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rank; and his good-nature is a sufficient warrant against the want of those who are so unhappy as to be in the very lowest. One may say of him, as Pindar bids his Muse say of Theron,
Swear, that Theron sure has sworn,
No one near him should be poor.
Swear, that none ever had such graceful art,
With an unenvious hand, and an unbounded heart.
Never did Atticus succeed better in gaining the universal love and esteem of all men; nor steer with more success betwixt the extremes of two contending parties. 'Tis his peculiar happiness that, while he espouses neither with an intemperate zeal, he is not only admired, but, what is a more rare and unusual felicity, he is beloved and caressed by both; and I never yet saw any person, of whatever age or sex, but was immediately struck with the merit of Manilius. There are many who are acceptable to some particular persons, whilst the rest of mankind look upon them with coldness and indifference; but he is the first whose entire good fortune it is ever to please and to be pleased, wherever he comes to be admired, and wherever he is absent to be lamented. His merit fares like the pictures of Raphael, which are either seen with admiration by all, or at least no one dares own he has no taste for a composition which has received so universal an applause. Envy and malice find it against their interest to indulge slander and obloquy. 'Tis as hard for an enemy to detract from, as for a friend to add to his praise. An attempt upon his reputation is a sure lessening of one's own; and there is but one way to injure him, which is to refuse him his just commendations, and be obstinately silent.
It is below him to catch the sight with any care of dress; his outward garb is but the emblem of his mind. It is genteel, plain, and unaffected; he knows that gold and embroidery can add nothing to the opinion which all have of his merit, and that he gives a lustre to the plainest dress, whilst 't is impossible the richest should communicate any to him. He is still the principal figure in the room. first engages your eye, as if there were some point of light which shone stronger upon him than on any other person.
He puts me in mind of a story of the famous Bussy d'Amboise, who, at an assembly at court, where every one appeared with the utmost magnificence, relying upon his own superior behaviour, instead of adorning himself like the rest, put on that day a plain suit of clothes, and dressed all his servants in the most costly gay habits he could procure. The event was, that the eyes of the whole court were fixed upon him; all the rest looked like his attendants, while he alone had the air of a person of quality and distinction.
Like Aristippus, whatever shape or condition he appears in, it still sits free and easy upon him; but in some part of his character, 't is true, he differs from him; for as he is altogether equal to the largeness of his present circumstances, the rectitude of his judgment has so far corrected the inclinations of his ambition, that he will not trouble himself with either the desires or pursuits of any thing beyond his present enjoyments.
A thousand obliging things flow from him upon every occasion; and they were always so just and natural, that it is impossible to think he was at the least pains to look for them. One would think it was the demon of good thoughts that discovered to
him those treasures, which he must have blinded others from seeing, they lay so directly in their way. Nothing can equal the pleasure that is taken in hearing him speak, but the satisfaction one receives in the civility and attention he pays to the discourse of others. His looks are a silent commendation of what is good and praiseworthy, and a secret reproof to what is licentious and extravagant. He knows how to appear free and open without danger of intrusion, and to be cautious without seeming reserved. The gravity of his conversation is always enlivened with his wit and humour, and the gayety of it is tempered with something that is instructive, as well as barely agreeable. Thus, with him you are sure not to be merry at the expense of your reason, nor serious with the loss of your good-humour; but by a happy mixture of his temper, they either go together, or perpetually succeed each other. In fine, his whole behaviour is equally distant from constraint and negligence, and he commands your respect, whilst he gains your heart.
There is in his whole carriage such an engaging softness, that one cannot persuade one's self he is ever actuated by those rougher passions, which, wherever they find place, seldom fail of showing themselves in the outward demeanour of the person they belong to: but his constitution is a just temperature between indolence on one hand, and violence on the other. He is mild and gentle, wherever his affairs will give him leave to follow his own inclinations; but yet never failing to exert himself with vigour and resolution in the service of his prince, his country, or his friend.
END OF VOL. X.