Imatges de pÓgina

because, whoever got it, you brought it forth.

Here, my lord, allow me to observe the different proceeding of the ignoble poet, and his noble enemies. What he has written of Fanny, Adonis, Sappho, or who you will, he owned, he published, he set his name to what they have published of him, that they have denied to have written; and what they have written of him, they have denied to have published. One of these was the case in the past libel, and the other in the present; for, though the parent has owned it to a few choice friends, it is such as he has been obliged to deny, in the most particular terms, to the great person whose opinion concerned him


Yet, my lord, this epistle was a piece not written in haste, or in a passion, but many months after all pretended provocation; when you was at full leisure at Hampton-Court, and I the object singled, like a deer out of season, for so ill-timed and ill-placed a diversion. It was a deliberate work, directed to a reverend person, of the most serious and sacred character, with whom you are known to cultivate a strict correspondence, and to whom, it will not be doubted, but you open your secret sentiments, and deliver your real judgment of men and things. This, I say, my lord, with submission, could not but awaken all my reflection and attention. Your lordship's opinion of me as a poet, I cannot help; it is yours, my lord, and that were enough to mortify a poor man; but it is not yours alone; you must be content to share it with the gentlemen of the Dunciad, and (it may be) with many more innocent and ingenious gentlemen. If your lordship destroys my poetical character, they will claim their part in the glory: but, give me leave to say, if my moral character be ruined, it must be wholly the work of your lordship; and will be hard even for you to do, unless I myself co-operate.

How can you talk (my most worthy lord) of all Pope's works as so many libels; affirm, that he has not invention but in defamation; and charge him with selling another man's labours printed with his own name? Fie, my lord, you forget yourself. He printed not his name before a line of the person's you mention; that person himself has told you and all the world, in the book itself, what part he had in it, as may be seen at the conclusion

of his notes to the Odyssey. I can only suppose your lordship (not having at that time forgot your Greek) despised to look upon the translation; and ever since entertained too mean an opinion of the translator to cast an eye upon it. Besides, my lord, when you said he sold another man's works, you ought in justice to have added that he bought them, which very much alters the case. What he gave him was five hundred pounds: his receipt can be produced to your lordship. I dare not affirm he was as well paid as some writers (much his inferiors) have been since ; but your lordship will reflect, that I am no man of quality, either to buy or sell scribbling so high: and that I have neither place, pension, nor power to reward for secret services. It cannot be, that one of your rank can have the least envy to such an author as I am; but, were that possible, it were much better gratified by employing not your own, but some of those low and ignoble pens to do you this mean office. I dare engage you'll have them for less than I gave Mr. Broome, if your friends have not raised the market. Let them drive the bargain for you, my lord; and you may depend on seeing, every day in the week, as many (and now and then as pretty) verses, as these of your lordship.

And would it not be full as well, that my poor person should be abused by them, as by one of your rank and quality? Cannot Curl do the same? nay, has he not done it before your lordship, in the same kind of language, and almost the same words? I cannot but think, the worthy and discreet clergyman himself will agree, it is improper, nay, unchristian, to expose the personal defects of our brother; that both such perfect forms as yours, and such unfortunate ones as mine, proceed from the hand of the same Maker, who fashioneth his vessels as he pleaseth; and that it is not from their shape we can tell whether they were made for honour or dishonour. In a word, he would teach you charity to your greatest enemies; of which number, my lord, I cannot be reckoned, since, though a poet, I was never your flatterer.

Next, my lord, as to the obscurity of my birth (a reflection, copied also from Mr. Curl and his brethren), I am sorry to be obliged to such a presumption as to name my family in the same leaf with your lordship's: but my father had the honour,

in one instance, to resemble you, for he was a younger brother. He did not indeed think it a happiness to bury his elder brother, though he had one who wanted some of those good qualities which yours possessed. How sincerely glad could I be, to pay to that young nobleman's memory the debt I owed to his friendship, whose early death deprived your family of as much wit and honour as he left behind him in any branch of it! But as to my father, I could assure you, my lord, that he was no mechanic (neither a hatter, nor, which might please your lordship yet better, a cobbler) but in truth, of a very tolerable family; and my mother of an ancient one, as well born and educated as that lady whom your lordship made choice of to be the mother of your own children; whose merit, beauty, and vivacity (if transmitted to your posterity) will be a better present than even the noble blood they derive only from you: a mother, on whom I was never obliged so far to reflect, as to say, she spoiled me; and a father, who never found himself obliged to say of me, that he disapproved my conduct. In a word, my lord, I think it enough, that my parents, such as they were, never cost me a blush; and that their son, such as he is, never cost them a tear.

