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that I have heard nothing from all the fine
I was very much pleased with your paper of the seventh instant, in which you recommend the study of useful knowledge to women of quality or fortune. I have since that met with a very elegant poem, written by the fa
mous sir Thomas More. It is inscribed to a
friend of his who was then seeking out a wife; he advises him on that occasion to overlook wealth and beauty, and if he desires a happy life, to join himself with a woman of virtue and knowledge. His words on this last head are as follow:
"Proculque stulta sit, Possit libellulis
Talem olim ego putem
The sense of this elegant description is as follows:
"May you meet with a wife who is not always stupidly silent, not always prattling nonsense! May she be learned, if possible, or at least capable of being made so! A woman thus accomplished will be always drawing sentences and maxims of virtue out of the best authors of antiquity. She will be herself in all changes of fortune, neither blown up in prosperity, nor broken with adversity. You will find in her an even, cheerful, good-humoured friend, and an agreeable companion for life. She will infuse knowledge into your children with their milk, and from their infancy train them up to wisdom. Whatever company you are engaged in you will long to be at home, and retire with delight from the society of men into the bosom of one who is so dear, so knowing, and so amiable. If she touches her lute, or sings to it any of her own compositions, her voice will sooth you in your solitudes, and sound more sweetly in your ear than that of the nightingale. You will waste with pleasure whole days and nights in her conversation, and be ever finding out new beauties in her discourse. She will keep your mind in perpetual serenity, restrain its mirth from being dissolute, and prevent its melancholy from being painful.
Such was doubtless the wife of Orpheus; Semper nec unquam erit for who would have undergone what he did to
have recovered a foolish bride? Such was the daughter of Ovid, who was his rival in poetry. Such was Tullia, as she is celebrated by the most learned and the most fond of fathers. And such was the mother of the two Gracchi, who is no less famous for having been their instructor, than their parent."'
No. 164.] Friday, September 18, 1713. -simili frondescit virga metallo.
Virg. En. vi. 144. The same rich metal glitters on the tree.
AN eminent prelate of our church observes, that there is no way of writing so proper for the refining and polishing a language, as the translating of books into it, if he who undertakes it has a competent skill of the one tongue, and is a master of the other. When a man writes his own thoughts, the heat of his fancy, and the quickness of his mind, carry him so much after the notions themselves, that for the most part he is too warm to judge of the aptness of words, and the justness of figures; so that he either neglects these too much, or overdoes them: but when a man translates, he has none of these heats about him; and therefore the French took no ill method, when they intended to reform and beautify their language, in setting their best writers on work to translate the Greek and Latin authors into it.' Thus far this learned prelate.
And another, lately deceased, tells us, that the way of leaving verbal translations, and chiefly regarding the sense and genius of the author, was scarce heard of in England before this present age.'
As for the difficulty of translating well, every one, I believe, must allow my lord Roscommon to be in the right, when he says,
'Tis true, composing is the nobler part,
For tho' materials have long since been found,
Dryden judiciously remarks, that 'a translator is to make his author appear as charming as possibly he can, provided he maintains his character, and makes him not unlike himself.' And a too close and servile imitation, which the same poet calls treading on the heels of an author,' is deservedly laughed at by sir John Denham; 'I conceive it,' says he, ‘a vulgar error in translating poets, to affect being fidus interpres. Let that care be with them who deal in matters of fact, or matters of faith; but whosoever aims at it in poetry, as he attempts what is not required, so shall he never per form what he attempts; for it is not his business alone to translate language into language, but poesy into poesy; and poesy is of so subtle
a spirit, that in pouring out of one language into another, it will all evaporate, and if a new spirit is not added in the transfusion, there will remain nothing but a caput mortuum, there being certain graces and happinesses peculiar to every language, which give life and energy to the words, and whosoever offers at verbal translation, shall have the misfortune of that young traveller, who lost his own language abroad, and brought home no other instead of it. For the grace of the Latin will be lost by being turned into English words, and the grace of the English by being turned into the Latin phrase.'
After this collection of authorities out of some of our greatest English writers, I shall present my reader with a translation, in which the author has conformed himself to the opinion of these great men. The beauty of the translation is sufficient to recommend it to the public, without acquainting them that the translator is Mr. Eusden of Cambridge: who obliged them in the Guardian of August the sixth, with the Court of Venus out of the same Latin poet, which was highly applauded by the best judges in performances of this nature.
The Speech of Pluto to Proserpine, from the
An earth more verdant, and a heaven more blue;
Unnumber'd triumphs swift to yon he brings,
That share whom you approve shali first be brought
No. 165.] Saturday, September 19, 1713.
pernicious and of a more contagious nature. When the master is a profligate, the rake runs through the house. You hear the sons talking loosely, and swearing after the father, and see the daughters either familiarized to his discourse, or every moment blushing for him.
