images; we
unite, we create, we enlarge our stock: but in making distinctions we
offer no food at all to the imagination; the task itself is more
severe and irksome, and what pleasure we derive from it is something
of a negative and indirect nature. A piece of news is told me in the
morning; this, merely as a piece of news, as a fact added to my stock,
gives me some pleasure. In the evening I find there was nothing in it.
What do I gain by this but the dissatisfaction to find that I had been
imposed upon?

Hence it is that men are much more naturally inclined to belief than
to incredulity. And it is upon this principle that the most ignorant
and barbarous nations have frequently excelled in similitudes,
comparisons, metaphors, and allegories, who have been weak and
backward in distinguishing and sorting their ideas. And it is for a
reason of this kind that Homer and the Oriental writers, tho very fond
of similitudes, and tho they often strike out such as are truly
admirable, seldom take care to have them exact; that is, they are
taken with the general resemblance, they paint it strongly, and they
take no notice of the difference which may be found between the
things compared.

Now, as the pleasure of resemblance is that which principally flatters
the imagination, all men are nearly equal in this point, as far as
their knowledge of the things represented or compared extends. The
principle of this knowledge is very much accidental, as it depends
upon experience and observation, and not on the strength or weakness
of any natural faculty; and it is from this difference in knowledge
that what we commonly, tho with no great exactness, call a difference
in taste proceeds. A man to whom sculpture is new sees a barber's
block, or some ordinary piece of statuary; he is immediately struck
and pleased, because he sees something like a human figure; and,
entirely taken up with this likeness, he does not at all attend to its
defects. No person, I believe, at the first time of seeing a piece of
imitation ever did. Some time after, we suppose that this novice
lights upon a more artificial work of the same nature; he now begins
to look with contempt on what he admired at first; not that he admired
it even then for its unlikeness to a man, but for that general tho
inaccurate resemblance which it bore to the human figure. What he
admired at different times in these so different figures is strictly
the same; and tho his knowledge is improved, his taste is not altered.
Hitherto his mistake was from a want of knowledge in art, and this
arose from his inexperience; but he may be still deficient from a want
of knowledge in nature. For it is possible that the man in question
may stop here, and that the masterpiece of a great hand may please
him no more than the middling performance of a vulgar artist; and this
not for want of better or higher relish, but because all men do not
observe with sufficient accuracy on the human figure to enable them to
judge properly of an imitation of it.

And that the critical taste does not depend upon a superior principle
in men, but upon superior knowledge, may appear from several
instances. The story of the ancient painter and the shoemaker is very
well known. The shoemaker set the painter right with regard to some
mistakes he had made in the shoe of one of his figures, and which the
painter, who had not made such accurate observations on shoes, and was
content with a general resemblance, had never observed. But this was
no impeachment to the taste of the painter; it only showed some want
of knowledge in the art of making shoes. Let us imagine that an
anatomist had come into the painter's working-room. His piece is in
general well done, the figure in question in a good attitude, and the
parts well adjusted to their various movements; yet the anatomist,
critical in his art, may observe the swell of some muscle not quite
just in the peculiar action of the figure. Here the anatomist observes
what the painter had not observed; and he passes by what the shoemaker
had remarked.



II

THE LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD[55]


I was not, like his Grace of Bedford, swaddled, and rocked, and
dandled into a legislator--_Nitor in adversum_ is the motto for a man
like me. I possest not one of the qualities, nor cultivated one of the
arts, that recommend men to the favor and protection of the great. I
was not made for a minion or a tool. As little did I follow the trade
of winning the hearts by imposing on the understanding of the people.
At every step of my progress in life--for in every step was I
traversed and opposed--and at every turnpike I met, I was obliged to
shew my passport, and again and again to prove my sole title to the
honor of being useful to my country by a proof that I was not wholly
unacquainted with its laws, and the whole system of its interests both
abroad and at home. Otherwise, no rank, no toleration even for me. I
had no arts but manly arts. On them I have stood, and, please God, in
spite of the Duke of Bedford and the Earl of Lauderdale, to the last
gasp will I stand....

I know not how it has happened, but it really seems that, while his
Grace was meditating his well-considered censure upon me, he fell into
a sort of sleep. Homer nods, and the Duke of Bedford may dream; and as
dreams--even his golden dreams--are apt to be ill-pieced and
incongruously put together, his Grace preserved his idea of reproach
to me, but took the subject-matter from the crown-grants to his own
family. This is "the stuff of which his dreams are made." In that way
of putting things together, his Grace is perfectly in the right. The
grants to the house of Russell were so enormous as not only to outrage
economy, but even to stagger credibility. The Duke of Bedford is the
leviathan among all the creatures of the crown. He tumbles about his
unwieldy bulk; he plays and frolics in the ocean of the royal bounty.
Huge as he is, and while "he lies floating many a rood," he is still a
creature. His ribs, his fins, his whalebone, his blubber, the very
spiracles through which he spouts a torrent of brine against his
origin, and covers me all over with the spray--everything of him and
about him is from the throne. Is it for _him_ to question the
dispensation of the royal favor?

I really am at a loss to draw any sort of parallel between the public
merits of his Grace, by which he justifies the grants he holds, and
these services of mine, on the favorable construction of which I have
obtained what his Grace so much disapproves. In private life, I have
not at all the honor of acquaintance with the noble Duke. But I ought
to presume, and it costs me nothing to do so, that he abundantly
deserves the esteem and love of all who live with him. But as to
public service, why, truly, it would not be more ridiculous for me to
compare myself in rank, in fortune, in splendid descent, in youth,
strength, or figure, with the Duke of Bedford, than to make a
parallel between his services and my attempts to be useful to my
country. It would not be gross adulation, but uncivil irony, to say
that he has any public merit of his own, to keep alive the idea of the
services by which his vast landed pensions were obtained. My merits,
whatever they are, are original and personal; his are derivative. It
is his ancestor, the original pensioner, that has laid up this
inexhaustible fund of merit, which makes his Grace so very delicate
and exceptious about the merit of all other grantees of the crown. Had
he permitted me to remain in quiet, I should have said: "'Tis his
estate; that's enough. It is his by law; what have I to do with it or
its history?" He would naturally have said on his side: "'Tis this
man's fortune. He is as good now as my ancestor was two hundred and
fifty years ago. I am a young man with very old pensions: he is an old
man with very young pensions--that's all."

Why will his Grace, by attacking me, force me reluctantly to compare
my little merit with that which obtained from the crown those
prodigies of profuse donation by which he tramples on the mediocrity
of humble and laborious individuals?... Since the new grantees have
war made on them by the old, and that the word of the sovereign is not
to be taken, let us turn our eyes to history, in which great men have
always a pleasure in contemplating the heroic origin of their house.

The first peer of the name, the first purchaser of the grants, was a
Mr. Russell, a person of an ancient gentleman's family, raised by
being a minion of Henry VIII. As there generally is some resemblance
of character to create these relations, the favorite was in all
likelihood much such another as his master. The first of those
immoderate grants was not taken from the ancient demesne of the crown,
but from the recent confiscation of the ancient nobility of the land.
The lion having sucked the blood of his prey, threw the offal carcass
to the jackal in waiting. Having tasted once the food of confiscation,
the favorites became fierce and ravenous. This worthy favorite's first
grant was from the lay nobility. The second, infinitely improving on
the enormity of the first, was from the plunder of the church. In
truth, his Grace is somewhat excusable for his dislike to a grant like
mine, not only in its quantity, but in its kind, so different from his
own.

Mine was from a mild and benevolent sovereign; his, from Henry VIII.
Mine had not its fund in the murder of any innocent person of
illustrious rank, or in the pillage of any body of unoffending men;
his grants were from the aggregate and consolidated funds of judgments
iniquitously legal, and from possessions voluntarily surrendered by
the lawful proprietors with the gibbet at their door.

The merit of the grantee whom he derives from was that of being a
prompt and greedy instrument of a leveling tyrant, who opprest all
descriptions of his people, but who fell with particular fury on
everything that was great and noble. Mine has been in endeavoring to
screen every man, in every class, from oppression, and particularly in
defending the high and eminent, who in the bad times of confiscating
princes, confiscating chief-governors, or confiscating demagogs, are
the most exposed to jealousy, avarice, and envy.

