The Works of Samuel Johnson

Part 2 out of 7

reward his dependants, commonly enchants him
beyond resistance; the glare of equipage, the sweets
of luxury, the liberality of general promises, the
softness of habitual affability, fill his imagination;
and he soon ceases to have any other wish than to
be well received, or any measure of right and wrong
but the opinion of his patron.

A man flattered and obeyed, learns to exact
grosser adulation, and enjoin lower submission.
Neither our virtues nor vices are all our own. If
there were no cowardice, there would be little
insolence; pride cannot rise to any great degree, but
by the concurrence of blandishment or the sufferance
of tameness. The wretch who would shrink
and crouch before one that should dart his eyes
upon him with the spirit of natural equality, becomes
capricious and tyrannical when he sees himself
approached with a downcast look, and hears the soft
address of awe and servility. To those who are willing
to purchase favour by cringes and compliance,
is to be imputed the haughtiness that leaves nothing
to be hoped by firmness and integrity.

If, instead of wandering after the meteors of
philosophy, which fill the world with splendour for
a while, and then sink and are forgotten, the
candidates of learning fixed their eyes upon the
permanent lustre of moral and religious truth, they would
find a more certain direction to happiness. A little
plausibility of discourse, and acquaintance with
unnecessary speculations, is dearly purchased, when
it excludes those instructions which fortify the heart
with resolution, and exalt the spirit to independence.

No. 181. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 1751

----Neu fluitem dubiae spe pendulus horae.
HOR. Lib. i. Ep. xviii. 110.

Nor let me float in fortune's ponv'r,
Dependent on the future hour. FRAXCIS.



AS I have passed much of my life in disquiet and
suspense, and lost many opportunities of advantage
by a passion which I have reason to believe
prevalent in different degrees over a great part of
mankind, I cannot but think myself well qualified
to warn those who are yet uncaptivated, of the
danger which they incur by placing themselves
within its influence.

I served an apprenticeship to a linen-draper, with
uncommon reputation for diligence and fidelity;
and at the age of three-and-twenty opened a shop
for myself with a large stock, and such credit
among all the merchants, who were acquainted with
my master, that I could command whatever was
imported curious or valuable. For five years I
proceeded with success proportionate to close application
and untainted integrity; was a daring bidder at every
sale; always paid my notes before they were due,
and advanced so fast in commercial reputation, that
I was proverbially marked out as the model of young
traders, and every one expected that a few years
would make me an alderman.

In this course of even prosperity, I was one day
persuaded to buy a ticket in the lottery. The sum
was inconsiderable, part was to be repaid though
fortune might fail to favour me, and therefore my
established maxims of frugality did not restrain me
from so trifling an experiment. The ticket lay
almost forgotten till the time at which every man's
fate was to be determined; nor did the affair even
then seem of any importance, till I discovered by
the publick papers that the numbers next to mine
had conferred the great prize.

My heart leaped at the thought of such an
approach to sudden riches, which I considered myself,
however contrarily to the laws of computation, as
having missed by a single chance; and I could not
forbear to revolve the consequences which such as
bounteous allotment would have produced, if it had
happened to me. This dream of felicity, by degrees,
took possession of my imagination. The great delight
of my solitary hours was to purchase an estate,
and form plantations with money which once might
have been mine, and I never met my friends but I
spoiled all their merriment by perpetual complaints
of my ill luck.

At length another lottery was opened, and I had
now so heated my imagination with the prospect
of a prize, that I should have pressed among the
first purchasers, had not my ardour been withheld
by deliberation upon the probability of success from
one ticket rather than another. I hesitated long
between even and odd; considered the square and
cubick numbers through the lottery; examined all
those to which good luck had been hitherto annexed;
and at last fixed upon one, which, by some
secret relation to the events of my life, I thought
predestined to make me happy. Delay in great
affairs is often mischievous; the ticket was sold,
and its possessor could not be found.

I returned to my conjectures, and after many arts
of prognostication, fixed upon another chance, but
with less confidence. Never did captive, heir, or
lover, feel so much vexation from the slow pace of
time, as I suffered between the purchase of my
ticket and the distribution of the prizes. I solaced
my uneasiness as well as I could, by frequent
contemplation of approaching happiness; when the sun
rose I knew it would set, and congratulated myself
at night that I was so much nearer to my wishes.
At last the day came, my ticket appeared, and
rewarded all my care and sagacity with a despicable
prize of fifty pounds.

My friends, who honestly rejoiced upon my
success, were very coldly received; I hid myself a
fortnight in the country, that my chagrin might
fume away without observation, and then returning
to my shop, began to listen after another lottery.

With the news of a lottery I was soon gratified,
and having now found the vanity of conjecture,
and inefficacy of computation, I resolved to take
the prize by violence, and therefore bought forty
tickets, not omitting, however, to divide them
between the even and odd numbers, that I might not
miss the lucky class. Many conclusions did I form,
and many experiments did I try, to determine from
which of those tickets I might most reasonably
expect riches. At last, being unable to satisfy myself
by any modes of reasoning, I wrote the numbers
upon dice, and allotted five hours every day to the
amusement of throwing them in a garret; and,
examining the event by an exact register, found, on
the evening before the lottery was drawn, that one
of my numbers had been turned up five times more
than any of the rest in three hundred and thirty
thousand throws.

This experiment was fallacious; the first day
presented the hopeful ticket, a detestable blank. The
rest came out with different fortune, and in conclusion
I lost thirty pounds by this great adventure.

I had now wholly changed the cast of my behaviour
and the conduct of my life. The shop was for
the most part abandoned to my servants, and if I
entered it, my thoughts were so engrossed by my
tickets, that I scarcely heard or answered a
question, but considered every customer as an intruder
upon my meditations, whom I was in haste to
despatch. I mistook the price of my goods,
committed blunders in my bills, forgot to file my
receipts, and neglected to regulate my books. My
acquaintances by degrees began to fall away; but I
perceived the decline of my business with little
emotion, because whatever deficience there might
be in my gains, I expected the next lottery to

Miscarriage naturally produces diffidence; I
began now to seek assistance against ill luck, by an
alliance with those that had been more successful.
I inquired diligently at what office any prize had
been sold, that I might purchase of a propitious
vender; solicited those who had been fortunate in
former lotteries, to partake with me in my new
tickets; and whenever I met with one that had in
any event of his life been eminently prosperous, I
invited him to take a larger share. I had, by this rule
of conduct, so diffused my interest, that I had a
fourth part of fifteen tickets, an eighth of forty, and
a sixteenth of ninety.

I waited for the decision of my fate with my
former palpitations, and looked upon the business
of my trade with the usual neglect. The wheel at
last was turned, and its revolutions brought me a
long succession of sorrows and disappointments. I
indeed often partook of a small prize, and the loss
of one day was generally balanced by the gain of
the next; but my desires yet remained unsatisfied,
and when one of my chances had failed, all
my expectation was suspended on those which
remained yet undetermined. At last a prize of five
thousand pounds was proclaimed; I caught fire at
the cry, and inquiring the number, found it to be
one of my own tickets, which I had divided among
those on whose luck I depended, and of which I
had retained only a sixteenth part.

You will easily judge with what detestation of
himself, a man thus intent upon gain reflected that
he had sold a prize which was once in his possession.
It was to no purpose, that I represented to
my mind the impossibility of recalling the past, or
the folly of condemning an act, which only its
event, an event which no human intelligence could
foresee, proved to be wrong. The prize which,
though put in my hands, had been suffered to slip
from me, filled me with anguish, and knowing that
complaint would only expose me to ridicule, I gave
myself up silently to grief, and lost by degrees my
appetite and my rest.

My indisposition soon became visible; I was
visited by my friends, among them by Eumathes, a
clergyman, whose piety and learning gave him such
an ascendant over me, that I could not refuse to
open my heart. There are, said he, few minds sufficiently
firm to be trusted in the hands of chance.
Whoever finds himself inclined to anticipate futurity,
and exalt possibility to certainty, should avoid
every kind of casual adventure, since his grief must
be always proportionate to his hope. You have long
wasted that time, which, by a proper application,
would have certainly, though moderately, increased
your fortune, in a laborious and anxious pursuit of
a species of gain, which no labour or anxiety, no art
or expedient, can secure or promote. You are now
fretting away your life in repentance of an act,
against which repentance can give no caution, but
to avoid the occasion of committing it. Rouse from
this lazy dream of fortuitous riches, which, if
obtained, you could scarcely have enjoyed, because
they could confer no consciousness of desert; return
to rational and manly industry, and consider the
mere gift of luck as below the care of a wise man.

No. 182. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1751

----Dives qui fieri vult,
Et cito vult fieri.---- JUV. Sat. xiv. 176.

The lust of wealth can never bear delay.

