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Swear, that none e'er had such graceful art, . Fortune's free gifts as freely to impart,
With an unenvious hand, and an unbounded heart.' Never did Atticus succeed better in gaining the universal love and esteem of all men; nor steer with more success between the extremes of two contending parties. 'Tis his peculiar happiness that, while he espouses neither with an intemperate zeal, he is not only admired, but, what is more rare and unusual felicity, he is beloved and caressed by both; and I never yet saw any person, of whatever age or sex, but was immediately struck with the merit of Manilius. There are many who are acceptable to some particular persons, whilst the rest of mankind look upon them with coldness and indifference; but he is the first whose entire good fortune it is ever to please and to be pleased, wherever he comes to be admired, and wherever he is absent to be lamented. His merit fares like the pictures of Raphael, which are either seen with admiration by all, or at least no one dare own he has no taste for a composition which has received so universal an applause. Envy and malice find it against their interest to indulge slander and obloquy. 'Tis as hard for an enemy to detract from, as for a friend to add to his praise. An attempt upon his reputation is a sure lessening of one's own; and there is but one way to injure him, which is to refuse him his just commendations, and be obstinately silent.
It is below him to catch the sight with any care of dress; his outward garb is but the emblem of his mind. It is genteel, plain, and unaffected; he knows that gold and embroidery can add nothing to the opinion which all have of his merit, and that he gives a lustre to the plainest dress, whilst 'tis impossible the richest should communicate any to him. He is still the principal figure in the room. He first en
gages your eye, as if there were some point of light which shone stronger upon him than on any other person.
He puts ine in mind of a story of the famous Bussy d'Amboise, who, at an assembly at court, where every one appeared with the utmost magnificence, relying upon his own superior behaviour, instead of adorning himself like the rest, put on that day a plain suit of clothes, and dressed all his servants in the most costly gay habits he could procure. The event was, that the eyes of the whole court were fixed upon him; all the rest looked like his attendants, while he alone had the air of a person of quality and distinction,
Like Aristippus, whatever shape or condition he appears in, it still sits free and easy upon him; but in some part of his character, 'tis true, he differs from him ; for as he is altogether equal to the largeness of his present circumstances, the rectitude of his judge. ment has so far corrected the inclinations of his ambition, that he will not trouble himself with either the desires or pursuits of any thing beyond his present enjoyments.
A thousand obliging things flow from him upon every occasion; and they were always so just and natural, that it is impossible to think he was at the least pains to look for them. One would think it was the dæmon of good thoughts that discovered to him those treasures, which he must have blinded. others from seeing, they lay so directly in their way.' Nothing can equal the pleasure that is taken in hearing him speak, but the satisfaction one receives in the civility and attention he pays to the discourse of others. His looks are a silent cominendation of what is good and praise-worthy, and a secret reproof to what is licentious and extragavant. He knows how
to appear free and open without danger of intrusion, and to be cautious without seeming reserved. The gravity of his conversation is always enlivened with his wit and humour, and the gaiety of it is tempered with something that is instructive, as well as barely agreeable. Thus, with him you are sure not to be merry at the expence of your reason, nor serious with the loss of your good humour; but by a happy mixture of his temper, they either go together, or perpetually succeed each other. In fine, his whole behaviour is equally distant from constraint and neg. ligence, and he commands your respect, whilst he gains your heart.
There is in his whole carriage such an engaging softness, that one cannot persuade one's self he is ever actuated by those rougher passions, which, wherever they find place, seldom fail of showing themselves in the outward demeanor of the person they belong to : but his constitution is a just temperature between indolence on one hand, and violence on the other. He is mild and gentle, wherever his affairs will give him leave to follow his own inclinations ; but yet never failing to exert himself with vigour and resolution in the service of his prince, his country, or his friend.
N° 468. WEDNESDAY, AUG. 27, 1712.
Erat bomo ingeniosus, acutus, acer, et qui plurimum et salis, baberet et fellis, nec candoris minus.
PLIN. Epist. He was an ingenious, pleasant fellow, and one who had a
great deal of wit and satire, with an equal share of good
humour. My paper is in a kind a letter of news, but it regards rather what passes in the world of conversation than that of business. I am very sorry that I have at present a circumstance before me, which is of very great importance to all who have a relish for gaiety, wit, mirth, or humour; I mean the death of poor Dick Eastcourt. I have been obliged to him for so many hours of jollity, that it is but a small recompence, though all I can give him, to pass a moment or two in sadness for the loss of so agreeable a man. Poor Eastcourt! the last time I saw him, we were plotting to show the town his great capacity for acting in its full light, by introducing him as dictating to a set of young players, in what manner to speak this sentence, and utter t'other passion. He had so exquisite a discerning of what was defective in any object before him, that in an instant he could show you the ridiculous side of what would pass for beautiful and just, even to men of no ill judgment, before he had pointed at the failure. He was no less skilful in the knowledge of beauty; and, I dare say, there is no one who knew him well, but can repeat more well-turned compliments, as well as smart repartees of Mr. Eastcourt's, than of any other man in England. This was easily to be observed in his YOL. XIII.
inimitable faculty of telling a story, in which he would throw in natural and unexpected incidents to 'make his court to one part, and rally the other part of the company. Then he would vary the usage he gave ihem, according as he saw them bear kind or sharp language. He had the knack to raise up a pensive temper, and mortify an impertinently gay one, with the most agreeable skill imaginable. There are a thousand things which crowd into my memory, which make me too much concerned to tell on about him. Hamlet holding up the scull which the gravedigger threw to him, with an account that it was the head of the king's jester, falls into very pleasing reflections, and cries out to his companion,
• Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times: and now how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now, your gambols, your songs, your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning ? quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she inust come.' Make her laugh at that.'
It is an insolence natural to the wealthy, to affix, as much as in them lies, the character of a man to his circumstances. Thus it is ordinary with them to praise faintly the good qualities of those below them, and say, It is very extraordinary in such a man as he is, or the like, when they are forced to acknowledge the value of him whose lowness upbraids their exaltation. It is to this humour only, that it is to be ascribed, that a quick wit in conversation, a nice judgment upon any emergency that could arise, and a most blameless inoffensive beha