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who depends upon him, and which might be remedied with little trouble to himself.
But in the last place there is no man so improper to be employed in business, as he who is in any degree capable of corruption; and such an one is the man who, upon any pretence whatsoever, receives more than what is the stated and unquestioned fee of his office. Gratifications, tokens of thankfulness, dispatch money, and the like specious terins, are the pretences under which corruption very frequently shelters itself. An honest man will however look on all these methods as unjustifiable, and will enjoy himself better in a moderate fortune that is gained with honour and reputation, than in an overgrown estate that is cankered with the acquisitions of rapine and exaction. Were all our offices discharged with such an inflexible integrity, we should not see men in all ages, who grow up to exorbitant wealth, with the abilities which are to be met with in an ordinary mechanic. I cannot but think that such a corruption proceeds chiefly from men's employing the first that offer themselves, or those who have the character of shrewd worldly men, instead of searching out such as have had a liberal education, and have been trained up in the studies of knowledge and virtue.
It has been observed, that men of learning who take to business, discharge it generally with greater honesty than men of the world. The chief reason for it I take to be as follows. A man that has spent his youth in reading, has been used to find virtue extolled, and vice stigmatised. A man that has passed his time in the world, has often seen vice triumphant, and virtue discountenanced. Extortion, rapine, and injustice, which are branded with infamy in books, often give a man a figure in the world ; while several qualities which are celebrated in au
thors, as generosity, ingenuity and good nature, impoverish and ruin him. This cannot but have a proportionable effect on men whose tempers and principles are equally good and vicious.
There would be at least this advantage of employing men of learning and parts, in business; that their prosperity would sit more gracefully on them, and that we should not see many worthless persons shot up into the greatest figure of life,
N°470. FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, 1719.
Turpe est difficiles habere nugas,
MART. 2 Epig. Ixxxvi. 9. 'Tis folly only, and defect of sense,
Turns trifles into things of consequence. I have been very often disappointed of late years when, upon examining the new edition of a classic author, I have found above half the volume taken up with various 'readings. When I have expected to meet with a learned note upon a doubtful passage in a Latin poet, I have only been informed, that such or such ancient manuscripts for an et write an ac, or of some other notable discovery of the like importance. Indeed, when a different reading gives us a different sense or a new elegance in an author, the editor does very well in taking notice of it; but when he only entertains us with the several ways of spelling the same word, and gathers together the various blunders and mistakes of twenty or thirty different transcribers, they only take up the time of
the learned readers, and puzzle the minds of the ig. norant. I have often fancied with myself how ene raged an old Latin author would be, should he see the several absurdities in sense and grammar, which are imputed to him by some or other of these various readings. In one he speaks nonsense ; in another makes use of a word that was never heard of: and indeed there is scarce a solecism in writing which the best author is not guilty of, if we may be at liberty to read him in the words of some manuscript, which the laburious editor has thought fit to examine in the prosecution of his work.
I question not but the ladies and pretty fellows will be very curious to understand what it is that I have been hitherto talking of. I shall therefore give them a notion of this practice, by endeavouring to write after the manner of several persons who make an eminent figure in the republic of letters. To this end we will suppose that the following song is an old ode, which I present to the public in a new edition, with the several various readings which I find of it in former editions, and in ancient manuscripts. Those who cannot relish the various readings, will perhaps find their account in the song, which never before appeared in print.
• My love was fickle once and changing,
Nor e'er would settle in my heart;
In ev'ry face I found a dart,
An eye that gave the fatal stroke:
And all my former fetters broke.
For Belvidera I endure ;
Nor hope to find the wonted cure.
• For here the false unconstant lover,
After a thousand beauties shown,
And finds variety in one.'
Various Readings. Stanza the first, verse the first. And changing.) The and in some manuscripts is written thus, 8, but that in the Cotton library writes it in three distinct letters.
Verse the second. Nor e'er would.] Aldus reads iť ever would ; but as this would hurt the metre, we have restored it to the genuine reading, by observing that synæ,esis which had been neglected by ignorant transcribers.
Ibid. In my heart.] Scaliger and others, on my heart.
Verse the fourth. I found a dart.] The Vatican manuscript for I reads it; but this must have been the hallucination of the transcriber, who probably mistook the dash of the I for a T.
Stanza the second, verse the second. The fatal stroke.] Scioppius, Salmasius, and many others, for the read a; but I have stuck to the usual reading.
Verse the third, lill by her wit.] Some manuscripts have it his wit, others your, others their wit. But as I find Corinna to be the name of a woman in other authors, I cannot doubt but it should be her.
Stanza the third, verse the first. A long and lasting anguish.] The German manuscript reads a lasting passion, but the rhyme will not admit it.
Verse the second. - For Beltiderá I endure.] Did not all the manuscripts reclaim, I should change Belvidera into Pelvidera; Pelvis being used by several of the ancient comic writers for a lookingglass, by which means the etymology of the word is very visible, and Pelvidera will signify a lady who often looks in her glass; as indeed she had very good reason, if she had all those beauties which our poet here ascribes to her.
Verse the third. Hourly I sigh, and hourly lano guish.] Some for the word hourly read daily, and others nightly; the last has great authorities of its side.
Verse the fourth. The wonted cure.] The elder Stevens reads wanted cure.
Stanza the fourth, verse the second. After a thous sand beauties.] In several copies we meet with a hundred beauties, by the usual error of the transcribers, who probably omitted a cypher, and had not taste enough to know that the word thousand was ten times a greater compliment to the poet's mistress than an hundred.
Verse the fourth. And finds variety in one.] Most of the ancient manuscripts have it in two. Indeed so many of them concur in this last reading, that I am very much in doubt whether it ought not to take place. There are but two reasons, which incline me to the reading as I have published it: first, because the rhyme; and, secondly, because the sense is preserved by it. It might likewise proceed from the oscitancy of transcribers, who, to dispatch their work the sooner, used to write all numbers in cypher, and seeing the figure 1 followed by a litile dash of the pen, as is customary in old manuscripts, they perhaps mistook the dash for a second figure, and, by a casting up both together, composed out of them the figure 2. But this I shall leave to the learned, without determining any thing in a matter of so great uncertainty.