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ideas as when I look upon that excellent woman. If the dear countenance be a little faded, it is chiefly caused by watching me when ill. I tell you sincerely, I have so many obligations to her that I cannot, with any sort of moderation, think of her present state of health. As to what you say of fifteen!—she gives me, every day, pleasures far beyond what I ever knew in the possession of her beauty when I was in the vigour of youth. Every moment brings me fresh instances of her complacency to my inclinations, and her providence in regard to my affairs. Her face is to me much more beautiful than when first I saw it; there is no decay, in any feature, which I cannot trace from the very instant it was occasioned by some anxious concern for my welfare and interests. Thus the love I conceived towards her for what she was, is heightened by my gratitude for what she is. The love of a wife is as much above the idle passion, commonly called by that name, as the loud laughter of buffoons is inferior to the elegant mirth of gentlemen. Oh! she is an inestimable jewel in her examination and management of her household affairs she shows a certain fearfulness to find a fault, which makes her servants obey her like children, and the humblest we have has an ingenuous shame for an offence, not always to be seen in children, in other families.'
1 Tatler, No. 95.; and read the rest of this beautiful number.
Oh marriage! — happiest, easiest, safest state;
How can the savage call it loss of freedom,
Thus to converse with, thus to gaze at
Blush not, my fair one, that thy love applauds thee,
Nor be it painful to my wedded wife,
That my full heart o'erflows in praise of thee.
1 Haywood's Plays. See Tatler, No. 49.
HONOUR thy father with thy whole heart, and forget not the sorrows of thy mother.
Remember that thou wast begotten of them, and how canst thou recompense them the things that they have done for thee.
My son, help thy father in his age, and grieve him not, as long as he liveth.
And, if his understanding fail, have patience with him, and despise him not, when thou art in thy full strength.
The longer we live, and the more we think, the higher value ought we to put on the friendship and tenderness of parents.'
Parents we can have but once.
Oh, cast thou not
Christianity commandeth us to cast out of our hearts all spite and rancour, all envy and malignity, all pride and haughtiness, all evil suspicion and
jealousy; to restrain our tongue from all slander, all detraction, all reviling, all bitter and harsh language; to banish from our practice whatever may injure, may hurt, may needlessly vex or trouble our neighbour. It engageth us to prefer the public good before any private convenience, before our own opinion or humour, our credit or fame, our profit or advantage, our ease or pleasure; rather discarding a less good from ourselves, than depriving others of a greater.1
Whatever mitigates the woes or increases the happiness of others, this is my criterion of goodness; and whatever injures society at large, or any individual in it, this is my measure of iniquity.2
If God be the father of all things, they are all thence, in some sort, our brethren; we are then, surely, obliged to an universal benevolence; to be kind and compassionate, to be helpful and beneficial to all, so far as our capacity reacheth; we are to endeavour, as we can, to preserve the order, and promote the welfare of the world, and of all things in it: even, upon this score, the meanest of God's creatures is not to be despised, the vilest worm is not to be misused by us, since even it is the work of His hands, and the subject of His care; yea, the object of His kindness, who is good to all, and whose tender mercies are over all His works.
One should not destroy an insect, one should not
Barrow, ii. fol. Serm. XVI.
2 Burns (Letter to Mrs. Dunlop). 3 Barrow, ii. fol. Serm. X.
quarrel with a dog, without a reason sufficient to vindicate one through all the courts of morality.'
I was glad, says Horace Walpole, to hear the brave Admiral Sir Charles Wager say, that, in his whole life, he never killed a fly."
I consider very testy and quarrelsome people in the same light as I do a loaded gun, which may by accident go off and kill us.3.
There are persons who slide insensibly into a habit of contradiction. Their first endeavour, upon hearing aught asserted, is to discover wherein it may be possibly disputed. This, they imagine, gives an air of great sagacity; and, if they can mingle a jest with contradiction, think they display great superiority. One should be cautious against the advances of this kind of propensity, which loses us friends, generally in a matter of no consequence.*
They are not the striking, dazzling qualities in men and women that make happy. Good sense and solid judgment, a natural complacency of temper, a desire of obliging, and an easiness to be obliged, procure the silent, the serene happiness, to which the flattering, tumultuous, impetuous fervours of passion can never contribute."
Mirth, however insipid, will occasion smiles, though sometimes to the disadvantage of the mirthful; but gloom, severity, and moroseness will disgust even in a Solomon."
1 Goldsmith (Detached Thoughts). 3 Goldsmith (Detached Thoughts). 5 Sir Charles Grandison, iii. 143.
2 Corr. iv. 229.