« VorigeDoorgaan »
height of youth and amorous inclinations, he would look upon a coquette with the same contempt or indifference as he would upon a coxcomb : the wanton carriage in a woman would disappoint her of the admiration which she aims at ; and the vain dress or discourse of a man would destroy the comeliness of his shape, or goodness of his understanding. I say the goodness of his underftanding, for is no less common to see men of sense commence coxcombs, than beautiful women become immodeft. When this happens in either, the favour we are naturally inclined to give to the good qualities they have from nature should abate in proportion. But however just it is to measure the value of men by the application of their talents, and not by the eminence of those qualities abstracted from their use; I say, however just such
way of judging is, in all ages as well as this, the contrary has prevailed upon the generality of mankind. How many lewd devices have been preserved from one age to another, which had perifhed as soon as they were made, if painters and sculptors had been esteemed as much for the purpose as the execution of their designs ? Modest and well-governed imaginations have by this means lost the representations of ten thousand charming portraitures, filled with images of innate truth, generous zeal, courageous faith, and tender humanity; instead of which, fatyrs, furies, and monsters are recommended by those arts to a shameful eternity.
The unjust application of laudable talents, is tolerated in the general opinion of men, not only in such cafes as are here mentioned, but also in matters which concern ordinary life. If a lawyer were to be esteemed only as he uses his parts in contending for justice, and were immediately despicable when he appeared in a cause which he could not but know was an unjust one, how honourable would his character be ? and how honourable is it in such among us, who follow the profession no otherwise, than as labouring to protect the injured, to fubdue the oppressor, to imprison the careless debtor, and do right to the painful artificer? but many of this excellent character are overlooked by the greater number; who affect covering a weak place in a client's title, diverting the course of an inquiry, or finding a skilful
refuge to palliate a falsehood ; yet it is still called eloquence in the latter, though thus unjustly employed : but resolution in an affaslin is according to reason quite as laudable, as knowledge and wisdom exercised in the defence of an ill cause.
Were the intention stedfastly considered, as the measure of approbation, all falsehood would soon be out of countenance : and an address in imposing upon mankind, would be as contemptible in one ftate of life another. A couple of courtiers making professions of esteem, would make the fame figure after breach of promife, as two knights of the post convicted of perjury. But conversation is fallen fo low in point of morality, that as they say in a bargain, 'Let the buyer look to it; fo in friendship, he is the man in danger who is most apt to believe : he is the more likely to suffer in the coinmerce, who begins with the obligation of being the mcre ready to enter into it.
But those men only are truly great, who place their ambition rather in acquiring to them felves the conscience of worthy enterprises,
than in the prospect of glory which attends them. These exalted spirits would rather be secretly the authors of events which are serviceable to mankind, than, without being such, to have the public fame of it. Where therefore an eminent merit is robbed by artifice or detraction, it does but increase by such endeavours of its enemies : the impotent pains which are taken to fully it, or diffuse it among a croud to the injury of a fingle person, will naturally produce the contrary effect; the fre will blaze out, and burn up all that attempt to finother what they cannot extinguish.
There is but one thing neceffary to keep the possession of true glory, which is, to hear the opposers of it with patience, and preserve the virtue by which it was acquired. When a man is thoroughly persuaded that he ought neither to admire, wish for, or pursue any thing, but what is exa&ly his duty, it is not in the power of feafons, perfons or accidents, to diminish his value. He only is a great man who can neglect the applause of the multitude, and enjoy himfelf independent of its favour. This is indeed an arduous talk; but it should comfort a glorious fpirit that it is the highest step to which human
nature can arrive. Triumph, applause, acclamation, are dear to the mind of man; but it is still a more exquisite delight to say to yourself, you have done well, than to hear the whole human race pronounce you glorious, except you yourself can join with them in your own reflections. A mind thus equal and uniform may be de. serted by little fashionable admirers and followers, but will ever be had in reverence by fouls like itself. The branches of the oak endure all the seasons of the year, though its leaves fall off in autumn; and these too will be restored with the returning spring.
Tuesday, September 18.
Remove fera monftra, tuæque
Ovid. Met. lib. 5. ver. 216.
