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Though a man has all other perfections, and wants discretion, he will be of no great consequence in the world; but if he has this fingle talent in perfection, and but a common share of others, he may do what he pleases in his particular station of life.
At the fame time that I think discretion the most useful talent a man can be master of, I look upon cunning to be the accomplishment of little mean ungenerous minds. Discretion points out the noblest erds to us, and pursues the most proper and laudable methods of attaining them : cunning has only private selfish aims, and sticks at nothing which may make them fucceed. Discretion has large and extended views, and, like a well-formed eye, commands a whole horizon : cunning is a kind of short-lightedness, that discovers the minuteft objects which are near at hand, but is not able to difcern things at a distance. Discretion, the more it is discovered, gives the greater authority to the person who possesses it : cunning, when it is once detected, loses its force, and makes a man incapable of bringing about even those events which he might have done, had he passed only for a plain man. Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life ; cunning is a kind of instinct, that only looks out after our immediate interest and welfare. Discretion is only found in men of strong sense and good understanding : cunning is often to be met with in brutes themselves, and in persons who are but the fewest removes from them. In short, cunning is only the mimic of discretion, and may pass upon weak men, in the same manner as vivacity is often mistaken for wit, and gravity for wisdom.
The cast of mind which is natural to a discreet man, makes him look forward into futurity, and consider what will be his condition millions of ages hence, as well as what it is at present. He knows that the misery or happiness which are reserved for him in another world, lose nothing of their reality by being placed at so great a distance from him. The objects do not appear little to him because they are remote. He considers that those pleasures and pains which lic kid in eternity, approach nearer to him every moment, and will be present with him in their full weight and measure, as much as those pains and pleasures which he feels at this very inttant. For this reafon he is careful to secure to himself that which is the proper happiness of his nature, and the ultimate design of his being. He carries his thoughts to the end of every action, and considers the molt diftant, as well as the most immediate effects of it. He supersedes every little prospect of gain and advan. tage which offers itself here, if he does not find it consistent with his views of an hereafter. In a word, his hopes are full of inmortality, his schemes are large and glorious, and his conduct suitable to one who knows his true interest, and how to pursue it by proper methods.
I have, in this essay upon discretion, considered it both as an accomplishment and as a virtue, and have therefore described it in its full extent ; not only as it is conversant about worldly affairs, but as it regards our whole existence; not only as it is the guide of a mortal creature, but as it is in general the director of a reasonable being. It is in this light that discretion is represented by the wise man, who Tometimes mentions it under the name of discretion, and sometimes under that of wisdom. It is indeed, as described in the latter part of this paper, the greatest wisdom, but at the same time in the power of every one to attain. Its advantages are infinite, but its acquisition easy; or to speak of her in the words of the apocryphal writer whom I quoted in my last Saturday's paper, "Wisdom is glorious, and never “ fadeth away, yet she is easily feen of them that love “ her, and found of such as feek her. She preventeth " them that desire her, in making herself first known
unto them. He that seeketh her early, shall have no
great travel: for he shall find her sitting at his doors. “ To think therefore upon her is perfection of wisdom, “ and whofo watcheth for her thall quickly be without
For she goeth about feeking such as are worthy “ of her, sheuvetă herself favourabiy unto them in the
ways, and meeteth them in every thought.” C.
Monday, November 19.
Mutum et pictura poema.
