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Montaigne *) (to whom I am but a dog in comparison ) has done the same thing of his cat. Dic mihi quid melius desidiosus agam? **) You are to know then, that as it is like ness begets affection, so my favorite dog is a little one, a lean one, and none of the finest shaped. He is not much a spaniel in his fawning, but has. (what might be worth any man's while to imitate him in) a dumb surly sort of kindness, that rather shows itself when he thinks me ill-used by others, than when we walk quietly and peaceably by ourselves. If it be the chief point of friendship to comply with a friends motions and inclinations, be possesses this in an eminent degree; he lies down when I sit, and walks when I walk, which is more than many good friends can pretend to, witness our walk a year ago in St. James-Park, Histories are more full of oxamples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends, but I will not insist upon many of them, because it is possible some many be almost as fabulous as those of Pys lades and Orestes etc. I will only say, for the honour of dogs, that the two most ancient and esteemable books, saa cred and profane, extant (viz. the Scripture and Homer), bare shown a particular regard to these animals. That of Toby is the more remarkable, because there seemed no manner of reason to take notice of the dog, besides the great humanity of the author, Homer's account of Ulysses dog Argus ***) is the most pathetic imaginable, all the circumstances considered, and an excellent proof of the old bard's good-nature. Ulys, ses had left him at Ithaca when he embarked for Troy, and found him at his return after twenty years (which by the way is not annatural, as some critics have said, since I remember lhe dam of my dog was twenty - two years old when she
the omen of longævity prove fortunate to her successor). You shall have it in verse.
Arg u $.
*) Von Michel de Montagne oder Montaigne, einem vortrefflichen Französischen Schriftsteller (geb. 1533. gest, 1592) siehe unter andern das Handbuch der Französischen Sprache, Theil 1. S. 3. ( sechste Auflage.) **) Was könnt ich, müssig, Besseres
, shun? ***) Homers Odyssee, 17, 300 u. ff. +) Penelope,
Changed as ho was, with age, and toils, and cares,
Forgot of all his own domestic crew;
And longing to behold his ancient Lord again,
('Twas all' be could) and fawn'd and kiss'd his feet,
Own'd his returning Lord, look'd up, and dy'd! Plutarch relating how the Athenians were obliged to åbandon Athens in the time of Themistocles, steps back again out of the way of his history, purely to describe the lamentable cries and howlings of the poor dogs they left behind. He makes mention of one, that fallowed his master across
e Sea to Salamis, where he died, and was honour'd with a tomb by the Athenians, who 'gave the name of the Dog's Grave to that part of the Island where he was buried. This respect to 'a dog in the most polite people of the world, is very observable. A modern instance of gratitude to a dog (though we have but few such) is, that the chief order of Denmark *) (now injuriously called the order of the Elephant) was instituted in memory of the fidelity' of a dog, nam'd Wild - brat, to one of their kings who had been deserted by his subjects her gave his order this motto, or to this effect (which still remains) Wild-brat was faithful, Sir William Trumbull ha's told me a story, which he heard from one that was present: King Charles I. being with some of his court during his troubles, a discourse arose what sort of dogs deserved pre-eminence, and it being on all hands agreed to belong either to the spaniel 'or grey-hound, the king gave his opinion on the part of the grey - hound, because (said he) it has all the good - nature of the other without the fawning. A good piece of satire upon his courtiers, with which I will
*). Wahrscheinlich ist der Dänische Orden de la Fidélité oder viclmelta de l'union parfaite gemeint, der aber seit dem Jahre 1770 nicht mehk vertheilt wird.
