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curtains, that it was not safe to have an author for her inmate. She had then for six weeks a succession of tenants, who left the house on Saturday, and, instead of paying their rent, stormed at their landlady. At last she took in two sisters, one of whom had spent her little fortune in procuring remedies for a lingering disease, and was now supported and attended by the other: she climbed with difficulty to the apartment, where she languished eight weeks without impatience, or lamentation, except for the expense and fatigue which her sister suffered, and then calmly and contentedly expired. The sister followed her to the grave, paid the few debts which they had contracted, wiped away the tears of useless sorrow, and, returning to the business of common life, resigned to me the vacant habitation. Such, Mr. Rambler, are the changes which have happened in the narrow space where my present fortune has fixed my residence. So true it is that amusement and instruction are always at hand for those who have skill and willingness to find them; and, so just is the observation of Juvenal, that a single house will shew whatever is done or suffered
No. 162. SATURDAY, očtober 5, 1751
Orbus 68, et locuples-et Bruto consule natus,
, and childless too, our friends are true? aps to those belong, To those who lov'd you poor and young; But, trust me, for the new you have, They’ll love you dearly—in your grave. F. LEwis.
NE of the complaints uttered by Milton’s Samson, in the anguish of blindness, is, that he shall pass his life under the direction of others; that he cannot regulate his conduct by his own knowledge, but must lie at the mercy of those who undertake to guide him. There is no state more contrary to the dignity of wisdom than perpetual and unlimited dependance, in which the understanding lies useless, and every motion is received from external impulse. Reason is the great distinction of human nature, the faculty by which we approach to some degree of association with celestial intelligences; but as the excellence of every power appears only in its operations, not to have reason, and to have it useless and unemployed, is nearly the same. Such is the weakness of man, that the essence of ings is seldom so much regarded as external and accidental appendages. A small variation of trifling circumstances, a slight change of form by an artificial dress, or a casual difference of appearance, by a new light and situation, will conciliate affection or excite abhorrence, and determine us to pursue or to avoid. Every man considers a neqessity of compliance with any will but hi as the lowest state of ignominy and mean afe so far lost in cowardice or negligence, rouse at the first insult of tyranny, and their force against him who usurps their perty, or invades any privilege of speech or action. Yet we see often those who never wanted spirit to repel encroachment or oppose violence, at last, by a gradual relaxation of vigilance, delivering up, without capitulation, the fortress which they defended against assault, and laying down unbidden the weapons which they grasp the harder for every attempt to wrest them from their hands. Men eminent for spirit and wisdom often resign themselves to voluntary pupilage, and suffer their lives to be modelled by officious ignorance, and their choice to be regulated by presumptuous stupidity. This unresisting acquiescence in the determination of others, may be the consequence of application to some study remote from the beaten track of life, some employment which does not allow leisure for sufficient inspection of those petty affairs, by which nature has decreed a great part of our duration to be filled. To a mind thus withdrawn: from common objects, it is more eligible to repose on the prudence of another, than to be exposed every moment to slight interruptions. The submis
sion which such confidence requires, is paid without pain, because it implies no confession of inferiority. The business from which we withdraw our cognizance, is not above our abilities, but below our notice. We please our pride with the effects of our influence thus weakly exerted, and fancy ourselves placed in a higher orb, towhich we regulate subordinate agents by a slight and distant superintendence. But, whatever vanity or abstraction may suggest, no man can safely do that by others which might be done by himself; he that indulges negligence will quickly become ignorant of his own affairs; and he that trusts without reserve will at last be deceived. It is, however, impossible but that, as the attention tends strongly towards one thing, it must retire from another; and he that omits the care of domestick business, because he is engrossed by inquiries of more importance to mankind, has, at least, the merit of suffering in a good cause. But there are many who can plead no such extenuation of their folly; who shake off the burden of their situation, not that they may soar with less incumbrance to the heights of knowledge or virtue, but that they may loiter at ease and sleep in quiet; and who select for friendship and confidence not the faithful and the virtuous, but the soft, the civil, and compliant. This openness to flattery is the common disgrace of declining life. When men feel weakness increasing on them, they naturally desire to rest from the struggles of contradiction, the fatigue of reasoning, the anxiety of circumspection; when they are hourly tormented with pains and diseases, they are unable to bear any new disturbance, and consider all opposition as an addition to misery, of which they feel already more than they can patiently endure. Thus desirous of peace, and thus fearful of pain, the old man seldom inquires after any other qualities in those whom he caresses, than quickness in conjecturing his desires, activity in supplying his wants, dexterity in intercepting complaints before they approach near enough to disturb him, flexibility to his present humour, submission to hasty petulance, and attention to wearisome narrations. By these arts alone many have been able to defeat the claims of kindred and of merit, and to enrich themselves with presents and legacies. Thrasybulus inherited a large fortune, and augmented it by the revenues of several lucrative employments, which he discharged with honour and dexterity. He was at last wise enough to consider, that life should not be devoted wholly to accumulation, and therefore retiring to his estate applied himself to the education of his children, and the cultivation of domestick happiness. He passed several years in this pleasing amusement, and saw his care amply recompensed; his daughters were celebrated for modesty and elegance, and his sons for learning, prudence, and spirit. In time the eagerness with which the neighbouring gentlemen courted his alliance, obliged him to resign his daughters to other families; the vivacity and