The merit of the original grantee of his Grace's pensions was in
giving his hand to the work, and partaking the spoil with a prince who
plundered a part of the national church of his time and country. Mine
was in defending the whole of the national church of my own time and
my own country, and the whole of the national churches of all
countries, from the principles and the examples which lead to
ecclesiastical pillage, thence to a contempt of all prescriptive
titles, thence to the pillage of all property, and thence to universal
desolation.

The merit of the origin of his Grace's fortune was in being a favorite
and chief adviser to a prince who left no liberty to his native
country. My endeavor was to obtain liberty for the municipal country
in which I was born, and for all descriptions and denominations in it.
Mine was to support, with unrelaxing vigilance, every right, every
privilege, every franchise, in this my adopted, my dearer, and more
comprehensive country; and not only to preserve those rights in this
chief seat of empire, but in every nation, in every land, in every
climate, language, and religion in the vast domain that still is under
the protection, and the larger that was once under the protection, of
the British crown.



III

ON THE DEATH OF HIS SON[56]


Had it pleased God to continue to me the hopes of succession, I should
have been, according to my mediocrity, and the mediocrity of the age I
live in, a sort of founder of a family; I should have left a son, who,
in all the points in which personal merit can be viewed, in science,
in erudition, in genius, in taste, in honor, in generosity, in
humanity, in every liberal sentiment and every liberal accomplishment,
would not have shewn himself inferior to the Duke of Bedford, or to
any of those whom he traces in his line. His Grace very soon would
have wanted all plausibility in his attack upon that provision which
belonged more to mine than to me. He would soon have supplied every
deficiency, and symmetrized every disproportion. It would not have
been for that successor to resort to any stagnant wasting reservoir of
merit in me, or in any ancestry. He had in himself a salient living
spring of generous and manly action. Every day he lived, he would have
repurchased the bounty of the crown, and ten times more, if ten times
more he had received. He was made a public creature, and had no
enjoyment whatever but in the performance of some duty. At this
exigent moment the loss of a finished man is not easily supplied.

But a Disposer, whose power we are little able to resist, and whose
wisdom it behooves us not at all to dispute, has ordained it in
another manner, and--whatever my querulous weakness might suggest--a
far better. The storm has gone over me, and I lie like one of those
old oaks which the late hurricane has scattered about me. I am stript
of all my honors; I am torn up by the roots, and lie prostrate on the
earth! There, and prostrate there, I most unfeignedly recognize the
divine justice, and in some degree submit to it. But while I humble
myself before God, I do not know that it is forbidden to repel the
attacks of unjust and inconsiderate men. The patience of Job is
proverbial. After some of the convulsive struggles of our irritable
nature, he submitted himself, and repented in dust and ashes. But even
so, I do not find him blamed for reprehending, and with a considerable
degree of verbal asperity, those ill-natured neighbors of his who
visited his dunghill to read moral, political, and economical lectures
on his misery. I am alone. I have none to meet my enemies in the gate.
Indeed, my lord, I greatly deceive myself, if in this hard season I
would give a peck of refuse wheat for all that is called fame and
honor in the world. This is the appetite but of a few. It is a luxury;
it is a privilege; it is an indulgence for those who are at their
ease. But we are all of us made to shun disgrace, as we are made to
shrink from pain, and poverty, and disease. It is an instinct; and
under the direction of reason, instinct is always in the right. I live
in an inverted order. They who ought to have succeeded me are gone
before me; they who should have been to me as posterity are in the
place of ancestors. I owe to the dearest relation--which ever must
subsist in memory--that act of piety which he would have performed to
me; I owe it to him to shew, that he was not descended, as the Duke of
Bedford would have it, from an unworthy parent.



IV

MARIE ANTOINETTE[57]


I hear, and I rejoice to hear, that the great lady, the other object
of the triumph, has borne that day (one is interested that beings made
for suffering should suffer well) and that she bears all the
succeeding days, that she bears the imprisonment of her husband, and
her own captivity, and the exile of her friends, and the insulting
adulation of addresses, and the whole weight of her accumulated
wrongs, with a serene patience, in a manner suited to her rank and
race, and becoming the offspring of a sovereign distinguished for her
piety and her courage; that like her she has lofty sentiments; that
she feels with the dignity of a Roman matron; that in the last
extremity she will save herself from the last disgrace, and that if
she must fall, she will fall by no ignoble hand.

It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France,
then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this
orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw
her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated
sphere she just began to move in--glittering like the morning star,
full of life, and splendor, and joy. Oh! what a revolution! and what a
heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and
that fall! Little did I dream when she added titles of veneration to
those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever
be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in
that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such
disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of
men of honor and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have
leapt from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her
with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters,
economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is
extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous
loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified
obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in
servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace
of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment
and heroic enterprise is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of
principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound,
which inspired courage while it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled
whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil by
losing all its grossness.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 54: From "The Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and
Beautiful."]

[Footnote 55: Written in 1796. The occasion for this celebrated letter
was an attack on Burke by the Duke of Bedford and the Earl of
Lauderdale in connection with his pension. The attacks were made from
their places in the House of Lords.]

[Footnote 56: Burke's son was Richard Burke, who died on August 2,
1790. He was 32 years of age. The blow shattered Burke's ambition. He
himself died in 1797. One other son, Christopher, had been horn to
Burke, but he died in childhood. Burke's domestic life was otherwise
exceptionally happy. He was noted among his contemporaries for his
"orderly and amiable domestic habits."]

[Footnote 57: From the "Reflections on the Revolution in France."]



WILLIAM COWPER

     Born in 1731, died in 1800; son of a clergyman; educated at
     Westminster School; admitted to the bar in 1754, but
     melancholia unfitted him for practise; temporarily confined
     in an asylum in 1763; afterward lived in private families,
     being subject to repeated attacks of mental disorder tending
     to suicide, ending in permanent insanity; published "The
     Task" in 1785, a translation of Homer in 1791.



I

OF KEEPING ONE'S SELF EMPLOYED[58]


I have neither long visits to pay nor to receive, nor ladies to spend
hours in telling me that which might be told in five minutes; yet
often find myself obliged to be an economist of time, and to make the
most of a short opportunity. Let our station be as retired as it may,
there is no want of playthings and avocations, nor much need to seek
them, in this world of ours. Business, or what presents itself to us
under that imposing character, will find us out even in the stillest
retreat, and plead its importance, however trivial in reality, as a
just demand upon our attention.

It is wonderful how by means of such real or seeming necessities my
time is stolen away. I have just time to observe that time is short,
and by the time I have made the observation time is gone.

I have wondered in former days at the patience of the antediluvian
world, that they could endure a life almost millenary, and with so
little variety as seems to have fallen to their share. It is probable
that they had much fewer employments than we. Their affairs lay in a
narrower compass; their libraries were indifferently furnished;
philosophical researches were carried on with much less industry and
acuteness of penetration, and fiddles perhaps were not even invented.
How then could seven or eight hundred years of life be supported? I
have asked this question formerly, and been at a loss to resolve it;
but I think I can answer it now. I will suppose myself born a thousand
years before Noah was born or thought of. I rise with the sun; I
worship; I prepare my breakfast; I swallow a bucket of goat's milk and
a dozen good sizable cakes. I fasten a new string to my bow, and my
youngest boy, a lad of about thirty years of age, having played with
my arrows till he has stript off all the feathers, I find myself
obliged to repair them. The morning is thus spent in preparing for the
chase, and it is become necessary that I should dine. I dig up my
roots; I wash them; boil them; I find them not done enough, I boil
them again; my wife is angry; we dispute; we settle the point; but in
the mean time the fire goes out, and must be kindled again. All this
is very amusing.

