« ForrigeFortsæt »
No. 163. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17.
-miserum est uliená vivere quadrá. When I am disposed to give myself a day's rest, I order the lion to be opened, and search into that magazine of intelligence for such letters as are to my purpose. The first I looked into comes to me from one who is chaplain to a great family. He treats himself in the beginning of it
, after such a manner, as I am persuaded no man of sense would treat him. Even the lawyer and physician to 'a man of quality expect to be used like gentlemen, and much more may any one of so superior a profession. I am by no means for encouraging that dispute, whether the chaplain or the master of the house be the better man, and the more to be respected. The two learned authors, Dr. Hicks and Mr. Collier, to whom I might add several others, are to be excused if they have carried the point a little too high in favour of the chaplain, since, in so corrupt an age as that we live in, the popular opinion runs so far into the other extreme. The only controversy, between the patron and the chaplain, ought to be, which should promote the good designs and interests of each other most; and, for my own part, I think it is the happiest circumstance, in a great estate or title, that it qualifies a man for chusing, out of such a learned and valuable body of men as that of the English clergy, a friend, a spiritual guide, and a companion. The letter I have received from one of this order, is as follows,
I HOPE you will not only indulge me in the liber. ty of two or three questions, but also in the solution of them.
“I have had the honour, many years, of being chaplain to a noble family, and of being accounted the
highest servant in the house, either out of respect to my cloth, or because I lie in the uppermost garret.
“ Whilst my old lord lived, his table was always adorned with useful learning and innocent mirth, as well as covered with plenty. I was not looked upon as a piece of furniture fit only to sanctify and garnish a feast, but treated as a gentleman, and generally desired to fill up the conversation an hour after I had done my duty. But now my young lord is come to the estate, I find I am looked upon as a censor morum, an obstacle to mirth and talk, and suffered to retire constantly, with prosperity to the church in my mouth. I declare solemnly, Sir, that I have heard nothing, from all the fine gentlemen who visit us, more remarkable, for half a year, than that one young lord was seven times drunk at Genoa, and another had an affair with a famous courtesan at Venice. I have lately taken the liberty to stay three or four rounds beyond the church, to see what topics of discourse they went upon, but, to my great surprise, have hardly heard a word all the time besides the toasts. Then they all stare full in my face, and show all the actions of uneasiness till I am gone. Immediately upon my departure, to use the words in an old comedy, I find, by the noise they make, that they had a mind to be private. I am at a loss to imagine what conversation they have among one another, which I may not be present at, since I love innocent mirth as much as any of them, and am shocked with no freedoms whatsoever, which are consistent with Christianity. I have, with much ado, maintained my post hitherto at the dessert, and every day eat tart in the face of my patron; but how long I shall be invested with this privilege I do not know. For the servants, who do not see me supported as I was in my old lord's time, begin to brush very familiary by me, and thrust aside my chair, when they set the sweetmeats on the table. I have been born and educated a gentleman, and desire you will make the public sensible, that the Christian priesthood was never thought in any age or country to debase the man who is a member of it. Among the great services which your useful papers daily do to religion, this perhaps will not be the least, and will lay a very great obligation on your unknown servant,
“ G. W.”
Docebit et tuos
Cum lacte literas
Jam te juvaverit
Dum grata te fodet.
Dum plectra personat,
Et voce (quâ nec est
Apollo que velit
Jam te juvaverit
Docto tamen dies
Non absque gratiis
Ab ore melleo
Quæ vel patrem queat
(Qua nulla charior
Unquam fuit putri,
Fuisse Tullium :
Talisque quæ tulit
Gracchos duos fuit,
Quæ quos tulit, bonis
Nec profuit minus
Magistra quàm parens.
The sense of this elegant description is as follows:
“May you meet with a wife who is not always stupidly silent, nor always prattling nonsense! May she be learned, if possible, or at least capable of being made so! A woman thus accomplished will be always drawing sentences and maxims of virtue out of the best authors of antiquity. She will be herself in all changes of fortune, neither blown up in prosperity, nor broken with adversity. You will find in her an even, cheerful, good-humoured friend, and an agreeable companion for life. She will infuse knowledge into your children with their milk, and from their infancy train them up to wisdom.
Whatever company you are engaged in, you will long to be at home, and retire with delight from the society of men, into the bosom of one who is so dear, so knowing, and so amiable. If she touches her lute, or sings to it any of her own compositions, her voice will soothe you in your solitudes, and sound more sweetly in your ear than that of the nightingale. You will waste with pleasure whole days and nights in her conversation, and be. ever finding out new beauties in her discourse. · She will keep your mind in perpetual serenity, restrain its mirth from being dissolute, and prevent its mclancholy from being painful.
“ Such was doubtless the wife of Orpheus; for who would have undergone what he did to have recovered a foolish bride? Such was the daughter of Ovid, who was his rival in poetry. Such was Tullia, as she is celebrated by the most learned and the most fond of fathers. And such was the mother of the two Gracchi, who is no less famous for having been their instructor than their parent.
No. 165. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19.
Decipit exemplar, vitiis imitabileIt is a melancholy thing to see a coxcomb at the head of a family. He scatters infection through the whole house. His wife and children have always their eyes upon him; if they have more sense than himself, they are out of countenance for him; if less, they submit their understandings to him, and make daily improvements in folly and impertinence. I have been very often secretly concerned, when I have seen a circle of pretty children cramped in their natural parts, and prattling even below themselves, while they are talking after a couple of silly parents. The dullness of a father often extinguishes a genius in the son, or gives such a wrong cast to his mind, as it is hard for him ever to wear off. In short, where the head of a family is weak, you hear the repetitions of his insipid pleasantries, shallow conceits, and topical points of mirth, in every member of it. His table, his fire side, his parties of diversion, are all of them so many standing scenes of folly.
This is one reason why I would the more recommend the improvements of the mind to my female readers, that a family may have a double chance for it, and if it meets with weakness in one of the heads, may have it made up in the other. It is indeed an unhappy circumstance in a family, where the wife has