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Claudian, Pliny, Plutarch's Lives, and the rest, have ever thought upon this subject; and so, in * trice, by leaving out a few words, or putting in others of my own—the business is done.
Smith. Indeed, Mr. Bayes, this is as sure and compendious a way of wit as ever I heard of.
Bayes. Sir, if you make the least scruple of the efficacy of these my rules, do but come to the play-house, and you shall judge of them by the effects.—But now, pray, Sir, may I ask how do you do when you write?
Smith. Faith, Sir, for the most part, I am in pretty good health.
Bayes. Ay, but I mean, what do you do when you write?
Smith. I take pen, ink, and paper, and sit down.
Bayes. Now I write standing; that's one thing: and then another thing is— with what do you prepare yourself?
Smith. Prepare myself! What the devil does the fool mean?
Bayes. Why I'll tell you now what I
do: If I am to write familiar things, ■
as sonnets to Armida, and the like, I make use of stew'd prunes only; but when I have a grand design in hand, I ever take physic, and let blood: for when you would have pure swiftness of thought, and fiery flights of fancy, you must have a care of the pensive part. In fine—you must purge the belly.
Smith. By my troth, Sir, this is a most admirable receipt for writing.
Bayes. Aye, 'tis my secret; and, in good earnest, I think one of the bell I have.
Smith. In good faith, Sir, and that may very well be.
Bayes. May be, Sir! I'm sure on't.
§ 20. The Art of Pleasing.
sal: the desire of pleasing should be so' too. It is included in that great and fundamental principle of morality, of doing to others what one wishes they sliould do to us. There are indeed some moral duties of a much higher nature, but none of a more amiable; and I do not hesitate to place it at the head of the minor virtues.
The manner of conferring favours or benefits is, as to pleasing, almost as important as the matter itself. Take care, then, never to throw away the obligations, which peihaps you may have it in your power to confer upon others, by an air of insolent protection, or by a cold and comfortless manner, which stifles them in their birth. Humanity inclines, religion requires, and our moral duties oblige us, as far as we are able, to relieve the distresses and miseries of our fellow-creatures: but this is" not all; for a true heart-felt benevolence and tenderness will prompt us to contribute what we can to their ease, their amusement, and their pleasure, as , far as innocently we may. Let us then not only scatter benefits, but even strew flowers for our fellow-travellers, in the rugged ways of this wretched world.
There are some, and but too many in this country particularly, who, without the least visible taint of ill-nature or malevolence, seem to be totally indifferent, and do not (hew the least desire to please; as, on the other hand, they never designedly offend. Whether this proceeds from a lazy, negligent, and listless disposition, from a gloomy and melancholic nature, from ill health, low spirits, or from a secret and sullen pride, arising from the consciousness of their boasted liberty and independency* is hard to determine, considering the various movements of the human heart, and the wonderful errors of the human head. But, be the cause what it will, that neutrality, which is the effect of it, makes these people, as neutralities do, despicable, and mere blanks in society. They would surely be roused from their indifference, if they would seriously consider the infinite utility of pleasing.
The person who manifests a constant desire to please, places his, perT t 4 haps. haps, small stock of merit, at great interest. What vast returns, then, must real merit, when thus adorned, necessarily bring in! A prudent usurer would with transport place his last milling at such interest, and upon so solid a security.
The man who is amiable, will make almost as many friends as he does acquaintance. I mean in the current acceptation of the word, but not such sentimental friends, as Pylades or Orestes, Nysus and Euryalus, &c, but he will make people in general wish him well, and inclined to serve him in any thing not inconsistent with their own interest.
Civility is the essential article towards pleasing, and is the result of goodnature and of good sense; but goodbreeding is the decoration, the lustre of civility, and only to be acquired by a minute' attention to, and experience of, good company. A good-natured ploughman or fox-hunter, may be intentionally as civil as the politest courtier; but their manner often degrades and vilifies the matter; whereas, in goodbreeding, the manner always adorns and dignifies the matter to such a de. gree, that I have often known give currency to base coin.
Civility is often attended bv a ceremoniousness, which good-breeding corrects, but will not quite abolish. A certain degree cf ceremony is a necessary out-work of manners, as well as of religion : it keeps the forward and petulant at a proper distance, and is a very small restraint to the sensible, and to the wellbred part of the world. Chesterfield.