I hunt; I bring home the prey; with the skin of it I mend an old coat,
or I make a new one. By this time the day is far spent; I feel myself
fatigued, and retire to rest. Thus, what with tilling the ground and
eating the fruit of it, hunting, and walking, and running, and
mending old clothes, and sleeping and rising again, I can suppose an
inhabitant of the primeval world so much occupied as to sigh over the
shortness of life, and to find, at the end of many centuries, that
they had all slipt through his fingers and were passing away like a
shadow. What wonder then that I, who live in a day of so much greater
refinement, when there is so much more to be wanted and wished, and to
be enjoyed, should feel myself now and then pinched in point of
opportunity, and at some loss for leisure to fill four sides of a
sheet like this?



II

ON JOHNSON'S TREATMENT OF MILTON[59]


I have been well entertained with Johnson's biography, for which I
thank you: with one exception, and that a swinging one, I think he has
acquitted himself with his usual good sense and sufficiency. His
treatment of Milton is unmerciful to the last degree. A pensioner is
not likely to spare a republican, and the Doctor, in order, I suppose,
to convince his royal patron of the sincerity of his monarchical
principles, has belabored that great poet's character with the most
industrious cruelty. As a man, he has hardly left him the shadow of
one good quality. Churlishness in his private life, and a rancorous
hatred of everything royal in his public, are the two colors with
which he has smeared all the canvas. If he had any virtues, they are
not to be found in the Doctor's picture of him, and it is well for
Milton that some sourness in his temper is the only vice with which
his memory has been charged; it is evident enough that if his
biographer could have discovered more, he would not have spared him.

As a poet, he has treated him with severity enough, and has plucked
one or two of the most beautiful feathers out of his Muse's wing, and
trampled them under his great foot. He has passed sentence of
condemnation upon Lycidas, and has taken occasion, from that charming
poem, to expose and ridicule (what is indeed ridiculous enough) the
childish prattlement of pastoral compositions, as if Lycidas was the
prototype and pattern of them all. The liveliness of the descriptions,
the sweetness of the numbers, the classical spirit of antiquity that
prevails in it, go for nothing. I am convinced, by the way, that he
has no ear for poetical numbers, or that it was stopt by prejudice
against the harmony of Milton's. Was there ever anything so delightful
as the music of the Paradise Lost? It is like that of a fine organ;
has the fullest and the deepest tones of majesty with all the softness
and elegance of the Dorian flute: variety without end, and never
equaled, unless perhaps by Virgil. Yet the Doctor has little or
nothing to say upon this copious theme, but talks something about the
unfitness of the English language for blank verse, and how apt it is,
in the mouths of some readers, to degenerate into declamation. Oh! I
could thrash his old jacket till I made his pension jingle in his
pockets.



III

ON THE PUBLICATION OF HIS BOOKS[60]


In the press, and speedily will be published, in one volume octavo,
price three shillings, Poems,[61] by William Cowper, of the Inner
Temple, Esq. You may suppose, by the size of the publication, that the
greatest part of them have never been long kept secret, because you
yourself have never seen them; but the truth is, that they are most of
them, except what you have in your possession, the produce of the last
winter. Two-thirds of the compilation will be occupied by four pieces,
the first of which sprung up in the month of December, and the last of
them in the month of March. They contain, I suppose, in all about two
thousand and five hundred lines; are known, or are to be known in due
time, by the names of Table-Talk, The Progress of Error, Truth,
Expostulation. Mr. Newton writes a preface, and Johnson is the
publisher. The principal, I may say the only reason why I never
mentioned to you, till now, an affair which I am just going to make
known to all the world (if that Mr. All-the-world should think it
worth his knowing) has been this--that, till within these few days, I
had not the honor to know it myself. This may seem strange, but it is
true; for, not knowing where to find underwriters who would choose to
insure them, and not finding it convenient to a purse like mine to run
any hazard, even upon the credit of my own ingenuity, I was very much
in doubt for some weeks whether any bookseller would be willing to
subject himself to an ambiguity that might prove very expensive in
case of a bad market. But Johnson has heroically set all peradventures
at defiance, and takes the whole charge upon himself. So out I come. I
shall be glad of my Translations from Vincent Bourne in your next
frank. My muse will lay herself at your feet immediately on her first
public appearance....

If[62] a writer's friends have need of patience, how much more the
writer! Your desire to see my muse in public, and mine to gratify you,
must both suffer the mortification of delay. I expected that my
trumpeter would have informed the world by this time of all that is
needful for them to know upon such an occasion; and that an
advertising blast, blown through every newspaper, would have said,
"The poet is coming." But man, especially man that writes verse, is
born to disappointments, as surely as printers and booksellers are
born to be the most dilatory and tedious of all creatures. The plain
English of this magnificent preamble is, that the season of
publication is just elapsed, that the town is going into the country
every day, and that my book can not appear till they return--that is
to say, not till next winter. This misfortune, however, comes not
without its attendant advantage: I shall now have, what I should not
otherwise have had, an opportunity to correct the press myself; no
small advantage upon any occasion, but especially important where
poetry is concerned! A single erratum may knock out the brains of a
whole passage, and that perhaps which, of all others, the unfortunate
poet is the most proud of. Add to this, that now and then there is to
be found in a printing-house a presumptuous intermeddler, who will
fancy himself a poet too, and what is still worse, a better than he
that employs him. The consequence is, that with cobbling, and
tinkering, and patching on here and there a shred of his own, he makes
such a difference between the original and the copy, that an author
can not know his own work again. Now, as I choose to be responsible
for nobody's dulness but my own, I am a little comforted when I
reflect that it will be in my power to prevent all such impertinence;
and yet not without your assistance. It will be quite necessary that
the correspondence between me and Johnson should be carried on without
the expense of postage, because proof-sheets would make double or
treble letters, which expense, as in every instance it must occur
twice, first when the packet is sent, and again when it is returned,
would be rather inconvenient to me, who, you perceive, am forced to
live by my wits, and to him, who hopes to get a little matter no doubt
by the same means. Half a dozen franks therefore to me, and totidem
to him, will be singularly acceptable, if you can, without feeling it
in any respect a trouble, procure them for me--Johnson, Bookseller,
St. Paul's Churchyard....

The writing of so long a poem[63] is a serious business; and the
author must know little of his own heart who does not in some degree
suspect himself of partiality to his own production; and who is he
that would not be mortified by the discovery that he had written five
thousand lines in vain? The poem, however, which you have in hand will
not of itself make a volume so large as the last, or as a bookseller
would wish. I say this, because when I had sent Johnson five thousand
verses, he applied for a thousand more. Two years since I began a
piece which grew to the length of two hundred, and there stopt. I have
lately resumed it, and I believe, shall finish it. But the subject is
fruitful and will not be comprized in a smaller compass than seven or
eight hundred verses. It turns on the question whether an education at
school or at home be preferable, and I shall give the preference to
the latter. I mean that it shall pursue the track of the former--that
is to say, it shall visit Stock in its way to publication. My design
also is to inscribe it to you. But you must see it first; and if,
after having seen it, you should have any objection, tho it should be
no bigger than the tittle of an i, I will deny myself that pleasure,
and find no fault with your refusal.

I have not been without thoughts of adding

"John Gilpin" at the tail of all. He has made a good deal of noise in
the world, and perhaps it may not be amiss to show, that, tho I write
generally with a serious intention, I know how to be occasionally
merry. The critical reviewers charged me with an attempt at humor.
John having been more celebrated upon the score of humor than most
pieces that have appeared in modern days, may serve to exonerate me
from the imputation; but in this article I am entirely under your
judgment, and mean to be set down by it. All these together will make
an octavo like the last. I should have told you that the piece which
now employs me is rime. I do not intend to write any more blank. It is
more difficult than rime, and not so amusing in the composition. If,
when you make the offer of my book to Johnson, he should stroke his
chin, and look up to the ceiling and cry "Humph!"--anticipate him, I
beseech you, at once, by saying--"that you know I should be sorry that
he should undertake for me to his own disadvantage, or that my volume
should be in any degree prest upon him. I make him the offer merely
because I think he would have reason to complain of me if I did not."
But that punctilio once satisfied, it is a matter of indifference to
me what publisher sends me forth.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 58: Letter to the Rev. John Newton, dated Olney, November
30, 1783.]

