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am, however, of opinion, that no just heroic poem ever was or can be made, from whence one great moral may not be deduced. That which reigns in Milton, is the most universal and most useful that can be imagined; it is in short this, That obedience to the will of God makes men happy, and that disobedience makes them miserable. This is visibly the moral of the principal fable, which turns upon Adam and Eve, who continued in Paradise, while they kept the command that was given them, and were driven out of it as soon as they had transgressed. This is likewise the moral of the principal episode, which shows us how an innumerable multitude of angels fell from their state of bliss, and were cast into hell upon their disobedience. Besides this great moral, which may be looked upon as the soul of the fable, there are an infinity of under-morals which are to be drawn from the several parts of the poem, and which makes this work more useful and instructive than any other poem in any language.
Those who have criticised on the Odyssey, the Iliad, and Æneid, have taken a great deal of pains to fix the number of months and days contained in the action of each of those poems. If any one thinks it worth his while to examine this particular in Milton, he will find that from Adam's first appearance in the fourth book, to his expulsion from Paradise in the twelfth, the author reckons ten days. As for that part of the action which is described in the three first books, as it does not pass within the regions of nature, I have before observed that it is not subject to any calculations of time.
(From Addison's Papers in the Spectator.)
SPECIMENS OF THE WRITINGS
MODERN PROSE AUTHORS,
QUEEN ELIZABETH. This lady was endued with learning, in her sex singular and rare even amongst masculine princes; whether we speak of learning, language, or of science, modern or ancient, divinity or humanity: and unto the very last year of her life she was accustomed to appoint set hours for reading; scarcely any young student in any university more daily, or more duly. As for her government, I assure myself I shall not exceed, if I do affirm, that this part of the island never had forty-five years of better times; and yet not through the calmness of the season, but through the wisdom of her regimen.
For if there be considered of the one side, the truth of religion established; the constant peace and security; the good administration of justice; the temperate use of the prerogative, not slackened, nor much strained; the flourishing state of learning, sortable to so excellent a patroness; the convenient estate of wealth and means, both of crown and subject; the habit of obedience, and the moderation of discontents; and there be considered, on the other side, the differences of religion, the troubles of neighbour countries, the ambition of Spain, and opposition of Rome; and then, that she was solitary, and of herself: these things, I say, considered, as I could not have chosen an instant so recent and so proper, so, I suppose, I could not have chosen one more remarkable or eminent to the purpose now in hand, which is concerning the conjunction of learning in the prince with felicity in the people.
Neither hath learning an influence and operation only upon civil merit and moral virtue, and the arts or temperature of peace and peaceable government; but likewise it hath no less power and efficacy in enablement towards martial and military virtue and prowess ; as may be notably represented in the examples of Alexander the Great, and Cæsar the Dictator, mentioned before, but now in fit place to be resumed : of whose virtues and acts in war there needs no note or recital, having been the wonders of time in that kind ; but of their affections towards learning, and perfections in learning, it is pertinent to say somewhat.
Alexander was bred and taught under Aristotle the great philosopher, who dedicated divers of his books of philosophy unto him : he was attended with Callisthenes and divers other learned persons, that followed him in camp, throughout his journeys and conquests. What price and estimation he had learning in doth notably appear in these three particulars : first, in the envy he used to express that he bore towards Achilles, in this, that he had so good a trumpet of his praises as Homer's verses : secondly, in the judgment or solution he gave, touching that precious cabinet of Darius, which was found amongst his jewels, whereof question was made what thing was worthy to be put into it, and he gave his opinion for Homer's works : thirdly, in his letter to Aristotle, after he had set forth his books of nature, wherein he expostulateth with him for publishing the secrets or mysteries of philosophy; and gave him to understand that himself esteemed it more to excel other men in learning and knowledge, than in power and empire.-Bacon. From 1561 to 1636.
SELF-CONTROL. In contentions be always passive, never active upon the defensive, nor the assaulting part; and then also give a gentle answer, receiving the furies and indiscretions of the other like a stone into a bed of moss and soft compliance; and you shall find it sit down quietly: whereas anger and violence make the contention loud and long, and injurious to ! both the parties.
Consider that anger is a professed enemy to counsel ; it is a direct storm, in which no man can be heard to speak or call from without; for if you counsel gently, you are despised: if you urge it and be vehement, you provoke it more. Be careful therefore to lay up beforehand a great stock of reason and prudent consideration, that, like a besieged town, you may be provided for, and be defensible from within, since you are not likely to be relieved from without.
Anger is not to be suppressed but by something that is as inward as itself, and more habitual. To which purpose add, that of all passions it endeavours most to make reason useless ; that it is a universal poison ; of infinite object : for no man was ever so amorous as to love a toad, none so envious as to repino at the condition of the miserable, no man so timorous as to fear a dead bee; but anger is troubled at everything, and every man, and every accident, and therefore, unless it be suppressed, it will make a man's condition restless.
If it proceeds from a great cause, it turns to fury; if from à small cause, it is peevishness, and so is always either terrible or ridiculous. It makes a man's body monstrous, deformed, and contemptible, the voice horrid, the eyes cruel, the face pale or fiery, the gait fierce, the speech clamorous and loud. It is neither manly nor ingenious. It proceeds from softness of spirit and pusillanimity; which makes that women are more angry than men, sick persons more than healthful,
old men more than young, unprosperous and calamitous people than the blessed and fortunate. It is a passion fitter for flies and insects than for persons professing nobleness and bounty.
It is troublesome not only to those that suffer it, but to them that behold it; there being no greater incivility of entertainment than for the cook’s fault, or the negligence of the servants, to be cruel, or outrageous, or unpleasant in the presence of the guests. It makes marriage to be a necessary and unavoidable trouble ; friendships, and societies, and familiarities to be intolerable. It multiplies the evils of drunkenness, and makes the levities of wine to run into madness. It makes innocent jesting to be the beginning of tragedies. It turns friendship into hatred. It makes a man lose himself and his reason and his argument in disputation. It turns the desires of knowledge into an itch of wrangling. It adds insolency to power. It turns justice into cruelty, and judgment into oppression. It turns discipline into tediousness and hatred of liberal institution. It makes a prosperous man to be envied, and the unfortunate to be unpitied. It is a confluence of all the irregular passions : there is in it envy and sorrow, fear and scorn, pride and prejudice, rashness and inconsideration, rejoicing in evil and a desire to inflict it, self-love, impatience, and curiosity. And lastly, though it be very troublesome to others, yet it is most troublesome to him that hath it.—BISHOP TAYLOR. From 1613 to 1667.
GRATITUDE is properly a virtue disposing the mind to an inward sense and an outward acknowledgment of a benefit received, together with a readiness to return the same or the like, as the occasions of the doer of it shall require, and the