§21. A Dialogue belivan Pliny the Elder and Pli N r the Younger. Phny the Elder. The account that you give me, nephew, of your behaviour a. midst the terrors and perils that accompanied the first eruption of Vesuvius, does not please me much. There was more of vanity in it than true magnanimity. Nothing is great that is unnatural and affected. When the earth (hook beneath you, when the heavens were obscured with sulphureous clouds, full of alhes and cinders thrown up from ihe bpwelsof the new-formed volcano,
when all nature seemed on the brink of destruction, to be reading Livy, and making extracts, as if all had been safe and quiet about you, was an absurd affectation.—To meet danger with courage is the part of a man, but to be insensible of it, is brutal stupidity; and to pretend insensibility where it cannot exist, is ridiculous falseness. When you afterwards refused to leave your aged mother, and save yourself without her by flight, you indeed acted nobly. It was also becoming a Roman to keep up her spirits, amidst all the horrors of that dreadful scene, by iliewing yourself undismayed and courageous. But the merit and glory of this part of your conduct is funk by the other, which gives an air of ostentation and vanity to the whole.
Pliny the Younger. That vulgar minds should suppose my attention to my studies in such a conjuncture unnatural and affected, I sliould not much wonder: but that you would blame it as such, I did not expect; you, who approached still nearer than I to the fiery storm, and died by the suffocating heat of the vapour.
Pliny the Elder. \ died, as a good and brave man ought to die, in doing my duty. Let me recall to your memory all the particulars, and then you shall judge yourself on the difference of your conduct and mine. I was the præfect of the Roman fleet, which then lay at Misenum. Upon the first account I re.. . ceived of the very unusual cloud that appeared in the air, I ordered a vessel to carry me out to some distance from the /hose, that I might the better observe the phenomenon, and try to discover its nature and cause. This I did as a philosopher, and it was a curiosity proper and natural to a searching, inquisitive mind. I offered to take you with me, and surely you should have desired to go; for Livy might have been read at any other time, and such spectacles are not frequent: but you remained fixed and chained down to your book with a pedantic attachment. When I came out from my house, I found all the people forsaking their dwellings, and flying to the sea, as the safest reyeat. To affist them, and *U others
*ho dwolt on the coast, I immediately ordered the fleet to put out, and sailed with it round the whole bay of Naples, fleering particularly to those parts of the shore where the danger was greatest, and from whence the inhabitants were endeavouring to escape with the most trepidation. Thus I spent the whole day, and preserved by my care some thousands of lives; noting, at the fame time, with a steady composure and freedom of mind, the several forms and phenomena of the eruption. Towards night, as we approached to the foot of Vesuvius, all the gallies were covered with ashes and embers, which grew hotter and hotter; then showers of pumicestones, and burnt and broken pyrites, began to fall on our heads: and we were stopped by the obstacles which the ruins of the mountain had suddenly formed by falling into the sea, and almost silling it up on that part of the coast. I then commanded my pilot to steer to the villa of my friend Pomponianus, which you know was situated in the inmost recess of the bay. The wind was very favourable to carry me thither, but would not allow him to put off from the shore, as he wished to have done. We were therefore constrained to pass the night in his house. They watched, and I slept, until the heaps of pumicestones, which fell from the clouds, that had now been impelled to that fide of the bay, rose so high in the area of the apartment I layin, that I could not have got out had I staid any longer; and the earthquakes were so violent, as to threaten every moment the fall of the house: we therefore thought it more safe to go into the open air, guarding our heads as well as we could with pillows tied upon them. The wind continuing adverse, and the sea very rough, we remained on the shore, until a sulphureous and fiery vapour oppressed my weak lungs, and ended my life.—-In all this I hope that I acted as the duty of my station required, and with true magnanimity. But on this occasion, and in many other parts of your life, I must fay, my dear nephew, that there was a vanity mixed with your virtue, which hurt and disgraced it. Without that, you would have been one of the worthiest
men that Rome has produced; for nona ever excelled you in the integrity of your heart'and greatness of your sentiments. Why would you lose the sub* stance of glory by seeking the shadow? Your eloquence had the same fault as your manners: it was too affected. You. professed to make Cicero your guide and your pattern: but when one reads his panegyric upon Julius Cæsar, in his oration for Marcellus, and yours upon Trajan; the first seems the language of nature and truth, raised and dignified with all the majesty of the most sublime eloquence; the latter appears the studied harangue of a florid rhetorician, more desirous to shine and set off his own wit, than to extol the great man he was praising.
