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Euracy for life
. 1. men of great ex
and meeting we
-r," says he, "
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ring us together
the folly of my we are much quaintance
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, a I ought to lui Food dinner and a
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I do not percent 78 hare much ein
for this dark generation, I am very far from in-ness of a day, and complicate innunierable incitending to debar the soft and tender mind from dents in one great transaction, afford few lessons the privilege of complaining, when the sigh arises applicable to private life, which derives its comfrom the desire not of giving pain, but of gaining forts and its wretchedness from the right or wrong
To bear complaints with patience, even management of things, which nothing but their when complaints are vain, is one of the duties frequency makes considerable, Parva si non fiunt of friendship; and though it must be allowed that quotidie, says Pliny, and which can have no place be suffers most like a hero that hides his grief in in those relations which never descend below the silence,
consultation of senates, the motions of armies,
and the schemes of conspirators. Spem vulta simulat, premit altupn corde dolorem.
I have often thought that there has rarely passHis outward smiles conceal'd his inward smart.
ed a life of which a judicious and faithful narrative would not be useful. For, not only every man
has, in the mighty mass of the world, great numyet it cannot be denied, that he who complains bers in the same condition with himself, to whom acts like a man, like a social being, who looks for his mistakes and miscarriages, escapes and expehelp from his fellow-creatures. Pity is to many dients, would be of immediate and apparent use; of the unhappy a source of comfort in hopeless but there is such a uniformity in the state of man, distress, as it contributes to recommend them to considered apart from adventitious and separable themselves, by proving that they have not lost decorations and disguises, that there is scarce any the regard of others; and heaven seems to indi- possibility of good or ill, but is common to human cate the duty even of barren compassion, by in- kind. A great part of the time of those who are clining us to weep for evils which we cannot placed at the greatest distance by fortune, or by remedy.
temper, must unavoidably pass in the same manner; and though, when the claims of nature are
satisfied, caprice, and vanity, and accident, begin No. 60.) SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13, 1750. to produce discriminations and peculiarities, yet
the eye is not very heedful or quick, which cannot -Quid sit pulchrum quid turpe, quid utile, quid non, discover the same causes still terminating their Plenius ac melius Chrysippo et Crantore dicit.
influence in the same effects, though sometimes
accelerated, sometimes retarded, or perplexed by Whose works the beautiful and base contain,
multiplied combinations. We are allprompted Of vice and virtue more instructive rules, Than all the sober sages of the schools.
by the same motives, all deceived by the same
fallacies, all animated by hope, obstructed by danAll joy or sorrow for the happiness or calamities ger, entangled by desire, and seduced by pleasure. of others is produced by an act of the imagina It is frequently objected to relations of particution, that realizes the event however fictitious, or lar lives, that they are not distinguished by any approximates it however remote, by placing us, striking or wonderful vicissitudes. The scholar, for a time, in the condition of him whose fortune who passed his life among his books, the mer we contemplate; so that we feel, while the de chant, who conducted only his own affairs, the ception lasts, whatever motions would be excited priest, whose sphere of action was not extended by the same good or evil happening to ourselves. beyond that of his duty, are considered as no pro
Our passions are therefore more strongly mov- per objects of public regard, however they might
said by its author to have been written, that it Those parallel circumstances and kindred ima- might lay open to posterity the private and fages to which we readily conform our minds, are, miliar character of that man, cujus ingenium et above all other writings, to be found in narratives candorem ex ipsius scriptis sunt olim sember miraof the lives of particular persons; and therefore turi, whose candour and genius will to the end of no species of writing seems more worthy of cul- time be by his writings preserved in admiration. tivation than biography, since none can be more There are many invisible circumstances which, delightful or more useful, none can more cer- whether we read as inquirers after natural or mo tainly enchain the heart by irresistible interest, ral knowledge, whether we intend to enlarge our or more widely diffuse instruction to every diver- science, or increase our virtue, are more importsitv of condition.
ant than public occurrences. Thus Sallust, the The general and rapid narratives of history, great master of nature, has not forgotten in his which involve a thousand fortunes in the busi- l account of Cataline, to remark, that his walk ry:s
H has long talked a ring otherwise tour the feels anroe
reatene, but hasti tations, as other expressions of ex ision of future
' their ease her the pon which the car scourse.