[Footnote 59: Letter to the Rev. William Unwin, dated "October 31,
1779."]

[Footnote 60: Letter to the Rev. William Unwin, dated "Olney, May 1,
1781."]

[Footnote 61: His first volume of verse.]

[Footnote 62: This paragraph is from another letter to Unwin, written
three weeks later--May 23, 1781.]

[Footnote 63: This letter, addrest to Unwin, and dated "October 30,
1784," refers to Cowper's poem "The Task."]



EDWARD GIBBON

     Born in 1737, died in 1794; educated at Oxford, but was not
     graduated; became a Catholic, but soon renounced that faith;
     sent by his father to Lausanne, Switzerland, for instruction
     by a Calvinist minister in 1753; there met and fell in love
     with, but did not marry, Susanne Curchod; served in the
     militia, becoming a colonel in 1759-70; traveled in France
     and Italy in 1763-65; elected to Parliament in 1764; settled
     permanently in Lausanne in 1783; published the first volume
     of his "Decline and Fall" in 1776, and the last in 1778;
     wrote also "Memoirs of My Life and Writings."



I

THE ROMANCE OF HIS YOUTH[64]


I hesitate, from the apprehension of ridicule, when I approach the
delicate subject of my early love. By this word I do not mean the
polite attention, the gallantry, without hope or design, which has
originated in the spirit of chivalry and is interwoven with the
texture of French manners. I understand by this passion the union of
desire, friendship and tenderness, which is inflamed by a single
female, which prefers her to the rest of her sex, and which seeks her
possession as the supreme or the sole happiness of our being. I need
not blush at recollecting the object of my choice; and tho my love was
disappointed of success, I am rather proud that I was once capable of
feeling such a pure and exalted sentiment.

The personal attractions of Mademoiselle Susan Curchod were
embellished by the virtues and talents of the mind. Her fortune was
humble, but her family was respectable. Her mother, a native of
France, had preferred her religion to her country. The profession of
her father did not extinguish the moderation and philosophy of his
temper, and he lived content, with a small salary and laborious duty,
in the obscure lot of minister of Crassy, in the mountains that
separate the Pays de Vaud from the county of Burgundy. In the solitude
of a sequestered village he bestowed a liberal and even learned
education on his only daughter. She surpassed his hopes by her
proficiency in the sciences and languages; and in her short visits to
some relations at Lausanne, the wit, the beauty and erudition of
Mademoiselle Curchod were the theme of universal applause.

The report of such a prodigy awakened my curiosity; I saw and loved. I
found her learned without pedantry, lively in conversation, pure in
sentiment, and elegant in manners; and the first sudden emotion was
fortified by the habits and knowledge of a more familiar acquaintance.
She permitted me to make her two or three visits at her father's
house. I passed some happy days there, in the mountains of Burgundy,
and her parents honorably encouraged the connection. In a calm
retirement the gay vanity of youth no longer fluttered in her bosom;
she listened to the voice of truth and passion; and I might presume to
hope that I had made some impression on a virtuous heart. At Crassy
and Lausanne I indulged my dream of felicity: but on my return to
England, I soon discovered that my father would not hear of this
strange alliance, and that without his consent I was myself destitute
and helpless. After a painful struggle I yielded to my fate: I sighed
as a lover, I obeyed as a son; my wound was insensibly healed by time,
absence, and the habits of a new life. My cure was accelerated by a
faithful report of the tranquillity and cheerfulness of the lady
herself; and my love subsided in friendship and esteem.

The minister of Crassy soon afterward died; his stipend died with him;
his daughter retired to Geneva, where, by teaching young ladies, she
earned a hard subsistence for herself and her mother; but in her
lowest distress she maintained a spotless reputation, and a dignified
behavior. A rich banker of Paris, a citizen of Geneva, had the good
fortune and good sense to discover and possess this inestimable
treasure; and in the capital of taste and luxury she resisted the
temptations of wealth, as she had sustained the hardships of
indigence. The genius of her husband has exalted him to the most
conspicuous station in Europe. In every change of prosperity and
disgrace he has reclined on the bosom of a faithful friend; and
Mademoiselle Curchod is now the wife of M. Necker,[65] the minister,
and perhaps the legislator, of the French monarchy.



II

THE INCEPTION AND COMPLETION OF HIS "DECLINE AND FALL"[66]


It was at Rome, on the 15th of October, 1764, as I sat musing amidst
the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted friars were singing
vespers in the temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline
and fall of the city first started to my mind. But my original plan
was circumscribed to the decay of the city, rather than of the empire:
and, tho my reading and reflections began to point toward that object,
some years elapsed, and several avocations intervened, before I was
seriously engaged in the execution of that laborious work....

I have presumed to mark the moment of conception: I shall now
commemorate the hour of my final deliverance. It was on the day, or
rather night, of the 27th of June, 1787, between the hours of eleven
and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page, in a
summer-house in my garden. After laying down my pen, I took several
turns in a berceau, or covered walk of acacias, which commands a
prospect of the country, the lake, and the mountains. The air was
temperate, the sky was serene, the silver orb of the moon was
reflected from the waters, and all nature was silent. I will not
dissemble the first emotions of joy on recovery of my freedom, and
perhaps the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled,
and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind, by the idea that I had
taken an everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that
whatsoever might be the future date of my history, the life of the
historian must be short and precarious.

I will add two facts which have seldom occurred in the composition of
six, or at least of five, quartos. 1. My first rough manuscript,
without any intermediate copy, has been sent to the press. 2. Not a
sheet has been seen by any human eyes excepting those of the author
and the printer: the faults and the merits are exclusively my own.



III

THE FALL OF ZENOBIA[67]

(271 A.D.)


Aurelian had no sooner secured the person and provinces of Tetricus,
than he turned his arms against Zenobia, the celebrated queen of
Palmyra[68] and the East. Modern Europe has produced several
illustrious women who have sustained with glory the weight of empire;
nor is our own age destitute of such distinguished characters.

But if we except the doubtful achievements of Semiramis, Zenobia is
perhaps the only female whose superior genius broke through the
servile indolence imposed on her sex by the climate and manners of
Asia. She claimed her descent from the Macedonian kings of Egypt,
equaled in beauty her ancestor Cleopatra, and far surpassed that
princess in chastity and valor.

Zenobia was esteemed the most lovely as well as the most heroic of her
sex. She was of a dark complexion (for in speaking of a lady these
trifles become important). Her teeth were of a pearly whiteness, and
her large black eyes sparkled with uncommon fire, tempered by the most
attractive sweetness. Her voice was strong and harmonious. Her manly
understanding was strengthened and adorned by study. She was not
ignorant of the Latin tongue, but possest in equal perfection the
Greek, the Syriac, and the Egyptian languages. She had drawn up for
her own use an epitome of Oriental history, and familiarly compared
the beauties of Homer and Plato under the tuition of the sublime
Longinus.

This accomplished woman gave her hand to Odenathus, who, from a
private station, raised himself to the dominion of the East. She soon
became the friend and companion of a hero. In the intervals of war,
Odenathus passionately delighted in the exercise of hunting; he
pursued with ardor the wild beasts of the desert--lions, panthers, and
bears; and the ardor of Zenobia in that dangerous amusement was not
inferior to his own. She had inured her constitution to fatigue,
disdained the use of a covered carriage, generally appeared on
horseback in a military habit, and sometimes marched several miles on
foot at the head of the troops. The success of Odenathus was in a
great measure ascribed to her incomparable prudence and fortitude.
Their splendid victories over the Great King, whom they twice pursued
as far as the gates of Ctesiphon,[69] laid the foundations of their
united fame and power. The armies which they commanded, and the
provinces which they had saved, acknowledged not any other sovereigns
than their invincible chiefs. The Senate and people of Rome revered a
stranger who had avenged their captive emperor, and even the
insensible son of Valerian accepted Odenathus for his legitimate
colleague....