I have purposely omitted to consider your lordship's criticisms on my poetry. As they are exactly the same with those of the fore-mentioned authors, I apprehend they would justly charge me with partiality, if I gave to you what belongs to them; or paid more distinction to the same things when they are in your mouth, than when they were in theirs. It will be shewing both them and you (my lord) a more particular respect, to observe how much they are honoured by your imitation of them, which indeed is carried through your whole epistle. I have read somewhere at school (though I make it no vanity to have forgot where) that Tully naturalized a few phrases at the instance of some of his friends. Your lordship has done more in honour of these gentlemen; you have authorized not only their assertions, but their style. For example, A flow that wants skill to restrain its ardour, -A dictionary that gives us nothing at its own expence-As luxuriant branches bear but little fruit, so wit unprun'd is but raw fruit-While you rehearse ignorance, you still know enough to do it in

verse-Wits are but glittering ignorance— The account of how we pass our timeand, The weight on Sir R. W's brain. You can ever receive from no head more than such a head (as no head) has to give your lordship would have said, never receive instead of ever, and any head instead of no head. But all this is perfectly new, and has greatly enriched our language. Pope.

$37. The Death of Mr. GAY.
It is not a time to complain that you
last of which I was impatient under some
have not answered my two letters (in the
fears); it is not now indeed a time to think
of myself, when one of the nearest and
longest ties I have ever had is broken all
on a sudden, by the unexpected death of
hurried him out of this life in three days.
poor Mr. Gay. An inflammatory fever
He died last night at nine o'clock, not de-
possessing them perfectly till within five
prived of his senses entirely at last, and
hours. He asked for you a few hours be-
fore, when in acute torment by the inflam-
mation in his bowels and breast. His ef-

fects are in the Duke of Queensbury's
his heirs, who are two widows; as yet it
custody. His sisters, we suppose, will be
is not known whether or no he left a will.
-Good God! how often are we to die
before we go quite off this stage? In every
friend we lose a part of ourselves, and the
best part.
Few are worth praying for, and one's self
God keep those we have left!
the least of all.

I shall never see you now, I believe ; one of your principal calls to England is at an end. Indeed he was the most amia

ble by far, his qualities were the gentlest;
but I love you as well, and as firmly.
Would to God the man we have lost had
that's a wish, for our own sakes, not for
not been so amiable nor so good! but
his. Sure, if innocence and integrity can
deserve happiness, it must be his. Adieu!
and diminish nothing from it,
can add nothing to what you will feel,


§ 38. Envy.

Envy is almost the only vice which is practicable at all times, and in every place: the only passion which can never lie quiet for want of irritation; its effects, therefore, are every where discoverable, and its attempts always to be dreaded.

It is impossible to mention a name, which any advantageous distinction has made eminent, but some latent animosity

will burst out. The wealthy trader, however he may abstract himself from public affairs, will never want those who hint with Shylock, that ships are but boards, and no man can properly be termed rich whose fortune is at the mercy of the winds. The beauty adorned only with the unambitious graces of innocence and modesty, provokes, whenever she appears, a thousand murmurs of detraction, and whispers of suspicion. The genius, even when he endeavours only to entertain with pleas. ing images of nature, or instruct by uncontested principles of science, yet suffers persecutions from innumerable critics, whose acrimony is excited merely by the pain of seeing others pleased, of hearing applauses which another enjoys.

The frequency of envy makes it so familiar, that it escapes our notice: nor do we often reflect upon its turpitude or malignity, till we happen to feel its influence. When he that has given no provocation to malice, but by attempting to excel in some useful art, finds himself pursued by multitudes whom he never saw, with implacability of personal resentment; when he perceives clamour and malice let loose upon him as a public enemy, and incited by every stratagem of defamation; when he hears the misfortunes of his family, or the follies of his youth, exposed to the world; and every failure of conduct, or defect of nature, aggravated and ridiculed; he then learns to abhor those artifices at which he only laughed before, and discovers how much the happiness of life would be advanced by the eradication of envy from the human heart.

Envy is, indeed, a stubborn weed of the mind, and seldom yields to the culture of philosophy. There are, however, considerations, which, if carefully implanted and diligently propagated, might in time overpower and repress it, since no one can nurse it for the sake of pleasure, as its effects are only shame, anguish, and perturbation.

