« ElőzőTovább »
the heels of his shoes, an unguarded expression in his discourse, or even some personal defect; and the height of his low ambition is to put some one of the company to the blush, who perhaps must pay an equal share of the reckoning with himself. If such a fellow makes laughing the sole end and purpose of his life, if it is necessary to his constitution, or if he has a great desire of growing suddenly fat, let him eat ; let hiin give public notice where any dull stupid rogues may get a quart of four penny for being laughed at ; but it is barbarously unhandsome, when friends meet for the benefit of conversation, and a proper relaxation from business, that one should be the butt of the company, and four men made merry at the cost of the fifth.
How different from this character is that of the good-natured, gay Eugenius? who never spoke yet, but with a design to divert and please ; and who was never yet baulked in his intention. Eugenius takes more delight in applying the wit of liis friends, than in being admired himself; and if any one of the compa. ny is so unfortunate as to be touched a little too nearly, he will make use of some ingenious artifice to turn the edge of ridicule another way, chusing rather to make himself a public jest, than be at the pain of seeing his friend in confusion.
Amo?g the tribe of laughers I reckon the pretty gentlemen, that write satyrs, and carry them about in their pockets, reading them themselves in all company they happen into ; taking an advantage of the ill taste of the town, to make themselves famous for a pack of paltry, low nonsense, for which they deserve to be kicked, rather than admired, by all who have the least tincture of politeness. These I'take to be the most incorrigible of all my readers ; nay, I expect they will be squibbing at the Busy-Body himself However, the only favour he begs of them is this, that if they cannot controul their overbearing itch of scribbling, let him be attacked in downright biting lyricks ; for there is no satyr he dreads half so much, as an attempt towards a panegyrick.
THE BUSY-BODY.–No. III. Prom Tuesday, February 11, to Tuesday, February
Non vultus instantis Tyranni
TT is said, that the Persians, in their ancient con1 stitution, had public schools, in which virtue was taught as a liberal art or science : and it is certainly of more consequence to a man, that he has learnt to govern his passions, in spite of temptation ; to be just in his dealings, to be temperate in his pleasures, to support himself with fortitude under his misfortunes, to behave with prudence in all his affairs, and in every circumstance of life ; I say, it is of much more real advantage to him to be thus qualified, than to be a master of all the arts and sciences in the world beside.
Virtue alone is sufficient to make a man great, glorious, and happy. He that is acquainted with Cato, as I am, cannot help thinking as I do now, and will acknowledge he deserves the name, without being honoured by it. Cato is a man whom fortune has placed in the most obscure part of the country. His circumstances are such, as only put him above necessity, without affording him many superfluities : yet who is greater than Cato ? I happened but the other day to be at a house in town, where, among others, were met men of the most note in this place; Cato had business with some of them, and knocked at the door. The
most trifling actions of a man, in my opinion, as well as the smallest features and lineaments of the face, give a nice observer some notion of his mind. Methought he rapped in such a peculiar manner, as seemed of itself to express there was one who deserved as well as desired admission. He appeared in the plainest country garb; his great coat was coarse, and looked old and threadbare ; his linnen was homespun ; his beard, perhaps, of seven days growth ; his shoes thick and heavy; and every part of his dress corresponding. Why was this man received with such concurring respect from every person in the room, even from those who had never known him or seen him before? It was not an exquisite form of person or grandeur of dress, that struck us with admiration. I believe long habits of virtue have a sensible effect on the countenance : there was something in the air of his face, that manifested the true greatness of his mind; which likewise appeared in all he said, and in every part of his behaviour, obliging us to regard him with a kind of veneration. His aspect is sweetened with humanity and benevolence, and at the same time em boldened with resolution, equally free from diffident bashfulness and an unbecoming assurance. The con. sciousness of his own innate worth and unshaken integrity, renders him calm and undaunted in the presence of the most great and powerful, and upon the most extraordinary occasions. His strict justice and known impartiality make him the arbitrator and decider of all differences, that arise for many miles around him, without putting his neighbours to the charge, perplexity, and uncertainly of law-suits. He always speaks the thing he means, which he is never afraid or ashamed to do, because he knows he always means well ; and therefore is never obliged to blush, and feel the confusion of finding himself detected in the meanness of a falshood. He never contrives ill against his neighbour, and therefore is never seen with a
lowring, suspicious aspect. A mixture of innocence and wisdom makes him ever seriously cheerful. His generous hospitality to strangers, according to his ability, his goodness, his charity, his courage in the cause of the oppressed, his fidelity in friendship, his humility, his honesty and sincerity, his moderation and his loyalty to the government, bis piety, hiş temperance, his love to mankind, his magnanimity, his public spiritedness, and, in fine, his consummate virtue, make him justly deserve to be esteemed the glory of his country.
The brave do never shun the light,
Who would not rather choose, if it were in his choice, to merit the above character, than be the rich. est, the most learned, or the most powerful man in the province without it?
. Almost every man has a strong natural desire of being valued and esteemed by the rest of his species ; but I am concerned and grieved to see how few fall into the right and only infallible method of becoming so. That laudablc ambition is too commonly misapplici, and often ill employed. Some, to make themselves considerable, pursue learning ; others grasp at wealth ; some aim at being thought witty; and others are only careful to make the most of an handsome person: but what is wit, or wealth, or form, or learning, when compared with virtue ? It is true, we love the handsome, we applaud the learned, and we fear the rich and powerful; but we even worship and adore the virtuous. Nor is it strange; since men of virtue are so rare, so very rare to be found. If we were as industrious to become good, as to make ourselves great, we should become really great by being good, and the number of valuable men would be much increased ; but it is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness; and I pronounce it as certain, that there was never yet a truly great man, that was not at the same time truly virtuous.
O Cretico! thou sour philosopher ! thou cunning statesman! thou art crafty, but far from being wise. When wilt thou be esteemed, regarded, and beloved like Cato? When wilt thou, among thy creatures, meet with that unfeigned respect and warm good-will that all men have for him ? Wilt thou never understand, that the cringing, mean, submissive deportment of thy dependants, is (like the worship paid by Indians to the devil) rather through fear of the harm thou mayst do them, than out of gratitude for the favours they have received of thee? Thou art not wholly void of virtue ; there are many good things in thee, and many good actions reported of thee. Be advised by thy friend : neglect those musty authors; let them be covered with dust, and moulder on their proper shelves; and do thou apply thyself to a study much more profitable, the knowledge of mankind and of thyself.
This is to give notice, that the Busy-Body strictly forbids all persons, from this time forward, of what age, sex, rank, quality, degree, or denomination so. ever, on any pretence, to inquire who is the author of this paper, on pain of his displeasure, (his own near and dear relations only excepted.)
It is to be observed, that if any bad characters hapa pen to be drawn in the course of these papers, they mean no particular person, if they are not particularly
Likewise, that the author is no party-man, but a general meddler.
N. B. Cretico lives in a neighbouring province.'