« ElőzőTovább »
not purchase his assistance with money, have eno joyed it from his charity. But a list of particulars would swell my letter beyond its bounds; what I have said being sufficient to comfort those who are in the like distress, since they may conceive hopes of being no longer miserable in this kind, while there is yet alive so able an oculist as Dr. Grant.
I am the Spectator's
humble servant, T.
N° 473. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 1712.
Quid ? si quis vultu torvo ferus et pede nudo,
HOR. 1 Ep. xix. 12.
TO THE SPECTATOR, “SIR,
TAM now in the country, and employ most of my time in reading, or thinking upon what I have read. Your paper comes constantly down to me, and it affects me so much, that I find my thoughts run into your way; and I recommend to you a subject upon which you have not yet touched, and that is, the satisfaction some men seem to take in their imperfections: I think one may call it glo. rying in their insufficiency. A certain great author is of opinion it is the contrary to envy, though perhaps it may proceed from it. Nothing is so common as to hear men of this sort, speaking of themselves, add to their own merit (as they think) by impairing it, in praising themselves for their defects, freely allowing they commit some few frivolous errors, in order to be esteemed persons of uncommon talents and great qualifications. They are generally professing an injudicious neglect of dancing, fencing, and riding, as also an unjust contempt for travelling, and the modern languages; as for their part, they say, they never valued or troubled their heads about them. This panegyrical satire on themselves certainly is worthy of your animadversion. I have known one of these gentlemen think himself obliged to forget the day of an appointment, and sometimes even that you spoke to him; and when you see 'em, they hope you'll pardon 'em, for they have the worst memory in the world, One of 'em started up t’other day in some confusion and said, “ Now I think on't, I am to ineet Mr. Mortmain the attorney, about some business, but whether it is to-day, or to-morrow, 'faith I can't tell.” Now, to my certain knowledge, he knew his time to a moment, and was there accordingly. These forgetful persons have, to heighten their crime, generally the best memories of any people, as I have found out by their remembering somietimes through inadvertency. · Two or three of 'em that I know can say most of our modern tragedies by heart. I asked a gentleman the other day that is famous for a good carver (at which acquisition he is out of countenance, imagining it may detract from some of his more essential qualifications) to help me to something that was near him; but he excused himself, and blushing told me, “ Of all
things he could never crave in his life ;" though it can be proved upon him that he cuts up, disjoints, and uncases with incomparable dexterity. I would not be understood as if I thought it laudable for a man of quality and fortune to rival the acquisitions of artificers, and endeavour to excel in little handy qualities ; no, I argue only against being ashamed of what is really praise-worthy. As these pretences to ingenuity show themselves several ways, you will often see a man of this temper ashamed to be clean, and setting up for wit only from negligence in his habit. Now I am upon this head, I cannot help observing also upon a very different folly proceeding from the same cause. As these above mentioned arise from affecting an equality with men of greater talents, from having the same faults, there are others · that would come at a parallel with those above them, by possessing little advantages which they want.
I heard a young man not long ago, who has sense, ŏ comfort hiinself in his ignorance of Greek, Hebrew, and the Orientals : at the same time that he published his aversion to those languages, he said that the knowledge of them was rather a diminution than an advancement of a man's character: though at the same time I know he languishes and repines he is not master of them himself. Whenever I take any of these fine persons thus detracting from what they do not understand, I tell them I will complain to you, and say I am sure you will not allow it an exception against a thing, that he who contemns it is an ignorant in it.
I am, Sir,
I AM a man of a very good estate, and am honourably in love. I hope you will allow, when
the ultimate purpose is honest, there may be, without trespass against innocence, some toying by the way. People of condition are perhaps too distant and formal on those occasions ; but however that is, I am to confess to you that I have writ some verses to atone for my offence. You professed authors are a little severe upon us, who write like gentlemen : but if you are a friend to love, you will insert mý poem. You cannot imagine how much service it would do me with my lair one, as well as reputation with all my friends, to havé soinething of mine in the Spectator. My crime was, that I snatched a kiss, and my poetical excuse as follows:
“ Belinda, see from yonder flowers
The bee flies loaded to its cell ;
Are they impair'd in show or smell?
“ So, though I robb’d you of a kiss,
Sweeter than their ambrosial dew :
Has it at all impoverish'd you?
66'Tis by this cunning I contrive,
In spite of your unkind reserve,
Which you inhumanly would starve.”'
I am, Sir,
Aug. 23, 1712. • Having a little time upon my hands, I could not think of bestowing it better, than in writ, ing an epistle to the Spectator, which I now do, and am, Sir, Your humble servant,
P.S. If you approve of my style, I am likely enough to become your correspondent. Į desire your opinion of it. I design it for that way of writ, ing called by the judicious “ the familiar.""
N° 474. WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 3, 1712.
Asperitas agrestis et inconcinna.
HOR. 1 Ep. xviii. 6.
“Being of the number of those that have lately retired from the centre of business and pleasure, my uneasiness in the country where I am arises rather from the society than the solitude of it. To be abliged to receive and return visits from and to a circle of neighbours, who, through diversity of age or inclinations, can neither be entertaining nor serviceable to us, is a vilę loss of time, and a slavery from which a man should deliver himself, if possible : for why must I lose the remaining part of my life because they have thrown away the former parts of theirs ?