, that there they might direction ithout disturbane promote ettemmen for an example, te
rupt or foolishda
arned from him.
of a people net cons might be me m all compa?",
d confine then ce they may mas
the gloom of ec
Homer's Aganes od, but the jov
Whoever is dit I the means of proving his vein of
of screech-ord jury to the rest 2 so little kindnes
now quick, and again slow, as an indication of a | If we owe regard to the memory of the dead,
Quem, nisi mendosum et mendacem ?world than that part of his personal character,
False praise can charm, unreal shame control, which represents hin as careful of his health, and Whom, but a vicious or a sickly soul ?negligent of his life. But biography has often been allotted to writ
TO THE RAMBLER. ers who seem very little acquainted with the nature of their task, or very negligent about the perform- It is extremely vexatious to a man of eager and
They rarely afford any other account than thirsty curiosity to be placed at a great distance might be collected from public papers, but ima- from the fountain of intelligence, and not only gine themselves writing a life when they exhibit never to receive the current of report till it has saa chronological series of actions or preferments; tiated the greatest part of the nation, but at last and so little regard the manners or behaviour of to find it mudded in its course, and corrupted with their heroes, that more knowledge may be gained taints or mixtures from every channel through of a man's real character, by a short conversation which it flowed. with one of his servants, than from a formal and One of the chief pleasures of my life is to hear studied narrative, begun with his pedigree, and what passes in the world, to know what are the ended with his funeral.
schemes of the politic, the aims of the busy, and If now and then they condescend to inform the the hopes of the ambitious; what changes of pubworld of particular facts, they are not abways so lic measures are approaching; who is likely to happy as to select the most important. I know be crushed in the collision of parties; who is not well what advantage posterity can receive climbing to the top of power, and who is tottering from the only circumstance by which Tickell has on the precipice of disgrace. But as it is very distinguished Addison from the rest of mankind, common for us to desire most what we are least the irregularity of his pulse : nor can I think my qualified to obtain, I have suffered this appetite self overpaid for the time spent in reading the life of news to outgrow all the gratifications which of Malherb, by being enabled to relate, after the my present situation can afford it; for being learned biographer, that Malherb had two predo- placed in a remote country, I am condemned alminant opinions; one, that the looseness of a ways to confound the future with the past, single woman might destroy all her boast of an to form prognostications of events no longer cient descent; the other, that the French beg- doubtful, and to consider the expediency of gars made use very improperly and barbarously schemes already executed or defeated. I am of the phrase noble Gentleman, because either perplexed with a perpetual deception in my prosword included the sense of both.
pects, like a man pointing his telescope at a reThere are, indeed, some natural reasons why mote star, which before the light reaches his eye these narratives are often written by such as were has forsaken the place from which it was emitted. not likely to give much instruction or delight, and The mortification of being thus always behind why most accounts of particular persons are bar- the active world in my reflections and discoveren and useless. If a life be delayed till interest ries, is exceedingly aggravated by the petulance and envy are at an end, we may hope for impar- of those whose health, or business, or pleasure, tiality, but must expect little intelligence; for the brings them hither from London. For, without incidents which give excellence to biography are considering the insuperable disadvantages of my of a volatile and evanescent kind, such as soon condition, and the unavoidable ignorance which escape the memory, and are rarely transmitted absence must produce, they often treat me with by tradition. We know how few can portray the utmost superciliousness of contempt, for not a living acquaintance, except by his most promi- knowing what no human sagacity can discover; nent and observable particularities, and the grosser and sometimes seem to consider me as a wretch features of his mind; and it may be easily ima- scarcely worthy of human converse, when I hapgined how much of this little knowledge may be pen to talk of the fortune of a bankrupt, or prolost in imparting it, and how soon a succession pose the healths of the dead, when I warn them of copies will lose all resemblance of the original. of mischiefs already incurred, or wish for mea
If the biographer writes from personal know- sures that have been lately taken. They seem ledge, and makes haste to gratify the public cu- to attribute to the superiority of their intellects riosity, there is danger least his interest, his fear, what they only owe to the accident of their conhis gratitude, or his tenderness, overpower his ditions, and think themselves indisputably entitled fidelity, and tempt him to conceal, if not to invent. to airs of insolence and authority, when they find There are many who think it an act of piety to another ignorant of facts, which, because they hide the faults or failings of their friends, even echoed in the streets of London, they suppose when they can no longer suffer by their detection; equally public in all other places, and known we therefore see whole ranks of characters adorn- where they could neither be seen, related, nor ed with uniform panegyric, and not to be known conjectured. from one another, but by extrinsic and casual To this haughtiness they are indeed too much circumstances. “ Let me remember,” says Hale, encouraged by the respect which, they receive “ when I find myself inclined to pity a criminal, amongst us, for no other reason than that they that there is likewise a pity due to the country.” come from London. For no sooner is the ar
rival of one of these disseminators of knowledge | link-boys. When he is with ladies, he tells them known in the country, than we crowd about him of the innumerable pleasures to which he can infrom every quarter, and hy innumerable inquiries troduce them; but never fails to hint how much flatter him into an opinion of his own importance. they will be deficient, at their first arrival, in the He sees himself surrounded by multitudes, who knowledge of the town. What it is to know the propose their doubts, and refer their controver- town, he has not indeed hitherto informed us, sies, to him, as to a being descended from some though there is no phrase so frequent in his nobler region, and he grows on a sudden oracu- mouth, nor any science which he appears to think lous and infallible, solves all difficulties, and sets of so great a value, or so difficult attainment. all objections at defiance.
