Page images
PDF
EPUB

hafty Sketch of the Court of Rome; transferred himfelf from thence to the Kingdom of Naples, repeated the Infurredion of Maflaniello, and, at a Quarter before Ten, finifhed his Obfervations with the Recital of what happened at the Reduction of that Kingdom to the Obedience of the prefent Emperor. What contributed to make this Conduct of his the more out of the way, was, that every Gentleman in the Room had been in Italy as well as he; and one of them, who was a Merchant, was the very Perfon at whofe Houfe the Major refided when at Naples. Poffibly he might imagine the Knowledge they had in thofe Things might give them a greater Relilh for his Animadverfions; or, to fpeak more candidly, the Defire of difplaying his own Parts buried every other Circumftance in Oblivion.

Juft as the Major had done fpeaking, a Gentleman called for a Glafs of Water; and happened to fay, after di inking it, that he found his Conftitution much mended fince he had left off Malt Liquor. Doctor Htfiicky another of the Strangers, immediately laid hold of this Opportunity, and gave us a large Accoupt of the Virtues of Water; confirming whatever he advanced from the Works of the moft eminent Phyficians. From the main Subject, he made an eafy Tranfition to medicinal Baths and Springs. Nor were his Searches bounded by our own Country; he condefcended to acquaint us with the Properties of the Springs of Bourbon, particularized the genuine Smell of Spaw Water, applauded the woi derful EfTects of the Piermont Mineral; and, like a true Patriot, wound up his Pifquifitions with preferring jijirop Wells (within three Miles of which he was born) to them all. It was now turned of Eleven; when the Major and Doctor took their leave, and went away together in a Hackney-coach.

The Company feemed inclinable to extend their ufiial Time of fitting, in order to divert themfelves after, the Night's Fatigue. When Mr, Papilla, the third New-comer, after two or three fevere Reflexions on the Oddity of fome People's Humours, who were far impofing their own, idle Conceits as Things worthy the Attention of a whole Company; though, at the fame Time, their Subjects are trivial, and their Manner of treating them infipid: For my Part, continued he, Gentlemen, moft People do me the Honour to fayj that few Perfons underftand Medals better than I do. To put the mufty Stories of thefe queer old Men out of our Heads, I'll give you the Hiftory of a valuable Medallion, which was fent me iabout three Weeks ago from Venice. Without flaying for any farther Mark of Approbation than Silence, he entered immediately on a long Diflertalion; in which he had fcarce proceeded ten Minutes, before his Auditors, lofing all Patience, followed the Example of an dd Turky Merchant, who, taking up his Hat and Gloves, went directly down Stairs, without faying a Wfard.

Animadverfions on what I have related, would

but trefpafs on the Patience of my Readers; where

, fore, in the Place of them, let me offer a few Re

S 4 marks marks in Verfe, where my Genius may be more at

Liberty, and Vivacity attone for want of Method.

[ocr errors]

Who would not chufe to jhun the gen'ral Scorn,

And fly Contempt? a Thing [6 hardly borne.

This to avoid let not your Tales he long;

The endlefs Speaker's ever in the wrong,

And all abhor Intemperance of Tongue,

Though, with a Fluency of eafy Sounds,

Tour copious Speech with every Grace abounds; >

Though IVit adorn, and "Judgment give it W'eight 3

Difcretion mujl your Vanity abate,

Ere your tir'd Hearers put Impatience on,

And wonder when the Larum will he down.

Nor think by Art Attention can he wrought;

A Flux of Words will ever be a Fault.

Things without Limit wc, by Nature, blame;

And foan are cloyd with Pleafure, if the fame,

Hitherto we have dwelt only on the Blemifhes of Converfation, in order to prevent our Readers committing fuch Offences as abfolutely deftroy all Pretences to Politenefs. But as a Man cannot be faid to difcharge the Duty he owes to Society, who contents himfelf with barely doing nothing amifs; fo Lectures on Polite Philofophy, after removing thefe Obftacles, may reafonably be expected to point out the Method whereby true Politenefs may be obtained. But, alas! that is not to be done by Words; Rocks and Tempefts are eafily painted, but the Rays of Phoebus defy the Pencil.

Methinks I fee my Auditors in Surprife. What, fay they, have we attended fo long in vain? Have

we we liftened to no Purpofe? Muft we content ourfelves with knowing how neceflary a Thing Politenefs is, without being told how to acquire it? Why really, Gentlemen, it is juft fo. I have done all for you that is in my Power; I have fhewn you what you are not to be; in a Word, I have explained Politenefs negatively: If you would know it pofitively, you muft feek it from Company and Obfervation. However, to fhew my own Good-breeding, I will be your Humble Servant as far as I can; that is, I'll open the Door, and introduce you, leaving you then at the fingle Point, where I can be of no farther Ufe, id eft, Application,

The World is a great School, wherein Men are firft to learn, and then to pra&ife. As Fundamentals in all Sciences ought to be well underftood, fo a Man cannot be too attentive at his firft becoming acquainted with the Public: For Experience is a neceflary Qualification in every diftinguifhed Character, and is as much required in a fine Gentleman, as in a Statefman. Yet it is to be remarked, that Experience is much fooner acquired by fome, than by others: For it does not confift fo much in a copious Remembrance of whatever has happened, as in a regular Retention of what may be ufeful ; as a Mart is properly ftyled learned from his making a juft Ufe of reading, and not from his having perufed a Multitude of Books.

As foon as we have gained Knowledge, we fhall

find the beft Way to improve it will be Exercife; in

v which which two Things! are carefully to be avoided, Pofitivenefs and Affectation. If, to our Care in fhuning them, we add a Defire of obliging thofe with whom we converfe, there is little Danger, but that we become all we wifh; and Politenefs, by an imperceptible Gradation, will enter into our minuteft Actions, and give a Polifh to every thing we do.

Near to the far-extended Coafts of Spain,
Some I/lands triumph o'er the raging Main,
Where dwelt of aid——as tuneful Poets fay,
Slingers, who bore from all the Prize away.

While Infants yet their feeble Nerves theytrfdi

Nor needful Food, till won by Art, fupptyd.

Fix'd was the Mark the Toungfter, oft in vain,

Whirfd the mifguided Stone with fruitlefs Pain:
Till, by long Proffice, to Perfection brought,
With eafy Sleight their former Tajk they wrought.
Swift from their Arm th' unerring Pebble few,
And, high in Air, the Jiutt'ring Vidimjhw.
Sf in each Art Men rife but by Degrees,
^nd Months of Labour lead to Tears ofEaje.

The Duke de Rocbefaucaut, who was cfteemcd the moft brilliant Wit in France, fpeaking of Palitenefs, fays, That a Citizen will hardly acquire it at Court, and yet may eafily attain it in the Camp, |i fliall not enter into the Reafon of this, but offer my Readers a fhorter, pleafanter, and more effectual Method of arriving at the Summit of genteel Beha? viour; that is, by converfing with the Ladies.

Thofe who aim at Panegyric, are wont to affemblc a Throng of glittering Ideas, and then, with great

Exa&nefs,

« PreviousContinue »