IT has been observed in a late paper, that we are
unreasonably desirous to separate the goods of
life from those evils which Providence has
connected with them, and to catch advantages without
paying the price at which they are offered us. Every
man wishes to be rich, but very few have the powers
necessary to raise a sudden fortune, either by
new discoveries, or by superiority of skill, in any
necessary employment; and among lower
understandings, many want the firmness and industry
requisite to regular gain and gradual acquisitions.

From the hope of enjoying affluence by methods
more compendious than those of labour, and more
generally practicable than those of genius, proceeds
the common inclination to experiment and hazard,
and that willingness to snatch all opportunities of
growing rich by chance, which, when it has once
taken possession of the mind, is seldom driven out
either by time or argument, but continues to waste
life in perpetual delusion, and generally ends in
wretchedness and want.

The folly of untimely exultation and visionary
prosperity, is by no means peculiar to the purchasers
of tickets; there are multitudes whose life is
nothing but a continual lottery; who are always
within a few months of plenty and happiness, and
how often soever they are mocked with blanks,
expect a prize from the next adventure.

Among the most resolute and ardent of the
votaries of chance, may be numbered the mortals whose
hope is to raise themselves by a wealthy match;
who lay out all their industry on the assiduities of
courtship, and sleep and wake with no other ideas
than of treats, compliments, guardians and rivals.

One of the most indefatigable of this class, is my
old friend Leviculus, whom I have never known for
thirty years without some matrimonial project of
advantage. Leviculus was bred under a merchant,
and by the graces of his person, the sprightliness of
his prattle, and the neatness of his dress, so much
enamoured his master's second daughter, a girl of
sixteen, that she declared her resolution to have no
other husband. Her father, after having chidden her
for undutifulness, consented to the match, not much
to the satisfaction of Leviculus, who was sufficiently
elated with his conquest to think himself entitled
to a larger fortune. He was, however, soon rid of
his perplexity, for his mistress died before their

He was now so well satisfied with his own
accomplishments, that he determined to commence
fortune-hunter; and when his apprenticeship
expired, instead of beginning, as was expected, to
walk the Exchange with a face of importance, or
associating himself with those who were most
eminent for their knowledge of the stocks, he at once
threw off the solemnity of the counting-house,
equipped himself with a modish wig, listened to
wits in coffee-houses, passed his evenings behind the
scenes in the theatres, learned the names of beauties
of quality, hummed the last stanzas of fashionable
songs, talked with familiarity of high play, boasted
of his achievements upon drawers and coachmen,
was often brought to his lodgings at midnight in a
chair, told with negligence and jocularity of bilking
a tailor, and now and then let fly a shrewd jest at a
sober citizen.

Thus furnished with irresistible artillery, he turned
his batteries upon the female world, and, in the first
warmth of self-approbation, proposed no less than
the possession of riches and beauty united. He
therefore paid his civilities to Flavilla, the only
daughter of a wealthy shopkeeper, who not being
accustomed to amorous blandishments, or respectful
addresses, was delighted with the novelty of love,
and easily suffered him to conduct her to the play,
and to meet her where she visited. Leviculus did
not doubt but her father, however offended by a
clandestine marriage, would soon be reconciled by
the tears of his daughter, and the merit of his son-
in-law, and was in haste to conclude the affair. But
the lady liked better to be courted than married,
and kept him three years in uncertainty and
attendance. At last she fell in love with a young ensign
at a ball, and having danced with him all night,
married him in the morning.

Leviculus, to avoid the ridicule of his companions,
took a journey to a small estate in the country,
where, after his usual inquiries concerning the
nymphs in the neighbourhood, he found it proper
to fall in love with Altilia, a maiden lady, twenty
years older than himself, for whose favour fifteen
nephews and nieces were in perpetual contention.
They hovered round her with such jealous officiousness,
as scarcely left a moment vacant for a lover.
Leviculus, nevertheless, discovered his passion in a
letter, and Altilia could not withstand the pleasure
of hearing vows and sighs, and flatteries and
protestations. She admitted his visits, enjoyed for five
years the happiness of keeping all her expectants in
perpetual alarms, and amused herself with the various
stratagems which were practised to disengage
her affections. Sometimes she was advised with
great earnestness to travel for her health, and
sometimes entreated to keep her brother's house. Many
stories were spread to the disadvantage of Leviculus,
by which she commonly seemed affected for a
time, but took care soon afterwards to express her
conviction of their falsehood. But being at last
satiated with this ludicrous tyranny, she told her
lover, when he pressed for the reward of his services,
that she was very sensible of his merit, but was
resolved not to impoverish an ancient family.

He then returned to the town, and soon after his
arrival, became acquainted with Latronia, a lady
distinguished by the elegance of her equipage, and
the regularity of her conduct. Her wealth was
evident in her magnificence, and her prudence in her
economy, and therefore Leviculus, who had scarcely
confidence to solicit her favour, readily acquitted
fortune of her former debts, when he found himself
distinguished by her with such marks of preference
as a woman of modesty is allowed to give. He now
grew bolder, and ventured to breathe out his
impatience before her. She heard him without
resentment, in time permitted him to hope for happiness,
and at last fixed the nuptial day, without any
distrustful reserve of pin-money, or sordid stipulations
for jointure, and settlements.

Leviculus was triumphing on the eve of marriage,
when he heard on the stairs the voice of Latronia's
maid, whom frequent bribes had secured in his
service. She soon burst into his room, and told him
that she could not suffer him to be longer deceived;
that her mistress was now spending the last payment
of her fortune, and was only supported in her
expense by the credit of his estate. Leviculus
shuddered to see himself so near a precipice, and found
that he was indebted for his escape to the resentment
of the maid, who having assisted Latronia to
gain the conquest, quarrelled with her at last about
the plunder.

Leviculus was now hopeless and disconsolate, till
one Sunday he saw a lady in the Mall, whom her
dress declared a widow, and whom, by the jolting
prance of her gait, and the broad resplendence of
her countenance, he guessed to have lately buried
some prosperous citizen. He followed her home, and
found her to be no less than the relict of Prune the
grocer, who, having no children, had bequeathed to
her all his debts and dues, and his estates real and
personal. No formality was necessary in addressing
madam Prune, and therefore Leviculus went next
morning without an introductor. His declaration
was received with a loud laugh; she then collected
her countenance, wondered at his impudence, asked
if he knew to whom he was talking, then shewed
him the door, and again laughed to find him
confused. Leviculus discovered that this coarseness was
nothing more than the coquetry of Cornhill, and
next day returned to the attack. He soon grew
familiar to her dialect, and in a few weeks heard,
without any emotion, hints of gay clothes with
empty pockets; concurred in many sage remarks
on the regard due to people of property, and agreed
with her in detestation of the ladies at the other
end of the town, who pinched their bellies to buy
fine laces, and then pretended to laugh at the city.

He sometimes presumed to mention marriage;
but was always answered with a slap, a hoot, and a
flounce. At last he began to press her closer, and
thought himself more favourably received; but going
one morning, with a resolution to trifle no
longer, he found her gone to church with a young
journeyman from the neighbouring shop, of whom
she had become enamoured at her window.

In these, and a thousand intermediate
adventures, has Leviculus spent his time, till he is now
grown grey with age, fatigue, and disappointment.
He begins at last to find that success is not to be
expected, and being unfit for any employment that
might improve his fortune, and unfurnished with
any arts that might amuse his leisure, is condemned
to wear out a tasteless life in narratives which few
will hear, and complaints which none will pity.

No. 183. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1751

Nulla fides regni sociis, omnisque potestas
Impatiens consortis erit. LUCAN, Lib. i. 92.

No faith of partnership dominion owns;
Still discord hovers o'er divided thrones.

THE hostility perpetually exercised between
one man and another, is caused by the desire
of many for that which only few can possess.
Every man would be rich, powerful, and famous;
yet fame, power, and riches are only the names of
relative conditions, which imply the obscurity,
dependance, and poverty of greater numbers.

This universal and incessant competition
produces injury and malice by two motives, interest
and envy; the prospect of adding to our possessions
what we can take from others, and the hope of
alleviating the sense of our disparity by lessening
others, though we gain nothing to ourselves.

Of these two malignant and destructive powers,
it seems probable at the first view, that interest has
the strongest and most extensive influence. It is
easy to conceive that opportunities to seize what
has been long wanted, may excite desires almost
irresistible; but surely the same eagerness cannot
be kindled by an accidental power of destroying
that which gives happiness to another. It must be
more natural to rob for gain, than to ravage only
for mischief.

Yet I am inclined to believe, that the great law
of mutual benevolence is oftener violated by envy
than by interest, and that most of the misery which
the defamation of blameless actions, or the obstruction
of honest endeavours, brings upon the world,
is inflicted by men that propose no advantage to
themselves but the satisfaction of poisoning the
banquet which they cannot taste, and blasting the
harvest which they have no right to reap.

Interest can diffuse itself but to a narrow
compass. The number is never large of those who can
hope to fill the posts of degraded power, catch the
fragments of shattered fortune, or succeed to the
honours of depreciated beauty. But the empire of
envy has no limits, as it requires to its influence
very little help from external circumstances. Envy
may always be produced by idleness and pride, and
in what place will they not be found?

