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this our passage. It is therefore very absurd to think of setting up our rest before we come to our journey's end, and not rather to take care of the reception we shall there meet, than to fix our thoughts on the little conveniencies and advantages which we enjoy one above another in the way to it.
Epictetus makes use of another kind of allusion, which is very beautiful, and wonderfully proper to incline us to be satisfied with the post in which Providence has placed us. We are here, says he, as in a theatre, where every one has a part allotted to him. The great duty which lies upon a man is to act his part in perfection. We may indeed say, that our part does not suit us, and that we could act another better. But this, says the philosopher, is not our business. All that we are concerned in is to excel in the part which is given us. If it be an improper one, the fault is not in us, but in him who has cast our several parts, and is the great disposer of the drama.
The part that was acted by this philosopher himself was but a very indifferent one, for he lived and died a Nave. His motive to contentment in this particular, receives a very great enforcement from the above-mentioned consideration, if we remember that our parts in she other world will be new cast, and that mankind will be thure ranged in different stations of superiority and pre-eminence, in proportion as they have here excelled one another in virtue, and performed in their several pofts of life the duties which belong to them.
There are many beautiful paffages in the little apocryphal book, entitled, “The Wisdom of Solomon," to set forth the vanity of honour, and the like temporal bleffings which are in so great repute among men, and to comfort those who have not the possession of thein. It represents. in very warm and noble terms this advancement of a good man in the other world, and the great surprise which it will produce among those who are his superiors in this. Then shall the righteous man stand
in great boldness before the face of such as have af• Aicted him, and made no account of his labours. When
they see it, they shall be troubled with terrible fear, • and shall be amazed at the strangeness of his falvation,
so far beyond all that they looked for. And they
repenting and groaning for anguish of spirit, shall say • within themselves ; this was he whom we had some . time in derision, and a proverb of reproach. We fools
accounted his life madness, and his end to be without ' honour. How is, he numbered among the children • of God, and his lot is among the faints !'
If the reader would see the description of a life that is passed away in vanity, and among the shadows of pomp and greatness, he may fee it very finely drawn in the same place. In the mean time, since it is necessary in the present constitution of things, that order and distinction should be kept up in the world, we should be happy, if those who enjoy the upper stations in it, would endeavour to surpass others in virtue, as much as in rank, and by their humanity and condescension make their superiority easy and acceptable to those who are beneath them : and if, on the contrary, those who are in meaner posts of life, would consider how they may better their condition hereafter, and by a just deference and submisfion to their superiors, make them happy in those bleffings with which Providence has thought fit to distinguish them.
Monday, November 12.
Rumoresque ferit varios--- VIRG. Æn. 12. V. 228. A thousand rumours spreads.
Why will you apply to my father for my love?
I cannot help it if he will give you my person ; but I • assure you it is not in his power, nor even in my own,
to give you my heart. Dear sir, do but consider the ill-consequence of such a match ; you are fifty-five, I twenty-one. You are a man of business, and mightily • conver ant in arithmetic and making calculations ; be
pleased therefore to consider what proportion your spirits bear to mine, and when you have made a just -eitimate of the necessary decay on one side, and the * redundance on the other, you will act accordingly. • This perhaps, is such language as you may not ex
pect from a young lady ; but my happiness is at stake, and I must talk plainly. I mortally hate you; and so, and my father
agree, you may take me or ' leave me: but if you will be so good as never to see ! me more, you will for ever oblige,
Your most humble servant,
« HENRIETTA. • Mr. SpecTATOR, · THERE are so many artifices and modes of false : wit, and such a variety of humour discovers itself
among its votaries, that it would be impossible to ex
haust To fertile a subject, if you would think fit to re• fume it. The following instances may, if you think * fit, be added by way of appendix to your discourses on • that subject.
• That feat of poetical activity mentioned by Horace, • of an author who could compose two hundred verses
' while he stood upon one leg, has been imitated, I
have heard, by a modern writer ; who priding himself
on the hurry of his invention, thought it no small • addition to his fame to have each piece minuted with
the exact number of hours or days it cost himn in the • composition. He could tafte no praise until he had .“ acquainted you in how short space of time he had de• served it ; and was not so much led to an oftentation s of his art, as of his dispatch.
-Accipe, si vis,
Hor. Sat. 4. lib. 1. ver. 14
• This was the whole of his ambition ; and therefore I ' cannot but think the flights of this rapid author very
proper to be opposed to those laborious nothings which you have observed were the delight of the German
wits, and in which they so happily got rid of such a “ tedious quantity of their time.
• I have known a gentleman of another turn of humour, who, despising the name of an author, never printed his works, but contracted his talent, and by the help of a very
fine diamond which he wore on his lit' ile finger, was a considerable poet upon glass. He had
a very good epigrammatic wit; and there was not a
parlour or tavern-window where he visited or dined • for some years, which did not receive some sketches or • memorials of it. It was his misfortune at last to lose • his genius and his ring to a sharper at play, and he has not attempted to make a verse since.
• Buť of all contractions or expedients for wit, I ad'mire that of an ingenious projector whose book I have ' seen. This virtuoso being a mathematician, has, ac
cording to his taste, thrown the art of poetry into a
short problem, and contrived tables by which any one ' without knowing a word of grammar or sense, may,
great comfort, be able to compose, or rather to • erect Latin verses. His tables are a kind of poetical
• logarithms, which being divided into several squares, • and all inscribed with lo many incoherent words, ap
pear to the eye fomewhat like a fortune-telling-screen. • What a joy must it be to the unlearned operator to ' find that these words being carefully collected and writ * down in order according to the problem, start of them• selves into hexameter and pentameter verses ? A friend
of mine, who is a student in astrology, meeting with
this book, performed the operation, by the rules there • set down; he shewed his verses to the next of his acquaintance, who happened to understand Latin ; and being informed they described a tempest of wind, very luckily prefixed them, together with a translation, to an almanac he was just then printing, and was sup poied to have foretold the last great storm.
I think the only improvement beyond this, would b: • that which the late duke of Buckingham mentioned to a stupid pretender to poetry, as the project of a Dutch
mechanic, viz. a mill to make verses. This being the • most compendious method of all which have yet been
proposed, may deserve the thoughts of our modern virtuosi who are employed in new discoveries for the public good : and it may be worth the while to confider, whether in an island where few are content without being thought wits, it will not be a common benefit, that wit as well as labour should be made cheap.
. i am, Sir,
• Your humble servant, &c.' Mr. SPECTATOR, 'I OFTEN dine at a gentleman's house, where there are two young ladies, in themselves very agreea
ble, but very cold in their behaviour, because they un• derstand me for a person that is to break my mind, as • the phrase is, very suddenly to one of them. But I take
this way to acquaint them, that I am not in love with • either of them, in hopes they will use me with that
agreeable freedom and indifference which they do all “the rest of the world, and not to drink to one another
only, but sometimes cast a kind look, with their ser.
5 yice to,