Pliny the Younger. I have too high a respect for you, uncle, to question your judgment either of my life or my writings; they might both have been better, if I had not been too solicitous to render them perfect. But it is not for me to fay much on that subject: permit me therefore to return to the subject on which we began our conversation. What a direful calamity was the eruption of Vesuvius, which you have now been describing! Do not you remember the beauty of that charming coast, and of the mountain itself, before it was broken and torn with the violence of those sudden sires that forced their way through it, and carried desolation and ruin over all the neighbouring country? The foot os it was covered with corn-fields and rich meadows, interspersed with sine villas and magnificent towns; the sides of it were cloathed with the best vines in Italy, producing the richest and noblest wines. How quick, how unexpected, how dreadful the change! all was at once overwhelmed with ashes, and cinders, and fiery torrents, presenting to the eye the most dismal scene of horror and dc firuction!
Pliny the Elder. You paint it very truly.—But has it never occurred to your mind that this change is an emblem of that which must happen to every rich, luxurious state? While the inhabitants of it are funk in voluptuousness, while all is smiling around them, and they think that no evil, no danger is nigh, the feeds of destruction are fermenting within; and, breaking out on a sudden, lay waste all their opulence, all their delights; till they are left a fad monument of divine wrath, and of the fatal effects of internal corruption.
Dialogues of the Dead.
f) 22. Humorous Scene at an Inn between Bon I Face and Aim Well.
Bon. This way, this way, Sir.
Aim. You're my landlord, I sup. pose?
Bon. Yes, Sir, I'm old Will Boniface; pretty well known upon this road, as the saying is.
Aim. O, Mr. Boniface, your servant,
Bon. O, Sir—Wkt will your honour please to drink, as the saying is?
Aim. I have heard your town of Litchfield much famed for ale ; I think I'll taste that.
Bon. Sir, I have now in my cellar ten tun of the bell ale in Staffordshire: *tis smooth as oil, sweet as milk, clear as amber, and strong as brandy; and will be just fourteen years old the fifth day of next March, old style.
Aim. You're very exact, I find, in the age of your ale.
Bon. As punctual, Sir, as I am in the age of my children: I'll shew you such ale !—Here, Tapster, broach number 1706, as the saying is.—■ Sir, you shall taste my anno domini.— I have lived in Litchfield, man and boy, above eight-and-fifty years, and, I believe, have not consumed eight-and-fifty ounces of meat.
Aim. At a meal, you mean, if one may guess by your bulk.
Btn. Not in my life, Sir: I have fed purely upon ale: I have eat my ale, drank my ale, and I always sleep upon my ale.
Enter Tapster <witb aTankard. Now, Sir, you shall fee Your worship's health : [Drinks]— Ha! delicious, deljcious !—Fancy it Burgundy, only fancy it—and 'tis'worth ten shillings a quart.
Jim. [Drinks] 'Tis confounded strong.
Bon. Strong! it must be so) or how
would we be strong that drink it?'
Aim. And have you lived so long upon this ale, landlord?
Ben. Eight-and-fifty-years, upon my credit, Sir: but it kill'd my wife, poor woman! as the faying is
Aim. How came that to pass?
Ben. I don't know how, Sir,— she would not let the ale take its natural course, Sir: she was for qualifying if every now and then with a dram, as the saying is; and^n honest gentleman that came this way from Ireland, made her a present of a dozen bottles of usquebaugh—but the poor woman was never well after—but, however, I was obliged to the gentleman, you know.
Aim. Why, was it the usquebaugh that killed her.
Bon. My lady Bountiful said so— She, good lady, did what could be done: she cured her of three tympanies: but the fourth carried her off: but she's happy, and I'm contented, as the saying is.