Interest requires some qualities not universally
bestowed. The ruin of another will produce no
profit to him who has not discernment to mark his
advantage, courage to seize, and activity to pursue
it; but the cold malignity of envy may be exerted
in a torpid and quiescent state, amidst the gloom
of stupidity, in the coverts of cowardice. He that
falls by the attacks of interest, is torn by hungry
tigers; he may discover and resist his enemies. He
that perishes in the ambushes of envy, is destroyed
by unknown and invisible assailants, and dies like
a man suffocated by a poisonous vapour, without
knowledge of his danger, or possibility of

Interest is seldom pursued but at some hazard.
He that hopes to gain much, has commonly something
to lose, and when he ventures to attack superiority,
if he fails to conquer, is irrecoverably
crushed. But envy may act without expense or
danger. To spread suspicion, to invent calumnies,
to propagate scandal, requires neither labour nor
courage. It is easy for the author of a lie, however
malignant, to escape detection, and infamy needs
very little industry to assist its circulation.

Envy is almost the only vice which is practicable
at all times, and in every place; the only passion
which can never lie quiet for want of irritation: its
effects therefore are every where discoverable, and
its attempts always to be dreaded.

It is impossible to mention a name which any
advantageous distinction has made eminent, but
some latent animosity will burst out. The wealthy
trader, however he may abstract himself from
publick affairs, will never want those who hint, with
Shylock, that ships are but boards. The beauty,
adorned only with the unambitious graces of innocence
and modesty, provokes, whenever she appears,
a thousand murmurs of detraction. The genius,
even when he endeavours only to entertain or
instruct, yet suffers persecution from innumerable
criticks, whose acrimony is excited merely by the
pain of seeing others pleased, and of hearing
applauses which another enjoys.

The frequency of envy makes it so familiar, that
it escapes our notice; nor do we often reflect upon
its turpitude or malignity, till we happen to feel its
influence. When he that has given no provocation
to malice, but by attempting to excel, finds himself
pursued by multitudes whom he never saw, with
all the implacability of personal resentment; when
he perceives clamour and malice let loose upon him
as a publick enemy, and incited by every stratagem
of defamation; when he hears the misfortunes of
his family, or the follies of his youth, exposed to
the world; and every failure of conduct, or defect
of nature, aggravated and ridiculed; he then learns
to abhor those artifices at which he only laughed
before, and discovers how much the happiness of
life would be advanced by the eradication of envy
from the human heart.

Envy is, indeed, a stubborn weed of the mind,
and seldom yields to the culture of philosophy. There
are, however, considerations, which, if carefully
implanted and diligently propagated, might in time
overpower and repress it, since no one can nurse it
for the sake of pleasure, as its effects are only shame,
anguish, and perturbation.

It is above all other vices inconsistent with the
character of a social being, because it sacrifices truth
and kindness to very weak temptations. He that
plunders a wealthy neighbour gains as much as he
takes away, and may improve his own condition in
the same proportion as he impairs another's; but he
that blasts a flourishing reputation, must be content
with a small dividend of additional fame, so small
as can afford very little consolation to balance the
guilt by which it is obtained.

I have hitherto avoided that dangerous and
empirical morality, which cures one vice by means of
another. But envy is so base and detestable, so vile
in its original, and so pernicious in its effects, that
the predominance of almost any other quality is to
be preferred. It is one of those lawless enemies of
society, against which poisoned arrows may honestly
be used. Let it therefore be constantly remembered,
that whoever envies another, confesses his superiority,
and let those be reformed by their pride who
have lost their virtue.

It is no slight aggravation of the injuries which
envy incites, that they are committed against those
who have given no intentional provocation; and that
the sufferer is often marked out for ruin, not because
he has failed in any duty, but because he has dared
to do more than was required.

Almost every other crime is practised by the help
of some quality which might have produced esteem
or love, if it had been well employed; but envy is
mere unmixed and genuine evil; it pursues a hateful
end by despicable means, and desires not so much
its own happiness as another's misery. To avoid
depravity like this, it is not necessary that any one
should aspire to heroism or sanctity, but only that
he should resolve not to quit the rank which nature
assigns him, and wish to maintain the dignity of a
human being.

No. 184. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1751

Permittes ipsis expendere numinibus, quid
Conveniat nobis, rebusque sit utile nostris.

JUV. Sat. x. 347.

Intrust thy fortune to the pow'rs above;
Leave them to manage for thee, and to grant
What their unerring wisdom sees thee want. DRYDEN.

AS every scheme of life, so every form of writing,
has its advantages and inconveniences, though
not mingled in the same proportions. The writer of
essays escapes many embarrassments to which a
large work would have exposed him; he seldom
harasses his reason with long trains of consequences,
dims his eyes with the perusal of antiquated volumes,
or burthens his memory with great accumulations
of preparatory knowledge. A careless glance upon
a favourite author, or transient survey of the
varieties of life, is sufficient to supply the first hint
or seminal idea, which, enlarged by the gradual
accretion of matter stored in the mind, is by the
warmth of fancy easily expanded into flowers, and
sometimes ripened into fruit.

The most frequent difficulty by which the authors
of these petty compositions are distressed, arises
from the perpetual demand of novelty and change.
The compiler of a system of science lays his invention
at rest, and employs only his judgment, the
faculty exerted with least fatigue. Even the relator
of feigned adventures, when once the principal
characters are established, and the great events
regularly connected, finds incidents and episodes
crowding upon his mind; every change opens new
views, and the latter part of the story grows
without labour out of the former. But he that attempts
to entertain his reader with unconnected pieces, finds
the irksomeness of his task rather increased than
lessened by every production. The day calls afresh
upon him for a new topick, and he is again obliged
to choose, without any principle to regulate his

It is indeed true, that there is seldom any
necessity of looking far, or inquiring long for a proper
subject. Every diversity of art or nature, every
publick blessing or calamity, every domestick pain or
gratification, every sally of caprice, blunder of
absurdity, or stratagem of affectation, may supply
matter to him whose only rule is to avoid uniformity.
But it often happens, that the judgment is distracted
with boundless multiplicity, the imagination
ranges from one design to another, and the hours
pass imperceptibly away, till the composition can
be no longer delayed, and necessity enforces the use
of those thoughts which then happen to be at hand.
The mind, rejoicing at deliverance on any terms from
perplexity and suspense, applies herself vigorously
to the work before her, collects embellishments and
illustrations, and sometimes finishes, with great
elegance and happiness, what in a state of ease and
leisure she never had begun.

It is not commonly observed, how much, even of
actions, considered as particularly subject to choice,
is to be attributed to accident, or some cause out of
our own power, by whatever name it be distinguished.
To close tedious deliberations with hasty
resolves, and after long consultations with reason to
refer the question to caprice, is by no means peculiar
to the essayist. Let him that peruses this paper
review the series of his life, and inquire how he was
placed in his present condition. He will find, that
of the good or ill which he has experienced, a great
part came unexpected, without any visible gradations
of approach; that every event has been influenced
by causes acting without his intervention;
and that whenever he pretended to the prerogative
of foresight, he was mortified with new conviction
of the shortness of his views.

The busy, the ambitious, the inconstant, and the
adventurous, may be said to throw themselves by
design into the arms of fortune, and voluntarily to
quit the power of governing themselves; they engage
in a course of life in which little can be ascertained
by previous measures; nor is it any wonder that
their time is passed between elation and despondency,
hope and disappointment.

Some there are who appear to walk the road of
life with more circumspection, and make no step
till they think themselves secure from the hazard of a
precipice, when neither pleasure nor profit can tempt
them from the beaten path; who refuse to climb
lest they should fall, or to run lest they should
stumble, and move slowly forward without any
compliance with those passions by which the heady and
vehement are seduced and betrayed.

Yet even the timorous prudence of this judicious
class is far from exempting them from the dominion
of chance, a subtle and insidious power, who
will intrude upon privacy and embarrass caution.
No course of life is so prescribed and limited, but
that many actions must result from arbitrary
election. Every one must form the general plan
of his conduct by his own reflections; he must
resolve whether he will endeavour at riches or at
content; whether he will exercise private or publick
virtues; whether he will labour for the general benefit
of mankind, or contract his beneficence to his
family and dependants.

This question has long exercised the schools of
philosophy, but remains yet undecided; and what
hope is there that a young man, unacquainted with
the arguments on either side, should determine his
own destiny otherwise than by chance?

