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apply herself to the consideration of those things which are of the utmost concern to her. The cares or pleasures of the world strike in with every thought, and a multitude of vicious examples give a kind of justification to our folly. In our retirement everything disposes us to be serious. In courts and cities we are entertained with the works of men ; in the country with those of God. One is the province of art, the other of nature. Faith and devotion naturally grow in the mind of every reasonable man, who sees the impressions of Divine power and wisdom in every object on which he casts his eye. The Supreme Being has made the best arguments for his own existence, in the formation of the heavens and the earth, and these are arguments which a man of sense cannot forbear attending to, who is out of the noise and hurry of human affairs. Aristotle says, “ that should a man live under ground, and there converse with the works of art and mechanism, and should afterwards be brought up into the open day, and see the several glories of the heaven and earth, he would immediately pronounce them the works of such a being as we define God to be.” The psalmist has very beautiful strokes of poetry to this purpose, in that exalted strain,“ The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament showeth his handiwork. One day telleth another: and one night certifieth another. There is neither speech nor language: but their voices are heard among them. Their sound is gone into all lands : and their words into the ends of the world.” As such a bold and sublime manner of thinking furnishes very noble matter for an ode, the reader may see it wrought into the following one.
1. The spacious firmament on high, With all the blue ethereal sky, And spangled heavens, a shining frame, Their great Original proclaim: The unwearied sun from day to day Does his Creator's power display, And publishes to every land The work of an Almighty hand.
II. Soon as the evening shades prevoil, The moon takes up the wondrous tale, And nightly to the listening earth Repeats the story of her birth:
Whilst all the stars that round her buri,
No. 469. THURSDAY, AUGUST 28.
Detrahere aliquid alteri, et hominem hominis incommodo suum augere
commodum, magis est contra naturam, quam mors, quam panpertas, quam dolor, quam cætera quæ possunt aut corpori accidere, aut rebus externis.
TULL. I AM persuaded there are few men of generous principles who would seek after great places, were it not rather to have an opportunity in their hands of obliging their particular friends, or those whom they look upon as men of worth, than to procure wealth and honour for themselves. To an honest mind the best perquisites of a place are the advantages it gives a man of doing good.
Those who are under the great officers of state, and are the instruments by which they act, have more frequent opportunities for the exercise of compassion and benevolence, than their superiors themselves. These men know every little case that is to come before the great man, and if they are possessed with honest minds, will consider poverty as a recommendation in the person who applies himself to them, and make the justice of his course the most powerful solicitor in his behalf. A man of this temper, when he is in a post of business, becomes a blessing to the public: he patronizes the orphan and the widow, assists the friendless, and guides the ignorant: he does not reject the person's pretensions, who does not know how to explain them, or refuse doing a good office for a man because he cannot pay the fee of it. In short, though he regulates himself in all his proceedings by justice and equity, he finds a thousand occasions for all the good-natured offices of generosity and compassion.
| Nor rcal voice nor sound.] The author seems to have mistaken the sense of his original; but that which he gives to it is poetical, and finely expressed.
A man is unfit for such a place of trust, who is of a sour, untractable nature, or has any other passion that makes him uneasy to those who approach him. Roughness of temper is apt to discountenance the timorous or modest. The proud man discourages those from approaching him who are of a mean condition, and who most want his assistance. The impatient man will not give himself time to be informed of the matter that lies before him. An officer with one or more of these unbecoming qualities is sometimes looked upon as a proper person to keep off impertinence and solicitation from his superior; but this is a kind of merit that can never atone for the injustice which may very often arise from it.
