Page images
PDF
EPUB

Having thus far cleared the Gamejter from those Imputations, that might affect him in his private and public Capacity, I shall now proceed to mention some Advantages that result from this Practice.

One great Advantage of Gaming is, that it teaches us to bear up against the Charms of Wealth, and Terrors of Poverty. For my own Part it hath seriously affected me to reflect, that Money, the grand Source and End of all human Counsels, the Corruptor of Patriots, and Divider of Princes, for which Beauties languish, Heroes fight, and Sages write upon Virtue; should come to be utterly disregarded as a Thing of no Esteem amidst a general Dissolution of Moral's, and' in the Dregs of Time.. There have been Philosophers who have despised Riches^ when they could not get at them; and, some, who have advised the World to despise them, while they have been hoarding themselves. But no Age, except the present hath produced Spirits aspiring, to ibis high Persection; that have courted Poverty in the midst of Plenty; renounced Ease, when they were born to Luxury; and harrafsed their Constitutions to effect Designs, which the rest of Mankinds wholly blinded by Prejudice,, are sure to consider as infamous and. detestable.

Having mentioned Philosophers, I cannot find^ in my Heart to- proceed, without considering from what Sect among the Ancients, the Principles and Tenets of our modern Gentlemen seem to be de. rived; and upon mature Reflexion, I find they are built upon the Ruins of the Cyrenaic, the. Founder of which was Aristippus, the finest Gentleman tleman of his Age; and no doubt a GameJJer. And whoever has turned his Thoughts to examine the Conduct and Opinions of that Philosopher, as they are delivered to us by the most authentic Writers, will find the Parallel striking enough to justify a longer Digression than I at present design to make.

And first, AriJJippus was celebrated for his uncommon Contempt of Money; for being on a Journey, and finding his Attendants lag behind, too heavy laden with Treasure, he ordered them (o leave it in the Defart, and pursued his Way without it.

Servos projicere aurum In media juffit Libya

The Slaves ai bis Command Scatter d bis Gold on Libya's barren Sand

In Imitation of which Proceeding, his Followers among us shew the utmost Forwardness to diveji tbentfehes of that Incumbrance as fast as possible.

Some Persons have been surprised, how our modern Gentlemen can sustain that Character under the strange Variety of Dress that Fashion prescribes. What a different Appearance is made by the fame Individual, when you see him fauntring in the Mall, and lounging in the Play-house? Yet still the Gentleman appears through all. All which is directly traced from the Pattern of Ariftippus: Sometimes he made a Figure in purple Robes; and often, as [b] Diogenes Laertius observes, he would walk about with a Newmarket Switch in his Hand, his Hair in Papers, and his Hat in the Ancaster Cock:

[b] In Vit. Aristippi.

ghiiilibet indutus celeberrima per loca <vadet,
Personamque feret non inconcinnus utramque. Hor?
His Drefs, tho varied, sx'd the public Eyes,
AndJbeiud an Elegance that moci'd Disguife-

Arijiippus had a wonderful Penchant toward the Fair Sex: He would ride Post at any Time, rather than baulk his Assignations: And once it is recorded he made a long Voyage, for the Pleasure of conversing with the celebrated Lais, the Fnny Mrry of her Age. But here the Scholars have far out-stripped their Master, if we except the Sailing Expedition, which Fortune hath put out of the Question, by providing them with Mistresses, as well as Surgeons, in every Street.

It will not appear strange, after what was faid in the last Paragraph, that Arisiippus had several natural Children; but there being no Foundling Hospital in those Days, he told their Mothers in his eafy Way, Procreation was not what he desired or intended; that for his Part, he considered Children as mere bodily Secretions: However, if the Parijh chose to provide for them, he had no Objection. Our Proceeding, till of late, was the exact Counter-part of this: Now indeed the Case is altered; and Gentlemen commit Fornication in the Spirit of Patriotism, in order to raise Supplies sot the Herring-Fishery.

Ho wever, there is one thing which it would be unfair in me to suppress: Horace introduces Ariftippus holding a Converfation with Diogenes the Cynic, wherein he fays of himself, what History hath likewise confirmed;

Equus

- Equus ut me port et, alat rex,
Officium facio

I fell my flattery for Gain
Andfawn for luxury which Kings maintain.

The Philosopher, it seems, not being born to an independent Fortune, condescended to accept certain Gratuities from the Princes and Great Men of his Time; and,, for fear of losing bis Pen. /ion, was their very obsequious and devoted humble Servant; which is the only material Point, wherein his Character differs from that of our Nobility, to whom nothing of this Sort can, with any Colour, be objected.

But to return to my Argument, (which I do with the fame Pleasure that a Gentleman who has cut out, returns to a Rubber) another Advantage of GamingK, that it clears the Mind of many uneasy Passions. Tully has left us a Treatise against Perturbations y but, in my Opinion, Mr. Hoyle has published a much better for Use and Practice : For whoever has studied the Works of this Philosopher, enjoys a State of most blessed Insensibility: He is in perfect Charity with all Mankind, forgiving Injuries, and forgetting Benefits: He has a Wise and Children, Relations and Friends; but he has neither Fears for their Welfare, nor Tears for their Distress: He bears their Afflictions with the most Christian Patience, and kisses the Rod with which Providence hath chastised them: Conforming precisely to that Divine and Stoical Precept of Epictetus, " If thy "Friend be in Extremity, thou mayest fay thou

"hast "hast Pity on him,; but be sure not to feel any, "because that is an Infirmity beneath the Dignity "of Man."

A third Advantage resulting from this Practice is, the Influence it hath upon the Military Establishment. It must give Pleasure to every Lover of his Country, to observe us exactly tracing the Plan, which Horace prescribes in that solemn Ode addressed to his Friends, for the restoring warlike Discipline among the Roman Youth: Speaking of whom he fays.;

Angujtam, amici, pauperiem pati
Robujius acri militia puer
Condifcat, C3" Partbos ferices
Vtxet eques metuendui hajid.

Let the brave Youths, tubofe Souls for Gloiy pant.

Sustain the manly Discipline of Want,

They ne'er shall/brink from Death's impending Blow,

Nor breathe from Slaughter,'tillthey've quell'd the FoeHorace appears to have been very fond of this Doctrine; for, in another Part of his Works, he tells a Story of a Soldier in Lucullus,s Army, who had been robbed of all bis Money by Thieves. The Fellow was in a violent Rage, fwore like a Trooper; and, fully determined neither to give nor take Quarter, runs to the Head of the Forlornhope, storms a Castle, and shielded by his Despair, came off without Loss of Life or Limb; but when he had reimbursed himself by Plunder, his Courage by no means seconded the Motion his General made to him soon after, to go upon

such

« PreviousContinue »