N a late paper I mentioned the project of an ingenious author for the erecting of several handicraft prizes : to be contended for by our British artisans, and the influence they might have towards the improvement of our several manufačtures. I have since that been very much surprised with the following advertisement which I find in the Post-Boy of the eleventh instant, and again repeated in the Post-Boy of the fifteenth. ; "ON the ninth of October next will be for
upon · Cole’s-hill-Heath in Warwickshire,a plate of fix guineas ' value, three heats, by any horse, mare, or gelding that ' hath not won above the value of five pounds, the win
ning horse to be sold for ten pounds, to carry ten stone weight, if fourteen hands high; if above or under to carry or be allowed weight for inches, and to be
entered Friday the fifth at the Swan in Cole’s-hill, • before six in the evening. Allo a plate of less value ' to be run for by asses. The same day a gold ring to
be grinned for by men.'
The first of these diversions that is to be exhibited by the ten pounds race-horses, may probably have its use; but the two laft in which the asses and men are concerned, seem to me altogether extraordinary and unaccountable. Why they should keep running asses at Cole's-hill, or how making mouths turns to account in Warwickshire, more than in any other parts of England, I cannot comprehend. I have looked over all the Olynipic games, and do not find any thing in them like an afsrace, or a match at grinning. However it be, I am informed that several asses are now kept in body-clothes, and sweated every morning upon the Heath, and that ali the country-fellows within ten miles of the Swan, gria an hour or two in their glasses every morning, in order to qualify themselves for the ninth of October. "The prize, which is proposed to be grinned for, has raised such an ambition among the common-people of outgrinning one another, that many very difcerning persons are afraid it should spoil most of the faces in the country; and that a Warwickshire man will be known by his grin, as Roman catholics imagine a Kentish man is by his tail. The gold ring which is made the prize of deformity, is just the reverse of the golden apple that was formerly made the prize of beauty, and should carry for its pofy the old motto inverted,
Detur tetriori. Or to accommodate it to the capacity of the combatants,
The frightfull'ít grinner
Be the winner. In the mean while I would advise a Dutch painter to be present at this great controversy of faces, in order to make a collection of the most remarkable grins that shall be there exhibited.
I must not here omit an account which I lately received of one of these grinning-matches from a gentleman, who, upon reading the above-mentioned advertisement, entertained the coffee-house with the following narrative. Upon the taking of Namure, amidst other public rejoicings made on that occasion, there was a gold Ting given by a whig justice of peace to be grinned for.
The first competitor that entered the lists, was a black swarthy Frenchman, who accidentally passed that way, and being a man naturally of a withered look, and hard features,
promised himself good success. He was placed upon a table in the great point of view, and looking upon the company like Milton's Death,
Grinn'd horribly a ghaftly smile His muscles were so drawn together on each fide of his face, that he shewed twenty teeth at a grin, and put the country in some pain, left a foreigner should carry away the honour of the day ; but upon a farther trial they found he was master only of the merry grin.
The next that mounted the table was a malecontent in those days, and a great master in the whole art of grinning, but particularly excelled in the angry grin. He did his part so well, that he is said to have made half a dozen women miscarry į but the justice being apprised by one who stood near him, that the fellow who grinned in his face was a Jacobite, and being unwilling that a disaffected person Thould win the gold ring, and be looked upon as the best grinner in the country, he ordered the oaths to be tendered unto him upon his quirting the table, which the grinner refusing, he was set aside as an unqualified person. There were several other grotesque figures that presented themselves, which it would be too tedious to describe. I must not however omit a ploughman, who lived in the farther part of the country, and being very lucky in a pair of long lanthorn jaws, wrung his face into such an hideous grimace, that every feature of it appeared under a different distortion. The whole company stood astonifhed at such a complicated grin, and were ready to aflign the prize to him, had it not been proved by one of his antagonists, that he had practised with verjuice for some days before, and had a crab found upon him at the very time of grinning; upon which the best judges of grinning declared it as their opinion, that he was not to be looked upon as a fair grinner, and therefore ordered him to be set aside as a cheat.
The prize it seems fell at length upon a cobbler, Giles Gorgon by nanie, who produced several new grins of his own invention, having been used to cut faces for many