Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Let us learn hence our mutual duties. The strong should assist the weak; the well-informed should assist with his advice those who want it; the learned should instruct the ignorant: indeed we should love our neighbour as ourselves, and thus fulfil the designs of the Creator. The mutual offices men owe to one another have occasioned them to form themselves into societies. What divided force could not accomplish, is easily executed by united strength. No man could erect a stately building or palace without assistance: one person alone could not lay the foundation, dig the cellars, make and burn the bricks, raise the walls, put on the roof, furnish the windows with glass, and decorate the apartments; but all this is done with ease when different workmen assist one another.

Even things which appear to us of so little importance, that we scarce deign to look at them, all contribute to make us happy. The very insects we so mueh despise are useful to us. May it teach us to value as we ought the goodness of our merciful Father, and to be sensible of our own happiness!

Sturm.

THE ART OF PLEASING. The desire of being pleased is universal; the desire of pleasing should be so too. It is included in that great and fundamental principle of morality, of doing to others what we wish they should do to us. There are indeed some moral duties of a much higher nature, but none of a more amiable; and I do not hesitate to place it at the head of the minor virtues.

The manner of conferring favours or benefits is, as to pleasing, almost as important as the matter itself. Take care, then, never to throw away the obligations, which perhaps you may have it in your power to confer upon others, by an air of insolent protection, or by a cold and comfortless manner, which stifles them in their birth. Hu. manity inclines, religion requires, and our moral duties oblige us, as far as we are able, to relieve the distresses and miseries of our fellow.creatures: but this is not all; for a true heartfelt benevolence and tenderness will prompt us to contribute what we can to their ease, their amusement, and their pleasure, as far as innocently we may. Let us then not only scatter benefits, but even strew flowers, for our fellow-travellers in the rugged ways of this wretched world. .

There are some, and but too many in this country particularly, who, without the least visi. ble taint of ill-nature or malevolence, seem to be totally indifferent, and do not show the least desire to please; as, on the other hand, they never designedly offend. Whether this proceed from a lazy, negligent, and listless disposition, from a gloomy and melancholic nature, from ill health, low spirits, or from a secret and sullen pride, arising from the consciousness of their boasted liberty and independence, is hard to determine, considering the various movements of the human heart, and the wonderful errours of the human head. But, be the cause what it will, that neutrality, which

is the effect of it, makes these people, as neutralities do, despicable, and mere blanks in society. They would surely be roused from their indifference, if they would seriously consider the infinite utility of pleasing.

The person who manifests a constant desire to please, places his, perhaps small, stock of merit at great interest. What vast returns, then, must real merit, when thus adorned, necessarily bring in! A prudent usurer would with transport place his last shilling at such interest, and upon so solid a security. · The man who is amiable will make almost as many friends as he does acquaintances. I mean in the current acceptation of the word, not such sentimental friends as Pylades or Orestes, Nysus and Euryalus: but he will make people in general wish him well, and inclined to serve him in any thing not inconsistent with their own interest. : Civility is the essential article toward pleasing, and is the result of good-nature and of good sense; but good-breeding is the decoration, the lustre of civility, and only to be acquired by a minute attention to good company. A good-natured ploughman or fox-hunter, may be intentionally as civil as the politest courtier; but his manner often degrades and vilifies the matter; whereas, in goodbreeding, the manner always adorns and dignifies the matter to such a degree, that I have often known it give currency to base coin.

Civility is often attended by a ceremoniousness, which good-breeding corrects, but will not quite abolish. A certain degree of ceremony is a ne

cessary outwork of manners, as well as of religion : it keeps the forward and petulant at a proper distance, and is a very small restraint to the sensible and to the well-bred part of the world.

Chesterfield.

ON VULGARITY. A VULGAR, ordinary way of thinking, acting, or speaking, implies a low education, and a habit of low company. Young people contract it at school, or among servants, with whom they are too often used to converse; but, after they frequent good company, they must want attention and observation very much, if they do not lay it quite aside; and, indeed, if they do not, good company will be very apt to lay them aside. The various kinds of vulgarisms are infinite ; I cannot pretend to point

them out to you; but I will give some samples, * by which you may guess at the rest.

A vulgar man is captious and jealous; eager and impetuous about trifles; he suspects himself to be slighted; thinks every thing that is said is meant at him; if the company happens to laugh, he is persuaded they laugh at him; he grows angry and testy, says something very impertinent, and draws himself into a scrape, by showing what he calls a proper spirit, and asserting himself. A man of fashion does not suppose himself to be either the sole or principal object of the thoughts, looks, or words of the company; and never suspects that he is either slighted or laughed at, unless he is conscious that he deserves it. And if (which very

seldom happens) the company is absurd or ill.. bred enough to do either, he does not care two.. pence, unless the insult be so gross and plain as to require satisfaction of another kind. As he is above trifles, he is never vehement and eager about them; and wherever they are concerned, rather acquiesces than wrangles. A vulgar man's conversation always savours strongly of the lowness of his education and company: it turns chiefly upon his domestic affairs, his servants, the excellent order he keeps in his own family, and the little anecdotes of the neighbourhood: all which he relates with emphasis, as interesting matters.--He is a man gossip.

Vulgarism in language is the next, and distinguishing characteristic of bad company and a bad education. A man of fashion avoids nothing with more care than this. Proverbial expressions and trite sayings are the flowers of the rhetoric of a vulgar man. Would he say that men differ in their tastes; he both supports and adorns that opinion, by the good old saying as he respectfully calls it, that what is one man's meat is another man's poi. son.” If any body attempts being smart, as he calls it, upon him; he gives them tit-for-tut, aye, that he does. He has always some favourite word for the time being; which, for the sake of using often, he commonly abuses. Such as, vastly angry, vastly kind, vastly handsome, and vastly ugly. Even his pronunciation of proper words carries the mark of the beast along with it. He calls the earth, yearth; he is oblieged, not obliged to you. He goes to wards, and not towards such a place. He some

« ZurückWeiter »