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now intent upon the practice of every virtue, which a great knowledge and use of mankind has discovered to be the most useful to them. Thus in his private domestic em-. ployments he is no less glorious than in his public; for it is in reality a more difficult task to be conspicuous in a sedentary inactive life, than in one that is spent in hurry and business: persons engaged in the latter, like bodies violently agitated, from the swiftness of their motion have a brightness added to them, which often vanishes when they are at rest; but if it then still remain, it must be the seeds of intrinsic worth that thus shine out without any foreign aid or assistance.
His liberality in another might almost bear the name of profusion; he seems to think it laudable even in the excess, like that river which most enriches when it overflows. But Manilius has too perfect a taste of the pleasure of doing good ever to let it be out of his power; and for that reason he will have a just economy and a splendid frugality at home, the fountain from whence those streams should flow which he disperses abroad. He looks with disdain on those who propose their death as the time when they are to begin their munificence; he will both see and enjoy (which he then does in the highest degree) what he bestows himself; he will be the living executor of his own bounty, whilst they who have the happiness to be within his care and patronage at once pray for the continuation of his life and their own good fortune. No one is out of the reach of his obligations ; he knows how, by proper and becoming methods, to raise himself to a level with those of the highest rank; and his good-nature is a sufficient warrant against the want of those who are so unhappy as to be in the very lowest. One may say of him, as Pindar bids his Muse say of Theron,
Swear that Theron sure has sworn
With an umenvious hand, and an unbounded heart. Never did Atticus succeed better in gaining the universal love and esteem of all men; nor steer with more suc
* The Nile.
cess between the extremes of two contending parties. 'Tis his peculiar happiness that, while he espouses neither with an intemperate zeal, he is not only admired, but, what is a more rare and unusual felicity, he is beloved and caressed by both; and I never yet saw any person, of whatever age or sex, but was immediately struck with the merit of Manilius. There are many who are acceptable to some particular persons, whilst the rest of mankind look
upon them with coldness and indifference; but he is the first whose entire good fortune it is ever to please and to be pleased, wherever he comes to be admired, and wherever he is absent to be lamented. His merit fares like the pictures of Raphael, which are either seen with admiration by all, or at least no one dare own that he has no taste for a composition which has received so universal an applause. Envy and malice find it against their interest to indulge slander and obloquy. "Tis as hard for an enemy to detract from, as for a friend to add to, his praise. An attempt upon his reputation is a sure lessening of one's own; and there is but one way to injure him, which is to refuse him his just commendations, and be obstinately silent.
It is below him to catch the sight with any care of dress; his outward garb is but the emblem of his mind. It is genteel, plain, and unaffected; he knows that gold and embroidery can add nothing to the opinion which all have of his merit, and that he gives a lustre to the plainest dress, whilst 'tis impossible the richest should communicate any to him. He is still the principal figure in the
He first engages your eye, as if there were some point of light which shone stronger upon him than on any other person
He puts me in mind of a story of the famous: Bussy d'Amboise, who, at an assembly at court, where every
one appeared with the utmost magnificence, relying on his own superior behaviour, instead of adorning himself like the rest, put on that day a plain suit of clothes, and dressed all his servants in the most costly gay habits he could procure. The event was, that the
of the whole court were fixed upon him; all the rest looked like his attendants, while he alone had the air of a person of quality and distinction.
Like Aristippus, whatever shape or condition he appears
in, it still sits free and easy upon him; but in some part of his character, 'tis true, he differs from him ; for as he is altogether equal to the largeness of his present circumstances, the rectitude of his judgment has so far corrected the inclinations of his ambition, that he will not trouble himself with either the desires or pursuits of any thing beyond his present enjoyments.