conclude my discourse of dogs.' Call me a Cynic, or what you please, in reverige for all this impertinence, I will be contented; provided you will but believe me, when I say a bold word for a Christian, that, of all dogs, you will find done more faithful than
2.) To Mr. STEELI. @onecrning a public, private, or mixed life.')* 166
Jun. 18, 1712. ou have obliged me with a pery kind letter, by which I find you shift the scene of your life from ibe town to the country, and enjoy that mixed state, which wise men both delight in, and are qualified for. Methinks the moralists and philosophers have generally run too much into extremes in commending 'entirely either solitude, or public life. In the former, men for the most part grow useless by too much rest, and in the latter are destroyed by to much precipitations as waters lying still, putrefy, and are good for nothing, and running violently on, do but the more mischief in their pass sage to others, and are swallowed up and lost the sooner themselves. Those 'indeed who can be useful to all states, should be like gentle streams, that not only glide through lonely valleys and forests amidst the flocks and the shepherds; but visit populous towns in their course, and are at once of ornament and service to them. But there are another sort of people who seem designed for solitude, such, I mean, as have more to hide than to show. As for my own part, I am one of those of whom Seneca says: tam 'umbratiles sunt, ut putent in turbido esse quicquid in luce est. *) Some men, like some pictures, are fitter for a corner than a full light; and, I believe, such as have a natural bent to solitude (to carry on the former similitude) are like waters, which may be forced into fountains, and exalted into a great height, may, make a noble figure and a louder noise, but after all they would run more smoothly, quietly, and plentifully, in their natural course, upon the ground. The consideration of this would make me very well contented with the possession only of that quiet, which Cowley calls the Companion of obscu
*) Sie sind so seheu, dass sie, was der hele Fag bescheint. umdunkelt kultes. The suis passes were
rity. But whoever has the Muse too for his companions, can never be idle enough, to be uneasy. Thus, Sir, you see, I would flatter myself into a good opinion of my own way of living. Plutarch just now. told me, that it is in human life as in a game at tables, where a man may wish for the highest cast; but, if his chance be otherwise, he is even to play it as well as he can, and to make tbe best of it. I am
3) To Mr. STBELE.
July 15, 1712. You formerly observed to me, that nothing made a more ridiculous figure in a man's life, than the disparity we often find in him sick and well: thus one of an unfortunate constitation is perpetually exhibiting a miserable example of the Weakness of his mind, and of his body, in their turns. I have bad frequent opportunities of late to consider myself in these different views, and, I hope, have received some advantage by it, if wbat Waller *) says be true, that
The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
Lets in new light thro' chinks that time has made. Then surely sickness, contributing no less than old age to the shaking down this scaffolding of the body, may discover the inward structure more plainly. Sickness is a sort of early old age: it teaches us a diffidence in our earthly state, and inspires us with the thoughts of a future, better than a thousand volumes of philosophers and divines. It gives so warning a concussion to those props of our vanity, our strength and youth, that we think of fortifying ourselves within, when there is so little dependance upon our outworks. Youth at the very best is but a betrayer of human life in a gentler and smoother manner than age: it is like a stream that nourishes a plant upon a bank, and causes it to flourish and blossom to the sight, but at the same time is undermining it at the root in secret. My youth bas dealt more fairly and openly with me; it has afforded several prospects of my danger, and given me an advantage not very common to young men, that the attractions of the world have not dazzled me
*) Von diesem Dichter siehe den 2ten Theil des Handbuchs.' .
made answer, ,
very much; and I begin, where most people end, with a full conviction of the emptiness of all sorts of ambition, and the ansatisfactory nature of all human pleasures. When a smart fit of sickness tells me this scurvy tenement of my body will fall in a little time, I, am even as unconcerned as was that honest Hibernian, who being in bed in the great storm some years ago, and told the house would tumble over his head,,
what care I for the house? I am only a lodger.” I fancy it is the best time to die when one is in the best humour; and so excessively weak as I now am, I may say with conscience, that I am not at all uneasy at the thought, that many men, whom I never had any esteem for, are likely to enjoy this world after me. When I reflect what an inconsiderable little atom every single man is, with respect to the whole creation, methinks, it is a shame to be concerned at the removal of such a trivial animal as I am. The morning after my exit, the sun will rise as bright as ever, the flowers emell as sweet, the plants spring as green, the world will proceed in its old course, people will laugh as heartily, and marry as fast, as they were used to do. The memory of man (at it is elegantly expressed in the Book of Wisdora) passetb away as the remembrance of a guest that tarrieth but one day. There are reasons ecough, in the fourth chapter of the same book, to make any young man contented with the
prospect of death. For honourable age, is not that which „ slandeth in length of time, or is measured by number of „years. But wisdom is the grey hair to men, and an unuspotted life is old age. He was taken away speedily, lest „ wickedness should alter bis understanding, or deceit beguile „his soul,” etc. I am
4) To MR. STIBLE.
Nov. 7, 1712. I was the other day in company with fire or six men of some learning; where chancing to mention the famous verses which the Emperor Adrian spoke on his death - bed, they were all agreed that it was a piece of gaiety unworthy of that Prince in those circumstances.' I could not but differ from this opinion: methinks it was by no means a gay, but a very