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XII. On Pride, IF there be any thing, which makes human nature apo
pear ridiculous to beings of superiour faculties, it must be pride. They know to well the vanity of those ima. ginary perfections that swell the heart of man, and of those little supernumerary advantages, whether in birth, fortune, or title, which one man enjoys above another, that it mult certainly very much aitonish, if it does not very much divert them, when they see a mortal puffed up, and valuing himself above his neighbours on any of these accounts, at the same time that he is obnoxious to all the common calamities of the species.
To set this thought in its true light; we will fancy, if you pleafe, that yonder mole hill is inhabited by rea, Tonable creatures, and that every pismire (his fhape and way of Tife only excepted) is endowed with human pafsions. How Abonld we (mile to hear one give us an account of the pedigrees, distinctions, and titles that reign among them? Observe how the whole fwarm dia. vide and make way for the pismire that passes through them ! you must understand he is an emmet of qua lity, and has better blood in his veins than any pif. mire in the male-hill. Don't you see how sensible he is of it, how flow he marches forward, how the whole rabble of ants keep their distance ? here you may obServe one placed upon a little eminence, and looking down on a long row of labourers. He is the - richest infect on this fide the hillock, he has a walk of half a yard in length and a quarter of an inch in breadth, he keeps an hundred menial servants, and has at least fifteen barley.corns in his granary. He is now chiding and bedaving the emmet that stands before him, and who, for all that we can discover, "is as good an emmet as himself,
But here comes an infect of figure ! Don't you take Dotice of a little white straw that he carries in his mouth? That straw, you must understand, he would not part with for the longest tract about the mole-hill: did you but know what he has undergone to purchase it! Sec how the ants of all qualities and conditions swarm about him. Should this straw drop out of his mouth, you
would kee all this numerous circle of attendants follow the next that took it up, and leave the discarded infect, or run over his back to come at his successor.
If now you have a mind to see all the ladies of the mole-hill, obterve first the pismire that listens to the emmet on her left hand, at the same time that fhe seems to turn away her head from him. He tells this poor insect that she is a goddess, that her eyes are brighter than the fun, that life and death are at her disposal. She believes him, and gives herself a thouland little airs upon it. Mark the vanity of the pismire on your left hand. She can scarce crawl with age ; but you must know the values herlelf upon her birth; and if you mind, spurns at every one that comes within her reach. The little nimble coquette that is running along by the side of her, is a wit. . She has broke many a pismire's heart.. Do but observe what a drove of lovers are running after her.
We will here finish this imaginary scene, but first of all, to draw the parallel closer, will suppose, if you please, that death comes down upon the mole-hill, in the shape of a cock-sparrow, who picks up, without distinction, the pisinire of quality and his flatterers, the pismire of substance and his day-labourers, the white-straw officer and his sycophants, with all the goddesses, wits, and beau. ties of the mole-hill..
May we not imagine that beings of fuperiour natures and perfections regard all the instances of pride and vanity, among our own species, in the same kind of view, when they take a survey of those who inhabit the eartli; or, in the language of an ingenious French poet, of those pifmires that people this heap of dirt, whieli human yanity has divided into climates and regions ?
XIII. Journal of the Life of Alexander Severus. Alexander rose early. The first moments of the day
were consecrated to private devotion : but, as he deemed the fervice of mankind the most acceptable wor= ship of the gods, the greatest part of his morning hours was employed in council; where he discussed pablic affairs, and determined private caufes, with a patience and discretion above his years. The dryness of business was enlivened by the charms of literature ; and a portion of time was always fet apart for his favourite ftu
dies of poetry, history, and philosophy. The works of Virgil and Horace, the republics of Plato and Cicero, formed his taste, enlarged his understanding, and gave him the noblest ideas of man and of government. The exercises of the body succeeded to those of the mind ; and Alexander, who was tall, active, and robust, fur. passed most of his equals in the gymnastic arts. Refreshed by the use of the bath, and a flight dinner, he refumed, with new vigour, the business of the day ; and, till the hour of supper, the principal meal of the Romans, he was attended by his secretaries, with whom he read and answered the multitude of letters, memorials, and petitions, that must have been addressed to the master of the greatest part of the world. His table was served with the most frugal simplicity; and whenever he was at liberty to consult his own inclination, the company consisted of a few select friends, men of learning and virtue. His dress was plain and modest; his demeanour courteous and affable. At the proper hours, kis palace was open to all his subjects: but the voice of a crier was heard, as in the. Eleusinian mysteries, pronouncing the fame falutary admonition, " Let none enter these holy walls, unless he is conscious of a pure and innocent mind."