forrow in several speculations, that the art of painting is made so little use of to the improvement of our manners. When we. consider that it places the action of the person represented in the most agreeable aspect imaginable, that it does not only express the passion or concern as it fits upon him who is drawn, but has under those features the height of the painter's imagination, what strong images of virtue and humanity might we not expect would be inftilled into the mind from the labours of the pencil ? This is a poetry which would be understood with much less capacity, and less expence of time, than what is taught by writings; but the use of it is generally perverted, and that admirable kill proftituted to the baseft and most unworthy ends. Who is the better man for beholding the most beautiful Venus, the best wrought Bacchanal, the images of fleeping Cupids, languishing nymphs, or any of the representations of gods, goddesses, demigods, fatyrs, polyphemes, sphinxes, or fawns ? But if the virtues and vices, which are sometimes pretended to be represented under fuch draughts, were given us by the painter in the characters of real life, and the persons of men and women whose actions have rendered them laudable or infamous; we should not see a good hiftory-piece without receiving an instructive lecture. There needs no other proof of this truth, than the testimony of every reasonable creature who has seen the cartons in her majesty's gallery at Hampton-court : these are representations of no less actions than those of our blessed Saviour and his apoftles. As I now fit and recollect the warm images which the admirable Raphael has raised, it is impossible even from the faint traces. in one's memory of wiat one has not
seen these two years, to be unmoved at the horror and reverence which appear in the whole assembly when the mercenary man fell down dead; at the amazement of the man born blind, when he firit receives fight; or at the graceless indignation of the forcerer, when he is struck blind. The lame, when they first find strength in their feet, stand doubtful of their new vigour. The heavenly apostles appear acting these great things, with a deep lente of the infirmities which they relieve, but no value of themselves who administer to their weakness. They know themselves to be but instruments, and the generous distress they are painted in when divine honours are offered to them, is a representation in the most exquisite degree of the beauty of holiness. When St. Paul is preaching to the Athenians, with what wonderful art are almost all the different tempers of mankind represented in that elegant audience ? You see one credulous of all that is said, another wrapt up in deep suspense, another saying there is fome reason in what he says, another angry that the apostle desiroys a favourite opinion which he is unwilling to give up, another wholly convinced and holding out his hands in rapture, while the generality attend, and wait for the opinion of those who are of leading characters in the assembly. I will not pretend so much as to mention that chart on which is drawn the appearance of our blessed Lord after his resurrection. Present authority, late suffering, humility and majesty, despotic command, and divine love, are at once feated in his celestial aspect. The figures of the eleven apostles are all in the fame paffion of admiration, but discover it differently accordingly to their characters. Peter receives his malter's orders on his keees with an admiration mixed with a more particular attention: the two next with a more open ecstasy, though still constrained by the awe of the divine presence, the beloved disciple, whom I take to be the right of the two first figures, has in his countenance wonder drowned in love; and the last personage, whofe back is towards the spectators, and his side towards the presence, one would fancy
to be St. Thomas, as abashed by the conscience of his former diffidence ; which perplexed concern it is possible Raphael thought
too hard a talk to draw but by this acknowledgment of the difficulty to describe it.
The whole work is an exercise of the highest piety in the painter ; and all the touches of a religious mind are expressed in a manner much more forcible than can poslībly be performed by the most moving eloquenoe. These invaluable pieces are very juftly in the hands of the greatest and most pious sovereign in the world; and cannot be the frequent object of every one at their own leisure : but as an engraver is to the painter, what a painter is to an author, it is worthy her majesty's name, that she has encouraged that noble artist, monsieur Dorigny, to publish these works of Raphael. We have of this gentlenian a piece of the transfiguration, which, I think, is held a work second to none in the world.
Methinks it would be ridiculous in our people of condition, after their large bounty to foreigners of no name or merit, should they overlook this occasion of having, for a trifling subseription, a work which it is impossible for a man of fense to behold, without being warmed with the noblett sentiments that can be inspired by love, admiration, compassion, contempt of this world, and expectation of a better.
It is certainly the greatest honour we can do our country, to distinguish strangers of merit who apply to us with modesty and diffidence, which generally accompanies merit.' No opportunity of this kind ought to be neglected ; and a modeft behaviour should alarm us to examine whether we do not lose something excellent under that disadvantage in the poffeffor of that quality. My skill in paintings, where one is not directed by the passion of the pictures, is so inconfiderable, that I am in very great perplexity when I offer to speak of any performances of painters, of landskips, buildings, or fingle figures. This makes me at a loss how to mention the pieces which Mr. Boul exposes to fale by auction on Wednesday next in Chandois-itreet : but having heard him commended by those who have bought of him heretofore for great integrity in his dealing, and overheard him himself, though a laudable painter, say nothing of his own was fit to come into the room with those he had to sell, I feared I fhould.