The very footman will be a fine gentleman in his master's way. He improves by his tabletalk, and repeats in the kitchen what he learns in the parlour. Invest him with the same title aud ornaments, and you would scarce know him from his lord. He practises the same oaths, the same ribaldry, the same way of joking.
It is therefore of very great concern to a family, that the ruler of it should be wise and virtuous. The first of these qualifications does not indeed lie within his power; but though a man cannot abstain from being weak, he may from being vicious. It is in his power to give a good example of modesty, of temperance, of frugality, of religion, and of all other virtues, which though the greatest ornaments of human nature, may be put in practice by men of the most ordinary capacities.
As wisdom and virtue are the proper qualifications in the master of a house, if he is not accomplished iu both of them, it is much better that he should be deficient in the former than in the latter, since the consequences of vice are of an infinitely more dangerous nature than those of folly.
IT is a melancholy thing to see a coxcomb at the head of a family. He scatters infection through the whole house. His wife and children have always their eyes upon him; if they have more sense than himself, they are out of countenance for him; if less, they submit their understandings to him, and make daily improvements in folly and impertinence. I have been very often secretly concerned, when I have seen a circle of pretty children cramped in their natural parts, and prattling even below themselves, while they are talking after a couple of silly parents. The dulness of a father often extinguishes a genius in the son, or gives such a wrong cast to his mind as it is hard for him ever to wear off. In short, where the bead of a family is weak, you hear the repeti-knowledge of the age, and is still admired by tions of his insipid pleasantries, shallow conceits, and topical points of mirth, in every member of it. His table, his fire-side, his parties of diversion, are all of them so many standing scenes of folly.
This is one reason why I would the more recommend the improvements of the mind to my female readers, that a family may have a double chance for it; and if it meets with weakness in one of the heads, may have it made up in the other. It is indeed an unhappy circumstance in a family, where the wife has more knowledge than the husband; but it is better it should be so, than that there should be no knowledge in the whole house. It is highly expedient that at least one of the persons, who sits at the helm of affairs, should give an example of good sense to those who are under them in these little domestic governments. If folly is of ill consequence in the head of a family, vice is much more so, as it is of a more
When I read the histories that are left us of Pythagoras, I cannot but take notice of the extraordinary influence which that great philosopher, who was an illustrious pattern of virtue and wisdom, had on his private family. This excellent man, after having perfected himself in the learning of his own country, travelled into all the known parts of the world, on purpose to converse with the most learned men of every place; by which means he gleaned up all the
the greatest men of the present times as a prodigy of science. His wife Theano wrote several books, and after his death taught his philosophy in his public school, which was frequented by numberless disciples of different countries. There are several excellent sayings recorded of her. I shall only mention one, because it does honour to her virtue, as well as to her wisdom. Being asked by some of her sex, in how long a time a woman might be allowed to pray to the gods, after having conversed with a man? If it were her husband,' says she,' the next day; if a stranger, never.' Pythagoras had by this wife two sons and three daughters. His two sons, Telauges and Mnesarchus, were both eminent philosophers, and were joined with their mother in the government of the Pythagorean school. Arignote was one of the daughters, whose writings were extant, and very much admired, in the age of Porphyrius. Damo was another of
To give my reader a right notion of myself in this particular, I shall present him with the secret history of one of the most remarkable parts of my life.
I was once engaged in search of the philosopher's stone. It is frequently observed of men who have been busied in this pursuit, that though they have failed in their principal design, they have however made such discoveries in their way to it, as have sufficiently recompensed their inquiries. In the same manner, though I cannot boast of my success in that affair, I do not repent of my engaging in it, because it produced in my mind such an habi. tual exercise of charity, as made it much better than perhaps it would have been, had I never been lost in so pleasing a delusion.
his daughters, in whose hands Pythagoras left
No. 166.] Monday, September 21, 1713.
Ovid. Met. Lib. ii. 332.
CHARITY is a virtue of the heart, and not of the hands, says an old writer. Gifts and alms are the expressions, not the essence, of this virtue. A man may bestow great sums on the poor and indigent without being charitable, and may be charitable when he is not able to bestow any thing. Charity is therefore a habit of good-will, or benevolence in the soul, which disposes us to the love, assistance, and relief of mankind, especially of those who stand in need of it. The poor man who has this excellent frame of mind, is no less entitled to the reward of this virtue than the man who founds a college. For my own part, I am charitable to an extravagance this way. I never saw an indigent person in my life, without reaching out to him some of this imaginary relief. I cannot but sympathize with every one I meet that is in affliction and if my abilities were equal to my wishes, there should be neither nain nor poverty in the world.
As I did not question but I should soon have a new Indies in my possession, I was perpetually taken up in considering how to turn it to the benefit of mankind. In order to it I employed a whole day in walking about this great city, to find out proper places for the erection of hospitals. I had likewise entertained
other place, of building churches at the court end of the town, with this only difference, that instead of fifty, I intended to have built a hundred, and to have seen them all finished in less than one year.