When chance has given him a partner of his bed,
whom he prefers to all other women, without any
proof of superior desert, chance must again direct
him in the education of his children; for, who was
ever able to convince himself by arguments, that
he had chosen for his son that mode of instruction
to which his understanding was best adapted, or
by which he would most easily be made wise or

Whoever shall inquire by what motives he was
determined on these important occasions, will find
them such as his pride will scarcely suffer him to
confess; some sudden ardour of desire, some
uncertain glimpse of advantage, some petty
competition, some inaccurate conclusion, or some example
implicitly reverenced. Such are often the first causes
of our resolves; for it is necessary to act, but
impossible to know the consequences of action, or to
discuss all the reasons which offer themselves on
every part to inquisitiveness and solicitude.
Since life itself is uncertain, nothing which has
life for its basis can boast much stability. Yet this
is but a small part of our perplexity. We set out on
a tempestuous sea in quest of some port, where we
expect to find rest, but where we are not sure of
admission, we are not only in danger of sinking in
the way, but of being misled by meteors mistaken
for stars, of being driven from our course by the
changes of the wind, and of losing it by unskilful
steerage; yet it sometimes happens, that cross winds
blow us to a safer coast, that meteors draw us aside
from whirlpools, and that negligence or errour
contributes to our escape from mischiefs to which a
direct course would have exposed us. Of those that,
by precipitate conclusions, involve themselves in
calamities without guilt, very few, however they
may reproach themselves, can be certain that other
measures would have been more successful.

In this state of universal uncertainty, where a
thousand dangers hover about us, and none can tell
whether the good that he pursues is not evil in
disguise, or whether the next step will lead him to
safety or destruction, nothing can afford any
rational tranquillity, but the conviction that,
however we amuse ourselves with unideal sounds,
nothing in reality is governed by chance, but that
the universe is under the perpetual superintendance
of Him who created it; that our being is in the
hands of omnipotent Goodness, by whom what
appears casual to us, is directed for ends ultimately
kind and merciful; and that nothing can finally
hurt him who debars not himself from the Divine

No. 185. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 1751

At vindicta bonum vita jucundius ipsa,
Nempe hoc indocti.------------
Chrysippus non dicet idem, nec mite Thaletis
Ingenium, dulcique senex vicinus Hymetto,
Qui partem adceptae saeva inter vincla Cicutoe
Adcusatori nollet dare.----
----------------Quippe minuti
Semper et infirmi est animi exiguique voluptas
Ultio. JUV. Sat. xiii. 180.

Thus think the crowd; who, eager to engage,
Take quickly fire, and kindle into rage.
Not so mild Thales nor Chrysippus thought,
Nor that good man, who drank the poisonous draught
With mind serene; and could not wish to see
His vile accuser drink as deep as he:
Exalted Socrates! divinely brave!
Injur'd he fell, and dying he forgave!
Too noble for revenge; which still we find
The weakest frailty of a feeble mind. DRYDEN

NO vicious dispositions of the mind more
obstinately resist both the counsels of philosophy
and the injunctions of religion, than those which
are complicated with an opinion of dignity; and
which we cannot dismiss without leaving in the
hands of opposition some advantage iniquitously
obtained, or suffering from our own prejudices some
imputation of pusillanimity.

For this reason scarcely any law of our Redeemer
is more openly transgressed, or more industriously
evaded, than that by which he commands his followers
to forgive injuries, and prohibits, under the
sanction of eternal misery, the gratification of the
desire which every man feels to return pain upon
him that inflicts it. Many who could have conquered
their anger, are unable to combat pride, and pursue
offences to extremity of vengeance, lest they should
be insulted by the triumph of an enemy.

But certainly no precept could better become
him, at whose birth PEACE was proclaimed TO THE EARTH.
For, what would so soon destroy all the order of
society, and deform life with violence and ravage, as
a permission to every one to judge his own cause,
and to apportion his own recompense for imagined

It is difficult for a man of the strictest justice not
to favour himself too much, in the calmest moments
of solitary meditation. Every one wishes for the
distinctions for which thousands are wishing at the
same time, in their own opinion, with better claims.
He that, when his reason operates in its full force,
can thus, by the mere prevalence of self-love,
prefer himself to his fellow-beings, is very unlikely to
judge equitably when his passions are agitated by
a sense of wrong, and his attention wholly engrossed
by pain, interest, or danger. Whoever arrogates to
himself the right of vengeance, shews how little he
is qualified to decide his own claims, since he
certainly demands what he would think unfit to be
granted to another.

Nothing is more apparent than that, however
injured, or however provoked, some must at last be
contented to forgive. For it can never be hoped,
that he who first commits an injury, will contentedly
acquiesce in the penalty required: the same
haughtiness of contempt, or vehemence of desire,
that prompt the act of injustice, will more strongly
incite its justification; and resentment can never so
exactly balance the punishment with the fault, but
there will remain an overplus of vengeance which
even he who condemns his first action will think
himself entitled to retaliate. What then can ensue
but a continual exacerbation of hatred, an
unextinguishable feud, an incessant reciprocation of
mischief, a mutual vigilance to entrap, and eagerness to

Since then the imaginary right of vengeance must
be at last remitted, because it is impossible to live
in perpetual hostility, and equally impossible that
of two enemies, either should first think himself
obliged by justice to submission, it is surely eligible
to forgive early. Every passion is more easily
subdued before it has been long accustomed to possession
of the heart; every idea is obliterated with less
difficulty, as it has been more slightly impressed,
and less frequently renewed. He who has often
brooded over his wrongs, pleased himself with
schemes of malignity, and glutted his pride with
the fancied supplications of humbled enmity, will
not easily open his bosom to amity and reconciliation,
or indulge the gentle sentiments of benevolence and peace.

It is easiest to forgive, while there is yet little to
be forgiven. A single injury may be soon dismissed
from the memory; but a long succession of ill offices
by degrees associates itself with every idea; a
long contest involves so many circumstances, that
every place and action will recall it to the mind,
and fresh remembrance of vexation must still enkindle
rage, and irritate revenge.

A wise man will make haste to forgive, because
he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer
it to pass away in unnecessary pain. He that
willingly suffers the corrosions of inveterate hatred, and
gives up his days and nights to the gloom of malice,
and perturbations of stratagem, cannot surely be
said to consult his ease. Resentment is an union of
sorrow with malignity, a combination of a passion
which all endeavour to avoid, with a passion which
all concur to detest. The man who retires to
meditate mischief, and to exasperate his own rage; whose
thoughts are employed only on means of distress
and contrivances of ruin; whose mind never pauses
from the remembrance of his own sufferings, but to
indulge some hope of enjoying the calamities of
another, may justly be numbered among the most
miserable of human beings, among those who are
guilty without reward, who have neither the gladness
of prosperity, nor the calm of innocence.

Whoever considers the weakness both of himself
and others, will not long want persuasives to
forgiveness. We know not to what degree of malignity
any injury is to be imputed; or how much its guilt,
if we were to inspect the mind of him that committed
it, would be extenuated by mistake, precipitance,
or negligence; we cannot be certain how
much more we feel than was intended to be inflicted,
or how much we increase the mischief to ourselves
by voluntary aggravations. We may charge to design
the effects of accident; we may think the blow
violent only because we have made ourselves delicate
and tender; we are on every side in danger of errour
and of guilt; which we are certain to avoid only by
speedy forgiveness.

From this pacifick and harmless temper, thus
propitious to others and ourselves, to domestick
tranquillity and to social happiness, no man is
withheld but by pride, by the fear of being insulted
by his adversary, or despised by the world.

It may be laid down as an unfailing and universal
axiom, that "all pride is abject and mean." It is
always an ignorant, lazy, or cowardly acquiescence
in a false appearance of excellence, and proceeds
not from consciousness of our attainments, but
insensibility of our wants.

Nothing can be great which is not right. Nothing
which reason condemns can be suitable to the dignity
of the human mind. To be driven by external
motives from the path which our own heart approves,
to give way to any thing but conviction, to
suffer the opinion of others to rule our choice, or
overpower our resolves, is to submit tamely to the
lowest and most ignominious slavery, and to resign
the right of directing our own lives.

The utmost excellence at which humanity can
arrive, is a constant and determinate pursuit of
virtue, without regard to present dangers or
advantage; a continual reference of every action to
the divine will; an habitual appeal to everlasting
justice; and an unvaried elevation of the
intellectual eye to the reward which perseverance only can
obtain. But that pride which many, who presume
to boast of generous sentiments, allow to regulate
their measures, has nothing nobler in view than the
approbation of men, of beings whose superiority
we are under no obligation to acknowledge, and
who, when we have courted them with the utmost
assiduity, can confer no valuable or permanent
reward; of beings who ignorantly judge of what
they do not understand, or partially determine
what they never have examined; and whose sentence
is therefore of no weight till it has received
the ratification of our own conscience.

He that can descend to bribe suffrages like these,
at the price of his innocence: he that can suffer the
delight of such acclamations to withhold his attention
from the commands of the universal Sovereign,
has little reason to congratulate himself upon the
greatness of his mind; whenever he awakes to
seriousness and reflection, he must become despicable
in his own eyes, and shrink with shame from
the remembrance of his cowardice and folly.

Of him that hopes to be forgiven, it is
indispensably required that he forgive. It is therefore
superfluous to urge any other motive. On this great
duty eternity is suspended, and to him that refuses
to practise it, the Throne of mercy is inaccessible,
and the Saviour of the world has been born in vain.