But my curiosity has been most engaged by There is, in my opinion, great reason for sus- the recital of his own adventures and achievepecting, that they sometimes take advantage of ments. I have heard of the union of various chathis reverential modesty, and impose upon rustic racters in single persons, but never met with such understandings, with a false show of universal a constellation of great qualities as this man's intelligence; for I do not find that they are will narrative affords. Whatever has distinguished ing to own themselves ignorant of any thing, or the hero; whatever has elevated the wit; whatthat they dismiss any inquirer with a positive and ever has endeared the lover, are all concentrated decisive answer. The court, the city, the park, in Mr. Frolic, whose life has, for seven years, and exchange, are to those men of unbounded been a regular interchange of intrigues, dangers, observation equally familiar, and they are alike and waggeries, and who has distinguished him ready to tell the hour at which stocks will rise, or self in every character that can be feared, envied, the ministry be changed.
or admired. A short residence at London entitles a man to I question whether all the officers of the royal knowledge, to wit, to politeness, and to a despot- navy can bring together, from all their journals, ic and dictatorial power of prescribing to the rude a collection of so many wonderful escapes as this multitude, whom he condescends to honour with man has known upon the Thames, on which he a biennial visit; yet, I know not well upon what has been a thousand and a thousand times on motives, I have lately found myself inclined to the point of perishing, sometimes by the terrors cavil at this prescription, and to doubt whether it of foolish women in the same boat, sometimes be not, on some occasions, proper to withhold our by his own acknowledged imprudence in passing veneration, till we are more authentically con- the river in the dark, and sometimes by shooting vinced of the merits of the claimant.
the bridge under which he has rencountered It is well remembered here, that, about seven mountainous waves and dreadful cataracts. years ago, one Frolic, a tall boy, with lank hair, Nor less has been his temerity by land, nor remarkable for stealing eggs, and sucking them, fewer his hazards. He has reeled with giddiwas taken from the school in this parish, and sent ness on the top of the monument; he has crossed up to London to study the law. As he had given the street amidst the rush of coaches; he has amongst us no proofs of a genius designed by been surrounded by robbers without 'number; nature for extraordinary performances, he was, he has headed parties at the playhouse; he has from the time of his departure, totally forgotten, scaled the windows of every toast, of whatever nor was there any talk of his vices or virtues, his condition; he has been hunted for whole winters good or his ill fortune, till last summer a report by his rivals; he has slept upon bulks, he has burst upon us, that Mr. Frolic was come down in cut chairs, he has bilked coachmen; he has rethe first post-chaise which this village had seen, scued his friends from the bailiffs ; has knocked having travelled with such rapidity that one of his down the constable, has bullied the justice, and postilions had broken his leg, and another nar- performed many other exploits, that have filled rowly escaped suffocation in a quicksand; but the town with wonder and with merriment. that Mr. Frolic seemed totally unconcerned, for But yet greater is the fame of his understand such things were never heeded at London. ing than his bravery; for he informs us, that he
Mr. Frolic next day appeared among the gen- is, at London, the established arbitrator of all tlemen at their weekly meeting on the bowling- points of honour, and the decisive judge of all green, and now were seen the effects of a Lon- performances of genius ; that no musical perdon education. His dress, his language, his former is in reputation till the opinion of Frolic ideas, were all new, and he did not much endea- has ratified his pretensions; that the theatres vour to conceal his contempt of every thing that suspend their sentence till he begins the clap or differed from the opinions, or practice of the hiss, in which all are proud to concur; that no modish world. He showed us the deformity of public entertainment has failed or succeeded, but our skirts and sleeves, informed us where hats because he opposed or favoured it; that all conof the proper size were to be sold, and recom- troversies at the gaming-table are referred to his mended to us the reformation of a thousand ab- determination; that he adjusts the ceremonial at surdities in our clothes, our cookery, and our every assembly, and prescribes every fashion of conversation. When any of his phrases were pleasure or of dress. unintelligible, he could not suppress the joy of With every man whose name occurs in the confessed superiority, but frequently delayed the papers of the day, he is intimately acquainted; explanation, that he might enjoy his triumph over and there are very few posts, either in the state our barbarity.
