Billeder på siden


praise, and made himself the more deserving of it by his motives for refusing it. Make, says he, a pavegyric upon the commanders of old, that what they have done may teach us what we should do. For it is a jest to speak in praise of a man that is alive, and especially a prince; it is not to commend him for doing well, but to flatter him in hopes of a re

For my own part, I should chuse to be beloved whilst I live, and praised when I am dead.

Those, [c] (says M. Nicole in his moral essays) “ who have heard the two greatest officers of this age

(M. le Prince, and M. de Turenne) talk of the war, “ have always been ravished with the modesty of their “ discourse. No body ever observed the least word “ to fall from them upon this subject, which could be “suspected of vanity. They have been ever seen to “ do justice to all the world besides, and never to " themselves; and one would often imagine, when

they heard them give an account of battles, in which " their valour and conduct had the greatest share, “ either that they had not been present, or that they “ had been only idle spectators. Those persons, “ whom we see so full of occasions wherein they

have signalized themselves, as to deafen all the

world with their accounts of thein, as in the case “ of Cicero's consulship, do thereby shew, that vir

tue is scarce natural to them, and that they have “ been obliged to take a great deal of pains to work up

their souls to the condition they are so glad to " appear in. But there is far more greatness in mak“ing no reflection upon our greatest actions, so that " they may seem to fall from us with no constraint, "and spring so naturally from the disposition of our

souls, that it does not observe them."


TION OF OTIIERS, [] Scipio Africanus, that he might procure his brother the command in the important war which was

[c] Second Traité de la Charité [4] Liv. l. 37 & de l'Amour propre, cha. 5.

to a

to be made against Antiochus the great, engaged to serve under him, as one of his lieutenants. In this subaltern post, he was so far from endeavouring to divide the honour of the victory with his brother, that he made it both a duty and a pleasure to leave the glory of it entirely to him, and to make him his equal in every respect, by the defeat of an enemy no less formidable than Hannibal ; and by the title of Asiaticus, as glorious as that of Africanus.

[e] M. Aurelius, from a like delicacy, and as generous a disregard of glory, denied himself the pleasure of attending upon his daughter Lucilla into the east, whom he married to Lucius Verus, at that time engaged in the war with Parthia, lest his presence should check the growing reputation of his son-inlaw, and seem to draw upon himself the honour of putting an end to that important war to the other's prejudice.

We know with what fidelity and submission [f] Cyrus referred all the glory of his exploits to his uncle and father-in-law Cyaxeres ; with what carefulness [g] Agricola, who completed the conquest of Britain, honoured his superiors with all his successes; and with what modesty he gave up part of his own reputation to advance theirs.

[h] Plutarch gives an account of the moderation of his conduct in the discharge of the commisson he was entrusted with by his own city, who had sent him as their deputy to the proconsul of the province. His colleague being obliged to stay behind by the way, he discharged the commission alone, and succeeded in it. At his return, when upon the point of giving a public account of his deputation, his father advised him not to speak of himself in his own name as single, but as though his colleague had been present, and they had concerted and executed the whole together. And his motive for giving him this wise advice was, because [e] Vit. M. Aurel.

[g] Tacit. in Vit. Agric. [5] Xenoph. in Cyrop,

[b] Plut. in Præc. Reip. Ger.

such [i] ου γαρ μόνον επιεικες το τοι- [l] Efficiebat, ut inter quos tanta TOP By Donávb wspóv isov, aarà xe cò laudis esset æmulatio, nulla interλυπυν τον φθόνον αφαιρεί της δόξης. cederet obtrectatio, essetque ralium

[i] such a procedure was not only equitable and humane, but would lessen the glory of the success, which usually afflicts and enflames envy.

[li] What Tully says of the perfect union which subsisted betwixt him and Hortensius, and the mutual care they took to assist one another at the bar, to communicate reciprocally what they knew, and to promote each other's credit, is a very rare example in persons of the same profession, and at the same time very worthy of imitation. [1] An historian observes, that Atticus their common friend was the band of this intimate union; and it was by his means that the emulation of glory, in these two famous orators, was not impaired by any mean sentiments of envy and jealousy.