No. 186. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 28, 1751

Pone me, pigris ubi nulla campis
Arbor aestiva recreatur aura----
Dulce ridentem Lagagen amabo

Dulce loquentem. HOR. Lib. i. Ode xxii. 17.

Place me where never summer breeze
Unbinds the glebe, or warms the trees;
Where ever lowering clouds appear,
And angry Jove deforms th' inclement year:
Love and the nymph shall charm my toils,
The nymph, who sweetly speaks and sweetly smiles.


OF the happiness and misery of our present state,
part arises from our sensations, and part from
our opinions; part is distributed by nature, and part
is in a great measure apportioned by ourselves.
Positive pleasure we cannot always obtain, and positive
pain we often cannot remove. No man can give
to his own plantations the fragrance of the Indian
groves; nor will any precepts of philosophy enable
him to withdraw his attention from wounds or
diseases. But the negative infelicity which proceeds,
not from the pressure of sufferings, but the absence
of enjoyments, will always yield to the remedies
of reason.

One of the great arts of escaping superfluous
uneasiness, is to free our minds from the habit of
comparing our condition with that of others on whom
the blessings of life are more bountifully bestowed,
or with imaginary states of delight and security,
perhaps unattainable by mortals. Few are placed in
a situation so gloomy and distressful, as not to see
every day beings yet more forlorn and miserable,
from whom they may learn to rejoice in their own lot.

No inconvenience is less superable by art or
diligence than the inclemency of climates, and therefore
none affords more proper exercise for this philosophical
abstraction. A native of England, pinched
with the frosts of December, may lessen his affection
for his own country by suffering his imagination
to wander in the vales of Asia, and sport among
the woods that are always green, and streams that
always murmur; but if he turns his thought towards
the polar regions, and considers the nations to whom
a great portion of the year is darkness, and who
are condemned to pass weeks and months amidst
mountains of snow, he will soon recover his
tranquillity, and, while he stirs his fire, or throws his
cloak about him, reflect how much he owes to Providence,
that he is not placed in Greenland or Siberia.

The barrenness of the earth and the severity of
the skies in these dreary countries, are such as
might be expected to confine the mind wholly to the
contemplation of necessity and distress, so that the
care of escaping death from cold and hunger, should
leave no room for those passions which, in lands of
plenty, influence conduct, or diversify characters;
the summer should be spent only in providing for
the winter, and the winter in longing for the summer.

Yet learned curiosity is known to have found its
way into these abodes of poverty and gloom: Lapland
and Iceland have their historians, their criticks,
and their poets; and love, that extends his dominion
wherever humanity can be found, perhaps exerts
the same power in the Greenlander's hut as in the
palaces of eastern monarchs.

In one of the large caves to which the families of
Greenland retire together, to pass the cold months,
and which may be termed their villages or cities, a
youth and maid, who came from different parts of
the country, were so much distinguished for their
beauty, that they were called by the rest of the
inhabitants Anningait and Ajut, from a supposed
resemblance to their ancestors of the same names, who
had been transformed of old into the sun and moon.

Anningait for some time heard the praises of Ajut
with little emotion, but at last, by frequent
interviews, became sensible of her charms, and first made
a discovery of his affection, by inviting her with her
parents to a feast, where he placed before Ajut the
tail of a whale. Ajut seemed not much delighted by
this gallantry; yet, however, from that time was
observed rarely to appear, but in a vest made of
the skin of a white deer; she used frequently to
renew the black dye upon her hands and forehead,
to adorn her sleeves with coral and shells, and to
braid her hair with great exactness.

The elegance of her dress, and the judicious
disposition of her ornaments, had such an effect upon
Anningait, that he could no longer be restrained
from a declaration of his love. He therefore
composed a poem in her praise, in which, among other
heroick and tender sentiments, he protested, that
"she was beautiful as the vernal willow, and
fragrant as the thyme upon the mountains; that her
fingers were white as the teeth of the morse, and
her smile grateful as the dissolution of the ice; that
he would pursue her, though she should pass the
snows of the midland cliffs, or seek shelter in the
caves of the eastern cannibals: that he would tear
her from the embraces of the genius of the rocks,
snatch her from the paws of Amarock, and rescue
her from the ravine of Hafgufa." He concluded
with a wish, that "whoever shall attempt to hinder
his union with Ajut, might be buried without his
bow, and that, in the land of souls, his skull might
serve for no other use than to catch the droppings
of the starry lamps."

This ode being universally applauded, it was
expected that Ajut would soon yield to such fervour
and accomplishments; but Ajut, with the natural
haughtiness of beauty, expected all the forms of
courtship; and before she would confess herself
conquered, the sun returned, the ice broke, and the
season of labour called all to their employments.

Anningait and Ajut for a time always went out
in the same boat, and divided whatever was caught.
Anningait, in the sight of his mistress, lost no
opportunity of signalizing his courage: he attacked
the sea-horses on the ice; pursued the seals into the
water, and leaped upon the back of the whale, while
he was yet struggling with the remains of life. Nor
was his diligence less to accumulate all that could
be necessary to make winter comfortable: he dried
the roe of fishes and the flesh of seals; he entrapped
deer and foxes, and dressed their skins to adorn his
bride; he feasted her with eggs from the rocks, and
strewed her tent with flowers.

It happened that a tempest drove the fish to a
distant part of the coast, before Anningait had
completed his store; he therefore entreated Ajut,
that she would at last grant him her hand, and
accompany him to that part of the country whither
he was now summoned by necessity. Ajut thought
him not yet entitled to such condescension, but
proposed, as a trial of his constancy, that he should
return at the end of summer to the cavern where
their acquaintance commenced, and there expect
the reward of his assiduities. "O virgin, beautiful
as the sun shining on the water, consider,"
said Anningait, "what thou hast required. How
easily may my return be precluded by a sudden
frost or unexpected fogs! then must the night
be passed without my Ajut. We live not, my fair,
in those fabled countries, which lying strangers so
wantonly describe; where the whole year is divided
into short days and nights; where the same
habitation serves for summer and winter; where they
raise houses in rows above the ground, dwell
together from year to year, with flocks of tame
animals grazing in the fields about them; can travel at
any time from one place to another, through ways
inclosed with trees, or over walls raised upon the
inland waters; and direct their course through wide
countries by the sight of green hills or scattered
buildings. Even in summer we have no means of
crossing the mountains, whose snows are never
dissolved; nor can remove to any distant residence,
but in our boats coasting the bays. Consider, Ajut,
a few summer-days, and a few winter-nights, and
the life of man is at an end. Night is the time of
ease and festivity, of revels and gaiety; but what
will be the flaming lamp, the delicious seal, or the
soft oil, without the smile of Ajut?"

The eloquence of Anningait was vain; the maid
continued inexorable, and they parted with ardent
promises to meet again before the night of winter.

No. 187. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 1751

Non illuwm nostri possunt mutare labores;
Non si frigoribus mediis Hebrumque bibamus,
Sithoniasque nives hyemis subeamus aquosae:----
Omnia vincit amor. VIRG. Ec. x. 64.

Love alters not for us his hard decrees,
Not though beneath the Thracian clime we freeze,
Or the mild bliss of temperate skies forego,
And in mid winter tread Sithonian snow:----
Love conquers all.----


ANNINGAIT, however discomposed by the
dilatory coyness of Ajut, was yet resolved to
omit no tokens of amorous respect; and therefore
presented her at his departure with the skins of
seven white fawns, of five swans and eleven seals,
with three marble lamps, ten vessels of seal oil, and
a large kettle of brass, which he had purchased from
a ship, at the price of half a whale, and two horns
of sea-unicorns.

Ajut was so much affected by the fondness of
her lover, or so much overpowered by his magnificence,
that she followed him to the sea-side; and,
when she saw him enter the boat, wished aloud,
that he might return with plenty of skins and oil;
that neither the mermaids might snatch him into
the deeps, nor the spirits of the rocks confine him
in their caverns.

She stood a while to gaze upon the departing
vessel, and then returning to her hut, silent and
dejected, laid aside, from that hour, her white deer
skin, suffered her hair to spread unbraided on her
shoulders, and forbore to mix in the dances of the
maidens. She endeavoured to divert her thoughts,
by continual application to feminine employments,
gathered moss for the winter lamps, and dried
grass to line the boots of Anningait. Of the skins
which he had bestowed upon her, she made a fishing-
coat, a small boat, and tent, all of exquisite
manufacture; and while she was thus busied, solaced
her labours with a song, in which she prayed, "that
her lover might have hands stronger than the paws
of the bear, and feet swifter than the feet of reindeer;
that his dart might never err, and that his boat might
never leak; that he might never stumble on the ice,
nor faint in the water; that the seal might rush on
his harpoon, and the wounded whale might dash
the waves in vain."