When Aurelian passed over into Asia against an adversary whose sex
alone could render her an object of contempt, his presence restored
obedience to the province of Bithynia, already shaken by the arms and
intrigues of Zenobia. Advancing at the head of his legions, he
accepted the submission of Ancyra, and was admitted into Tyana, after
an obstinate siege, by the help of a perfidious citizen. The generous
tho fierce temper of Aurelian abandoned the traitor to the rage of the
soldiers: a superstitious reverence induced him to treat with lenity
the countrymen of Apollonius the philosopher. Antioch was deserted on
his approach, till the Emperor, by his salutary edicts, recalled the
fugitives, and granted a general pardon to all who from necessity
rather than choice had been engaged in the service of the Palmyrenian
Queen. The unexpected mildness of such a conduct reconciled the minds
of the Syrians, and as far as the gates of Emesa the wishes of the
people seconded the terror of his arms.

Zenobia would have ill deserved her reputation, had she indolently
permitted the Emperor of the West to approach within a hundred miles
of her capital. The fate of the East was decided in two great battles,
so similar in almost every circumstance that we can scarcely
distinguish them from each other, except by observing that the first
was fought near Antioch and the second near Emesa. In both the Queen
of Palmyra animated the armies by her presence, and devolved the
execution of her orders on Zabdas, who had already signalized his
military talents by the conquest of Egypt. The numerous forces of
Zenobia consisted for the most part of light archers, and of heavy
cavalry clothed in complete steel. The Moorish and Illyrian horse of
Aurelian were unable to sustain the ponderous charge of their
antagonists. They fled in real or affected disorder, engaged the
Palmyrenians in a laborious pursuit, harassed them by a desultory
combat, and at length discomfited this impenetrable but unwieldy body
of cavalry. The light infantry, in the mean time, when they had
exhausted their quivers, remaining without protection against a closer
onset, exposed their naked sides to the swords of the legions.
Aurelian had chosen these veteran troops, who were usually stationed
on the Upper Danube, and whose valor had been severely tried in the
Alemannic war. After the defeat of Emesa, Zenobia found it impossible
to collect a third army. As far as the frontier of Egypt, the nations
subject to her empire had joined the standard of the conqueror, who
detached Probus, the bravest of his generals, to possess himself of
the Egyptian provinces. Palmyra was the last resource of the widow of
Odenathus. She retired within the walls of her capital, made every
preparation for a vigorous resistance, and declared, with the
intrepidity of a heroine, that the last moment of her reign and of her
life should be the same.

Amid the barren deserts of Arabia, a few cultivated spots rise like
islands out of the sandy ocean. Even the name of Tadmor, or Palmyra,
by its signification in the Syriac as well as in the Latin language,
denoted the multitude of palm-trees which afforded shade and verdure
to that temperate region. The air was pure, and the soil, watered by
some invaluable springs, was capable of producing fruits as well as
corn. A place possest of such singular advantages, and situated at a
convenient distance between the Gulf of Persia and the Mediterranean,
was soon frequented by the caravans which conveyed to the nations of
Europe a considerable part of the rich commodities of India. Palmyra
insensibly increased into an opulent and independent city, and
connecting the Roman and the Parthian monarchies by the mutual
benefits of commerce was suffered to observe a humble neutrality, till
at length after the victories of Trajan the little republic sunk into
the bosom of Rome, and flourished more than one hundred and fifty
years in the subordinate tho honorable rank of a colony. It was during
that peaceful period, if we may judge from a few remaining
inscriptions, that the wealthy Palmyrenians constructed those
temples, palaces, and porticoes of Grecian architecture whose ruins,
scattered over an extent of several miles, have deserved the curiosity
of our travelers. The elevation of Odenathus and Zenobia appeared to
reflect new splendor on their country, and Palmyra for a while stood
forth the rival of Rome: but the competition was fatal, and ages of
prosperity were sacrificed to a moment of glory....

The firmness of Zenobia was supported by the hope that in a very short
time famine would compel the Roman army to repass the desert, and by
the reasonable expectation that the kings of the East, and
particularly the Persian monarch, would arm in the defense of their
most natural ally. But fortune and the perseverance of Aurelian
overcame every obstacle. The death of Sapor, which happened about this
time, distracted the counsels of Persia, and the inconsiderable
succors that attempted to relieve Palmyra were easily intercepted
either by the arms or the liberality of the Emperor. From every part
of Syria a regular succession of convoys safely arrived in the camp,
which was increased by the return of Probus with his victorious troops
from the conquest of Egypt. It was then that Zenobia resolved to fly.
She mounted the fleetest of her dromedaries, and had already reached
the banks of the Euphrates, about sixty miles from Palmyra, when she
was overtaken by the pursuit of Aurelian's light horse, seized, and
brought back a captive to the feet of the Emperor. Her capital soon
afterward surrendered, and was treated with unexpected lenity.

When the Syrian Queen was brought into the presence of Aurelian he
sternly asked her, How she had presumed to rise in arms against the
emperors of Rome! The answer of Zenobia was a prudent mixture of
respect and firmness: "Because I disdained to consider as Roman
emperors an Aureolus or a Gallienus. You alone I acknowledge as my
conqueror and my sovereign." But as female fortitude is commonly
artificial, so it is seldom steady or consistent. The courage of
Zenobia deserted her in the hour of trial; she trembled at the angry
clamors of the soldiers, who called aloud for her immediate execution,
forgot the generous despair of Cleopatra which she had proposed as her
model, and ignominiously purchased life by the sacrifice of her fame
and her friends. It was to their counsels, which governed the weakness
of her sex, that she imputed the guilt of her obstinate resistance; it
was on their heads that she directed the vengeance of the cruel
Aurelian. The fame of Longinus,[70] who was included among the
numerous and perhaps innocent victims of her fear, will survive that
of the Queen who betrayed or the tyrant who condemned him. Genius and
learning were incapable of moving a fierce unlettered soldier, but
they had served to elevate and harmonize the soul of Longinus. Without
uttering a complaint he calmly followed the executioner, pitying his
unhappy mistress, and bestowing comfort on his afflicted friends....

But, however in the treatment of his unfortunate rivals Aurelian might
indulge his pride, he behaved toward them with a generous clemency
which was seldom exercised by the ancient conquerors. Princes who
without success had defended their throne or freedom, were frequently
strangled in prison as soon as the triumphal pomp ascended the
Capitol. These usurpers, whom their defeat had convicted of the crime
of treason, were permitted to spend their lives in affluence and
honorable repose. The Emperor presented Zenobia with an elegant villa
at Tibur, or Tivoli, about twenty miles from the capital; the Syrian
queen insensibly sunk into a Roman matron, her daughters married into
noble families and her race was not yet extinct in the fifth century.



IV

ALARIC'S ENTRY INTO ROME[71]

(410 A.D.)


At the hour of midnight the Salarian gate was silently opened, and the
inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the Gothic
trumpet. Eleven hundred and sixty-three years after the foundation of
Rome, the imperial city which had subdued and civilized so
considerable a part of mankind was delivered to the licentious fury of
the tribes of Germany and Scythia.

The proclamation of Alaric, when he forced his entrance into a
vanquished city, discovered, however, some regard for the laws of
humanity and religion. He encouraged his troops boldly to seize the
rewards of valor, and to enrich themselves with the spoils of a
wealthy and effeminate people; but he exhorted them at the same time
to spare the lives of the unresisting citizens, and to respect the
churches of the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul as holy and inviolable
sanctuaries. Amidst the horrors of a nocturnal tumult, several of the
Christian Goths displayed the fervor of a recent conversion; and some
instances of their uncommon piety and moderation are related, and
perhaps adorned, by the zeal of ecclesiastical writers.

While the Barbarians roamed through the city in quest of prey, the
humble dwelling of an aged virgin who had devoted her life to the
service of the altar was forced open by one of the powerful Goths. He
immediately demanded, tho in civil language, all the gold and silver
in her possession; and was astonished at the readiness with which she
conducted him to a splendid hoard of massy plate of the richest
materials and the most curious workmanship. The Barbarian viewed with
wonder and delight this valuable acquisition, till he was interrupted
by a serious admonition addrest to him in the following words:
"These," said she, "are the consecrated vessels belonging to St.
Peter; if you presume to touch them, the sacrilegious deed will remain
on your conscience. For my part, I dare not keep what I am unable to
defend." The Gothic captain, struck with reverential awe, dispatched a
messenger to inform the King of the treasure which he had discovered,
and received a peremptory order from Alaric that all the consecrated
plate and ornaments should be transported, without damage or delay, to
the church of the Apostle.