Aim. Who's that lady Bountiful you mentioned?
Bon. iOds my life, Sir, we'll drink her health ; [Drinks]—My lady Bountiful is one of the best of women. Her last husband, Sir Charles Bountiful, left her worth a thousand pounds a year; and, I believe, she lays out one-half on't in charitable uses for the good of her neighbours.
Aim. Has the lady any children?
Bon. Yes, Sir,.-she has a daughter by Sir Charles; the finest woman in all our county, and the greatest fortune. She has a son too, by her first husband, 'squire Sullen, who married a fine lady from London t'other day: if you please, Sir, we'll drink his health. [Drinks.]
Aim. What sort of a man is he? .
Bo::. Why, Sir, the man's well cnough; fays little, thinks less, and does nothing at all, faith: but he's a man of great estate, and values nobody.
Aim. A sportsman-, I suppose?
Bon. Yes, he's a man of pleasure; he plays at whist, and smokes his pipe eight-and-forty hours together sometimes,
Aim. A fine sportsman, truly!—and married, you say I
Bon. Ay; and to a curious woman, Sir.—But he's my landlord, and so a
man, you know, would not. -Sir,
my humble service to you. [Drinis.]—Tho' I value not a farthing what he can do to me: I pay him his rent at quarter-day; I have a good running trade; I have but one daughter, and I can give her but no matter for that. Aim. You're very happy, Mr. Boniface: pray, what other company have you in town?
Bon. A power of sine ladies; and then we have the French officers.
Aim. O, that's right, you have a good many of those gentlemen: pray, how do you like their company?
Bon. So well, as the saying is, that I could wish we had as many more of 'em. They're full of money, and pay double for every thing they have. They know, Sir, that we paid good round taxes for the taking of 'em ; and so they are willing to reimburse us a little: one of'em lodges in my house. [Bellrings.] ^—I beg your worship's pardon—I'll wait on you in half a minute.
€ 23. Endeavour to please, and you can scarcely fail to please.
The means of pleasing vary according to time, place, and person; but the general rule is the trite one, Endeavour to please, and you will infallibly please to a certain degree: constantly shew a desire to please, and you will engage people's self-love in your interest; a most powerful advocate. This, as indeed almost every thing else, depends on attention.
Be therefore attentive to the most trifling thing that passes where you are; have, as the vulgar phrase is, your eyes and your ears always about you. It it a very foolish, though a very common saying, «« I really did not mind it," or, " I was thinking of quite another *' thing at that time." The proper answer to such ingenious excuses, and which admits of no reply, is, Why did you not mind it? you was present when it was said or done. Oh ! but you may say, you was thinking of quite another
thing-: if so, why was you not in quite another place proper for that important other thing, which you fay you was thinking of? But you will fay perhaps, that the company was so silly, that it did not deserve your attention: that, I am sure, is the saying of a silly man; for a man of sense knows that there is no company so silly, that some use may not be made of it by attention.
Let your address, when you first come into company, be modest, but without the least bamfulnels or sheepishness; steady, without impudence; and unembarrassed, as if you were in your own room. This is 3 difficult point to hit, and therefore deserves great attention; nothing but along usage in the world, and in the best company, can possibly give it.
A young man, without knowledge of the world, when he first goes into a fashionable company, where most are his superiors, is commonly either annihilated by bashfulness, or, if he rouses and lashes himself up to what he only thinks a modest assurance, he runs in* to impudence and absurdity, and consequently offends instead of pleasing. Have always, as much as you can, that gentleness of manner, which never fail; to make favourable impressions, provided it be equally free from an insipid smile, or a pert smirk.
Carefully avoid an argumentative and disputative turn, which too many people have, and some even value themselves upon, in company; and, when your opinion differs from others, maintain it only with modesty, calmness, and gentleness; but never be eager, loud, or clamorous; and, when you find your antagonist begining to grow warm, put an end to the dispute by some genteel stroke of humour. For, take it for granted, if the two best friends in the world dispute with eagerness upon the most trifling subject imaginable, they will, for the time, find a momentary alienation from each other. Disputes upon any subject are a sort of trial of the understanding, and must end in the mortification of one or other of the disputants. On the Other hand, I am far from meaning