XIV. Character of Julius Cæfar. CESAR was endowed with every great and noble qua.
lity that could exalt human nature, and give a man the ascendant in society : formed to excel in peace as well as war, provident in counsel, fearless in action, and executing what he had refolved with an amazing celerity ; generous beyond measure to his friends, placable to his enemies; and for parts, learning, eloquence, scarce inferiour to any man. His orations were admired for two qualities, which are seldom found together, strength and elegance. Cicero ranks him among the greatest orators that Rome ever bred; and Quintilian says, that he spoke with the same force with which he fought; and if he had devoted himself to the bar, would have been the only man capable of rivalling Cicero. Nor was he a master only of the politer arts, but conversant also with the molt abftrufe and critical parts of learning; and among other works which he published, addressed two books to Cicero on the analogy of language, or the art of speaking and writing correctly. He was a most liberal patron of wit and learning, wherefoever they were found; and out of his love of those talents, would readily pardon those who had employed them against him. felf; rightly judging, that by making fuch men his friends, he should draw praises from the same fountain from which he had been aspersed. His capital passions were ambition and love of pleasure ; wlich he indulged in their turns to the greatest excefs: yet the first was always predominant; to which he could easily sacrifice all the charms of the second, and draw pleasure even from toils and dangers, when they ministered to his glory. For he thought Tyranny, as Cicero says, the greatest of goddesses, and had frequently in his mouth a verse of Euripides, which expressed the image of his foul, That if right and justice were ever to be violated, they were to be violated for the sake of reigning. This was the chief end and purpose of his life ; the scheme that he had formed from his early youth: fo that, as Cato truly declared of him, he came with sobriety and Ineditation to the fubversion of the republic. He used to say, that there were two things neceffary to acquire and to support power-soldiers and money ; which yet depended mutually on each other: with money, therefore, he provided soldiers, and with soldiers extorted money; and was, of all men, the most rapacious ini plundering both friends and foes ; sparing reither prince nor state, nor temple, nor even private persons, who were known to poffefs any share of treasure. His great abi. lities would necessarily have made him one of the first citizens of Rome; but, disdaining the condition of a subject, he could never rest till he had made himlelf a monarch. In acting this last part, his usual prudence seemed to fail him; as if the height to which he was mounted had turned his head, and made him giddy : for, by a vain ostentation of his power, he ciestroyed the stability of it; and, as men shorten life by riving too faft, fo, by an inteirperance of reigning, he brought his reign to a violent end.
XV. On Mifpent Time. I was yesterday comparing the industry of man with
that of other creatures ; in which I could not but ob. serve, that, not withitanding we are obliged by duty to keep ourselves in constant employ, after the fame man. ner as inferiour animals are prompted to it by instinct, we fall very hort of them in this particular. We are here the more inexcusable, because there is a greater variety of bufiness to which we may apply ourselves Reason opens to us a large field of affairs, which other creatures are not capable of. Beasts of prey, and, I believe; of all other kinds in their natural state of being, divide their time between action and rest. They are always at work or afleep. In fhort, their waking hours are wholly taken up in feeking after their food, or in consuming it. The human fpecies only, to the great reproach of our paturés, are filled with complaints, that * the day hangs heavy on them,” that “ they do not know what to do with themselves," that " they are at a loss how to pass away their time;" with many of the like fhameful murmurs, which we often find in the mouths of those who are styled reasonable beings. How monstrous are such expressions among creatures who have the labours of the mind, as well as those of the body, to furnish them with proper employments; who, besides the business of their proper callings and proferfions, can apply themselves to the dnties of religion, tó meditation, to the reading of useful books, to discourse; in a word, who may exercise themselves in the unbounded pursuits of knowledge and virtue, and every hour of their lives make themselves wiser or better than they were before !
· After having been taken up for some time in this course of thought, I diverted.myfelf with a book, according to my usual custom, in order to unbend my mind before I went to sleep. The book I made use of on this occasion was Lucian, where I amused my thoughts for about an hour among the dialogues of the dead ; which in all probability produced the following dream.
I was conveyed, inethought, into the entrance of the infernal regions, where I law Rhadamanthus, one of