There are two other vicious qualities which render a man very unfit for such a place of trust. The first of these is a dilatory temper, which commits innumerable cruelties without design. The maxim which several have laid down for a man’s conduct in ordinary life, should be inviolable with a man in office, never to think of doing that to-morrow which may be done to-day. A man who defers doing what ought to be done, is guilty of injustice so long as he defers it. The despatch of a good office is very often as beneficial to the solicitor as the good office itself. In short, if a man con pared the inconvenences which another suffers by his delays with the trifling motives and advantages which he himseli may reap by such a delay, he would never be guilty of a fault, which very often does an irreparable prejudice to the person who depends upon him, and which might be remedied with little trouble to himself.
But in the last place, there is no man so improper to be employed in business, as he who is in any degree capable of corruption ; and such an one is the man, who, upon any pretence whatsoever, receives more than what is the stated and unquestioned fee of his office. Gratifications, tokens of thankfulness, despatch money, and the like specious terms, are the pretences under which corruption very frequently shelters itself. An honest mau will, however, look on all these methods as unjustifiable, and will enjoy himself better
in a moderate fortune that is gained with honour and reput. ation, than in an over-grown estate that is cankered with the acquisitions of rapine and exaction. Were all our offices discharged with such an inflexible integrity, we should not see men in all ages, who grow up to exorbitant wealth with the abilities which are to be met with in an ordinary mechanic. I cannot but think that such a corruption proceeds chiefly from men's employing the first that offer themselves, or those who have the character of shrewd worldly men, instead of searching out such as have had a liberal education, and have been trained up in the studies of knowledge and virtue.
It has been observed, that men of learning who take to business, discharge it generally with greater honesty than men of the world. The chief reason for it I take to be as follows. A man that has spent his youth in reading, has been used to find virtue extolled, and vice stigmatized. Α. man that has passed his time in the world, has often seen vice triunphant, and virtue discountenanced. Extortion, rapine, and injustice, which are branded with infamy in books, often give a man a figure in the world; while several qualities which are celebrated in authors, as generosity, ingenuity, and good-nature, impoverish and ruin him. This cannot but have a proportionable effect on men, whose tempers and principles are equally good and vicious.
There would be at least this advantage in employing men of learning and parts in business, that their prosperity would sit more gracefully on them, and that we should not see many worthless persons shoot up into the greatest figures of life.
No. 470. FRIDAY, AUGUST 29.
Turpe est difficiles habere nugas,
Et stultus est labor ineptiarum. Mart. I HAVE been very often disappointed of late years, when, upon examining the new edition of a classic author, I have found above half the volume taken up with various readings. When I have expected to meet with a learned note upon a doubtful passage in a Latin poet, I have been only informed, that such or such ancient manuscripts for an et write an ac, or of some other notable discovery of the like importance. Indeed, when a different reading gives us a different sense, or a new elegance in an author, the editor does very well in taking notice of it; but when he only entertains us with the several ways of spelling the same word, and gathers together the various blunders and mistakes of twenty or thirty different transcribers, they only take up the time of the learned reader, and puzzle the minds of the ignorant. I have often fancied with myself how enraged an old Latin author would be, should he see the several absurdities in sense and grammar, which are imputed to him, by some or other of these various readings. In one he speaks nonsense ; in another makes use of a word that was never heard of: and indeed there is scarce a solecism in writing which the best author is not guilty of, if we may be at liberty to read him in the words of some manuscript, which the laborious editor has thought fit to examine in the prosecution of his work.
I question not but the ladies and pretty fellows will be very curious to understand what it is that I have been hitherto talking of. I shall therefore give them a notion of this practice, by endeavouring to write after the manner of several persons who make an eminent figure in the republic of letters. To this end we will suppose, that the following song is an old ode which I present to the public in a new
I edition, with the several various readings which I find of it in former editions, and in ancient manuscripts. Those who cannot relish the various readings, will perhaps find their account in the song, which never before appeared in print.
My love was fickle once and changing,
Nor e'er would settle in my heart;
In every face I found a dart.
An eye then gave the fatal stroke :
And all ny former fetters broke.
For Belvidera I endure:
Nor hope to find the wonted cure.
After a thousand beauties showu,
And finds variety in one.