Imágenes de páginas

by the daily visits and conversations of his friend. As they were one day talking together with their usual intimacy, Leontine, considering how ineapable he was of giving his daughter a proper education in his own house, and Eudoxus reflecting on the ordinary behaviour of a son who knows himself to be the heir of a great estate, they both agreed upon an exchange of children, that the boy should be bred up with Leontine as his son, and that the girl should live with Eudoxus as his daughter, till they were each of them arrived at years of discretion. The wife of Eudoxus, knowing that her son could not be so advantageously brought up as under the care of Leontine, and considering at the same time that he would be perpetually under her own eye, was by degrees prevailed upon to fall in with the project. She therefore took Leonillā, for that was the name of the girl, and educated her as her own daughter. The two friends on each side had wrought themselves to such an habitual tenderness for the children who were under their direction, that each of them had the real passion of a father, where the title was but imaginary. Florio, the name of the young heir that lived with Leontine, though he had all the duty and affection imaginable for his supposed parent, was taught to rejoice at the sight of Eudoxus, who visited his friend very frequently, and was dictated by his natural affection, as well as by the rules of prudence, to make himself esteemed and beloved by Florio. The boy was now old enough to know his supposed father's circumstances, and that? therefore be was to make his way in the world by his own industry: This consideration grew stronger in him every day, and produced so good an effect, that he applied himself with more than ordinary attention to the pursuit of everything which Leontine recommended to him.His natural abilities, which were very good, assisted by the directions of so excellent a counsellor, enabled him to make a quicker progress than ordinary through all the parts of his education. Before he was twenty years

of age, having finished his studies and exercises with great applause, he was removed from the uni

· Dictated.] If used at all, it should be dictated to; but the proper word, in this place, is carried, or led.

? Know his circumstances, and that.] It is not exact to make two such different forms of construction dependent on the same verb. Better thus: to know his supposed father's circumstances, and the necessity he was under of making,” &c.

[ocr errors]


versity to the inns of court, where there are very few that make themselves considerable proficients in the studies of the place, who know they shall arrive at great estates without them. This was not Florio's case, he found that three hundred a year was but a poor estate for Leontine and himself to live upon, so that he studied without intermission till he gained a very good insight into the constitution and laws of his country.

I should have told my reader, that whilst Florio lived at the house of his foster-father, he was always an acceptable guest in the family of Eudoxus, where he became acquainted with Leonilla from her infancy. His acquaintance with her by degrees grew into love, which, in a mind trained


in all the sentiments of honour and virtue, became a very uneasy passion. He despaired of gaining an heiress of so great à fortune, and would rather have died than attempted it by any indirect methods. Leonilla, who was a woman of the greatest beauty joined with the greatest modesty, entertained at the same time a secret passion for Florio, but conducted herself with so much prudence that she never gave him the least intimation of it. Florio was now engaged in all those arts and improvements that are proper to raise a man's private fortune, and give him a figure in his country, but secretly tormented with that passion which burns with the greatest fury in a virtuous and noble heart, when he received a sudden summons from Leontine to repair to him into the country the next day. For it seems Eudoxus was so filled with the report of his son's reputation, that he could no longer withhold making himself known to him. The morning after his arrival at the house of his supposed father, Leontine told him that Eudoxus had something of great importance to communicate to him : upon which the good man embraced him, and wept. Florio was no sooner arrived at the great house that stood in his neighbourhood, but Eudoxus took him by the hand, after the first salutes 1 were over, and conducted him into his closet. He there opened to him the whole secret of his parentage and education, concluding after this manner: “I

have no other way left of acknowledging my gratitude to Leontine, than by marrying you to his daughter. He shall not lose the pleasure of being your father, by the discovery I have made to you. Leonilla too shall be stiil

my 1 " Salutations” is better.


daughter ; her filial piety, though misplaced, has been so exemplary that it deserves the greatest reward I can confer upon it. You shall have the pleasure of seeing a great estate fall to you, which you would have lost the relish of bad you known yourself born to it. Continue only to deserve it in the same manner you did before you were possessed of it. I have left your mother in the next room.

Her heart yearns towards you. She is making the same discoveries to Leonilla which I have made to yourself.” Florio was so overwhelmed with this profusion of happiness, that he was not able to make a reply, but threw himself down at his father's feet, and amidst a flood of tears, kissed and embraced his knees, asking his blessing, and expressing in dumb show those sentiments of love, duty, and gratitude, that were too big for utterance. To conclude, the happy pair were married, and half Eudoxus' estate settled upon them. Leontine and Eudoxus passed the remainder of their lives together; and received in the dutiful and affectionate behaviour of Florio and Leonilla the just recompence, as well as the natural effects, of that care which they had bestowed upon them in their education.

