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possessing a fund of knowledge, and an extent of ability, which might have adorned the most exalted station. But it was in the social circle of his friends that he appeared to the highest advantage ; there the native benignity of his soul diffused, as it were a kindly influence on all around him, while his conversation never failed at once to amuse and to instruct. Not many months
ago I paid him a visit at his seat in a remote part of the kingdom. I found him engaged in embellishing a place, of which I had often heard him talk with rapture, and the beauties of which I found his partiality had not exaggerated. He shewed me all the improvements he had made, and pointed out those he meant to make. He told me all his schemes and all his projects. And, while I live, I must ever retain a warm remembrance of the pleasure I then enjoyed in his society.
The day I meant to set out on my return, he was seized with a slight indisposition, which he seemed to think somewhat serious; and, indeed, if he had a weakness, it consisted in rather too great anxiety with regard to his health. I remained with him till he thought himself almost perfectly recovered ; and, in order to avoid the unpleasant ceremony of taking leave, I resolved to steal away early in the morning, before any of the family should be astir. About daybreak I got up, and let myself out. At the door I found an old and favourite dog of my friend's, who immediately came and fawned upon me. He walked with me through the park. At the gate he stopped, and looked up wishfully in my face ; and, though I do not well know how to account for it, I felt at that moment when I parted with the faithful animal, a degree of tenderness, joined with a melancholy so pleasing, that I had no inclination to check it. In that frame of mind I walked on (for I had ordered my horses to wait me at the first stage) until I reached the summit of a hill, which I knew commanded the last view I should have of the habi. tation of my friend. I turned to look back on the delightful scene. As I looked, the idea of the owner came full into my mind; and, while I contemplated his many virtues and numberless amiable qualities, a suggestion arose, if he should be cut off, what an irreparable loss it would be to his family, to his friends, and to society. In vain I endeavoured to combat this melancholy foreboding, by reflecting on the uncommon vigour of his constitution, and the fair prospect it afforded of his enjoying many days. The impression still recurred, and it was some considerable time before I had strength of mind sufficient to conquer it.
I had not been long at home when I received accounts of his being attacked by a violent distemper, and in a few days after I learned that it had put an end to his life.
This blow, for a time, unmanned me quite. Even now, the chief consolation I find, is in the society of a few chosen friends. Should they also be torn from me, the world would to me be as a desert ; and, though I should still endeavour to discharge my duty in that station which Providence has assigned me in life, I should never cease to look forward, not without impatience, to those peaceful mansion3 where the weary are at rest, and where only we can hope to meet again with those from whom we have been parted by the inexorable hand of death.
No. XCI. TUESDAY, MARCH 21.
Non quia, Maecenas, Lydorum quidquid Etruscos
IN estimating the conduct of men, we naturally take into account, not only the merit or blame of their actions abstractedly considered, but also that portion of either which those actions derive from the situation of the persons performing them. Besides the great moral laws by which every man is bound, particular ranks and circumstances have their peculiar obligations; and he who attains elevation of place, or extent of fortune, encreases not only the pleasure he has to enjoy, but the duties he has to perform. This, however, moralists have always complained, is apt to be forgotten ; the great are ever ready to exercise power, and the rich to purchase pleasure : but the first are not always mindful of benignity, nor the latter of beneficence.
In the lighter duties of life the same rule takes place, and is, in the same manner, but little attended to. In these, indeed, it is more liable to be disregarded from an idea of its unimportance. Yet, to ine little and the poor, the behaviour of the great or the rich is often as essential as their conduct. There may be tyranny and injustice in the one as well as in the other; nay, I have known many men who could forgive the oppression of the powerful, and the encroachments of the wealthy, in more ma, terial instances, who never could pardon the haughtiness of their demeanour, and the fastidiousness of their air.
It is strange, methinks, that the desire of depressing the humble, and overawing the modest, should be so common as it is among those on whom birth or station has conferred superiority. One might wonder how it should ever happen, that people should prefer being feared to being loved, to spread around them the chillness of unsocial grandeur, rather than the warmth of reciprocal attachment. Yet, from the pride of folly, or of education, we find this is often the case ; there is scarce any one who cannot recollect instances of persons who seem to have exchanged all the pleasures of society, all intercourse of the affections, for the cold pre-eminence of state and place.
But, in the ideas of their power, it is proper to inform such persons, they are frequently mistaken. It must be on a mind very contemptible indeed, that mere greatness can have the effects they are apt to ascribe to it. They cannot blast with a frown, or elevate with a smile, from rank or station alone, without some other qualities attending them. It is with rank and station, as an acquaintance of mine, somewhat of a coxcomb, though a better thing from nature, observed to me of dress : “ Every man,' said he, looking at himself in a mirror, “every man “ can put on a fine coat ; but it is not every man 6 who can wear one."
It is by no means so easy to co the honours of a high station, as many who attain high stations are apt to imagine. The importance of a man to him. self is a feeling common to all ; to settle with propriety the claims of others, as well as of ourselves, requires no inconsiderable degree of discernment; and the jealousy of inferior stations in this matter, will criticise with the utmost nicety the determinations of their superiors. In proportion as the great claim respect or adulation, the spirit of those beneath them will commonly refuse it. We see daily examples of men, who go on arrogating dignity, and procuring contempt; who meet with slights where they demand respect, and are refused even the attention to which they are entitled, because they would impose attention rather than receive it:
But it is not always by haughtiness of demeanour that people shew themselves most haughty. There is a claim of superiority, amidst the condescension of some men, infinitely more disgusting than the distant dignity of ordinary pride. Somebody has called the part which the inferiors of such people play, “ holding the lower end of familiarity." Orgilias keeps a pack of these endholders constantly about him. He calls them by their names, as he does his hounds; they open at his jests, follow the scent of every observation he makes; and run down every character he attacks. For all this he rewards them exactly as he does his favourite dogs, by allowing them to dirty bis parlour, and feed at his table ; and, like the master of many a pack, he is despised by all his neighbours who have understanding, and hated by all those who want it.
Nothing is more difficult than the art of a patron , the power of patronising is but one ingredient in its composition. A patron must be able to read man. kind, and to conciliate their affections ; he inust be so deserving of praise as to be independent of it; yet receive it as if he had no claim, and give it value where it is just, by resisting aclulation. He must have that dignity of demeanour which may keep his place in the circle ; yet that gentleness which may not overpower the most timid, or overawe the meaniest. If he patronises the arts, he must know and feel them ; yet he must speak to the learned as a learners and often submit the correcta ness of his taste to the errors of genius. With so many qualifications tequisite for a patron, it is not wonderful that so few should arise ; or that the