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It is the Converfation of Women that gives a proper Bias to our Inclinations, and, by abating the Ferocity of our Paffions, engages us to that Gentlenefs of Deportment, which we ftyle Humanity. The Tendernefs we have for them, foftens the Ruggednefs of our own Nature; and the Virtues we put on to make the better Figure in their Eyes, keep us in Humour with ourfelves.
I fpeak it without Affectation or Vanity, that no Man has applied more affiduoufly than myfelf to the Study of the Fair Sex; and 1 aver it with the greateft Simplicity of Heart, that I have not only found the moft engaging and moil amiable, but alfo the moft generous and moft heroic Qualities amongft the Ladies; and that I have difcovered more of Candour, Difintereftednefs, and Fervour in their Friendfhips, than in thofe of our own Sex, though I have been very careful, and particularly happy in the Choice of my Acquaintance.
My Readers will, I dare fay, obferve, and indeed I defire they fhould, a more than ordinary Zeal for inculcating a high Efteem of, and a fincere Attachment to, the Fair. What I propofe from it is, to rectify certain Notions, which are not only deftructive of all Politenefs, but, at the fame Time, detrimental to Society, and incompatible with the Dignity of Human Nature. Thefe have, of late Years, fpread much amongft thofe who aflame to themfelves the Title of fine Gentltmen; and, in Confequence
thereof, thereof, talk with great Freedom of thofe from whom they are in no Danger of being called to an Account. There is fo much of Bafenefs, Cowardice, and Contempt of Truth in this Way of treating thofe who are alone capable of making us truly and rationally happy, that, to confider the Crime, muft be fufficient to make a reafonable Man abhor it. Levity is the beft Excufe for a tranfient Slip of this Kind; but to perftft in it is evidently defcending from our own Species, and, as far as we are able, putting on the Brute.
Franid to give fey, the lovely Sex are feen;
I choofe to put an End to my Lecture on Politenefs here, becaufe, having fpoke of the Ladies, I' would not defcend again to any other Subject. In the Current of my Difcourfe, 1 have taken Pains to fhew the Ufe and Amiablenefs of that Art which this Treatife was written to recommend; and have drawn, in as ftrong Colours as I was able, thofe Solecifms in Behaviour, which Men, either through Giddinefs, or a wrong Turn of Thought, are moft Jikely to commit,
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Perhaps the grave may think I have made PoliteKefs too important a Thing, from the Manner in which I have treated it; yet, if they will but reflecT-, that a Statefman, in the moft auguft Aflembly, a Lawyer of the deepeft Talents, and a Divine of the greateft Parts, muft, notwithftanding, have a large Share of Politenefs, in order to engage the Attention, and bias the Inclinations of his Hearers, before he can perfuade them; they'll be of another Opinion; and confefs, that fome Care is due to acquiring that Quality which muft fet off all the reft.
The gayer Part of my Readers may probably find Fault with thofe Reftraints which may refult from the Rules I have here laid down; but I would have thefe Gentlemen remember, that I point out a Way whereby, without the Trouble of Study, they may be enabled to make no defpicable Figure in the World; which, on mature Deliberation, I flatter myfelf they will think no ill Exchange. The Ladies will, I hope, repay' my Labours, by not being difpleafed with this Offer of my Service. And thus, having done all in my Power towards making Folks agreeable to one another, I pleafe me with the Hop;s of having procured a favourable Reception for myfelf.
WLen gay Petronius, to correSt tue s?ge,
In j&r Profe we read the execrable Tale,
And fee the Face of Sin without a Veil.
But when his Soul, byfomefoft Theme infpir'd.
The Aid of tuneful Poetry requir'd $
His Numbers with peculiar Sweetnefs ran,
And, in his eajy Verfe, we fee the Man:
Learn'd, without Pride; ofTafte correlt, yetfrie,
Alike from Nicenefs, and from Pedantry;
Carelefs of Wealth, yet liking decent Show:
In fine, by Birth a Wit, by Trade a Beau.
Freely he cenfurVa licentious Age:
And him I copy, though with chaffer Page;
Expofe the Evils in which Brutes delight,
And jhew how eafy 'tis to be polite;
Exhort our erring Youth to mend in Time,
AndLetturesgive -for Mem'ry's Sake, in Rhyme',
Teaching this Art to pafs tbro' Life at Eafe,
Pleas'd in our/elves, while all around we pleaje.
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