From the extremity, perhaps, of the Quirinal hill, to the distant
quarter of the Vatican, a numerous detachment of Goths, marching in
order of battle through the principal streets, protected with
glittering arms the long train of their devout companions, who bore
aloft on their heads the sacred vessels of gold and silver; and the
martial shouts of the Barbarians were mingled with the sound of
religious psalmody. From all the adjacent houses a crowd of Christians
hastened to join this edifying procession; and a multitude of
fugitives, without distinction of age, or rank, or even of sect, had
the good fortune to escape to the secure and hospitable sanctuary of
the Vatican. The learned work "Concerning the City of God" was
professedly composed by St. Augustine to justify the ways of
Providence in the destruction of the Roman greatness. He celebrates
with peculiar satisfaction this memorable triumph of Christ, and
insults his adversaries by challenging them to produce some similar
example of a town taken by storm, in which the fabulous gods of
antiquity had been able to protect either themselves or their deluded
votaries.

In the sack of Rome, some rare and extraordinary examples of Barbarian
virtue have been deservedly applauded. But the holy precincts of the
Vatican and the Apostolic churches could receive a very small
proportion of the Roman people; many thousand warriors, more
especially of the Huns who served under the standard of Alaric, were
strangers to the name, or at least to the faith of Christ; and we may
suspect without any breach of charity or candor that in the hour of
savage license, when every passion was inflamed and every restraint
was removed, the precepts of the gospel seldom influenced the behavior
of the Gothic Christians. The writers the best disposed to exaggerate
their clemency have freely confest that a cruel slaughter was made of
the Romans, and that the streets of the city were filled with dead
bodies, which remained without burial during the general
consternation. The despair of the citizens was sometimes converted
into fury; and whenever the Barbarians were provoked by opposition,
they extended the promiscuous massacre to the feeble, the innocent and
the helpless. The private revenge of forty thousand slaves was
exercised without pity or remorse; and the ignominious lashes which
they had formerly received were washed away in the blood of the guilty
or obnoxious families. The matrons and virgins of Rome were exposed to
injuries more dreadful, in the apprehension of chastity, than death
itself....

The want of youth, or beauty, or chastity protected the greatest part
of the Roman women from the danger of a rape. But avarice is an
insatiate and universal passion, since the enjoyment of almost every
object that can afford pleasure to the different tastes and tempers of
mankind may be procured by the possession of wealth. In the pillage of
Rome, a just preference was given to gold and jewels, which contain
the greatest value in the smallest compass and weight; but after these
portable riches had been removed by the more diligent robbers, the
palaces of Rome were rudely stript of their splendid and costly
furniture. The sideboards of massy plate, and the variegated wardrobes
of silk and purple, were irregularly piled in the wagons that always
followed the march of a Gothic army. The most exquisite works of art
were roughly handled or wantonly destroyed; many a statue was melted
for the sake of the precious materials; and many a vase, in the
division of the spoil, was shivered into fragments by the stroke of a
battle-ax. The acquisition of riches served only to stimulate the
avarice of the rapacious Barbarians, who proceeded by threats, by
blows, and by tortures to force from their prisoners the confession of
hidden treasure. Visible splendor and expense were alleged as the
proof of a plentiful fortune; the appearance of poverty was imputed to
a parsimonious disposition; and the obstinacy of some misers, who
endured the most cruel torments before they would discover the secret
object of their affection, was fatal to many unhappy wretches, who
expired under the lash for refusing to reveal their imaginary
treasures.

The edifices of Rome, tho the damage has been much exaggerated,
received some injury from the violence of the Goths. At their entrance
through the Salarian gate, they fired the adjacent houses to guide
their march and to distract the attention of the citizens; the flames,
which encountered no obstacle in the disorder of the night, consumed
many private and public buildings; and the ruins of the palace of
Sallust remained, in the age of Justinian, a stately monument of the
Gothic conflagration. Yet a contemporary historian has observed that
fire could scarcely consume the enormous beams of solid brass, and
that the strength of man was insufficient to subvert the foundations
of ancient structures. Some truth may possibly be concealed in his
devout assertion that the wrath of Heaven supplied the imperfections
of hostile rage, and that the proud Forum of Rome, decorated with the
statues of so many gods and heroes, was leveled in the dust by the
stroke of lightning.



V

THE DEATH OF HOSEIN[72]


Hosein served with honor against the Christians in the siege of
Constantinople. The primogeniture of the line of Hashem, and the holy
character of the grandson of the apostle, had centered in his person,
and he was at liberty to prosecute his claim against Yezid, the tyrant
of Damascus, whose vices he despised, and whose title he had never
deigned to acknowledge. A list was secretly transmitted from Cufa to
Medina, of one hundred and forty thousand Moslems, who profest their
attachment to his cause, and who were eager to draw their swords so
soon as he should appear on the banks of the Euphrates.

Against the advice of his wisest friends, he resolved to trust his
person and family in the hands of a perfidious people. He traversed
the desert of Arabia with a timorous retinue of women and children;
but as he approached the confines of Irak,[73] he was alarmed by the
solitary or hostile face of the country, and suspected either the
defection or ruin of his party. His fears were just; Obeidollah, the
governor of Cufa, had extinguished the first sparks of an
insurrection; and Hosein, in the plain of Kerbela, was encompassed by
a body of five thousand horse, who intercepted his communication with
the city and the river. He might still have escaped to a fortress in
the desert, that had defied the power of Cæsar[74] and Chosroes,[75]
and confided in the fidelity of the tribe of Tai, which would have
armed ten thousand warriors in his defense. In a conference with the
chief of the enemy, he proposed the option of three honorable
conditions; that he should be allowed to return to Medina, or be
stationed in a frontier garrison against the Turks, or safely
conducted to the presence of Yezid.[76] But the commands of the
caliph, or his lieutenant, were stern and absolute; and Hosein was
informed that he must either submit as a captive and a criminal to the
commander of the faithful, or expect the consequences of his
rebellion. "Do you think," replied he, "to terrify me with death?" And
during the short respite of a night, he prepared with calm and solemn
resignation to encounter his fate. He checked the lamentations of his
sister Fatima, who deplored the impending ruin of his house. "Our
trust," said Hosein, "is in God alone. All things, both in heaven and
earth, must perish and return to their Creator. My brother, my father,
my mother, were better than me, and every Mussulman has an example in
the prophet." He prest his friends to consult their safety by a timely
flight; they unanimously refused to desert or survive their beloved
master; and their courage was fortified by a fervent prayer and the
assurance of paradise.

On the morning of the fatal day, he mounted on horseback, with his
sword in one hand and Koran in the other: his generous band of martyrs
consisted only of thirty-two horse and forty foot; but their flanks
and rear were secured by the tentropes, and by a deep trench which
they had filled with lighted fagots, according to the practise of the
Arabs. The enemy advanced with reluctance; and one of their chiefs
deserted, with thirty followers, to claim the partnership of
inevitable death. In every close onset, or single combat, the despair
of the Fatimites was invincible; but the surrounding multitudes galled
them from a distance with a cloud of arrows, and the horses and men
were successively slain: a truce was allowed on both sides for the
hour of prayer; and the battle at length expired by the death of the
last of the companions of Hosein. Alone, weary, and wounded, he seated
himself at the door of his tent. As he tasted a drop of water, he was
pierced in the mouth with a dart; and his son and nephew, two
beautiful youths were killed in his arms. He lifted his hands to
heaven, they were full of blood, and he uttered a funeral prayer for
the living and the dead.

