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HOBBY-HORSES.-KINGS AND COBLERS.---THE PASE
SIONS ARE THE ORIGIN OF VIRTUES AND VICES. -THE NEAR ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE TWO LATTER. --- VANITY OCCASIONS MANY GOOD ACTS, PARTICULARLY THE CULTIVATION OF THE ARTS AND SCIENCES.--- AMAZING ADDITIONS MADE TO THE LIST OF THEM BY THE ENLIGHTENED MODERNS, HAVE RENDERED THOSE OF THE ANCIENTS OBSOLETE AND USELESS. ---SOME INCONVENIENCES ATTEND MODERN ARTS AND SCIENCES, SUCH AS FRAUD AND MANY OTHER KINDS OF VICE.---VICE IS VICE WHETHER IN PRINCES OR PIG-DRIVERS.
All mankind, from the king to the cobler, have their hobby-horses, on which they ride over the course of life; some at full speed, some in a canter, some in a jog-trot, and some in a walk, according to the ebullition or flatness of their animal spirits. Hence arises what natural philosophers 'term the distinction of
character. Now, as a hobby-horse will kick off a king as readily as a cobler, if he ride without judgement, a superiority of rank does not always ensure greater ease, happiness, or safety; and some philosophers, who have had no more manners than hobby-horses, have asserted that as brutes make no distinction between persons, there is really none; that man is man, and that a cobler is as good a man as a king, and sometimes a better one. It is certain that if some kings liave been an ornament, many, and by far the greater part, have been a disgrace to humanity, and we ourselves really believe that a good cobler is better than a bad king, as the former always continues mending, and the latter grows worse and worse; but, in general, there can be no parallel drawn between a sceptre and an awl. It is, however, an inmutable law laid down by Nature, the Steward (or more properly Stewardess) of the course of life, that no man, whether king or cobler, shall ride his hobby in such a manner as to irjure another; and Justice, who is the clerk of the course, is to take care that all who enter their boobies, shall run fair, and not cross or jostle their neighbours. But laws are, with too much truth, we fear, likened to cobwebs, in which feeble flies are entangled, whilst more powe erful drones break through them at pleasure. Our Squire's hobby proved restive at the outset, and created no small confusion on the course.
To drop mctaphor, Reader; these bobby. horses are only the passions, which impel man through his career of life. All of them, even the most vicious, may be made useful, if they are kept in proper subjection by the rein of reason. Ambition, it has been justly observed, becomes true honour; lust, virtuous love; and avarice, prudence:
“ As fruits ungrateful to the planter's care, :
Nor virtue, male or female can we name,
In like manner Vanity, which is not a vice, is ncarly allied to one, incites man to perform certain acts miscalled benevolence, because, be. nevolencc flows from a purer source; but the cause is not very material to mankind, if the effect be produced. Vanity, most probably, induced Augustus to patronize Horace, because he complains that he did not mention him often enough in his writings, and asks : An cereris ne apud posteros infame tibi sit, quòd videaris familiaris nobis esse?— Whether he was afraid that it would injure his fame with posterity to let them see that they were upon á footing of familiarity? Cæsar must have known that he was likely to reap more advantage from this
familiarity than the poct, as he only conferred a few honours on the poet during his life; but the poet would make bim live as long as his own works, which the poct himself, with the modesty of his tribe, says were engraved on a monument were perennius—more durable than brass. The poet was no less vain than the monarch: but he had more reason to be so.
We believe that Mecanas patronized IIorace froni purer motives,—from a love of the Muses rather than of fame. His example was noble, and it has been copiously followed; for there was only one Mecænas in the Augustan age; but there are thousands of them in this more enlightened one. The reason must be obvious : In the Augustan age, the whole circle of the arts and sciences comprised merely philosophy, rhetoric, mathematics, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, and music; but as mankind progressed in refinement, the circle was con. siderably enlarged. The appellation of arts and sciences were conferred on the feats of the gladiatores, or luxers; sallatcres and cantalores, or dancers and singers; chedarii, or charioteers ; - and on those performances called cursus eques.