I had with great pains and application got together a list of all the French protestants; and by the best accounts I could come at, had calculated the value of all those estates and effects which every one of them had left in his own country for the sake of his religion, being fully determined to make it up to him, and return some of them the double of what they had lost.
As I was one day in my laboratory, my operator, who was to fill my coffers for me, and used to foot it from the other end of the town every morning, complained of a sprain in his leg, that he had met with over-against Saint Clement's church. This so affected me, that as a standing mark of my gratitude to him, and out of compassion to the rest of my fellowcitizens, I resolved to new pave every street within the liberties, and entered a memorandum in my pocket book accordingly. About the same time I entertained some thoughts of mending all the highways on this side the Tweed, and of making all the rivers in Eng. land navigable.
But the project I had most at heart was the settling upon every man in Great Britain three pounds a year (in which sum may be comprised, according to sir William Petty's observations, all the necessities of life), leaving to them whatever else they could get by their own industry, to lay out on superfluities.
I was above a week debating in myself what I should do in the matter of impropriations;
but at length came to a resolution to buy them all up, and restore them to the church.
As I was one day walking near St. Paul's, I took some time to survey that structure, and not being entirely satisfied with it, though I could not tell why, I had some thoughts of pulling it down, and building it up anew at my own expense.
For my own part, as I have no pride in me, I intended to take up with a coach and six, half a dozen footmen, and live like a private gentleman.
It happened about this time that public matters looked very gloomy, taxes came bard, the war went on heavily, people complained of the great burdens that were laid upon them. This made me resolve to set aside one morning, to consider seriously the state of the nation. I was the more ready to enter on it, because I was obliged, whether I would or no, to sit at home in my morning gown, having, after a most incredible expense, pawned a new suit of clothes, and a full-bottomed wig, for a sum of money, which my operator assured me was the last he should want to bring all our matters to bear. After having considered many projects, I at length resolved to beat the common enemy at his own weapons, and laid a scheme which would have blown him up in a quarter of a year, had things succeeded to my wishes. As I was in this golden dream, somebody knocked at my door. I opened it, and found it was a messenger that brought me a letter from the laboratory. The fellow looked so miserably poor, that I was resolved to make his fortune before he delivered his message: but seeing he brought a letter from my operator, I concluded I was bound to it in honour, as much as a prince is to give a reward to one that brings him the first news of a victory. I knew this was the long-expected hour of projection, and which I had waited for with great impatience, above half a year before. In short, I broke open my letter in a transport of joy, and found it as follows:
"After having got out of you every thing you can conveniently spare, I scorn to trespass upon your generous nature, and therefore must ingenuously confess to you, that I know no more of the philosopher's stone than you do. I shall only tell you for your comfort, that I could never yet bubble a blockhead out of his money. They must be men of wit and parts who are
for my purpose. This made me apply myself to a person of your wealth and ingenuity. How I have succeeded you yourself can best tell. 6 Your humble servant to command, THOMAS WHITE.
I was very much shocked at the unworthy treatment of this man, and not a little mortified at my disappointment, though not so much for what I myself, as what the public suffered by it. I think however I ought to let the world know what I designed for them, and hope that such of my readers who find they had a share in my good intentions, will accept of the will for the deed.
No. 167.] Tuesday, September 22, 1713.
Fata viam invenient-Fate the way will find. THE following story is lately translated out of an Arabian manuscript, which I think bas very much the turn of an oriental tale; and as it has never before been printed, I question not but it will be highly acceptable to my reader.
The name of Helim is still famous through all the eastern parts of the world. He is called among the Persians, even to this day, Helim the great physician. He was acquainted with all the powers of simples, understood all the influences of the stars, and knew the secrets that were engraved on the seal of Solomon the son of David. Helim was also governor of the Black Palace, and chief of the physicians to Alnareschin the great king of Persia.
Aluareschin was the most dreadful tyrant that ever reigned in this country. He was of a fearful, suspicious, and cruel nature, having put to death, upon very slight jealousies and surmises, five-and-thirty of his queens, and above twenty sons whom he suspected to have conspired against his life. Being at length wearied with the exercise of so many cruelties in his own family, and fearing lest the whole race of caliphs should be entirely lost, he one day sent for Helim, and spoke to him after this manner: Helim,' said he, ‘I have long admired thy great wisdom, and retired way of living. I shall now show thee the entire confidence which I place in thee. I have only two sons remaining, who are as yet but infants. It is my design that thou take them home with thee, and educate them as thy own. them up in the humble unambitious pursuits of knowledge. By this means shall the line of caliphs be preserved, and my children succeed after me, without aspiring to my throne whilst I am yet alive.'
The words of my lord the king shall be obeyed,' said Helim; after which he bowed, and went out of the king's presence. He then received the children into his own house, and from that time bred them up with him in the studies of knowledge and virtue. The young princes loved and respected Helim as their father, and made such improvements I have locked up the laboratory, and laid under him, that by the age of one-and-twenty
the key under the door.'
they were instructed in all the learning of the