In a transport of despair his sister issued from the tent, and adjured
the general of the Cufians that he would not suffer Hosein to be
murdered before his eyes; a tear trickled down his venerable beard;
and the boldest of his soldiers fell back on every side as the dying
hero threw himself among them. The remorseless Shamer, a name detested
by the faithful, reproached their cowardice; and the grandson of
Mohammed was slain with three and thirty strokes of lances and swords.
After they had trampled on his body, they carried his head to the
castle of Cufa, and the inhuman Obeidollah struck him on the mouth
with a cane. "Alas!" exclaimed an aged Mussulman, "on these lips have
I seen the lips of the apostle of God!" In a distant age and climate
the tragic scene of the death of Hosein will awaken the sympathy of
the coldest reader. On the annual festival of his martyrdom, in the
devout pilgrimage to his sepulcher, his Persian votaries abandon their
souls to the religious frenzy of sorrow and indignation.



VI

THE CAUSES OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CITY OF ROME[77]


In the last days of Pope Eugenius the Fourth, two of his servants, the
learned Poggius[78] and a friend, ascended the Capitoline Hill,
reposed themselves among the ruins of columns and temples, and viewed
from that commanding spot the wide and various prospect of desolation.
The place and the object gave ample scope for moralizing on the
vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of
his works, which buries empires and cities in a common grave; and it
was agreed that in proportion to her former greatness the fall of Rome
was the more awful and deplorable:

"Her primeval state, such as she might appear in a remote age, when
Evander entertained the stranger of Troy, has been delineated by the
fancy of Virgil. This Tarpeian Rock was then a savage and solitary
thicket; in the time of the poet it was crowned with the golden roofs
of a temple; the temple is overthrown, the gold has been pillaged, the
wheel of fortune has accomplished her revolution, and the sacred
ground is again disfigured with thorns and brambles. The hill of the
Capitol, on which we sit, was formerly the head of the Roman Empire,
the citadel of the earth, the terror of kings; illustrated by the
footsteps of so many triumphs, enriched with the spoils and tributes
of so many nations. This spectacle of the world, how is it fallen! how
changed! how defaced! The path of victory is obliterated by vines, and
the benches of the senators are concealed by a dunghill. Cast your
eyes on the Palatine Hill, and seek among the shapeless and enormous
fragments the marble theater, the obelisks, the colossal statues, the
porticoes of Nero's palace; survey the other hills of the city,--the
vacant space is interrupted only by ruins and gardens. The Forum of
the Roman people, where they assembled to enact their laws and elect
their magistrates, is now inclosed for the cultivation of pot-herbs,
or thrown open for the reception of swine and buffaloes. The public
and private edifices that were founded for eternity lie prostrate,
naked, and broken, like the limbs of a mighty giant; and the ruin is
the more visible, from the stupendous relics that have survived the
injuries of time and fortune."...

After a diligent inquiry, I can discern four principal causes of the
ruin of Rome, which continued to operate in a period of more than a
thousand years. I. The injuries of time and nature. II. The hostile
attacks of the Barbarians and Christians. III. The use and abuse of
the materials. And IV. The domestic quarrels of the Romans.

I. The art of man is able to construct monuments far more permanent
than the narrow span of his own existence; yet these monuments, like
himself, are perishable and frail; and in the boundless annals of time
his life and his labors must equally be measured as a fleeting moment.
Of a simple and solid edifice it is not easy, however, to circumscribe
the duration. As the wonder of ancient days, the Pyramids attracted
the curiosity of the ancients: a hundred generations, the leaves of
autumn, have dropt into the grave; and after the fall of the Pharaohs
and Ptolemies, the Cæsars and caliphs, the same Pyramids stand erect
and unshaken above the floods of the Nile. A complex figure of various
and minute parts is more accessible to injury and decay; and the
silent lapse of time is often accelerated by hurricanes and
earthquakes, by fires and inundations. The air and earth have
doubtless been shaken, and the lofty turrets of Rome have tottered
from their foundations, but the seven hills do not appear to be placed
on the great cavities of the globe; nor has the city in any age been
exposed to the convulsions of nature which in the climate of Antioch,
Lisbon, or Lima, have crumbled in a few moments the works of ages in
the dust. Fire is the most powerful agent of life and death....

From her situation, Rome is exposed to the danger of frequent
inundations. Without excepting the Tiber, the rivers that descend from
either side of the Apennine have a short and irregular course; a
shallow stream in the summer heats; an impetuous torrent when it is
swelled in the spring or winter by the fall of rain and the melting of
the snows. When the current is repelled from the sea by adverse
winds, when the ordinary bed is inadequate to the weight of waters,
they rise above the banks and overspread without limits or control the
plains and cities of the adjacent country. Soon after the triumph of
the first Punic war, the Tiber was increased by unusual rains; and the
inundation, surpassing all former measure of time and place, destroyed
all the buildings that were situate below the hills of Rome. According
to the variety of ground, the same mischief was produced by different
means; and the edifices were either swept away by the sudden impulse,
or dissolved and undermined by the long continuance of the flood.
Under the reign of Augustus the same calamity was renewed: the lawless
river overturned the palaces and temples on its banks; and after the
labors of the Emperor in cleansing and widening the bed that was
incumbered with ruins, the vigilance of his successors was exercised
by similar dangers and designs. The project of diverting into new
channels the Tiber itself, or some of the dependent streams, was long
opposed by superstition and local interests; nor did the use
compensate the toil and costs of the tardy and imperfect execution.
The servitude of rivers is the noblest and most important victory
which man has obtained over the licentiousness of nature; and if such
were the ravages of the Tiber under a firm and active government, what
could oppose, or who can enumerate, the injuries of the city after the
fall of the Western Empire? A remedy was at length produced by the
evil itself: the accumulation of rubbish and the earth that has been
washed down from the hills is supposed to have elevated the plain of
Rome fourteen or fifteen feet perhaps above the ancient level: and the
modern city is less accessible to the attacks of the river.

II. The crowd of writers of every nation who impute the destruction of
the Roman monuments to the Goths and the Christians, have neglected to
inquire how far they were animated by a hostile principle, and how far
they possest the means and the leisure to satiate their enmity. In the
preceding volumes of this history I have described the triumph of
barbarism and religion; and I can only resume in a few words their
real or imaginary connection with the ruin of ancient Rome. Our fancy
may create or adopt a pleasing romance: that the Goths and Vandals
sallied from Scandinavia, ardent to avenge the flight of Odin, to
break the chains and to chastise the oppressors of mankind; that they
wished to burn the records of classic literature, and to found their
national architecture on the broken members of the Tuscan and
Corinthian orders. But in simple truth, the Northern conquerors were
neither sufficiently savage nor sufficiently refined to entertain such
aspiring ideas of destruction and revenge. The shepherds of Scythia
and Germany had been educated in the armies of the empire, whose
discipline they acquired and whose weakness they invaded; with the
familiar use of the Latin tongue, they had learned to reverence the
name and titles of Rome; and tho incapable of emulating, they were
more inclined to admire than to abolish the arts and studies of a
brighter period.

In the transient possession of a rich and unresisting capital, the
soldiers of Alaric and Genseric were stimulated by the passions of a
victorious army; amidst the wanton indulgence of lust or cruelty,
portable wealth was the object of their search; nor could they derive
either pride or pleasure from the unprofitable reflection that they
had battered to the ground the works of the consuls and Cæsars. Their
moments were indeed precious: the Goths evacuated Rome on the sixth,
the Vandals on the fifteenth day, and tho it be far more difficult to
build than to destroy, their hasty assault would have made a slight
impression on the solid piles of antiquity. We may remember that both
Alaric and Genseric affected to spare the buildings of the city; that
they subsisted in strength and beauty under the auspicious government
of Theodoric; and that the momentary resentment of Totila was disarmed
by his own temper and the advice of his friends and enemies. From
these innocent Barbarians the reproach may be transferred to the
Catholics of Rome. The statues, altars, and houses of the demons were
an abomination in their eyes; and in the absolute command of the city,
they might labor with zeal and perseverance to erase the idolatry of
their ancestors. The demolition of the temples in the East affords to
_them_ an example of conduct, and to _us_ an argument of belief; and
it is probable that a portion of guilt or merit may be imputed with
justice to the Roman proselytes. Yet their abhorrence was confined to
the monuments of heathen superstition; and the civil structures that
were dedicated to the business or pleasure of society might be
preserved without injury or scandal. The change of religion was
accomplished not by a popular tumult, but by the decrees of the
emperors, of the Senate, and of time. Of the Christian hierarchy, the
bishops of Rome were commonly the most prudent and least fanatic; nor
can any positive charge be opposed to the meritorious act of saving
and converting the majestic structure of the Pantheon.

