« 前へ次へ »
daughter, and told me that nothing was wanting to
man. Contempt has driven out my love, and I am content to have purchased, by the loss of fortune, an escape from a harpy, who has joined the artifices of age to the allurements of youth. I am now going to pursue my former projects with a legacy which my uncle bequeathed me, and if I succeed, shall expect to hear of the repentance of Flavilla.
I am, Sir, Yours, &c.
No. 193. TUESDAY, JANUARY 21, 1752
Laudis amore tumes? sunt certa piacula, quae te
Or art thou vain? books yield a certain spell To stop thy tumour; you shall cease to swell When you have read them thrice, and studied well. CREECH. HATEVER is universally desired, will be sought by industry and artifice, by merit and crimes, by means good and bad, rational and absurd, according to the prevalence of virtue or vice, of wisdom or folly. Some will always mistake the degree of their own desert, and some will desire that others may mistake it. The cunning will have recourse to stratagem, and the powerful to violence, for the attainment of their wishes; some will stoop to theft, and others venture upon plunder. Praise is so pleasing to the mind of man, that it is the original motive of almost all our actions. The desire of commendation, as of every thing else, is varied indeed by innumerable differences of temper, capacity, and knowledge; some have no higher wish than for the applause of a club; some expect the acclamations of a county; and some have hoped to fill the mouths of all ages and nations with their names. Every man pants for the highest eminence within his view; none, however mean, ever sinks below the hope of being distinguished by his fellow-beings, and very few have by magnanimity or piety been so raised above it, as to act wholly without regard to censure or opinion. To be praised, therefore, every man resolves; but resolutions will not execute themselves. That which all think too parsimoniously distributed to their own claims, they will not gratuitously squander upon others, and some expedient must be tried, by which praise may be gained before it can be enjoyed. Among the innumerable bidders for praise, some are willing to purchase at the highest rate, and offer ease and health, fortune and life. Yet even of these Only a small part have gained what they so earnestly desired; the student wastes away in meditation, and the soldier perishes on the ramparts, but unless some accidental advantage co-operates with merit, neither perseverance nor adventure attracts attention, and learning and bravery sink into the grave, without honour or remembrance. But ambition and vanity generally expect to be gratified on easier terms. It has been long observed, that what is procured by skill or labour to the first possessor, may be afterwards transferred for money; and that the man of wealth may partake all the acquisitions of courage without hazard, and all the products of industry without fatigue. It was easily discovered, that riches would obtain praise among other conveniences, and that he whose pride was unluckily associated with laziness, ignorance, or cowardice, needed only to pay the hire of a panegyrist, and he might be regaled with periodical eulogies; might determine, at leisure, what virtue or science he would be pleased to appropriate, and be lulled in the evening with soothing serenades, or waked in the morning by sprightly gratulations. The happiness which mortals receive from the celebration of beneficence which never relieved, eloquence which never persuaded, or elegance which never pleased, ought not to be envied or disturbed, when they are known honestly to pay for their entertainment. But there are unmerciful exactors of adulation, who withhold the wages of venality; retain their encomiast from year to year by general promises and ambiguous blandishments; and when he has run through the whole compass of flattery, dismiss him with contempt, because his vein of fiction is exhausted. A continual feast of commendation is only to be obtained by merit or by wealth; many are therefore obliged to content themselves with single morsels, and recompense the infrequency of their enjoyment by excess and riot, whenever fortune sets the banquet before them. Hunger is never delicate; they who are seldom gorged to the full with praise, may also be safely fed with gross compliments; for the appe** tite must be satisfied before it is disgusted. ** It is easy to find the moment at which vanity is long eager for sustenance, and all that impudence or serHiki, wility can offer will be well received. When any one ** complains of the want of what he is known to posto sessin an uncommon degree, he certainly waits with to impatience to be contradicted. When the trader pre* tends anxiety about the payment of his bills, or the to beauty remarks how frightfully she looks, then is folio the lucky moment to talk of riches or of charms, of the death of lovers, or the honour of a merchant. int. Others there are yet more open and artless, who, ** instead of suborning a flatterer, are content to supply et his place, and as some animals impregnate them. No selves, swell with the praises which they hear from o their own tongues. Recte is dicitur laudare sese, cui o memo alius contigit laudator. “It is right,” says Eraslso mus, “that he, whom no one else will commend, go should bestow commendations on himself.” Of all lio the sons of vanity, these are surely the happiest is and greatest; for what is greatness or happiness but to independence on external influences, exemption from hope or fear, and the power of supplying every * Want from the common stores of nature, which can neither be exhausted nor prohibited ? Such is the Wise man of the stoicks; such is the divinity of the epicureans; and such is the flatterer of himself. Every other enjoyment malice may destroy; every other panegyrick envy may withhold; but no human