« PredošláPokračovať »
Then turning over the leaves, she reads alternately, and speaks,
And you and Loveit to her cost shall find
Oh the fine gentleman! But here, continues she, is the passage I admire most, where he begins to tease Loveit, and mimic Sir Fopling. Oh, the pretty satire, in his resolving to be a coxcomb to please, since noise and nonsense have such powerful charms.
I, that I may successful prove,
Then how like a man of the town, so wild and gay is that!
The wise will find a diff'rence in our fate,
It would have been a very wild endeavour for a man of my temper to offer any opposition to so nimble a speaker as my fair enemy is; but her discourse gave me very many reflections, when I had left her company. Among others, I could not but consider with some attention, the false impressions the generality (the fair sex more especially) have of what should be intended, when they say a fine gentleman;' and could not help revolving that subject in my thoughts, and settling, as it were, an idea of that character in my own imagination.
No man ought to have the esteem of the rest of the world, for any actions which are disagreeable to those maxims which prevail, as the standards of behaviour, in the country wherein he lives. What is opposite to the eternal rules of reason and good sense, must be excluded from any place in the car
riage of a well-bred man. I did not, I confess, explain myself enough on this subject, when I called Dorimant a clown, and made it an instance of it, that he called the orange wench, Double Tripe: I should have shewn, that humanity obliges a gentleman to give no part of human-kind reproach, for what they, whom they reproach, may possibly have in common with the most virtuous and worthy amongst us. When a gentleman speaks coarsely, he has dressed himself clean to no purpose. The clothing of our minds certainly ought to be regarded before that of our bodies. To betray in a man's talk a corrupt imagination, is a much greater offence against the conversation of gentlemen, than any negligence of dress imaginable. But this sense of the matter is so far from being received among people even of condition, that Vocifer even passes for a fine gentleman. He is loud, haughty, gentle, soft, lewd, and obsequious by turns, just as a little understanding and great impudence prompt him at the present moment. He passes among the silly part of our women for a man of wit, because he is generally in doubt. He contradicts with a shrug, and confutes with a certain sufficiency, in professing such and such a thing is above his capacity. What makes his character the pleasanter is, that he is a professed deluder of women; and hecause the empty coxcomb has no regard to any thing that is of itself sacred and inviolable. I have heard an unmarried lady of fortune say, it is a pity so fine a gentleman as Vocifer is so great an atheist. The crowds of such inconsiderable creatures, that infest all places of assembling, every reader will have in his eye from his own observation; but would it not be worth considering what sort of figure a man who formed himself upon those principles among us, which are agreeable to the dictates of honour and religion,
The hounds ran swiftly through the woods
And with their cries the hills and dales
·Vocat ingenti clamore Citharon
GEORG. ii. 43.
Citharon loudly calls me to my way;
Lo, yonder doth Earl Douglas come,
All men of pleasant Tividale,
The country of the Scotch warriors, described in these two last verses, has a fine romantic situation, and If the affords a couple of smooth words for verse. reader compares the foregoing six lines of the song with the following Latin verses, he will see how much they are written in the spirit of Virgil:
Adversi campo apparent, hastasque reductis
EN. xi. 605. vii. 682, 712.
Advancing in a line, they couch their spears
With those who plow Saturnia's Gabine land:
The rocks of Hernicus-besides a band,
But to proceed :
Earl Douglas on a milk-white steed,
Rode foremost of the company,
Turnus ut antevolans tardum præcesserat agmen, &c.
Our English archers bent their bows,
Full threescore Scots they slew.
No slackness there was found;
Lay gasping on the ground.
With that there came an arrow keen
Which struck Earl Douglas to the heart,
Eneas was wounded after the same manner by an unknown hand in the midst of a parley.
Has inter voces, media inter talia verba,
ÆN. xii. 318.
Thus, while he spake, unmindful of defence,
would make in the familiar and ordinary occurrences of life?
I hardly have observed any one fill his several duties of life better than Ignotus. All the under parts of his behaviour, and such as are exposed to common observation, have their rise in him from great and noble motives. A firm and unshaken expectation of another life makes him become this; humanity and good-nature, fortified by the sense of virtue, has the same effect upon him, as the neglect of all goodness has upon many others. Being firmly established in all matters of importance, that certain inattention which makes men's actions look easy, appears in him with greater beauty: by a thorough contempt of little excellencies, he is perfectly master of them. This temper of mind leaves him under no necessity of studying his air, and he has this peculiar distinction, that his negligence is unaffected.".
He that can work himself into a pleasure in considering this being as an uncertain one, and think to reap an advantage by its discontinuance, is in a fair way of doing all things with a graceful unconcern, and a gentleman-like ease. Such a one does not behold his life as a short, transient, perplexing state, made up of trifling pleasures and great anxieties; but sees it in quite another light; his griefs are momentary and his joys immortal. Reflection upon death is not a gloomy and sad thought of resigning every thing that he delights in, but it is a short night followed by an endless day. What I would here contend for is, that the more virtuous the man is, the nearer he will naturally be to the character of genteel and agreeable. A man whose fortune is plentiful, shews an ease in his countenance, and confidence in his behaviour, which he that is under wants and difficulties cannot assume. It is thus with the