III. The value of any object that supplies the wants or pleasures of
mankind is compounded of its substance and its form, of the materials
and the manufacture. Its price must depend on the number of persons by
whom it may be acquired and used; on the extent of the market; and
consequently on the ease or difficulty of remote exportation according
to the nature of the commodity, its local situation, and the temporary
circumstances of the world. The Barbarian conquerors of Rome usurped
in a moment the toil and treasure of successive ages; but except the
luxuries of immediate consumption, they must view without desire all
that could not be removed from the city in the Gothic wagons or the
fleet of the Vandals. Gold and silver were the first objects of their
avarice; as in every country, and in the smallest compass, they
represent the most ample command of the industry and possessions of
mankind. A vase or a statue of those precious metals might tempt the
vanity of some Barbarian chief; but the grosser multitude, regardless
of the form, was tenacious only of the substance, and the melted
ingots might be readily divided and stamped into the current coin of
the empire. The less active or less fortunate robbers were reduced to
the baser plunder of brass, lead, iron, and copper: whatever had
escaped the Goths and Vandals was pillaged by the Greek tyrants; and
the Emperor Constans in his rapacious visit stript the bronze tiles
from the roof of the Pantheon.

The edifices of Rome might be considered as a vast and various mine:
the first labor of extracting the materials was already performed; the
metals were purified and cast; the marbles were hewn and polished; and
after foreign and domestic rapine had been satiated, the remains of
the city, could a purchaser have been found, were still venal. The
monuments of antiquity had been left naked of their precious
ornaments; but the Romans would demolish with their own hands the
arches and walls, if the hope of profit could surpass the cost of the
labor and exportation. If Charlemagne had fixt in Italy the seat of
the Western Empire, his genius would have aspired to restore, rather
than to violate, the works of the Cæsars: but policy confined the
French monarch to the forests of Germany; his taste could be gratified
only by destruction; and the new palace of Aix-la-Chapelle was
decorated with the marbles of Ravenna and Rome. Five hundred years
after Charlemagne, a king of Sicily, Robert--the wisest and most
liberal sovereign of the age--was supplied with the same materials by
the easy navigation of the Tiber and the sea; and Petrarch sighs an
indignant complaint that the ancient capital of the world should adorn
from her own bowels the slothful luxury of Naples.

But these examples of plunder or purchase were rare in the darker
ages; and the Romans, alone and unenvied, might have applied to their
private or public use the remaining structures of antiquity, if in
their present form and situation they had not been useless in a great
measure to the city and its inhabitants. The walls still described the
old circumference, but the city had descended from the seven hills
into the Campus Martius; and some of the noblest monuments which had
braved the injuries of time were left in a desert, far remote from the
habitations of mankind....

IV. I have reserved for the last the most potent and forcible cause of
destruction, the domestic hostilities of the Romans themselves. Under
the dominion of the Greek and French emperors, the peace of the city
was disturbed by accidental tho frequent seditions: it is from the
decline of the latter, from the beginning of the tenth century, that
we may date the licentiousness of private war, which violated with
impunity the laws of the Code and the gospel, without respecting the
majesty of the absent sovereign or the presence and person of the
vicar of Christ.

In a dark period of five hundred years, Rome was perpetually afflicted
by the sanguinary quarrels of the nobles and the people, the Guelphs
and Ghibelines, the Colonna and Ursini; and if much has escaped the
knowledge and much is unworthy of the notice, of history, I have
exposed in the two preceding chapters the causes and effects of the
public disorders. At such a time, when every quarrel was decided by
the sword and none could trust their lives or properties to the
impotence of law, the powerful citizens were armed for safety, or
offense, against the domestic enemies whom they feared or hated.
Except Venice alone, the same dangers and designs were common to all
the free republics of Italy; and the nobles usurped the prerogative of
fortifying their houses and erecting strong towers that were capable
of resisting a sudden attack. The cities were filled with these
hostile edifices; and the example of Lucca, which contained three
hundred towers, her law which confined their height to the measure of
four-score feet, may be extended with suitable latitude to the more
opulent and populous states. The first step of the senator Brancaleone
in the establishment of peace and justice, was to demolish (as we have
already seen) one hundred and forty of the towers of Rome; and in the
last days of anarchy and discord, as late as the reign of Martin the
Fifth, forty-four still stood in one of the thirteen or fourteen
regions of the city.

To this mischievous purpose the remains of antiquity were most readily
adapted: the temples and arches afforded a broad and solid basis for
the new structures of brick and stone; and we can name the modern
turrets that were raised on the triumphal monuments of Julius Cæsar,
Titus, and the Antonines. With some slight alterations, a theater, an
amphitheater, a mausoleum, was transformed into a strong and spacious
citadel. I need not repeat that the mole of Adrian has assumed the
title and form of the castle of St. Angelo; the Septizonium of Severus
was capable of standing against a royal army; the sepulcher of Metella
has sunk under its outworks; the theaters of Pompey and Marcellus were
occupied by the Savelli and Orsini families; and the rough fortress
has been gradually softened to the splendor and elegance of an Italian
palace.

The fame of Julius the Second, Leo the Tenth, and Sixtus the Fifth is
accompanied by the superior merit of Bramante and Fontana, of Raphael
and Michael Angelo; and the same munificence which had been displayed
in palaces and temples was directed with equal zeal to revive and
emulate the labors of antiquity. Prostrate obelisks were raised from
the ground and erected in the most conspicuous places; of the eleven
aqueducts of the Cæsars and consuls, three were restored; the
artificial rivers were conducted over a long series of old, or of new
arches, to discharge into marble basins a flood of salubrious and
refreshing waters: and the spectator, impatient to ascend the steps of
St. Peter's, is detained by a column of Egyptian granite, which rises
between two lofty and perpetual fountains to the height of one hundred
and twenty feet. The map, the description, the monuments of ancient
Rome have been elucidated by the diligence of the antiquarian and the
student; and the footsteps of heroes, the relics, not of superstition
but of empire, are devoutly visited by a new race of pilgrims from the
remote and once savage countries of the North.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 64: From the "Memoirs."]

[Footnote 65: She has now an even greater title to remembrance, as the
mother of Madame de Stäel.]

[Footnote 66: From the "Memoirs."]

[Footnote 67: From "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."]

[Footnote 68: Palmyra, of which only imposing ruins of the Roman
period now remain, was situated on an oasis in a desert east of Syria.
Its foundation is ascribed to Solomon. Palmyra had commercial
importance as a center of the caravan trade of the East.]

[Footnote 69: A city of Mesopotamia, on the Tigris, twenty miles
south-east of Babylon.]

[Footnote 70: The Greek philosopher, author of the famous essay "On
Sublimity," who was Zenobia's counselor and the instructor of her
children.]

[Footnote 71: From "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." Alaric
was king of the West Goths. He died in the year Rome was sacked, and
was buried with vast treasure in the bed of the river Busento.]

[Footnote 72: From Chapter 50 of "The Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire." Hosein was a grandson of Mohammed, founder of the faith that
bears his name.]

[Footnote 73: Babylonia.]

[Footnote 74: The Roman emperor still retained the title of Cæsar.]

[Footnote 75: Chosroes is better known in our day as Phusrau, one of
the kings of Persia.]

[Footnote 76: The reputed founder of the Mohammedan sect called
Yezidis.]

[Footnote 77: From the final chapter of "The Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire."]

[Footnote 78: A Tuscan author and antiquarian, born in 1381, died in
1495; at one time secretary of the papal curia; author of a history of
Florence, but chiefly remembered for having recovered works in Roman
literature, including eight orations of Cicero.]



END OF VOLUME IV.





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