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his line, but every man had as much care upon him, and as much honour to lose as himself. Every officer could answer for what passed where he was, and the general's presence was never necessary any where but where he had placed himself at the first disposition, except that accident happened from extraordinary efforts of the enemy which he could not foresee; but it was renarkable that it never fell out from failure in his own troops. It must be confessed the world is just so much out of order, as an unworthy person possesses what should be in the direction of him who has better pretensions to it.
Instead of such a conduct as this old fellow used to describe in his general, all the evils which have ever happened among mankind have arose from the wanton disposition of the favours of the powerful. It is generally all that men of modesty and virtue can do, to fall in with some whimsical turn in a great man to make way for things of real and absolute service. In the time of Don Sebastian of Portugal, or some time since, the first minister would let nothing come near him but what bore the most profound face of wisdom and gravity. They carried it so far, that, for the greater show of their profound knowledge, a pair of spectacles tied on their noses, with a black riband round their heads, was what completed the dress of those who made their court at his levee, and none with naked noses were admitted to his presence. A blunt honest fellow, who had a command in the train of artillery, had attempted to make an impression upon the porter, day after day in vain, till at last he made his appearance in a very thoughtful dark suit of clothes, and two pair of spectacles on at once. He was conducted from room to room with great deference to the minister; and carrying on the farce of the place, he told his excellency that he had in this manner pretended to be wiser than he really was, but with no ill intention; but that he was honest Such-a-one of the train, and he came to tell him that they wanted wheel-barrows and pick-axes. The thing happened not to displease,, the great man was seen to smile, and the successful officer was reconducted with the same profound ceremony out of the house.
When Leo X. reigned pope of Rome, his holiness, though a 'man of sense, and, of an excellent taste of letters, of all things, affected fools, buffoons, humorists, and coxcombs; whether it were from vanity, and that he enjoyed no talents in other men but what were inferior to him, or whatever it was, he carried it so far, that his whole delight was in finding o’t new fools, and as our phrase is, playing them off, and making them show themselves to advantage. A priest of his former acquaintance suffered a great many chisappointments in attempting to find access to him in a regular character, until at last in despair he retired from Rome, and returned in an equipage so very fantastical, both as to the dress of himself and his servants, that the whole court were in an emulation who should first introduce him to his holiness. What added to the expectation his holiness had of the pleasure he should have in his follies, was that this fellow, in a dress the most exquisitely ridiculous, desired he might speak to him alone, for he had matters of the
highest importance upon which he wanted a conference. Nothing could be denied to a coxcomb of so great - hope; but when they were apart, the impostor revealed himself, and spoke as follows:
Do not be surprised, most holy father, at seeing, instead of a coxcomb to laugh at, your old friend, who has taken this way of access to admonish you of your own folly. Can any thing show your holiness how unworthily you treat mankind, more than my being put upon this difficulty to speak with you? It is a degree of folly to delight to see it in others, and it is the greatest insolence imaginable to rejoice in the disgrace of human nature. It is a criminal humility in a person of your holiness's understanding, to believe you can not excel but in the conversation of half wits, humorists, coxcombs, and buffoons. If your holiness has a mind to be diverted like a rational man, you have a great opportunity for it, in disrobing all the impertinents you have favoured of all their riches and trappings at once, and bestowing them on the humble, the virtuous, and the meek. If your holiness is not concerned for the sake of virtue and religion, be pleased to reflect, that, for the sake of your own safety, it is not proper to be so very much in jest. When the pope is thus merry, the people will in time begin to think many things which they have hitherto beheld with great veneration, are in themselves objects of scorn and derision. If they once get a trick of knowing how to laugh, your holiness's saying this sentence in one nightcap, and the other with the other, the change of your slippers, bringing you your staff in the
midst of your prayer, then stripping you of one vest, and clapping on a second during divine service, will be found out to have nothing in it. Consider, sir, that at this rate a head will be reckoned never the wiser for being bald, and the ignorant will be apt to say, that going barefoot does not at all help on in the way to heaven. The red cap and the cowl will fall under the same centempt; and the vulgar will tell us to our faces, that we shall have no authority over them but from the force of our arguments and the sanctity of our lives. STEELE:
No. 498. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1.
Frustra retináčula tendens Fertur equis auriga, neque audit currus habenas. VIRG. Nor reins, nor curbs, nor cries, the horses fear, But force along the trembling charioteer. DRYDEN,
To The SPECTATOR-GENERAL OF GREAT BRITAIN From the farther end of the Widow's Coffee-house in Deve
reux Court; Monday evening, twenty-eight minutes and a half past six.
In short, to use no further preface if I should tell you that I have seen a hackney coachman, when he has come to set down his fare, which has consisted of two or three' very fine ladies, hand them out and salute every one of them with an air of familiarity, without giving the least offence, you would perhaps think me guilty of a gasconade. But to clear myself from that imputation, and to explain this matter to you, I assure you that there are many illustrious youths within this city, who frequently recreate themselves by driving of a hackney coach; but those whom, above all others, I would recommend to you, are the young gentlemen belonging to the inns of court. We have, I think, about a dozen coachmen who have chambers here in the temple: and as it is reasonable to believe others will follow their example, we may perhaps in time (if it shall be thought convenient) be drove to Westminster by our fraternity, allowing every fifth person to apply his meditations this way, which is but a modest computation as the humour is now likely to take. It is to be hoped likewise, that there are in the other nurseries of the law to be found a proportionable number of these hopeful plants, springing up to the everlasting renown of their native country.r. Of how long standing this humour has been, I know not; the first time I had any particular reason to take notice of it, was about this time twelve-month, when being upon Hampstead-heath with some of these studious young men, who went thither purely for the sake of contemplation, nothing would serve them but I must go through a course of this philosophy too; and being ever willing to embellish myself with any commendable qualification, it was not long ere they persuaded me into the coach-box; nor indeed much longer before I underwent the fate of my brother Phæton; for having drove about fifty paces with pretty good success, through my own natural sagacity, together with the good instructions of my tutors,