The large boats in which the Greenlanders
transport their families, are always rowed by women;
for a man will not debase himself by work, which
requires neither skill nor courage. Anningait was
therefore exposed by idleness to the ravages of
passion. He went thrice to the stern of the boat, with
an intent to leap into the water, and swim back to
his mistress; but, recollecting the misery which they
must endure in the winter, without oil for the lamp,
or skins for the bed, he resolved to employ the
weeks of absence in provision for a night of plenty
and felicity. He then composed his emotions as he
could, and expressed, in wild numbers and uncouth
images, his hopes, his sorrows, and his fears. "O
life!" says he, "frail and uncertain! where shall
wretched man find thy resemblance, but in ice
floating on the ocean? It towers on high, It sparkles
from afar, while the storms drive and the waters
beat it, the sun melts it above, and the rocks shatter
it below. What art thou, deceitful pleasure! but a
sudden blaze streaming from the north, which plays
a moment on the eye, mocks the traveller with the
hopes of light, and then vanishes for ever? What,
love, art thou but a whirlpool, which we approach
without knowledge of our danger, drawn on by
imperceptible degrees, till we have lost all power of
resistance and escape? Till I fixed my eyes on the
graces of Ajut, while I had not yet called her to
the banquet, I was careless as the sleeping morse,
was merry as the singers in the stars. Why, Ajut,
did I gaze upon thy graces? why, my fair, did I call
thee to the banquet? Yet, be faithful, my love,
remember Anningait, and meet my return with the
smile of virginity. I will chase the deer, I will subdue
the whale, resistless as the frost of darkness, and un-
wearied as the summer sun. In a few weeks I shall
return prosperous and wealthy; then shall the roe-
fish and the porpoise feast thy kindred; the fox and
hare shall cover thy couch; the tough hide of the
seal shall shelter thee from cold; and the fat of the
whale illuminate thy dwelling."

Anningait having with these sentiments consoled
his grief, and animated his industry, found that they
had now coasted the headland, and saw the whales
spouting at a distance. He therefore placed himself
in his fishing-boat, called his associates to their
several employments, plied his oar and harpoon with
incredible courage and dexterity; and, by dividing
his time between the chace and fishery, suspended
the miseries of absence and suspicion.

Ajut, in the mean time, notwithstanding her
neglected dress, happened, as she was drying some
skins in the sun, to catch the eye of Norngsuk, on
his return from hunting. Norngsuk was of birth
truly illustrious. His mother had died in child-birth,
and his father, the most expert fisher of Greenland,
had perished by too close pursuit of the whale. His
dignity was equalled by his riches; he was master
of four men's and two women's boats, had ninety
tubs of oil in his winter habitation, and five-and-
twenty seals buried in the snow against the season
of darkness. When he saw the beauty of Ajut, he
immediately threw over her the skin of a deer that
he had taken, and soon after presented her with a
branch of coral. Ajut refused his gifts, and determined
to admit no lover in the place of Anningait.

Norngsuk, thus rejected, had recourse to stratagem.
He knew that Ajut would consult an Angekkok,
or diviner, concerning the fate of her lover,
and the felicity of her future life. He therefore
applied himself to the most celebrated Angekkok
of that part of the country, and, by a present of
two seals and a marble kettle, obtained a promise,
that when Ajut should consult him, he would declare
that her lover was in the land of souls. Ajut,
in a short time, brought him a coat made by herself,
and inquired what events were to befall her,
with assurances of a much larger reward at the
return of Anningait, if the prediction should flatter
her desires. The Angekkok knew the way to riches,
and foretold that Anningait, having already caught
two whales, would soon return home with a large
boat laden with provisions.

This prognostication she was ordered to keep
secret; and Norngsuk depending upon his artifice,
renewed his addresses with greater confidence; but
finding his suit still unsuccessful, applied himself to
her parents with gifts and promises. The wealth of
Greenland is too powerful for the virtue of a
Greenlander; they forgot the merit and the presents of
Anningait, and decreed Ajut to the embraces of
Norngsuk. She entreated; she remonstrated; she
wept, and raved; but finding riches irresistible, fled
away into the uplands, and lived in a cave upon
such berries as she could gather, and the birds or
hares which she had the fortune to ensnare, taking
care, at an hour when she was not likely to be
found, to view the sea every day, that her lover
might not miss her at his return.

At last she saw the great boat in which Anningait
had departed, stealing slow and heavy laden
along the coast. She ran with all the impatience of
affection to catch her lover in her arms, and relate
her constancy and sufferings. When the company
reached the land, they informed her that Anningait,
after the fishery was ended, being unable to
support the slow passage of the vessel of carriage,
had set out before them in his fishing-boat, and
they expected at their arrival to have found him
on shore.

Ajut, distracted at this intelligence, was about to
fly into the hills, without knowing why, though
she was now in the hands of her parents, who forced
her back to their own hut, and endeavoured to
comfort her; but when at last they retired to rest,
Ajut went down to the beach; where, finding a
fishing-boat, she entered it without hesitation, and
telling those who wondered at her rashness, that
she was going in search of Anningait, rowed away
with great swiftness, and was seen no more.

The fate of these lovers gave occasion to various
fictions and conjectures. Some are of opinion, that
they were changed into stars; others imagine, that
Anningait was seized in his passage by the genius
of the rocks, and that Ajut was transformed into a
mermaid, and still continues to seek her lover in
the deserts of the sea. But the general persuasion
is, that they are both in that part of the land of
souls where the sun never sets, where oil is always
fresh, and provisions always warm. The virgins
sometimes throw a thimble and a needle into the
bay, from which the hapless maid departed; and
when a Greenlander would praise any couple for
virtuous affection, he declares that they love like
Anningait and Ajut.

No. 188. SATURDAY, JANUARY 4, 1751

----Si te colo, Sexte, non amabo.

MART. Lib. ii. Ep. iv. 33.

The more I honour thee, the less I love.

ONE of the desires dictated by vanity is more
general, or less blamable, than that of being
distinguished for the arts of conversation. Other
accomplishments may be possessed without opportunity
of exerting them, or wanted without danger
that the defect can often be remarked; but as no
man can live, otherwise than in an hermitage,
without hourly pleasure or vexation, from the fondness
or neglect of those about him, the faculty of giving
pleasure is of continual use. Few are more
frequently envied than those who have the power of
forcing attention wherever they come, whose entrance
is considered as a promise of felicity, and
whose departure is lamented, like the recess of the
sun from northern climates, as a privation of all
that enlivens fancy, or inspirits gaiety.

It is apparent, that to excellence in this valuable
art, some peculiar qualifications are necessary; for
every one's experience will inform him, that the
pleasure which men are able to give in conversation,
holds no stated proportion to their knowledge
or their virtue. Many find their way to the tables
and the parties of those who never consider them as
of the least importance in any other place; we have
all, at one time or other, been content to love those
whom we could not esteem, and been persuaded
to try the dangerous experiment of admitting him
for a companion, whom we knew to be too ignorant
for a counsellor, and too treacherous for a friend.

I question whether some abatement of character
is not necessary to general acceptance. Few spend
their time with much satisfaction under the eye of
uncontestable superiority; and therefore, among
those whose presence is courted at assemblies of
jollity, there are seldom found men eminently
distinguished for powers or acquisitions. The wit whose
vivacity condemns slower tongues to silence, the
scholar whose knowledge allows no man to fancy
that he instructs him, the critick who suffers no
fallacy to pass undetected, and the reasoner who
condemns the idle to thought, and the negligent
to attention, are generally praised and feared,
reverenced and avoided.

He that would please must rarely aim at such
excellence as depresses his hearers in their own
opinion, or debars them from the hope of contributing
reciprocally to the entertainment of the company.
Merriment, extorted by sallies of imagination,
sprightliness of remark, or quickness of reply, is too
often what the Latins call, the Sardinian laughter,
a distortion of the face without gladness of heart.

For this reason, no style of conversation is more
extensively acceptable than the narrative. He who
has stored his memory with slight anecdotes, private
incidents, and personal peculiarities, seldom
fails to find his audience favourable. Almost every
man listens with eagerness to contemporary history;
for almost every man has some real or imaginary
connexion with a celebrated character, some desire
to advance or oppose a rising name. Vanity often
co-operates with curiosity. He that is a hearer in
one place, qualifies himself to become a speaker in
another; for though he cannot comprehend a series
of argument, or transport the volatile spirit of wit
without evaporation, he yet thinks himself able to
treasure up the various incidents of a story, and
please his hopes with the information which he shall
give to some inferior society.

Narratives are for the most part heard without
envy, because they are not supposed to imply any
intellectual qualities above the common rate. To be
acquainted with facts not yet echoed by plebeian
mouths, may happen to one man as well as to
another; and to relate them when they are known,
has in appearance so little difficulty, that every one
concludes himself equal to the task.

But it is not easy, and in some situations of life
not possible, to accumulate such a stock of
materials as may support the expense of continual
narration; and it frequently happens, that they who
attempt this method of ingratiating themselves,
please only at the first interview; and, for want of
new supplies of intelligence, wear out their stories
by continual repetition.