or army, of which he has not more or less influWhen he is pleased to entertain us with a story, enced the disposal. He has been very frequently he takes care to crowd into it names of streets, consulted both upon war and peace; but the time squares, and buildings, with which he knows we is not yet come when the nation shall know how are unacquainted. The favourite topics of his much it is indebted to the genius of Frolic. discourse are the pranks of drunkards, and the Yet, notwithstanding all these declarations, I tricks put upon country gentlemen by porters and cannot hitherto persuade myself to see that Mr
Frolic has more wit, or knowledge, or courage, She was, however, still rich, and not yet wrin-
pendence on caprice or fashion, they soon retired
to some consideration, that they were known to RURICOLA. visit at Mrs. Courtly's.
In this state they were, to speak in the style of novelists, made happy by the birth of your cor
respondent. My parents had no other child, I No. 62.) Saturday, October 20, 1750. was therefore not brow-beaten by a saucy bro
ther, or lost in a multitude of co-heiresses, whose Nunc ego Triptolemi cuperem conscendere currus, fortunes being equal, would probably have conMisit in ignotam qui rude semen humum:
ferred equal merit, and procured equal regard; Nunc ego Medea vellem franare dracones,
and as my mother was now old, my understandQuos habuit fugiens arce, Corinthe, tua ; Nunc ego jaciandas optarem sumere pennas,
ing and my person had fair play, my inquiries Sive tuas, Perseu; Dadale, sive tuas.
were not checked, my advances towards import
ance were not repressed, and I was soon sufferNow would I mount his car, whose bounteous hand First sowed with teeming seed the furrow'd land;
ed to tell my own opinions, and early accustomNow to Medea's dragons fix my reins,
ed to hear my own praises. That swiftly bore her from Corinthian plains ;
By these accidental advantages I was much Now on Dædalian waxen pinions stray,
exalted above the young ladies with whom I con. Or those which wafted Perseus on his way.
versed, and was treated by them with great defer
ence. I saw none who did not seem to confess TO THE RAMBLER.
my superiority, and to be held in awe by the
splendour of my appearance ; for the fondness of SIR,
my father made him pleased to see me dressed, I am a young woman of a very large fortune, and my mother had no vanity nor expenses to which, if my parents would have been persuaded hinder her from concurring with his inclination. to comply with the rules and customs of the po
Thus, Mr. Rambler, I lived without much delite part of mankind, might long since have raised sire after any thing beyond the circle of our visits; me to the highest honours of the female world ; and here I should have quietly continued to porbut so strangely have they hitherto contrived to tion out my time among my books and my needle, waste my life, that I am now on the borders of and my company, had not my curiosity been twenty, without having ever danced but at our every moment excited by the conversation of my monthly assembly, or been toasted but among a parents, who, whenever
they sit down to familiar few gentlemen of the neighbourhood, or seen any prattle, and endeavour the entertainment of each company in which it was worth a wish to be dis- other, immediately transport themselves to Lontinguished
don, and relate some adventure in a hackney My father having impaired his patrimony in coach, some frolic at a masquerade, some conversoliciting a place at court, at last grew wise sation in the Park, or some quarrel at an assemenough to cease his pursuit ; and, to repair the bly, display the magnificence of a birth-night, consequences of expensive attendance and negli- relate the conquests of maids of honour, or give gence of his affairs, married a lady much older a history of diversions, shows, and entertain. than himself, who had lived in the fashionable ments, which I had never known but from their world till she was considered as an incumbrance accounts. upon parties of pleasure, and as I can collect from I am so well versed in the history of the gay incidental informations, retired from gay asser- world, that I can relate, with great punctuality, blies just time enough to escape the mortification the lives of all the last race of wits and beauties; of universal neglect.
can enumerate, with exact chronology, the whole
succession of celebrated singers, musicians, trage But this tedious interval how shall I endure? dians, comedians, and harlequins; can tell to the Cannot you alleviate the misery of delay by some last twenty years all the changes of fashions; and pleasing description of the entertainments of the am, indeed, a complete antiquary with respect to town? I can read, I can talk, I can think of nohead-dresses, dances, and operas.
thing else; and if you will not soothe my impaYou will easily imagine, Mr. Rambler, that I tience, heighten any ideas, and animate my hopes, could not hear these narratives, for sixteen years you may write for those who have more leisure, together, without suffering some impressions, and but are not to expect any longer the honour of wishing myself nearer to those places where every being read by those eyes which are now intent hour brings some new pleasure, and life is diversi- only on conquest and destruction. fied with an inexhausted succession of felicity.
