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'Men ought to beware of this passion, which loseth not only other things, but itself.' . 'Whosoever esteemeth
too much of amorous affection, quitteth both riches and
The following passage is extracted from an aticle on Miss Austen's novels, in the Quarterly Review (No. 24, p. 374) which was reprinted—through a mistake—in the Remains of Sir W. Scott, though it was not written by him.
'Bacon, in these days, would hardly have needed to urge so strongly the dethronement of the God of Love. The prevailing fault is not now, whatever it may have been, to sacrifice all for love:—
'Venit enim magnum donandi parca juventus,
Mischievous as is the extreme of sentimental enthusiasm, and a romantic and uncalculating extravagance of passion, it is not the one into which the young folks of the present day are the most likely to run. Prudential calculations are not indeed to be excluded in marriage: to disregard the advice of sober-minded friends on an important point of conduct is an imprudence we would by no means recommend; indeed, it is a species of selfishness, if, in listening only to the dictates of passion, a man sacrifices to its gratification the happiness of those most dear to him as well as his own; though it is not now-a-days the most prevalent form of selfishness. But it is no condemnation of a sentiment to say, that it becomes blameable when it interferes with duty, and is uncontrouled by conscience. The desire of riches, power, or distinction,—the taste for ease and comfort,— are to be condemned when they transgress these bounds; and love, if it keep within them, even though it be somewhat tinged with enthusiasm, and a little at variance with what the worldly call prudence,—that is, regard for pecuniary advantage,—may afford a better moral discipline to the mind than most other passions. It will not, at least, be denied, that it has often proved a powerful stimulus to exertion where others have failed, and has called forth talents unknown before, even to the possessor. What though the pursuit may be fruitless, and the hopes visionary? The result may be a real and substantial benefit, though of another kind; the vineyard may have been cultivated by digging in it for the treasure which is never to be found. What though the perfections with which imagination has decorated the beloved object, may, in fact, exist but in a slender degree? Still they are believed in and admired as real; if not, the love is such as does not merit the name; and it is proverbially true that men become assimilated to the character (that is, what they think the character) of the Being they fervently adore. Thus, as in the noblest exhibitions of the stage, though that which is contemplated be but a fiction, it may be realized in the mind of the beholder; and, though grasping at a cloud, he may become worthy of possessing a real goddess. Many a generous sentiment, and many a virtuous resolution, have been called forth and matured by admiration of one, who may herself, perhaps, have been incapable of either. It matters not what the object is that a man aspires to be worthy of, and proposes as a model of imitation, if he does but believe it to be excellent. Moreover, all doubts of success (and they are seldom, if ever, entirely wanting) must either produce or exercise humility; and the endeavour to study another's interests and inclinations, and prefer them to one's own, may promote a habit of general benevolence which may outlast the present occasion. Everything, in short, which tends to abstract a man in any degree, or in any way, from self—from selfadmiration and self-interest,—has, so far at least, a beneficial influence on character.'
The effect of mere familiar intercourse in dispelling the illusions of a fancy-founded love, is well described by Crabbe in one of the Tales of the Hall, the 'Natural Death of Love.' A like effect, resulting from a wider acquaintance with the world, and intercourse with superior persons, is described in a still better poem (which if not by Crabbe also, is a most admirable imitation of him in his happiest vein), entitled, 'A Common Tale/ which appeared first in a periodical called The True Briton, and afterwards in a little book called the Medley.1
1 Published by Messrs. Smith, in the Strand.
ESSAY XI. OF GREAT PLACE. .
II TEN in great place are thrice servants—servants of the JLVX sovereign or State, servants of fame, and servants of business; so as1 they have no freedom, neither3 in their persons, nor2 in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty, or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man's self. The rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base and by indignities3 men come to dignities. The standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall, or at least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing: 'Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere.' * Nay, men cannot retire when they would, neither will they when it were reason,6 but are impatient of privateness,6 even in age and sickness, which require the shadow;7 like old townsmen, that will be still sitting at their street door, though thereby they offer age to scorn. Certainly great persons had need to borrow other men's opinions to think themselves happy, for if they judge by their own feeling, they cannot find it; but if they think with themselves what other men think of them, and that other men would fain be as they are, then they are happy as it were by report, when, perhaps, they find the contrary within; for they are the first that find their own griefs, though they be the last that find their own faults. Certainly, men in great fortunes are strangers to themselves, and while they are in the puzzle of business, they have no time to tend their health, either of body or mind: 'Illi1 As. That. See page 23. 3 Neither, nor—for either, or.