A thousand obliging things flow from him upon every occasion; and they were always so just and natural, that it is impossible to think he was at the least pains to look for them. One would think it was the demon of good thoughts that discovered to him those treasures, which he must have blinded others from seeing, they lay so directly in their way. Nothing can equal the pleasure that is taken in hearing him speak, but the satisfaction one receives in the civility and attention he pays to the discourse of others. His looks are a silent commendation of what is good and praiseworthy, and a secret reproof to what is licentious and extravagant. He knows how to appear free and open without danger of intrusion, and to be cautious without seeming reserved. The gravity of his conversation is always enlivened with his wit and humour," and the gaiety of it is tempered with something that is instructive, as well as barely agreeable. Thus, with him you are sure not to be merry at the expense of your reason, nor serious with the loss of your good-humour; but, by a happy mixture of his temper, they either go together, or perpetually succeed each other. In fine, his whole behaviour is equally distant from constraint and negligence, and he commands your respect whilst he gains your heart.
There is in his whole carriage such an engaging softness, that one cannot persuade one's self he is ever actuated by those rougher passions, which, wherever they find place, seldom fail of shewing themselves in the outward demeanour of the person they belong to; but his constitution is a just temperature between indolence on one hand, and violence on the other. He is mild and gentle, wherever his affairs will give him leave to follow his own inclinations; but yet never failing to exert himself with vigour and resolution in the service of his prince, his country, or his friend.
N° 468. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27, 1712.
Erat homo ingeniosus, acutus, acer, et qui plurimum et salis haberet
et fellis, nec canderis minus.—Plin. Epist. He was an ingenious, pleasant fellow, and one who had a great deal
of wit and satire, with an equal share of good-humour.
rather what passes in the world of conversation than that of business. I am very sorry that I have at present a circumstance before me, which is of very great importance to all who have a relish for gaiety, wit, mirth, or humour; I mean the death of poor Dick Estcourt. I have been obliged to him for so many hours of jollity, that it is but a small recompense, though all I can give him, to pass a moment or two in sadness for the loss of so agreeable a man. Poor Estcourt! the last time I saw him, we were plotting to shew the town his great capacity for acting in its full light, by introducing him as dictating to a set of young players, in what manner to speak this sentence, and utter the other passion. He had so exquisite a discerning of what was defective in any object before him, that in an instant he could shew you the ridiculous side of what would pass for beautiful and just, even to men of no ill judgment, before he had pointed at the failure. He was no less skilful in the knowledge of beauty; and I dare say, there is no one who knew him well, but can repeat more well-turned compliments, as well as smart repartees of Mr. Estcourt's, than of any other man in England. This was easily to be observed in his inimitable faculty of telling a story, in which he would throw in natural and unexpected incidents to make his court to one part, and rally the other part of the company. Then he would vary the usage he gave them, according as he saw them bear kind or sharp language. He had the knack to raise up a pensive temper, and mortify an impertinently gay one, with the most agreeable skill imaginable. There are a thousand things which crowd into my memory, which make me too much concerned to tell on about him. Hamlet holding up the skull which the gravedigger threw to him, with an account that
it was the head of the king's jester, falls into very pleasing reflections, and cries out to his companion, Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most exquisite fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times : and now how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs ? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? not one now to mock your own grinning ? quite chapfallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come. Make her laugh at that.”
It is an insolence natural to the wealthy, to affix, as much as in them lies, the character of a man to his circumstances. Thus it is ordinary with them to praise faintly the good qualities of those below them, and say, It is very extraordinary in such a man as he is, or the like, when they are forced to acknowledge the value of him whose lowness upbraids their exaltation. It is to this humour only, that it is to be ascribed, that a quick wit in conversation, a nice judgment upon any emergency that could arise, and a most blameless inoffensive behaviour, could not raise this man above being received only upon the foot of contributing to mirth and diversion. But he was as easy under that condition, as a man of so excellent talents was capable; and since they would have it, that to divert was his business, he did it with all the seeming alacrity imaginable, though it stung him to the heart that it was his business. Men of sense, who could taste his excellences, were well satisfied to let him lead the
way in.conversation, and play after his own manner; but fools, who provoked him to mimicry, found he had the indignation to let it be at their expense who called for it, and he would shew the form of conceited heavy fellows as jests to the company at their own request, in revenge for interrupting him from being a companion to put on the the character of a jester.
What was peculiarly excellent in this memorable companion was, that in the accounts he gave of persons and sentiments, he did not only hit the figure of their faces, and manner of their gestures, but he would in his narra