There would be, therefore, little hope of
obtaining the praise of a good companion, were it not
to be gained by more compendious methods; but
such is the kindness of mankind to all, except
those who aspire to real merit and rational dignity,
that every understanding may find some way to
excite benevolence; and whoever is not envied may
learn the art of procuring love. We are willing to be
pleased, but are not willing to admire: we favour the
mirth or officiousness that solicits our regard, but
oppose the worth or spirit that enforces it.

The first place among those that please, because
they desire only to please, is due to the MERRY FELLOW,
whose laugh is loud, and whose voice is strong; who
is ready to echo every jest with obstreperous approbation,
and countenance every frolick with vociferations
of applause. It is not necessary to a merry
fellow to have in himself any fund of jocularity, or
force of conception; it is sufficient that he always
appears in the highest exaltation of gladness, for
the greater part of mankind are gay or serious by
infection, and follow without resistance the attraction
of example.

Next to the merry fellow is the GOOD-NATURED
MAN, a being generally without benevolence, or any
other virtue, than such as indolence and insensibility
confer. The characteristick of a good-natured
man is to bear a joke; to sit unmoved and unaffected
amidst noise and turbulence, profaneness and
obscenity; to hear every tale without contradiction;
to endure insult without reply; and to follow the
stream of folly, whatever course it shall happen to
take. The good-natured man is commonly the darling
of the petty wits, with whom they exercise
themselves in the rudiments of raillery; for he never
takes advantage of failings, nor disconcerts a puny
satirist with unexpected sarcasms; but while the
glass continues to circulate, contentedly bears the
expense of an uninterrupted laughter, and retires
rejoicing at his own importance.

The MODEST MAN is a companion of a yet lower
rank, whose only power of giving pleasure is not to
interrupt it. The modest man satisfies himself with
peaceful silence, which all his companions are candid
enough to consider as proceeding not from inability
to speak, but willingness to hear.

Many, without being able to attain any general
character of excellence, have some single art of
entertainment which serves them as a passport through
the world. One I have known for fifteen years the
darling of a weekly club, because every night,
precisely at eleven, he begins his favourite song, and
during the vocal performance, by corresponding
motions of his hand, chalks out a giant upon the
wall. Another has endeared himself to a long
succession of acquaintances by sitting among them
with his wig reversed; another by contriving to smut
the nose of any stranger who was to be initiated in
the club; another by purring like a cat, and then
pretending to be frighted; and another by yelping
like a hound, and calling to the drawers to drive out
the dog[b].

[b] Mrs. Piozzi, in her Anecdotes, informs us, that the man who
sung, and, by corresponding motions of his arm, chalked out a
giant on the wall, was one Richardson, an attorney: the ingenious
imitator of a cat, was one Busby, a proctor in the Commons: and
the father of Dr. Salter, of the Charter-House, a friend of
Johnson's, and a member of the Ivy-Lane Club, was the person who
yelped like a hound, and perplexed the distracted waiters.--Mr.
Chalmers, in his preface to the Rambler observes, that the
above-quoted lively writer was the only authority for these
assignments. She is certainly far too hasty and negligent to be
relied on, when unsupported by other testimony.--See Preface.

Such are the arts by which cheerfulness is
promoted, and sometimes friendship established; arts,
which those who despise them should not rigorously
blame, except when they are practised at the
expense of innocence; for it is always necessary to
be loved, but not always necessary to be reverenced.

No. 189. TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 1752

Quod tam grande Sophos clamat tibi turba togata;
Non tu, Pomponi; caena diserta tua est.

MART. Lib. vi. Ep. xlviii.

Resounding plaudits though the crowd have rung
Thy treat is eloquent, and not thy tongue. F. Lewis.

THE world scarcely affords opportunities of
making any observation more frequently, than on
false claims to commendation. Almost every man
wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities
which he does not possess, and to gain applause
which he cannot keep; so that scarcely can two persons
casually meet, but one is offended or diverted
by the ostentation of the other,

Of these pretenders it is fit to distinguish those
who endeavour to deceive from them who are deceived;
those who by designed impostures promote
their interest, or gratify their pride, from them who
mean only to force into regard their latent excellencies
and neglected virtues; who believe themselves
qualified to instruct or please, and therefore invite
the notice of mankind.

The artful and fraudulent usurpers of distinction
deserve greater severities than ridicule and contempt,
since they are seldom content with empty
praise, but are instigated by passions more pernicious
than vanity. They consider the reputation which
they endeavour to establish as necessary to the
accomplishment of some subsequent design, and value
praise only as it may conduce to the success of avarice
or ambition.

The commercial world is very frequently put into
confusion by the bankruptcy of merchants, that
assumed the splendour of wealth only to obtain the
privilege of trading with the stock of other men, and
of contracting debts which nothing but lucky casualties
could enable them to pay; till after having
supported their appearance a while by tumultuous
magnifience of boundless traffick, they sink at once,
and drag down into poverty those whom their equipages
had induced to trust them.

Among wretches that place their happiness in the
favour of the great, of beings whom only high titles
or large estates set above themselves, nothing is
more common than to boast of confidence which they
do not enjoy; to sell promises which they know their
interest unable to perform; and to reimburse the
tribute which they pay to an imperious master, from
the contributions of meaner dependants, whom they
can amuse with tales of their influence, and hopes
of their solicitation.

Even among some, too thoughtless and volatile
for avarice or ambition, may be found a species of
falsehood more detestable than the levee or exchange
can shew. There are men that boast of debaucheries,
of which they never had address to be guilty; ruin,
by lewd tales, the characters of women to whom
they are scarcely known, or by whom they have
been rejected; destroy in a drunken frolick the
happiness of families; blast the bloom of beauty, and
intercept the reward of virtue.

Other artifices of falsehood, though utterly
unworthy of an ingenuous mind, are not yet to be
ranked with flagitious enormities, nor is it necessary
to incite sanguinary justice against them, since they
may be adequately punished by detection and laughter.
The traveller who describes cities which he has
never seen; the squire, who, at his return from
London, tells of his intimacy with nobles to whom he
has only bowed in the park or coffee-house; the
author who entertains his admirers with stories of the
assistance which he gives to wits of a higher rank;
the city dame who talks of her visits at great houses,
where she happens to know the cook-maid, are
surely such harmless animals as truth herself may
be content to despise without desiring to hurt them.

But of the multitudes who struggle in vain for
distinction, and display their own merits only to
feel more acutely the sting of neglect, a great part
are wholly innocent of deceit, and are betrayed, by
infatuation and credulity, to that scorn with which
the universal love of praise incites us all to drive
feeble competitors out of our way.

Few men survey themselves with so much severity,
as not to admit prejudices in their own favour,
which an artful flatterer may gradually strengthen,
till wishes for a particular qualification are improved
to hopes of attainment, and hopes of attainment to
belief of possession. Such flatterers every one will
find, who has power to reward their assiduities.
Wherever there is wealth there will be dependance
and expectation, and wherever there is dependance,
there will be an emulation of servility.

Many of the follies which provoke general
censure, are the effects of such vanity as, however it
might have wantoned in the imagination, would
scarcely have dared the publick eye, had it not been
animated and emboldened by flattery. Whatever
difficulty there may be in the knowledge of
ourselves, scarcely any one fails to suspect his own
imperfections, till he is elevated by others to
confidence. We are almost all naturally modest and
timorous; but fear and shame are uneasy sensations,
and whosoever helps to remove them is received
with kindness.

Turpicula was the heiress of a large estate, and
having lost her mother in infancy, was committed
to a governess, whom misfortunes had reduced to
suppleness and humility. The fondness of Turpicula's
father would not suffer him to trust her at a
publick school, but he hired domestick teachers,
and bestowed on her all the accomplishments that
wealth could purchase. But how many things are
necessary to happiness which money cannot obtain!
Thus secluded from all with whom she might converse
on terms of equality, she heard none of those
intimations of her defects, which envy, petulance,
or anger, produce among children, where they are
not afraid of telling what they think.

Turpicula saw nothing but obsequiousness, and
heard nothing but commendations. None are so
little acquainted with the heart, as not to know that
woman's first wish is to be handsome, and that
consequently the readiest method of obtaining her
kindness is to praise her beauty. Turpicula had a distorted
shape and a dark complexion; yet, when the impudence
of adulation had ventured to tell her of the
commanding dignity of her motion, and the soft
enchantment of her smile, she was easily convinced,
that she was the delight or torment of every eye,
and that all who gazed upon her felt the fire of
envy or love. She therefore neglected the culture
of an understanding which might have supplied the
defects of her form, and applied all her care to the
decoration of her person; for she considered that
more could judge of beauty than of wit, and was,
like the rest of human beings, in haste to be admired.
The desire of conquest naturally led her to
the lists in which beauty signalizes her power. She
glittered at court, fluttered in the park, and talked
aloud in the front box; but after a thousand experiments
of her charms, was at last convinced that she
had been flattered, and that her glass was honester
than her maid.

