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preached at the funeral of a gentleman," who was an honour to his country, and a more diligent as well as successful inquirer into the works of nature than any other our nation has ever produced. “He had the profoundest veneration for the great God of heaven and earth that I have ever observed in any person. The very name of God was never mentioned by bim without a pause and a visible stop in his discourse; in which one, that knew him most particularly above twenty years, has told me that he was so exact, that he does not remember to have observed him once to fail in it.”
Every one knows the veneration which was paid by the Jews to a name so great, wonderful, and holy. They would not let it enter even into their religious discourses. What can we then think of those who make use of so tremendous a name in the ordinary expressions of their anger, mirth, and most impertinent passions? of those who admit it into the most familiar questions and assertions, ludicrous phrases, and works of humour? not to mention those who violate it by solemn perjuries! It would be an affront to reason to endeavour to set forth the horror and profaneness of such a practice. The very mention of it exposes it sufficiently to those in whom the light of nature, not to say religion, is not utterly extinguished.
N° 532. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1712.
- Fungor vice cotis, acutum
HOR. Ars Poet. ver. 304.
To cut myself, I sharpen other's wit.—Creech. T is a very honest action to be studious to produce
other men's merit; and I make no scruple of saying, have as much of this temper as any man in the world. It would not be a thing to be bragged of, but that it is what any man may be master of, who will take pains enough for it. Much observation of the unworthiness in being
* See Bishop Burnet's sermon, preached at the funeral of the Honourable Robert Boyle.
pained at the excellence of another, will bring you to a scorn of yourself for that unwillingness; and when you have got so far, you will find it a greater pleasure than you ever before knew to be zealous in promoting the fame and welfare of the praiseworthy. I do not speak this as pretending to be a mortified self-denying man, but as one who has turned his ambition into a right channel. I claim to myself the merit of having extorted excellent productions from a person of the greatest abilities, who would not have let them appeared by any other means;* to bave animated a few young gentlemen into worthy pursuits, who will be a glory to our age; and at all times, and by all possible means in my power, undermined the interest of ignorance, vice, and folly, and attempted to substitute in their stead learning, piety, and good sense. It is from this honest heart that I find myself honoured as a gentleman-usher to the arts and sciences. Mr. Tickell and Mr. Pope have, it seems, this idea of me. The former has writ me an excellent paper of verses, in praise, forsooth, of myself; and the other enclosed for my perusal an admirable poem,t which I hope will shortly see the light. In the mean time I cannot suppress any thought of his, but insert this sentiment about the dying words of Adrian. I will not determine in the case he mentions; but have thus much to say in favour of his argument, that many of his own works, which I have seen, convince me that very pretty and very sublime sentiments may be lodged in the same bosom without diminution to its greatness.
“ MR. SPECTATOR, “ I was the other day in company with five or six men of some learning where, chancing to mention the famous verses which the emperor Adrian spoke on his death-bed, they were all agreed that it was a piece of gaiety unworthy that prince in those circumstances. I could not but dissent from this opinion. Methinks it was by no means a gay but a very serious soliloquy to his soul at the point of his departure ; in which sense I naturally took the verses at my first reading them, when I was very young, and before I knew what interpretation the world generally put
+ The Temple of Fame.
Animula vagula, blandula,
Nec (ut soles) dabis joca! “Alas, my soul; thou pleasing companion of this body, thou fleeting thing that art now deserting it, whither art thou flying ? to what unknown region? Thou art all trembling, fearful, and pensive. Now what is become of thy former wit and humour? Thou shalt jest and be gay no more.'
“I confess I cannot apprehend where lies the trifling in all this; it is the most natural and obvious reflection imaginable to a dying man: and, if we consider the emperor was a heathen, that doubt concerning the future fate of his soul will seem so far from being the effect of want of thought, that it was scarce reasonable he should think otherwise : not to mention that here is a plain confession included of his belief in its immortality. The diminutive epithets of vagula, blandula, and the rest, appear not to me as expressions of levity, but rather of endearment and concern: 'such as we find in Catullus, and the authors of Hendecasyllabi after him, where they are used to express the utmost love and tenderness for their mistresses. If you think me right in my notion of the last words of Adrian, be pleased to insert this in the Spectator; if not, to sup
" I am,
" TO THE SUPPOSED AUTHOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
“In courts licentious, and a shameless stage,
Thy spotless thoughts unshocked the priest may hear,
From felon gamesters the raw 'squire is free,
The brainless stripling, who, expell’d to town,
Such readers scorn'd, thou wing'st thy daring flight
Such hints alone could British Virgil lend,
Permit these lines by thee to live--nor blame
So some weak shoot, which else would poorly rise,
* Mr. Tickell here alludes to Steele's papers against the sharpers, &c. in the Tatler, and particularly to a letter in Tat. No. 73, signed Will Trusty, and written by Mr. John Hughes. + Viscount Bolingbroke.
A compliment to Addison. By Mr. Thomas Tickell.
“ To The SpectaTOR-GENERAL. “ Mr. John Sly humbly sheweth, “ That upon reading the deputation given to the said Mr. John Sly, all persons passing by his observatory, behaved themselves with the same decorum as if your honour yourself had been present.
“ That your said officer is preparing, according to your honour's secret instructions, hats for the several kinds of heads that make figures in the realms of Great Britain, with cocks significant of their powers and faculties.
“ That your said officer has taken due notice of your instructions and admonitions concerning the internals of the head from the outward form of the same. His hats for men of the faculties of law and physic do but just turn up, to give a little life to their sagacity: his military hats glare full in the face; and he has prepared a familiar easy cock for all good companions between the above-mentioned extremes. For this end he has consulted the most learned of his acquaintance for the true form and dimensions of the lepidlum caput, and made a hat fit for it.
“ Your said officer does farther represent, That the young divines about town are many of them got into the cock military, and desires your instructions therein.
" That the town has been for several days very well behaved, and farther your said officer saith not.”
N° 533. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 1712.
Immo duas dabo, inquit ille, uni si parùm est;
“ TO THE SPECTATOR.
COU have often given us very excellent discourses
against that unnatural custom of parents, in forcing their children to marry contrary to their inclinations. My own case, without farther preface, I will lay before you, and leave you to judge of it. My father and mother both