Page images
PDF
EPUB

I must turn them gver to Horace, who has comprised them all in one Line.

Omnibus Aristippum decuit color, et status, et res.

** Secure his Soui preferv'd a constant Frame,

"Through ev'ry varying Scene of Life the fame."

In the Court of the King. of Sicily, this wife Man enjoyed ail the Delights that would have fatisfied a sensual. Mind; but it was the Use of these which shewed him a true Philosopher. He was temperate in them, while he possessed them } and easy without them, when they were Bo longer in his Power. In a Word, he bad She Integrity of Diogenes, without his Churlishness; and as his Wisdom was useful to himself, so it rendered him agreeable to the rest of the World . . .■

Ariflippus had many Pupils; hot, for the regular Succession in his School, it haatitker not been recorded by the Grtti Writers, or, at least, by, any os them that came to my hand. Among the Ramans, indeed, this Kind of Knowledge was in the highest Esteem; and that at the Time when the Reputation of the Commonwealth was at ita greatest Height. Scipio was less distinguished by the Laurels he acquired from foreign Conquests, than by the Myrtle Garland he wore as a Professor in this Art. The familiar Letters of Ciccr* are so many short Lectures in our Science, and the Life of Pomponius Atticus a Praxis only on Po~ lite Philosophy.

I would not be suspected to mention these great Names with an Intent to display my Learning; far be it from me to write a Satyr on the Age : AH I aim at is, to convince the beaux esprits of our j.' Times, Times, that what I teach, they may receive without Disparagement, since they tread thereby ife the fame Road with the greatest Heroes of Antiquity i and, in this Way, at least emulate the Characters of Alexander and Cæsar. Or, if those old-fashioned Commanders excite-not their Ambition, I will venture to assure them, that, in this Track only, they will be able to approach the immortal Prince Eugem; who, glorious from his Gourage,andamiable from his Clemency, is yet less . distinguished by his Rank, than by his Polite-nest.

After naming Prince Eugene, it would debase my Subject to add another Example. I shall proceed therefore to take Notice.of sach Qualities of the Mind as are-requisite for my Pupils to have.,previous to the Receipt of these Instructions.

But as Vanity is one of the greatest Impedi-ments in the Road of a Polite Philosopber; and as he who takes upon him to be a Preceptor; ought, . at least, not to give an ill Example tov Iris Scho-lars; it will not be improper for me to declare, that, in composing this Piece, I had in my Eye that Precept of Seneca,. Hæc alt is die, ut dum dicis,. audias; ipfe scribe, ut dum scripserh, legits. "Which, for trie Sake of the Ladies, I shall trans* late mt&Englijb; and into Verse, that I may gratify my own Propensity to rhyming :

Speaking tt, Others^ ixbatyou diSate bear -t jind learn yoursels, nibilt-teaching jou-affiar. .

Thus you fee me stript of the ill-obeyed Authority of a Pedagogue; and are, for the future, to' consider me only as a. School-fellow pTayin g the E-jj' Master,, Master, that we may the better conquer the Diffi. culties of our Talk.

To proceed then in the Character, which, for my own Sake, as well as yours, I hare put on> let me remind you, in the first Place,

That Reasm, however antique you may think it, is a thing absolutely necesfary in the Composition of him who endeavours at acquiring a pbilosopbical Politeness; and let us receive it as a Maxim, That without Reason, there is no being a sine Gentleman.

However, to soften, at the some Time that we yield to this Constraint, I tell my 'blooming Audience with Pleasure, that Reasonx like a Fop's Uader-waistcoat, may be wore out of sigbt; and, provided it be but worn at all, I shall not quarrel with them, though Vivacity, like a laced Shirt, be put over it to conceal it; for,. to.pursue the Comparison, our Minds suffer no less from. Indiscretion,. than our Bodies from the. Injuries of Weather.

Next to this, another out-of-the-way Qualification must he acquired; and that is, Calmness. Let not the Smarts of the University, the Sparks of the Side-boxes,. or the. genteel' Flutterers of the Drawing-room, imagine, that I will deprive them of those elevated. Enjoyments, drinking Tea with a Toast, gallanting a Fan, or roving, like a Butterfly, through a Parterre of Beauties. No; I am far from beipg the Author of siich severe Institutions; but am> on the contrary,. willing to indulge them in their Pleasures, as long as they preserve their Senses. By which I would be understood to. mean,. while they act in Character, and suffer not a fond Inclination, an aspiring Vanity, or a giddy Freedom, to transport them into' the doing any thing, which may forfeit present: Advantages, or entail upon them future Paim 'I shall have frequent Occasion in the following' Pages, to shew from Examples, of what mightyWe Reason, and an undisturbed' Temper, are to Men of great Commerce in the World'; and' therefore shall insist no farther on them here.

The last Disposition of the Soul, which I shall. mention, asnecesfary to him who would become a Proficient in this Science, is Good-nature f a, Quality, which, as Mr. Dryden said in a Dedication. to one of the best-natured Mem of his Time, deserves the highest Esteem, though, from an unaccountable Depravity both of Taste and Morals,. it meets with. the least. For, can there be any thing more amiable in human Nature, than. to. think, to speak, and to do whatever Good' lies ini our Power unto all? No Man who looks upon, the Sun, and who feels that Chearfulnefs which. his Beams inspire, but would rather wish himself like so glorious a Being, than to resemble the Tiger, however formidable for its Fierceness, or tlieSerpent, hated for his hissing, and dreaded for hi* Sting. Good-nature may, indeed, be made almost as* diffusive as Day-light; but short-are the Ravages of the Tiger, innocent the Bite of a Serpent,. to • the Vengeance of a cankered Heart,. or theMalice of an envenomed Tongue.. To this let me add another Argument in Favour of this Benevolence of Soul; and farther Persuasions will, I flatter

myself,. myself, be unnecessary. Good-nature adorns every Perfection a Man is Master of, and throws a Veil over every Blemish, which would otherwise appear. In a Word, like a skilful Painter, it places his Virtues in the fairest Light, and casts alt his Foibles into Shade. . ...

Thus, in a few Words, Sensev Moderation, and Sweetness, are essential to a Potite Philosopber. And if you think. you cannot acquire these-,. even lay my Book aside. But before you do that, indulge me yet a Moment longer. Nature denies the first to■ few; the second is in ev*iy Man's Power; and not • Man need be without the last, who either valuesgeneral Esteem, or is not indifferent to public Hate. For, to fey Truths what is necessary to. make an honest Mas, properly applied, would* make a polite one : And as almost every one wouldi take it amife, if we should deny him. the sirst Ag» Jellation; so yot* may perceive from thence howr few there are, who, but froratheis own Indiscretion, may defervse the second* It is want of Attention, not Capacity* which kav.es us & many Brutes -t and* I flatter myself, there will. be sewen of this Species,. if any of them. can be prevailed* «n to sead this.. A. Description of their Faults ts> to such, the fittest. Lecture; for. few Monster* there are who can. view themselves in. a Glass.

Our Follks, w*ben.displa$4i ourselves affrights*.

Few areso bad, to. hear. the odious Sight.

Mankind, in Herds, tbro'. Force os Custom, ftri$t.

Mislead each-other into Error's.fFaj/i.

Pursue the-Road, forgetsul os the Bad,

Si* iy Mistake, and, without Thought, offend.

« PreviousContinue »