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to see or punish vice, he would not commit it, because it is of so mean, so base, and so vile a nature.
I shall conclude this head' with the description of honour in the part of young Juba.
1 I shall conclude this head.] Mr. Addison here applies, and, in applying, explains, his own famous verses, in Cato.
The honour, which the Guardian celebrates in the first division of this paper, is true honour: so he expressly calls it; and the false is considered distinctly under the second head.
Now true honour, as contrasted to religion, may be well enough given, as it is here, under the idea of philosophical or stoical virtue; but, as opposed to false honour, in the days of paganism, it could only be that principle, which we call a love of honest fame. This last, then, is Juba's honour, in his panegyric, as is clear, indeed, from his own words in the close of the scene, where, speaking of Cato, he says
"I'd rather have that man approve my deeds,
Than worlds for my admirers."
And what Mr. A. has been describing in this paper, under the name of true honour, is pagan virtue itself. It was proper to begin with this observation, because it lets us see in what manner, and to what purpose, he applies Juba's panegyric to the present subject. It is as if he had said, -What Juba says of true pagan honour, when compared with stoical virtue, holds, in proportion, of stoical virtue, i. e. true philosophical honour, when compared with religion. Each is assistant or supplemental to the
This being premised, let us now consider the verses themselves.
Honour, in these verses, means true pagan honour, and is that principle of human action, which respects honest fame, that is, the esteem of wise and good men as the virtue celebrated in them is stoical virtue, which regulates itself by the sense of the honestum simply, or, in other words, by self-esteem.
These principles are clearly distinct from each other, but may subsist together; and, when they do so, they as clearly draw the same way. Hence we see, that the principle of honour must needs
-aid and strengthen virtue where she is,"
i. e. when it associates with her in the same breast; for it adds its own impulse to that of virtue, and in the same direction. It likewise
"Imitates her actions where she is not,"
i. e. when virtue, properly so called, is not the principle of action; for honour, by itself, prompts to the same conduct which virtue prescribes. Honour, then, enforcing the virtuous principle, or doing its work, is either way a sacred tie, and not to be sported with.
Such is the natural, unforced reasoning of the poet: and that honour in the ideas of a Roman, was a different principle from virtue, is further manifest, because Rome had temples of both; though the way to the former lay through the latter; by which contrivance was only expressed this moral lesson, that the surest means of obtaining the consentient praise
Honour 's a sacred tie, the law of kings,
The noble mind's distinguishing perfection,
That aids and strengthens virtue where it meets her,
In the second place, we are to consider those who have mistaken notions of honour; and these are such as establish anything to themselves for a point of honour, which is contrary, either to the laws of God, or of their country; who think it more honourable to revenge, than to forgive an injury; who make no scruple of telling a lie, but would put any man to death that accuses them of it; who are more careful to guard their reputation by their courage than by their virtue. True fortitude is, indeed, so becoming in human nature, that he who wants it scarce deserves the name of a man; but we find several, who so much abuse this notion, that they place the whole idea of honour in a kind of brutal courage; by which means, we have had many among us, who have called themselves men of honour, that would have been a disgrace to a gibbet. In a word, the man who sacrifices any duty of a reasonable creature to a prevailing mode or fashion, who looks upon anything as honourable that is displeasing to his Maker or destructive to society, who thinks himself obliged by this principle to the practice of some vir
of the good (so Cicero, somewhere, defines true honour) was, first to secure the suffrage of our own hearts.
Besides, in fact, these two principles governed, separately, in ancient Rome. Honour was the ruling principle of Cicero's splendid life; and virtue, of Cato's awful one. Whence it may appear, that virtue is the stronger and steadier principle; but that honour is qualified to be a good second, or even substitute of virtue; that is, in the poet's words, to aid her enthusiasm, or to imitate her actions.
The conclusion is, that the learned poet has not violated decorum, in transferring to Juba the ideas of modern times; but has made him speak in the true Roman style, when he distinguishes between honour and virtue : for a distinction, we see, there was; but not the same which our Gothic manners have since introduced.
The mistake might arise from the poet's calling his honour-the law of kings-that being the common boast of Gothic honour. But he only means, that public persons are chiefly governed by the law of honour or outward esteem; which, of course, is a more obvious, and, generally, a more binding law, to men so employed, than that of virtue or self-esteem; the first rule of which is―tecum habita—a hard injunction to such as are taken up with the great affairs of the world.
tues and not of others, is, by no means, to be reckoned among true men of honour.
Timogenes was a lively instance of one actuated by false honour. Timogenes would smile at a man's jest who ridiculed his Maker, and, at the same time, run a man through the body that spoke ill of his friend. Timogenes would have scorned to have betrayed1 a secret that was intrusted with him, though the fate of his country depended upon the discovery of it. Timogenes took away the life of a young fellow, in a duel, for having spoken ill of Belinda, a lady whom he himself had seduced in her youth, and betrayed into want and ignominy. To close his character, Timogenes, after having ruined several poor tradesmen's families, who had trusted him, sold his estate to satisfy his creditors; but, like a man of honour, disposed of all the money he could make of it, in the paying off his play-debts,2 or, to speak in his own language, his debts of honour.
