« ForrigeFortsett »
bourhood a very pretty prattling shoulder of veal, that squalls out at the sight of a knife. Then, as for natural antipathies, I knowa general officer who was never conquered but by a smothered rabbit; and a wife that domineers over her husband by the help of a breast of mutton. A story that relates to myself on this subject may be thought not unentertaining, especially when I assure you that it is literally true. I had long made love to a lady, in the possession of whom I am now the happiest of mankind, whose hand I should have gained with much difficulty without the assistance of a cat. You must know then that my most dangerous rival had so strong an aversion to this species, that he infallibly swooned ed away at the sight of that harmless creature. My friend Mrs. Lucy,her maid, having a greater respect for me and my purse than she had for my rival, always took care to pin the tail of a cat under the gown of her mistress, whenever she knew of his coming; which had such an effect, that, every time he entered the room, he looked more like one of the figures in Mrs.Salmon'swax-work * than a desirable lover. In short, he grew sick of her company: which the young lady taking notice of (who no more knew why than he did), she sent me a challenge to meet her in Lincoln's-inn chapel, which I joyfully accepted; and have, amongst other pleasures, the satisfaction of being praised by her for my stratagem.
I am, &c. From the Hoop.
Tom NIMBLE.' • Mr. SpectaTOR,
• The virgins of Great Britain are very much obliged to you for putting them upon such te
* Opposite the same place, near Temple Bar, there is still an exhibition of wax-work by a person of the same name.
dious drudgeries in needle-work as were fit only for the Hilpas and the Nilpas that lived before the flood. Here is a stir indeed with your histories in embroidery, your groves with shades of silk and streams of mohair! I would have you to know, that I hope to kill a hi ndred lovers before the best housewife in England can stitch out a battle ; and do not fear but to provide boys and girls much faster than your disciples can embroider them. I love birds and beasts as well as you, but am content to fancy them when they are really made. What do you think of gilt leather for furniture ? There is your pretty hangings for a chamber*! and, what is more, our own country is the only place in Europe where work of that kind is tole. Tably done. Without minding your musty lessons, I am this minute going to St. Paul's church-yard to bespeak a screen and a set of hangings ; and am resolved to encourage the manufacture of my country.
* There was about this time a celebrated manufactory of ta. pestry at Chelsea,
N° 610. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1714.
Sic cum transierint mei
A stranger to himself alone. I Have often wondered that the Jews should con. trive such worthless greatness for the Deliverer whom they expected, as to dress him up in exter, nal pomp and pageantry, and represent him to their imaginations as making havoc amongst his creatures, and actuated with the poor ambition of a Cæsar or an Alexander. How much more illustrious does he appear in his real character, when considered as the author of universal benevolence among men, as refining our passions, exalting our nature, giving us vast ideas of immortality, and teaching us a contempt of that little showy grandeur wherein the Jews made the glory of their Messiah to consist!
• Nothing' says Longinus, can be great, the contempt of which is great.' The possession of wealth and riches cannot give a man a title to greatness, because it is looked upon as a greatness of mind to contemn these gifts of fortune, and to be above the desire of them. I have therefore been inclined to think that there are greater men who lie concealed among the species, than those who come out and draw upon themselves the eyes and admiration of mankind. Virgil would never have been heard of, had not his domestic misfortunes driven him out of his obscurity, and brought him to Rome.
If we suppose that there are spirits, or angels, who look into the ways of men, as it is highly probable there are, both from reason and revelation, how different are the notions which they entertain of us, from those which we are apt to form of one another! Were they to give us in their catalogue of such worthies as are now living, how different would it be from that which any of our own spe. eies would draw up!
We are dazzled with the splendour of titles, the ostentation of learning, the noise of victories ; they, on the contrary, see the philosopher in the cottage, who possesses his soul in patience and thankfulness, under the pressures of what little minds call poverty and distress. They do not look for great men at the head of armies, or among the pomps of a court, but often find them out in shades and solitudes, in the private walks and by-paths of life. The evening's walk of a wise man is more illustrious in their sight than the march of a general at the head of a hundred thousand men. A contemplation of God's works; a voluntary act of justice to our own detriment ; a generous concern for the good of mankind ; tears that are shed in silence for the misery of others; a private desire or resentment broken and subdued; in short, an unfeigned exercise of humility, or any other virtue, are such actions as are glorious in their sight, and denominate men great and reputable. The most famous among us are often looked upon with pity, with contempt, or with
indignation; whilst those who are most obscure among their own species are regarded with love, with approbation, and esteem.
The moral of the present speculation amounts to this; that we should not be led away by the censures and applauses of men, but consider the figure that every person will make at that time when • Wisdom shall be justified of her children,' and nothing pass for great or illustrious which is not an ornament and perfection to human nature.
The story of Gyges, the rich Lydian monarch, is a memorable instance to our present purpose. The oracle, being asked by Gyges, who was the happiest man, replied, Aglaus. Gyges, who expected to have heard himself named on this occa. sion, was much surprised, and very curious to know who this Aglaüs should be. After much inquiry, he was found to be an obscure countryman, who employed all his time in cultivating a garden, and a few acres of land about his house.
Cowley's agreeable relation of this story shall close this day's speculation.
• Thus Aglais (a man unknown to men,