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the want of understanding much more than that of the abuse of it. But, alas ! how contemptible is such an ambition, which is the very reverse of all that is truly laudable, and the very contradiction to the only means to a just reputation, simplicity of manners ! Cunning can, in no circumstance iimaginable, be a quality worthy a man, except in his own defence, and merely to conceal himself from such as are fo; and, in such cases, it is no longer craft, but wisdom. The monstrous affectation of being thought artful, immediately kills all thoughts of humanity and goodness; and gives men a sense of the foft affections and impulfes of the mind, which are imprinted in us for our mutual advantage and fuccour, as of mere weakneses and follies. According to the men of cunping, you are to put off the nature of a man as fast as you can, and acquire that of a demon; as if it were a more eligible character to be a powerful enemy, than an able friend. But it ought to be a mortification to men affected this way, that there wants but little more - than instinct to be considerable in it; for when a mais has arrived at being very bad in his inclination, he has not much more to do but to conceal himfelf, and be may revenge, cheat, and deceive, without much employment for understanding, and go on with great cheerfulness, with the high applause of being a prodigious cunning fellow. But, indeed, when we arrive at that pitch of false taste, as not to think cunning a contemptible quality, it is, methinks, a very great injustice that pickpockets are had in so little veneration; who must be ad. mirably well turned, not only for the theoretic, but alfo the practical behaviour of cunning fellows. After all the endeavours of this family of men whom we call cunning, their whole work falls to pieces, if others will lay down all esteem for such artifices, and treat it as an unmanly quality, which they forbear to practise only becaufe they abhor it. When the spider is ranging in the dife ferent apartments of his web, it is true, that he only can weave so fine a thread; but it is in the power of the merest drone that has wings, to fly through and destroy it.
Will's Coffee-house, June 28. THOUGH the taste of wit and pleasure is at present but very low in this town, yet there are some that preserve their relish undebauched with common impressions, and can distinguish between reality and imposture. A gentleman was saying here this evening, that he would go to the play to-inorrow night to see heroism, as it has been represented by some of our tragedians, represented in burleque. It seems, the play of Alexander is to be then turned into ridicule for its bombast, and other false ornaments in the thoughts as well as the language. The blufter Alexander makes is as much inconsistent with the character of an hero, as the roughness of Clytus an inStance of the fincerity of a bold, artless soldier. To be plain is not to be rude, but rather inclines a man to cia vility and deference; not, indeed, to Thew it in the geliures of the body, but in the sentiments of the mind. It is, among other things, from the impertinent figures unskilful dramatists draw of the characters of men, that youth are bewildered and prejudiced in their sense of the world, of which they have no notions but what they draw from books and such representations. Thus talk to a very young man, let him be of never so good sense, and he thall smile when you speak of fincerity in a cour: tier, good sense in a soldier, or honesty in a politician. The reason of this is, that you hardly see one play, wherein each of these ways of life is not drawn by hands that know nothing of any one of them; and the truth is so far of the opposite side to what they paint, that it is more impracticable to live in esteem in courts than any where else, without sincerity. Good sense is the great requisite in a soldier, and honesty the only thing that can support a politician. This way of thinking made the gentleman, of whom I was just now speaking, fay, he was glad any one had taken upon him to depreciate such unnatural fuftian as the tragedy of Alexander. The character of that prince indeed was, that he was unequal, and given to intemperance; but in his sober
moments, when he had the precepts of his great instructor warm in his imagination, he was a pattern of generous thoughts and dispositions, in opposition to the strongeit defires which are incident to a youth and conqueror. But instead of representing that hero in the glorious character of generosity and chastity, in his treatment of the beauteous family of Darius,, he is drawn all along as a monfter of luit, or of cruelty'; as if the way to raise him to the degree of an hero, were to make his character as little like that of a worthy man as possible. Such rude and indigested draughts of things are the proper objects of ridicule and contempt; and depreciating Alexander, as we have him drawn, is the only way of restoring him to what he was in himself. It is well contrived of the players to let this part be followed by a true picture of life, in the comedy called The Chances, wherein Don John and Constantia are acted to the utmost perfection. There need not be a greater instance of the force of action than in many incidents of this play, where indifferent paffages, and such as conduce only to the tacking of the scenes together, are enlivened with such an agreeable gesture and behaviour, as apparently thews what a play might be, though it is not wholly what a play Thould be.
NO. 192. SATURDAY, JULY 1, 1710.
Tecum vivere amem, tecum obeam libens,
HOR. Od. 9. lib. 3. ver. ult.
From my own Apartment, June 30. Some years since I was engaged with a coach-full of friends to take a journey as far as the Land's End. We were very well pleased with one ano: her the first day; every one endeavouring to recommend himself by his good-humour and complaisance to the rest of the company
This good correspondence did not last long; one of our party was foured the very first evening by a plate of butter which had not been melted to his mind, and which tpoiled his temper to such a degree, that he continued upon the fret to the end of our journey. A fecond fell off from his good-humour the next morning, for no other reason, that I could imagine, but because I chanced to step into the coach before him, and place myself on the shady side. This, however, was but my own private guess; for he did not mention a word of it, nor indeed of any thing elle, for three days following. The rest of our company held out very near half the way, when on a fudden Mr. Sprightly fell asleep; and, instead of endeavouring to divert and oblige us, as he had hitherto done, carried himself with an unconcerned, careless, drowsy behaviour, until he came to our last stage. There were three of us who still held up our heads, and did all we could to make our journey agreeable ; but, to my shame be it fpoken, about three miles on this fide Exeter, I was taken with an unaccountable fit of fullenness, that hung upon me for above threescore miles; whether it were for want of respect, or from an
accidental tread upon my foot, or from a foolish maid's calling me · The old gentleman,' I cannot tell. In fhort, there was but one who kept his good-humour to the Land's End.
There was another coach that went along with us, in which I likewife obferved, that there were many secret jealousies, beart-burnings, and animofities; for when we joined companies at night, I could not but take notice that the paffengers neglected their own company, and studied how to make themfelves esteemed by us, who were altogether strangers to them; until at length they grew fo well acquainted with us, that they liked us as litule as they did one another. When I reflect upon this journey, I often fancy it to be a picture of human life, in respect to the several friendships, contracts, “and alliances, that are made and diffolved in the several periods of it. The moft delightful and most lasting engagements are generally thole which pass between man and woman; and yet, upon what trifles are they weak.. ened, or entirely broken? Sometimes the parties fly afunder even in the midst of courtship, and sometimes grow cool in the very honey-month. Some separate before the first child, and fome afier the fifth ; otners continue good until thirty, others until forty; while fome few, whose fouls are of an happier make, and better firted to one another, travel on together to the end of their journey in a continual intercourse of kind offices, and mutual endearments.
When we therefore choofe our companions for life, if we hope to keep both them and ourselves in good.humour to the last stage of it, we must be extremely care.ful in the choice we make, as well as in the conduct on our part.
When the persons to whom we join ourselves can stand an examination, and bear the fcrutiny; when they mend upon our acquaintance with them, and dif cover new beauties, the more we search into their cha.. racters ; our love will naturally rise in proportion to their perfeétions.
But because there are very few poffeffed of such accomplishments of body and mind, we ought to look B6