In the third place, we are to consider those persons who treat this principle as chimerical, and turn it into ridicule. Men who are professedly of no honour, are of a more profligate and abandoned nature than even those who are acted by false notions of it, as there is more hopes of a heretic than of an atheist. These sons of infamy consider honour, with old Syphax, in the play before-mentioned, as a fine imaginary notion, that leads astray young, unexperienced men, and draws them into real mischiefs, while they are engaged in the suits of a shadow. These are, generally, persons who, in Shakspeare's phrase, “are worn and hackney'd in the ways of men;" whose imaginations are grown callous, and have lost all those delicate sentiments which are natural to minds that are innocent and undepraved. Such old battered miscreants ridicule everything as romantic that comes in competition with their present interest, and treat those persons as visionaries, who dare stand up in a corrupt age for what has not its immediate reward joined to it. The talents, interest, or experience of such men, make them very often useful in all parties, and at all times. But whatever wealth and
To have betrayed.] It should have been, to betray.
2 In the paying off his play-debts.] He should have said-in the paying off of his play-debts-or, rather, to avoid the offensive sound, off of-in paying off his play-debts; that is, paying should be a participle, properly so called, and not a substantive, as it is when preceded by the article.
dignities they may arrive at, they ought to consider, that every one stands as a blot in the annals of his country, who arrives at the temple of Honour by any other way than through that of Virtue.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16.
Proprium hoc esse prudentiæ, conciliare sibi animos hominum et ad usus suos adjungere. CICERO.
I WAS the other day in company at my Lady Lizard's, when there came in among us their cousin Tom, who is one of those country 'squires, that set up for plain honest gentlemen who speak their minds. Tom is, in short, a lively, impudent clown, and has wit enough to have made him a pleasant companion, had it been polished and rectified by good manners. Tom had not been a quarter of an hour with us, before he set every one in the company a blushing, by some blunt question or unlucky observation. He asked the Sparkler if her wit had yet got her a husband: and told her eldest sister she looked a little wan under the eyes, and that it was time for her to look about her, if she did not design to lead apes in the other world. The good Lady Lizard, who suffers more than her daughters on such an occasion, desired her cousin Thomas, with a smile, not to be so severe on his relations: to which the booby replied, with a rude country laugh, "If I be not mistaken, aunt, you were a mother at fifteen, and why do you expect that your daughters should be maids till five and twenty ?" I endeavoured to divert the discourse, when, without taking notice of what I said, " Mr. Ironside," says he, "you fill my cousins' heads with your fine notions, as you call them, can you teach them to make a pudding?" I must confess he put me out of countenance with his rustic raillery, so that I made some excuse, and left the room.
This fellow's behaviour made me reflect on the usefulness of complaisance, to make all conversation agreeable. This, though in itself it be scarce reckoned in the number of moral virtues, is that which gives a lustre to every talent a man can be possessed of. It was Plato's advice,to an unpolished writer, that he should sacrifice to the Graces. In the same manner, I would advise every man of learning, who would not appear in the world a mere scholar, or philosopher, to
make himself master of the social virtue which I have here mentioned.
Complaisance renders a superior amiable, an equal agreeable, and an inferior acceptable. It smooths distinction, sweetens conversation, and makes every one in the company pleased with himself. It produces good-nature and mutual benevolence, encourages the timorous, soothes the turbulent, humanizes the fierce, and distinguishes a society of civilized persons from a confusion1 of savages. In a word, complaisance is a virtue that blends all orders of men together in a friendly intercourse of words and actions, and is suited to that equality in human nature, which every one ought to consider, so far as is consistent with the order and economy of the world.
If we could look into the secret anguish and affliction of every man's heart, we should often find that more of it arises from little imaginary distresses, such as checks, frowns, contradictions, expressions of contempt, and (what Shakspeare reckons among other evils under the sun)
-The poor man's contumely,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
than from the more real pains and calamities of life. The only method to remove these imaginary distresses, as much as possible, out of human life, would be the universal practice of such an ingenuous complaisance as I have been here describing, which, as it is a virtue, may be defined to be, “a constant endeavour to please those whom we converse with, so far as we may do it innocently." I shall here add, that I know nothing so effectual to raise a man's fortune as complaisance, which recommends more to the favour of the great than wit, knowledge, or any other talent whatsoever. I find this consideration very prettily illustrated by a little wild Arabian tale, which I shall here abridge, for the sake of my reader, after having again warned him, that I do not recommend to him such an impertinent or vicious complaisance as is not consistent with honour and integrity.
"Schacabac being reduced to great poverty, and having eat nothing for two days together, made a visit to a noble
1 Confusion.] The abstract idea is here out of place. He meant, and should have said-a rout of savages.