3 Indignity. Meanness.
'Fie on the pelf for which good name is sold,
4 ' Since thou art no longer what thou wast, there is no reason why thou shouldst wish to live.'
6 Reason. Right; reasonable. 'It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.'—Acts vi. 2.
6 Privateness. Privacy; retirement. 'He drew him into the fatal circle from a resolved privateness at his house, when he would well have bent his mind to a retired course.'— Wotton. 'Shadow. Shade.
'Here, father, take the shadow of this tree
mors gravis incubat, qui notus nimis omnibus, ignotus moritur sibi." In place there is licence to do good and evil, whereof the latter is a curse; for in evil, the best condition is not to will,2 the second not to can.' But power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring; for good thoughts, though God accept4 them, yet towards men are little better than good dreams, except they be put in act, and that cannot be without power and place, as the vantage and commanding ground. Merit and good works is the end of man's motion, and conscience5 of the same is the accomplishment of man's rest; for if a man can be a partaker of God's theatre, he shall likewise be partaker of God's rest: 'Et conversus Deus, ut aspiceret opera, quae fecerunt manus suae, vidit quod omnia essent bona nimis ;'6 and then the Sabbath. In the discharge of thy place set before thee the best examples, for imitation is a globe7 of precepts; and after a time set before thee thine own example, and examine thyself strictly whether thou didst not best at first. Neglect not also the examples of those that have carried themselves ill in the same place; not to set off thyself by taxing their memory, but to direct thyself what to avoid. Reform, therefore, without bravery" or scandal of former times and persons; but yet set it down to thyself, as well to create good precedents as to follow them. Reduce things to the first institution, and observe wherein and how they have degenerated; but yet ask counsel of both times—of the ancient time what is best, and of the latter time what is fittest. . Seek to make thy course regular, that men may know beforehand what they may expect; but be not too positive and peremptory, and express thyself well when thou digressest from thy rule. Preserve the right of thy place, but stir not questions of jurisdiction; and rather assume thy right in silence, and de facto,1 than voices it with claims and challenges. Preserve likewise the rights of inferior places, and think it more honour to direct in chief than to be busy in all. Embrace and invite helps and advices touching the execution of thy place; and do not drive away such as bring thee information, as meddlers, but accept of them in good part.
1 * Death falls heavily upon him, who, too well known to all men, dies unacquainted with himself.'—Senec Thyest. xi. 401.
3 To will. To be willing; to desire. 'If any man will do his will, heshall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.'—John vii. 17.
3 To can. To be able; to have power.
'Mecaenas and Agrippa who can most with Caesar.'—Dri/den.
4 Accept. To regard favourably. 'In every nation, he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him.'—Acts x. 35.
5 Conscience. Consciousness. 'The reason why the simpler sort aremoved with authority is the conscience of their own ignorances.'—Hooker.
6 ' When God turned to behold the works which his hand had made, He saw that they were all very good.'—Genesis i.
'Globe. A body.
'By Ashtaroth, thou shalt ere long lament
The vices of authority are chiefly four: delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. For delays, give easy access; keep times appointed; go through with that which is in hand, and interlace not business but of necessity. For corruption, do not only bind thine own hands or thy servants' hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering; for integrity used doth the one, but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; and avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. Whosoever is found variable, and changeth manifestly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion of corruption; therefore, always, when thou changest thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, together with the reasons that move thee to change, and do not think to steal3 it. A servant or a favourite, if he be inward,4 and no other apparent cause of esteem, is commonly thought but a by-way to close corruption. For roughness, it is a needless cause of discontent: severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even reproofs from authority ought to be grave, and not taunting. As for facility, it is worse than bribery, for bribes
1 In fact. Realty; virtually.
'When I shall voice alond how good
"Twere good to ileal onr marriage.'— Shakespere. * Inward. Intimate.
'Who is most inward with the noble duke.'—Shakespere. 'All my inward friends abhorred me.'—Job xix. 19.