No. 190. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1752

Ploravere suis non respondere favorem
Speratum meritis.---- HOR. Lib. ii. Ep. i. 9.

Henry and Alfred----
Clos'd their long glories with a sigh, to find
Th' unwilling gratitude of base mankind. POPE.

AMONG the emirs and visiers, the sons of valour
and of wisdom, that stand at the corners
of the Indian throne, to assist the counsels or
conduct the wars of the posterity of Timur, the
first place was long held by Morad the son of
Hanuth. Morad, having signalized himself in many
battles and sieges, was rewarded with the government
of a province, from which the fame of his
wisdom and moderation was wafted to the pinnacles
of Agra, by the prayers of those whom his
administration made happy. The emperour called
him into his presence, and gave into his hand the
keys of riches, and the sabre of command. The
voice of Morad was heard from the cliffs of Taurus
to the Indian ocean, every tongue faltered in his
presence, and every eye was cast down before him.

Morad lived many years in prosperity; every
day increased his wealth, and extended his influence.
The sages repeated his maxims, the captains
of thousands waited his commands. Competition
withdrew into the cavern of envy, and discontent
trembled at his own murmurs. But human greatness
is short and transitory, as the odour of incense
in the fire. The sun grew weary of gilding the
palaces of Morad, the clouds of sorrow gathered
round his head, and the tempest of hatred roared
about his dwelling.

Morad saw ruin hastily approaching. The first
that forsook him were his poets; their example was
followed by all those whom he had rewarded for
contributing to his pleasures, and only a few, whose
virtue had entitled them to favour, were now to be seen
in his hall or chambers. He felt his danger, and
prostrated himself at the foot of the throne. His
accusers were confident and loud, his friends stood
contented with frigid neutrality, and the voice of truth
was overborne by clamour. He was divested of his
power, deprived of his acquisitions, and condemned
to pass the rest of his life on his hereditary estate.

Morad had been so long accustomed to crowds and
business, supplicants and flattery, that he knew not
how to fill up his hours in solitude; he saw with
regret the sun rise to force on his eye a new day for
which he had no use; and envied the savage that
wanders in the desert, because he has no time vacant
from the calls of nature, but is always chasing his
prey, or sleeping in his den.

His discontent in time vitiated his constitution,
and a slow disease siezed upon him. He refused
physick, neglected exercise, and lay down on his
couch peevish and restless, rather afraid to die than
desirous to live. His domesticks, for a time,
redoubled their assiduities; but finding that no
officiousness could soothe, nor exactness satisfy, they
soon gave way to negligence and sloth; and he that
once commanded nations, often languished in his
chamber without an attendant.

In this melancholy state, he commanded
messengers to recall his eldest son Abouzaid from the
army. Abouzaid was alarmed at the account of his
father's sickness, and hasted by long journeys to his
place of residence. Morad was yet living, and felt
his strength return at the embraces of his son; then
commanding him to sit down at his bedside, "Abouzaid,"
says he, "thy father has no more to hope or
fear from the inhabitants of the earth; the cold hand
of the angel of death is now upon him, and the
voracious grave is howling for his prey. Hear,
therefore, the precepts of ancient experience, let not my
last instructions issue forth in vain. Thou hast seen
me happy and calamitous, thou hast beheld my
exaltation and my fall. My power is in the hands of
my enemies, my treasures have rewarded my accusers;
but my inheritance the clemency of the
emperour has spared, and my wisdom his anger
could not take away. Cast thine eyes around thee;
whatever thou beholdest will, in a few hours, be
thine: apply thine ear to my dictates, and these
possessions will promote thy happiness. Aspire not to
public honours, enter not the palaces of kings; thy
wealth will set thee above insult, let thy moderation
keep thee below envy. Content thyself with private
dignity, diffuse thy riches among thy friends, let
every day extend thy beneficence, and suffer not
thy heart to be at rest till thou art loved by all to
whom thou art known. In the height of my power,
I said to defamation, Who will hear thee? and
to artifice, What canst thou perform? But, my
son, despise not thou the malice of the weakest,
remember that venom supplies the want of strength,
and that the lion may perish by the puncture of
an asp."

Morad expired in a few hours. Abouzaid, after
the months of mourning, determined to regulate
his conduct by his father's precepts, and cultivate
the love of mankind by every art of kindness and
endearment. He wisely considered, that domestick
happiness was first to be secured, and that none
have so much power of doing good or hurt, as
those who are present in the hour of negligence,
hear the bursts of thoughtless merriment, and
observe the starts of unguarded passion. He therefore
augmented the pay of all his attendants, and
requited every exertion of uncommon diligence by
supernumerary gratuities. While he congratulated
himself upon the fidelity and affection of his family,
he was in the night alarmed with robbers, who, being
pursued and taken, declared that they had been
admitted by one of his servants; the servant
immediately confessed, that he unbarred the door,
because another not more worthy of confidence was
entrusted with the keys.

Abouzaid was thus convinced that a dependant
could not easily be made a friend; and that while
many were soliciting for the first rank of favour,
all those would be alienated whom he disappointed.
He therefore resolved to associate with a few equal
companions selected from among the chief men of
the province. With these he lived happily for a time,
till familiarity set them free from restraint, and
every man thought himself at liberty to indulge
his own caprice, and advance his own opinions.
They then disturbed each other with contrariety
of inclinations, and difference of sentiments, and
Abouzaid was necessitated to offend one party by
concurrence, or both by indifference.

He afterwards determined to avoid a close union
with beings so discordant in their nature, and to
diffuse himself in a larger circle. He practised the
smile of universal courtesy, and invited all to his
table, but admitted none to his retirements. Many
who had been rejected in his choice of friendship,
now refused to accept his acquaintance; and of
those whom plenty and magnificence drew to his
table, every one pressed forward toward intimacy,
thought himself overlooked in the crowd, and
murmured because he was not distinguished above the
rest. By degrees all made advances, and all resented
repulse. The table was then covered with delicacies
in vain; the musick sounded in empty rooms; and
Abouzaid was left to form in solitude some new
scheme of pleasure or security.

Resolving now to try the force of gratitude, he
inquired for men of science, whose merit was
obscured by poverty. His house was soon crowded
with poets, sculptors, painters, and designers, who
wantoned in unexperienced plenty, and employed
their powers in celebration of their patron. But in
a short time they forgot the distress from which
they had been rescued, and began to consider their
deliverer as a wretch of narrow capacity, who was
growing great by works which he could not perform,
and whom they overpaid by condescending
to accept his bounties. Abouzaid heard their
murmurs and dismissed them, and from that hour
continued blind to colours, and deaf to panegyrick.

As the sons of art departed, muttering threats
of perpetual infamy, Abouzaid, who stood at the
gate, called to him Hamet the poet. "Hamet,"
said he, "thy ingratitude has put an end to my
hopes and experiments: I have now learned the
vanity of those labours that wish to be rewarded
by human benevolence; I shall henceforth do good,
and avoid evil, without respect to the opinion of
men; and resolve to solicit only the approbation of
that Being whom alone we are sure to please by
endeavouring to please him."

No. 191. TUESDAY, JANUARY 14, 1752

Cereus in vitium flecti, monitoribus asper.

HOR. Art. Poet. 163.

The youth----
Yielding like wax, th' impressive folly bears
Rough to reproof, and slow to future cares. FRANCIS.



I HAVE been four days confined to my chamber
by a cold, which has already kept me from three
plays, nine sales, five shows, and six card-tables,
and put me seventeen visits behind-hand; and the
doctor tells my mamma, that, if I fret and cry, it
will settle in my head, and I shall not be fit to be
seen these six weeks. But, dear Mr. Rambler, how
can I help it? At this very time Melissa is dancing
with the prettiest gentleman;--she will breakfast
with him to-morrow, and then run to two auctions,
and hear compliments, and have presents; then she
will be drest, and visit, and get a ticket to the play;
then go to cards and win, and come home with two
flambeaux before her chair. Dear Mr. Rambler, who
can bear it?

My aunt has just brought me a bundle of your
papers for my amusement. She says you are a philosopher,
and will teach me to moderate my desires, and
look upon the world with indifference. But, dear sir,
I do not wish nor intend to moderate my desires, nor
can I think it proper to look upon the world with
indifference, till the world looks with indifference on
me. I have been forced, however, to sit this morning
a whole quarter of an hour with your paper before
my face; but just as my aunt came in, Phyllida
had brought me a letter from Mr. Trip, which I put
within the leaves and read about ABSENCE and
ETERNAL CONSTANCY, while my aunt imagined that I
was puzzling myself with your philosophy, and often
cried out, when she saw me look confused, "If there
is any word that you do not understand, child. I will
explain it."

Dear soul! how old people that think themselves
wise may be imposed upon! But it is fit that they
should take their turn, for I am sure, while they can
keep poor girls close in the nursery, they tyrannize


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