No. 124. MONDAY, JULY 23.


Μέγα βιβλίον, μέγα κακόν. A MAN who publishes his works in a volume, has an infinite advantage over one who communicates his writings to the world in loose tracts and single pieces. We do not expect to meet with anything in a bulky volume, till after some ħeavy preamble, and several words of course to prepare the reader for what follows: nay, authors have established it as a kind of rule, that a man ought to be dull sometimes; as the most severe reader makes allowances for many rests and nodding-places in a voluminous writer. This gave occasion to the famous Greek proverb which I have chosen for my motto, “that a great book is a great evil.”,

On the contrary, those who publish their thoughts in distinct sheets, and as it were by piece-meal, have none of these advantages. We must immediately fall into our subject, and treat every part of it in a lively manner, or our papers are thrown by as dull and insipid : our matter must lie close to


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


[ocr errors]

gether, and either be wholly new in itself, or in the turn it receives from our expressions.

Were the books of our best authors thus to be retailed to the public, and every page submitted to the taste of forty or fifty thousand readers, I am afraid we should complain of many flat expressions, trivial observations, beaten topics, and common thoughts, which go off

very well in the lump. At the same time, notwithstanding some papers may be made up of broken hints and irregular sketches, it is often expected that every sheet should be a kind of treatise, and make out in thought what it wants in bulk; that a point of humour should be worked up in all its parts; and a subject touched upon in its most essential articles, without the repetitions, tautologies, and enlargements that are indulged to longer labours. The ordinary writers of morality prescribe to their readers after the Galenic way; their medicines are made up in large quantities. An essay

writer must practise in the chymical method, and give the virtue of a full draught in a few drops. Were all books reduced thus to their quintessence, many a bulky author would make his appearance in a penny paper : there would be scarce such a thing in nature as a folio : the works of an age would be contained on a few shelves ; not to mention millions of volumes that would be utterly annihilated.

I cannot think that the difficulty of furnishing out separate papers

of this nature has hindered authors from communicating their thoughts to the world after such a manner; though I must confess I am amazed that the press should be only made use of in this way by news-writers, and the zealots of parties : as if it were not more advantageous to mankind, to be instructed in wisdom and virtue, than in politics; and to be made good fathers, husbands, and sons, than counsellors and statesmen. Had the philosophers and great men of antiquity, who took so much pains in order to instruct mankind, and leave the world wiser and better than they found it; had they, I say, been possessed of the art of printing, there is no question but they would have made such an advantage of it, in dealing out their lectures to the public.

Our common prints would be of great use, were they thus calculated to diffuse good sense through the bulk of a people, to clear up their understandings, animate their minds with virtue, dissipate the sorrows of a heavy heart, or unbend the mind from its more severe employments with innocent amusements.

[ocr errors]


When knowledge, instead of being bound up in books, and kept in libraries and retirements, is thus obtruded upon the public; when it is canvassed in every assembly, and exposed upon every table; I cannot forbear reflecting upon that

passage in the Proverbs,“ Wisdom crieth without: she uttereth her voice in the streets, she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates. In the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity ? and the scorners delight in their scorning ? and fools hate knowledge ?" The many

letters which come to me from persons of the best sense in both sexes, (for I may pronounce their characters from their way of writing,) do not a little encourage me in the prosecution of this my undertaking: besides that, my bookseller tells me, the demand for these my papers increases daily. It is at his instance that I shall continue my rural speculations to the end of this month; several having made up separate sets of them, as they have done before of those relating to wit, to operas, to points of morality, or subjects of humour.

I am not at all mortified, when sometimes I see my works thrown aside by men of no taste nor learning. There is a kind of heaviness and ignorance that hangs upon the minds of ordinary men, which is too thick for knowledge to break through: their souls are not to be enlightened,

-Nox atra cava circumvolat umbra. To these I must apply the fable of the mole, That after having consulted many oculists for the bettering of his sight, was at last provided with a good pair of spectacles ; but

upon his endeavouring to make use of them, his mother told him very prudently, “That spectacles, though they might help the eye of a man, could be of no use to a mole." It is not there. fore for the benefit of moles that I publish these my daily essays.

But besides such as are moles through ignorance, there are others who are moles through envy. As it is said in the Latin proverb, “ That one man is a wolf to another ; so, generally speaking, one author is a mole to another author. It is impossible for them to discover beauties in one another's works; they have eyes only for spots and blemishes: they can indeed see the light, as it is said of the animals which


[ocr errors]



« AnteriorContinuar »