It is, above all other vices, inconsistent with the character of a social being, because it sacrifices truth and kindness to very weak temptations. He that plunders a wealthy neighbour, gains as much as he takes away, and improves his own condition in the same proportion as he impairs another's; but he that blasts a flourishing reputation must be content with a small dividend of additional fame, so small

as can afford very little consolation to ba lance the guilt by which it is obtained.

I have hitherto avoided mentioning that dangerous and empirical morality, which cures one vice by means of another. But envy is so base and detestable, so vile in its original, and so pernicious in its effects, that the predominance of almost any other quality is to be desired. It is one of those lawless enemies of society, against which poisoned arrows may honestly be used. Let it therefore be constantly remembered, that whoever envies another, confesses his superiority, and let those be reformed by their pride, who have lost their virtue.

It is no slight aggravation of the injuries which envy incites, that they are committed against those who have given no intentional provocation; and that the sufferer is marked out for ruin, not because he has failed in any duty, but because he has dared to do more than was required.

Almost every other crime is practised by the help of some quality which might have produced esteem or love, if it had been well employed; but envy is a more unmixed and genuine evil; it pursues a hateful end by despicable means, and desires not so much its own happiness as another's misery. To avoid depravity like this, it is not necessary that any one should aspire to heroism or sanctity; but only, that he should resolve not to quit the rank which nature assigns, and wish to maintain the dignity of a human being.


$39. EPICURUS, a Review of his Cha


I believe you will find, my dear Hamilton, that Aristotle is still to be preferred to Epicurus. The former made some useful experiments and discoveries, and was engaged in a real pursuit of knowledge, although his manner is much perplexed. The latter was full of vanity and ambition. He was an impostor, and only aimed at deceiving. He seemed not to believe the principles which he has asserted. He committed the government of all things to chance. His natural philosophy is absurd. His moral philosophy wants its proper basis, the fear of God. Monsieur Bayle, one of his warmest advocates,is of the last opinion, where he says, On ne sauroit pas dire assez de bien de l'honnêteté de ses mœurs, ni assez de mal de ses opinions sur la religion. His general maxim, That happiness consisted in pleasure, was too

much unguarded, and must lay a foundation of a most destructive practice: although, from his temper and constitution, he made his life sufficiently pleasurable to himself and agreeable to the rules of true philosophy. His fortune exempted him from care and solicitude; his valetudinarian habit of body from intemperance. He passed the greatest part of his time in his garden, where he enjoyed all the elegant amusements of life. There he studied. There he taught his philosophy, This particular happy situation greatly contributed to that tranquillity of mind and indolence of body, which he made his chief ends. He had not, however, resolution sufficient to meet the gradual approaches of death, and wanted that constancy which Sir William Temple ascribes to him for in his last moments, when he found that his condition was desperate, he took such large draughts of wine, that he was absolutely intoxicated and deprived of his senses; so that he died more like a bacchanal than a philosopher.

Orrery's Life of Swift.

$40. Example, ils Prevalence. Is it not Pliny, my lord, who says, that the gentlest, he should have added the most effectual way of commanding, is by example? Mitius jubetur exemplo. The harshest orders are softened by example, and tyranny itself becomes persuasive. What pity is it that so few princes have learned this way of commanding! But again; the force of example is not confined to those alone that pass immediately under our sight: the examples that memory suggests have the same effect in degree, and an habit of recalling them will soon produce the habit of imitating them. In the same epistle from whence I cited a passage just now, Seneca says, that Cleanthes had never become so perfect a copy of Zeno, if he had not passed his life with him; that Plato, Aristotle, and the other philosophers of that school, profited more by the example than by the discourses of Socrates. (But here, by the way, Seneca mistook ; Socrates died two years according to some, and four years according to others, before the birth of Aristotle; and his mistake might come from the inaccuracy of those who collected for him; as Erasmus observes, after Quinctilian, in his judgment on Seneca.) But be this, which was scarce worth a parenthesis, as it will, be adds, that Metrodorus, Hermachus,

and Polyxenus, men of great note, were formed by living under the same roof with Epicurus, not by frequenting his school. These are instances of the force of immediate example. But your lordship knows, citizens of Rome placed the images of their ancestors in the vestibules of their houses; so that whenever they went in or out, these venerable bustoes met their eyes, and recalled the glorious actions of the dead, to fire the living, to excite them to imitate and even emulate their great forefathers.

