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spot; one being crushed to death by the weight of his companion, and the other dashed to pieces by the greatness of his fall.
FOLLY OF ATTEMPTING TO LEARN
BOOKS, while they teach us to respect the in
terests of others, often make us unmindful of our own; while they instruct the youthful reader to grasp at social happiness, he grows miserable in detail; and, attentive to universal harmony, often forgets that he himself has a part to sustain in the concert. I dislike, therefore, the philosopher who describes the inconveniences of life in such pleasing colours, that the pupil grows enamoured of distress, longs to try the charms of poverty, meets it without dread, nor fears its inconveniences till he severely feels them.
A youth who has thus spent his life among books, new to the world, and unacquainted with man but by philosophic information, may be considered as a being whose mind is filled with the vulgar errors of the wise; utterly unqualified for a journey through life, yet confident of his own skill in the direction, he sets out with confidence, blunders on with va nity, and finds himself at last undone.
He first has learned from books, and then lafs it down as a maxim, that all mankind are virtuous or vicious in excess: and he has been long taught to detest vice and love virtue. Warm, therefore, in attachments, and stedfast in enmity, he treats every creature as friend or foe; expects from those he loves, unerring integrity; and consigns his enemics to the reproach of wanting every virtue. On this principle he proceeds; and here begin his dis.
appointments: upon a closer inspection of human nature, he perceives, that he should have moderated. his friendship, and softened his severity; for he often finds the excellences of one part of mankind clouded with vice, and the faults of the other brightened with virtue; he finds no character so sanctified that has not its failings; none so infamous, but has somewhat to attract our esteem; he beholds impiety in lawn, and fidelity in fetters.
He now therefore, but too late, perceives that his regards should have been more cool, and his hatred less violent; that the truly wise seldom court romantic friendship with the good, and avoid, if possible, the resentment even of the wicked; every moment gives him fresh instances that the bonds of friendship are broken if drawn too closely; and that those whom he has treated with disrespect, more. than retaliate the injury: at length, therefore, he is obliged to confess, that he has declared war upon the vicious half of mankind, without being able to form an alliance among the virtuous to espouse his quarrel.
Our book-taught philosopher, however, is now too far advanced to recede; and though poverty be the just consequence of the many enemies his conduct has created, yet he is resolved to meet it without shrinking; philosophers have described poverty in most charming colours; and even his vanity is touched in thinking he shall show the world in himself one more example of patience, fortitude, and resignation: Come, then, O poverty! for what is the in thee dreadful to the wise? Temperance, health, and frugality, walk in thy train; cheerfulness and liberty are ever thy companions. Shall any be ashamed of thee, of whom Cincinnatus was not ashamed? The running brook, the herbs of the field, can amply satisfy nature; man wants but little, nor that little long. Come then, O poverty! while kings stand by, and gaze with admiration at the true philosopher's resignation.'
The goddess appears; for Poverty ever comes at the call; but, alas! he finds her by no means the charming figure books and his own imagination had painted. As when an eastern bride, whom her friends and relations had long described as a model of perfection, pays her first visit, the longing bridegroom lifts the veil to see a face he had never seen before; but, instead of a countenance blazing with beauty like the sun, he beholds deformity shooting icicles to his heart; such appears Poverty to her new entertainer: all the fabric of enthusiasm is at once demolished, and a thousand miseries rise upon its ruins; while contempt, with pointing finger, is foremost in the hideous procession.
The poor man now finds that he can get no kings to look at him while he is eating: he finds, that in proportion as he grows poor, the world turns its back upon him, and gives him leave to act the philosopher in all the majesty of solitude. It might be agreeable enough to play the philosopher, while we are conscious that mankind are spectators; but what signifies wearing the mask of sturdy contentment, and mounting the stage of restraint, when not one creature will assist at the exhibition? Thus is he forsaken of men, while his fortitude wants the satisfaction even of self-applause; for either he does not feel his present calamities, and that is na.. tural insensibility; or he disguises his feelings, and that is dissimulation.
Spleen now begins to take up the man; not distin. guishing in his resentment, he regards all mankind with detestation: and commencing man hater, seeks solitude to be at liberty to rail.
It has been said, that he who retires to solitude, is either a beast or an angel: the censure is too severe, and the praise unmerited; the discontented being, who retires from society, is generally some good-natured man who has begun life without experience, and knew not how to gain it in his intercourse with mankind.
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY A COMMON-COUN CIL-MAN, AT THE TIME OF THE CORONATION.
I HAVE the honour of being a common-councilman, and am greatly pleased with a paragraph from Southampton in yours of yesterday. There we learn, that the mayor and aldermen of that loyal borough had the particular satisfaction of celebrat ing the royal nuptials by a magnificent turtle-feast. By this means the gentlemen had the pleasure of filling their bellies, and showing their loyalty, together. I must confess, it would give me some pleasure to see some such method of testifying our loyalty practised in this metropolis, of which I am an unworthy member. Instead of presenting his majesty (God bless him) on every occasion with our formal addresses, we might thus sit comfortably down to dinner, and wish him prosperity in a sir. loin of beef; upon our army levelling the walls of a town, or besieging a fortification, we might at our city feast imitate our brave troops, and demolish the walls of a venison pasty, or besiege the shell of a turtle, with as great a certainty of success.
At present, however, we have got into a sort of dry, unsocial manner, of drawing up addresses upon every occasion; and though I have attended upon six cavalcades, and two foot-processions, in a single year, yet I came away as lean and hungry, as if [ had been a juryman at the Old Bailey. For my part, Mr. Printer, I don't see what is got by these processions and addresses, except an appetite; and that, thank heaven, we have all in a pretty good degree, without ever leaving our own houses for it. It is true, our gowns of mazarine blue, edged with
fur, cut a pretty figure enough, parading it through the streets, and so my wife tells me.-In fact, I generally bow to all my acquaintance, when thus in full dress; but, alas! as the proverb has it, fine clothes never fill the belly.
But even though all this bustling, parading, and powdering, through the streets, be agreeable enough to many of us; yet, I would have my brethren consider whether the frequent repetition of it be so agreeable to our betters above. To be introduced to court, to see the queen, to kiss hands, to smile upon lords, to ogle the ladies, and all the other fine things there, may, I grant, be a perfect show to us that view it but seldom; but it may be a troublesome business enough to those who are to settle such ceremonies as these every day. To use an instance adapted to all our apprehensions; suppose my family and I should go to Bartholomew fair. Very well, going to Bartholomew fair, the whole sight is perfect rapture to us, who are only spectators once and away; but I am of opinion, that the wire-walker and fire-eater find no such great sport in all this; I am of opinion they had as lief remain behind the curtain, at their own pastimes, drinking beer, eating shrimps, and smoking tobacco.
Besides, what can we tell his majesty in all we say on these occasions, but what he knows perfectly well already? I believe, if I were to reckon up, I could not find above five hundred disaffected in the whole kingdom; and here we are every day telling his majesty how loyal we are. Suppose the addresses of a people, for instance, should run thus: 'May it please your my, we are many of us worth a hundred thousand pounds, and are possessed of several other inestimable advantages. For the preservation of this money and those advantages we are chiefly indebted to your my. We are, therefore, once more assembled, to assure your my of our fidelity. This, it is true, we have lately assured your m-y five or six times; but we