RHODOCLIA. I indeed often asked my mother why she left a place which she recollected with so much delight, and why she did not visit London once a year, No. 63.] Tuesday, October 23, 1750. like some other ladies, and initiate me in the world by showing me its amusements, its gran Habebat sæpe ducentos, deur, and its variety. But she always told me Sape decem servos; modo reges atque tetrarchas, that the days which she had seen were such as Omnia magna loquens : modo, sit mihi mensa tripes, e will never come again, that all diversion is now
Concha salis puri, et toga, qua defendere frigus, degenerated, that the conversation of the present
Quamvis crassa queat. age is insipid, that their fashions are unbecoming, Now with two hundred slaves he crowds his train; their customs absurd, and their morals corrupt; Now walks with ten. In high and haughty struin that there is no ray left of the genius which en At morn, of kings and governors he prates ; lightened the times that she remembers; that no
At night,-—"A frugal table, 0 ye fates,
A little shell the sacred salt to hold, one who had seen, or heard, the ancient perform- And clothes, though coarse, to keep me from the cold ers, would be able to bear the bunglers of this despicable age: and that there is now neither politeness, nor pleasure, nor virtue, in the world. It has been remarked, perhaps, by every write! She therefore assures me that she consults my who has left behind him observations upon life, happiness by keeping me at home, for I should that no man is pleased with his present state; now find nothing but vexation and disgust, and which proves equally unsatisfactory, says Hoshe should be ashamed to see me pleased with race, whether fallen upon by chance or chosen such fopperies and trifles, as take up the thoughts with deliberation; we are always disgusted with of the present set of young people.
some circumstance or other of our situation, and With this answer I was kept quiet for several imagine the condition of others more abundant years, and thought it no great inconvenience to in blessings, or less exposed to calamities. be confined to the country, till last summer a
This universal discontent has been generally young gentleman and his sister came down to mentioned with great severity of censure, as uri pass a few months with one of our neighbours. reasonable in itself
, since of two, equally envious They had generally no great regard for the of each other, both cannot have the larger share country ladies, but distinguished me by a parti- of happiness, and as tending to darken life with cular complaisance, and as we grew intimate unnecessary gloom, by withdrawing our minds gave me such a detail of the elegance, the splen- from the contemplation and enjoyment of that dour, the mirth, the happiness of the town, that happiness which our state affords us, and fixing I am resolved to be no longer buried in ignorance our attention upon foreign objects, which we only and obscurity, but to share with other wits the behold to depress ourselves, and increase our joy of being admired, and divide with other beau- misery by injurious comparisons. ties the empire of the world.
When this opinion of the felicity of others preI do not find, Mr. Rambler, upon a deliberate dominates in the heart, so as to excite resolutions and impartial comparison, that I am excelled by of obtaining, at whatever price, the condition to Belinda in beauty, in wit, in judgment, in know- which such transcendent privileges are supposed ledge, or in any thing, but å kind of gay, lively to be annexed; when it bursts into action, and familiarity, by which she mingles with strangers produces fraud, violence, and injustice, it is to be as with persons long acquainted, and which ena- pursued with all the rigour of legal punishments. bles her to display her powers without any ob- But while operating only upon the thoughts, it struction, hesitation, or confusion. Yet she can disturbs none but him who has happened to adrelate a thousand civilities paid to her in public, mit it, and however it may interrupt content, can produce, from a hundred lovers, letters filled makes no attack on piety or virtue, I cannot think with praises, protestations, ecsiicies, and despair; it so far criminal or ridiculous, but that it may has been handed by dukes to her chair ; has been deserve some pity, and adnit some excuse. the occasion of innumerable quarrels; has paid That all are equally happy, or miserable, I sụptwenty visits in an afternoon; been invited to six pose none is sufficiently enthusiastical to mainballs in an evening, and been forced to retire to tain; because though we cannot judge of the conlodgings in the country from the importunity of dition of others, yet every man has found frequent courtship, and the fatigue of pleasure.
vicissitudes in his own state, and must therefore I tell you, Mr. Rambler, I will stay here no be convinced that life is susceptible of more or longer. I have at last prevailed upon my mother less felicity. What then shall forbid us to endeato send me to town, and shall set out in three your the alteration of that which is capable of weeks on the grand expedition. I intend to live being improved, and to grasp at augmentations in public, and to crowd into the winter every plea- of good, when we know it possible to be increassure which money can purchase, and every ho-ed, and believe that any particular change of nour which beauty can obtain.
situation will increase it? O