[m] Lelius, the intimate friend of the second Scipio, had twice pleaded in a very important cause, and the judges had twice ordered a more ample enquiry. The parties exhorting him not to be discouraged, he persuaded thein to put their affair intothe hands of Galba, who was a fitter person than he to plead for thein, as he spoke with more force and vehemence. In short, Galba, at a single hearing, carried all the voices, and absolutely gained his cause. Such a disinterested disposition in point of reputation must be owned to have something very great in it. But, says Cicero, it was then customary to do justice to another's merit without scruple. Erat omnino tum mos, ut faciles essent in suum cuique tribuendo.

I have always admired the ingenuity and candour of Virgil, who was under no apprehension, by introducing Horace to Mæcenas, of raising himself a rival, that might contend with him for wit and genius; and if not entirely carry away, at least divide with him the favours and good graces of their common protec

[k] Semper alter ab altero adju- virorum copula. Corn. Nep. in Vit. tus, & communicando, & monen- Attic. cap. 5. do, & favendo. Brut, n. 3.

[m] De Clar. Orat. n. 85–88.


tor. But, says Horace, we do not live thus at Mæcenas's. Never was house more removed from such mean sentiments than his, nor a purer and more noble manner of living any where practised. The merit and credit of one never gives offence to another. Every one has his place, and is content with it.

Non isto vivimus illic, Quo tu rere, modo. Domus hâc nec purior ulla est, Nec magis his aliena malis. Nil mi officit unquam, Ditior hic, aut est quia doctior. Est locus uni Cuique suus [n].




[o] There are some occasions, in which an honest man is obliged to sacrifice his reputation to preserve his virtue; to give up his glory for a time, that he may not part with his conscience, and march with a firm resolution where duty calls him amidst reproach and infamy, by courageously despising the contemptthrown upon him. Nothing is a greater sign of a steady adherence to virtue, than a sacrifice so generous, and at the same time so repugnant to human nature.

[up] Plutarch observes that Pericles, at a time when all the citizens were crying out against him, and blaming his conduct, like an able pilot, who in a storm regards only the rules of his art for saving the ship, and overlooks the cries, lamentations and prayers of all around him; that Pericles, I say, after having taken all possible precaution for the security of the state, pursued his own scheme, without troubling liimself about the murmurs, complainings, threats, injurious bal

[n] Horat. Sat. 6. lib. i. tiam perderet. Senec. Ep. 81.

[0] Æquissimo animo ad ho. Æquo animo audienda sunt im. nestum consilium per mediam infa- peritorum convicia, & ad honesta miam tendam. Nemo mihi videtur vadenti contemnendus est iste conpluris æstimare virtutem, nemo illi temptus. Id. 76. magis esse devotus, quàm qui boni ] In Vit, Perick. viri famam perdidit, ne conscien


lads, railleries, insults, and accusations thrown out against hiin.

[9] It was a good piece of advice the wise Fabius gave to the consul Paulus Æmilius, as he was setting out for the army. He exhorted him to despise the railleries and unjust reproaches of his colleague, to be above any reports that might be raised to his prejudice, and disregard all the pains that might be taken to disgrace or dishonour hin.

Fabius himself acted in the same manner in the war against Hannibal, and saved the commonwealth. Notwithstanding the great insult he received from Minucius, he rescued him from the hands of Hannibal, [r] setting aside his resentment, and consulting only his zeal for the public good.

These examples are well known, but are scarce followed by any body in these days. Men are not attached to the state by any real ties; they often serve the public out of a view to their private interest. Upon the least disgust they quit the service; and this disgust is often founded upon a false notion of honour, which takes offence'at a very just preference. There are few who talk and think like the Lacedæmonian, that seeing himself left out of the new-erected council, said, he was overjoyed to find there were three hundred better men in the city than hiinself.



Whatever is external to a man, whatever may be common to good or bad, does not make him truly estimable. We must judge of men by the heart. From thence proceed great designs, great actions, great virtues. Solid Glory, which cannot be initated by pride, nor equalled by pomp, resides in personal qualifica

(9) Liv.lib. 22. n. 74.

publicam, dolorem ultionemque se Ir1 Habuit in consilio fortunam posuit. Senec.lib. 1. de Ira, cap. 11.

« ForrigeFortsæt »