The success answered the design. The virtue of one generation was transfused, by the magic of example, into several : and a spirit of heroism was maintained through many ages of that commonwealth.

Dangerous, when copied without Judgment.

Peter of Medicis had involved himself in great difficulties, when those wars and calamities began which Lewis Sforza first drew on and entailed on Italy, by flattering the ambition of Charles the Eighth, in order to gratify his own, and calling the French into that country. Peter owed his distress to his folly in departing from the general tenor of conduct his father Laurence had held, and hoped to relieve himself by imitating his father's example in one particular instance. At a time when the wars with the Pope and king of Naples had reduced Laùrence to circumstances of great danger, he took the resolution of going to Ferdinand, and of treating in person with that prince. The resolution appears in history imprudent and almost desperate; were we informed of the secret reasons on which this great man acted, it would appear very possibly a wise and safe measure. It succeeded, and Laurence brought back with him public peace and private security. When the French troops entered the dominions of Florence, Peter was struck with a panic terror, went to Charles the Eighth, put the port of Leghorn, the fortresses of Pisa, and all the keys of the country into this prince's hands: whereby he disarmed the Florentine commonwealth, and ruined himself. He was deprived of his authority, and driven out of the city, by the just indignation of the magistrates and people; and in the treaty which they made afterwards with the king of France, it was stipulated that he should not remain within an hundred miles of

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§ 41. Exile only an imaginary Evil.

To live deprived of one's country is intolerable. Is it so? How comes it then to pass that such numbers of men live out of their countries by choice? Observe how the streets of London and of Paris are crowded. Call over those millions by name, and ask them, one by one, of what country they are: how many will you find, who from different parts of the earth come to inhabit these great cities, which afford the largest opportunities and the largest encouragement to virtue and vice? Some are drawn by ambition, and some are sent by duty; many resort thither to improve their minds, and many to improve their fortunes; others bring their beauty, and others their eloquence to market. Remove from hence and go to the utmost extremities of the East or West; visit the barbarous nations of Africa, or the inhospitable regions of the North, you will find no climate so bad, no country so savage, as not to have some people who come from abroad, and inhabit those by choice.

Among numberless extravagances which pass through the minds of men, we may justly reckon for one that notion of a secret affection, independent of our reason, and superior to our reason, which we are supposed to have for our country; as if there were some physical virtue in every spot of ground, which necessarily produced this effect in every one born upon it,

Amor patriæ ratione valeutior omni. This notion may have contributed to the security and grandeur of states. It has therefore been not unartfully cultivated, and the prejudice of education has been with care put on its side. Men have come in this case, as in many others, from believing that it ought to be so, to persuade others, and even to believe themselves, that it is so,

Cannot hurt a reflecting Man. reach of human power; can neither be Whatever is best is safest; lies out of given nor taken away. Such is this great and beautiful work of nature, the world. Such is the mind of man, which contemplates and admires the world, whereof it makes the noblest part. These are inseparably ours, and as long as we remain in one, we shall enjoy the other. Let us march therefore intrepidly wherever we are led by the course of human accidents. Wherever they lead us, on what coast soever we are thrown by them, we shall not We find ourselves absolutely strangers. shall meet with men and women, creatures of the same figure, endowed with the same faculties, and born under the same laws of nature.

We shall see the same virtues and vices,

flowing from the same principles, but varied in a thousand different and contrary modes, according to that infinite variety of laws and customs which is established for the same universal end, the preservation lution of seasons, and the same sun and of society. We shall feel the same revoThe same azure vault, bespangled with moon will guide the course of our year. stars, will be every where spread over our from whence we may not admire those heads, There is no part of the world planets which roll, like ours, in different orbs round the same central sun; from whence we may not discover an object still more stupendous, that army of fixed stars hung up in the immense space of the universe; innumerable suns, whose beams enlighten and cherish the unknown worlds which

rall around them: and whilst I am ra

vished by such contemplations as these, whilst my soul is thus raised up to heaven, it imports me little what ground I tread Ibid. upon,

§42. The Love of Fame.

I can by no means agree with you in thinking that the love of fame is a passion which either reason or religion condemns. I confess, indeed, there are some who have represented it as inconsistent with both; and I remember, in particular, the excellent author of The Religion of Nature delineated, has treated it as highly irrational and absurd. As the passage falls in so thoroughly with your own turn of thought, you will have no objection, I imagine, to my quoting it at large, and I give it you, at the same time, as a very

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