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the truth of it is, the compositions of the ancients, which have not in them any of those unnatural witticisms that are the delight of ordinary readers, are extremely difficult to render into another tongue, so as the beauties of the original may not appear weak and faded in the translation.

No. 225.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17.

Nullum numen abest si sit prudentia

Juv. I have often thought if the minds of men were laid open, we should see but little difference between that of the wise man and that of the fool. There are infinite reveries, numberless extravagancies, and a perpetual train of vanities, which pass through both. The great difference is, that the first knows how to pick and cull his thoughts for conversation, by suppressing some, and communicating others; whereas the other lets them all indifferently fly out in words. This sort of discretion, however, has no place in private conversation between intimate friends. On such occasions the wisest men very often talk like the weakest; for indeed the talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud.

Tully has therefore very justly exposed a precept delivered by some ancient writersthat a man should live with his enemy in such a manner, as might leave him room to become his friend ; and with his friend in such a manner, that if he became his enemy, it should not be in his power to hurt him. The first part of this rule, which regards our behaviour towards an enemy, is indeed very reasonable, as well as very prudential ; but the latter part of it, which regards our behaviour towards a friend, savors more of cunning than, of

IV.
The birds dismist (while you remain)
Bore back their empty car again :
Then you, with looks divinely mild,
In ev'ry heav'nly feature smild,
And ask'd, what new complaints I made,
And why I call’d you to my aid ?

V.
What phrenzy in my bosom rag'd,
And by what cure to be assuag'd ?
What gentle youth I would allure,
Whom in my artful toils secure ?
Who does thy tender heart subdue ;
Tell me, my Sappho, tell me who?

VI.
Tho' now he shuns thy longing arms,
He soon shall court thy slighted charms;
Tho' now thy off’rings he despise,
He soon to thee shall sacrifice ;
Tho' now he freeze, he soon shall burn,
And be thy victim in his turn.

VII.
Celestial visitant, once more
Thy needful presence I implore :
In pity come, and ease my grief,
Bring my distemper'd soul relief;
Favour thy suppliant's hidden fires,

And give me all my heart desires. Madam Dacier observes there is something very pretty in that circumstance of this ode, wherein Venus is described as sending away her chariot upon her arrival at Sappho's lodgings, to denote that it was not a short transient visit which she intended to make her. This ode was preserved by an eminent Greek critic, who inserted it intire in his works, as a pattern of perfection in the structure of it.

Longinus has quoted another ode of this great poetess, which is likewise admirable in its kind, and has been translated by the same hand with the foregoing one. I shall oblige my reader with it in another paper. In the mean while, I cannot but wonder, that these two finished pieces have never been attempted before by any of our countrymen. But the truth of it is, the compositions of the ancients, which have not in them any of those unnatural witticisms that are the delight of ordinary readers, are extremely difficult to render into another tongue, so as the beauties of the original may not appear weak and faded in the translation.

No. 225. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17.

Nullum numen abest si sit prudentia

Juv.

I have often thought if the minds of men were laid open, we should see but little difference between that of the wise man and that of the fool. There are infinite reveries, numberless extravagancies, and a perpetual train of vanities, which pass through both. The great difference is, that the first knows how to pick and cull his thoughts for conversation, by suppressing some, and communicating others; whereas the other lets them all indifferently fly out in words. This sort of discretion, however, has no place in private conversation between intimate friends. On such occasions the wisest men very often talk like the weakest; for indeed the talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud

Tully has therefore very justly exposed a precept delivered by some ancient writers, that a man should live with his enemy in such a manner, as might leave him room to become his friend ; and with his friend in such a manner, that if he became his enemy, it should not be in his power to hurt him. The first part of this rule, which regards our behaviour towards an enemy, is indeed very reasonable, as well as very prudential ; but the latter part of it, which regards our behaviour towards a friend, savors more of cunning than, of discretion, and would cut a man off from the greatest pleasures of life, which are the freedoms of conversation with a bosom friend. Besides that, when a friend is turned into an enemy, and (as the son of Sirach calls him) a bewrayer of secrets, the world is just enough to accuse the perfidiousness of the friend, rather than the indiscretion of the person who confided in him.

Discretion does not only shew itself in words, but in all the circumstances of action; and is like an under-agent of Providence, to guide and direct us in the ordinary concerns of life.

There are many more shining qualities in the mind of man, but there is none so useful as discretion ; it is this indeed which gives a value to all the rest, which sets them at work in their proper times and places, and turns them to the advantage of the person who is possessed of them. Without it, learning is pedantry; and wit, impertinence; virtue itself looks like weakness; the best parts only qualify a man to be more sprightly in errors, and active to his own prejudice.

Nor does discretion only make a man the master of his own parts, but of other mens. The discreet man finds out the talents of those he converses with, and knows how to apply them to proper uses.

Accordingly, if we look into particular communities and divisions of men, we observe that it is the discreet man, not the witty, nor the learned, nor the brave, who guides the conversation, and gives measures to the society. A man with great talents, but void of discretion, is like Polyphemus in the fable, strong and blind, endued with an irresistible force, which for want of sight is of no use to him.

Though a man has all other perfections, and wants discretion, he will be of no great consequence in the world: but if he has this single talent in perfection, and but a common share of others, he may do what he pleases in his station of life,

At the same time that I think discretion the most useful talent that a man can be master of, I look upon cunning to be the accomplishment of little, mean, ungenerous minds.

Discretion points out the noblest ends to us, and pursues the most proper and laudable methods of attaining them: Cunning has only private selfish aims, and sticks at nothing which may make them succeed. Discretion has large and extended views, and, like a well-formed eye, commands a whole horizon: Cunning is a kind of short-sightedness, that discovers the minutest objects which are near at hand, but is not able to discern things at a distance. Discretion, the more it is discovered, gives a greater authority to the person who possesses it: Cunning, when it is once detected, loses its force, and makes a man incapable of bringing about even those events which he might have done, had he passed only for a plain man. . Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life: Cunning is a kind of instinct, that only looks out after our immediate interest and welfare. Discretion is only found in men of strong sense, and good understandings: Cunning is often to be met with in brutes thenselves, and in persons who are but the fewest removes from them.

In short, cunning is only the mimic of discretion, and may pass upon weak men in the same manner as vivacity is often mistaken for wit, and gravity for wisdom.

The cast of mind which is natural to a discreet man, makes him look forward into futurity, and consider what will be his condition millions of ages hence, as well as what it is at present. He knows that the misery or happiness which are reserved for him in another world, lose nothing of their reality by being placed at so great a distance from him. The objects do not appear little to him because they are remote, He considers that those pleasures and pains

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