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talents, interest, or experience of such men, make them very often useful in all parties, and at all times. But whatever wealth and dignities they may arrive at, they ought to consider, that every one stands as a blot in the annals of his country, who arrives at the temple of honour by any other way than through that of virtue.
GUARDIAN. CHAP. V.
ON GOOD HUMOUR. Good humour may be defined a habit of being pleafed ; a constant and perpetual softness of manners, easiness of approach, and fuavity of disposition ; like that which every man perceives in himself, when the first transports of new felicity have subsided, and his thoughts are only kept in motion by a slow fuccession of fost impulses. Good hue mour is a state between gayety and unconcern; the act or emanation of a mind at leisure to regard the gratification of another.
It is imagined by many, that whenever they aspire to please, they are required to be merry, and to show the gladness of their fouls by flights and pleasantry, and bursts of Jaughter. But though these men may be for a time heard with applause and admiration, they feldom delight us long, We enjoy them a little, and then retire to easiness and good humour, as the eye gåzes awhile on eminences glittering with the sun, but soon turns aching away to verdure and to flowers.
GAYEty is to good humour as animal perfumes to vegetable fragrance ; the one overpowers weak spirits, and the other recreates and revives them. Gayeiy feldom fails to give some pain; the hearers either train their faculties to accompany its towerings, or are left behind in
and despair. Good humour boatts no faculties which every one does not believe in his power, and pleases principally by not offending
It is well known, that the most certain way to give any man pleasure, is to persuade him that you receive pleasure from him, to encourage him to freedom and confidence, and to avoid any such appearance of superiority as may cverbear and depress him. We fee many that, by this art only, spend their days in the midft of careffes, invitations, and civilities; and without any extraordinary qualities or attainments, are the universal favourites of both sexes, and certainly find a friend in every place. The darlings of the world will, indeed, be generally found such as excite neither jealousy nor
and are not considered as candidates for any eminent degree of reputation, but content themselves with common accomplishments, and endeavour rather to folicit kindnefs than to raise efteem. Therefore in assemblies and places of resort it seldom fails to happen, that though at the entrance of some particular person every face brightens with glad. ness, and every hand is extended in falutarion, yet if you pursue him beyond the firft exchange of civilities, you will find him of very small importance, and only welcome to the company, as one by whom all conceive themfelves admired, and with whom any one is at liberty to amuse himself when he can find no other auditor or companion; as one with whom all are at ease, who will hear a jeft without criticism, and a narrative without contradiction; who laughs with every wit, and yields to every disputer.
There are many whofe vanity always inclines them to associate with those from whom they have no reason to fear mortification; and there are times in which the wife and the knowing are willing to receive praise without the labour of deserving it, in which the moft elevated mind is willing to descend, and the most active to be at reft. All therefore are at some hour or another fond of companions whom they can entertain upon easy terms, and who will relieve them from folitude, without condemning them to vigilance and cau
tion. We are most inclined to love when we have nothing to fear; and he that encourages us to please ourselves, will not be long without preference in our affection to those whose learning holds us at the distance of pupils, or whose wit calls all attention from us, and leaves us without im. portance and without regard.
It is remarked by prince Henry, when he fees Falftaff lying on the ground,“ that he could have better fpared a better man.” He was well acquainted with the vices and follies of him whom he lamented; but while his conviction compelled him to do justice to fuperior qualities, his tenderness ftill broke out at the remembrance of Falstaff, of the cheerful companion, the loud buffoon, with whom he had passed his time in all the luxury of idleness, who had gladdened him with unenvied merriment, and whom he could at once enjoy and despise.
You may perhaps think this account of those who are diftinguished for their good humour, not very confiftent with the praises which I have bestowed upon it. But surely nothing can more evidently show the value of this quality, than that it recommends those who are deftitute of all other excellencies, and procures regard to the trifling, friendship to the worthless, and affection to the dull.
Good humour is indeed generally degraded by the cha. racters in which it is found; for being considered as a cheap and volgar quality, we find it often neglected by those that have excellencies of higher reputation and brighter fplendour,who perhaps imagine that they have some right to gratify themselves at the expense of others, and are to demand compliance rather than to practise it. It is by fome unfortunate mistake, that almoft all those who have any claim to esteem or love, press their pretensions with too little confideration of others. This mistake my own ins tereft as well as my zeal for general happiness make me defirous to testify; for I have a friend, who, because he
knows his own fidelity and usefulness, is never willing to fink into a companion; I have a wife whose beauty first fubdued me,
and whose wit confirmed her conqueft; but whose beauty now serves no other purpose than to entitle her to tyranny, and whose wit is only used to justify perverseness,
Surely nothing can be more unreasonable than to lose the will to please, when we are conscious of the power, or fhow more cruelty than to choose any kind of influence be. fore that of kindness. He that regards the welfare of others, should make his virtue approachable, that it may be loved and copied; and he that confiders the wants which every man feels, or
will feel, of external affiftance, muft ra. ther wish to be surrounded by thofe that love him, than by those that admire his excellencies, or solicit his favours; for admiration ceases with novelty, and interest gains its end and retires. A man whose great qualities want the ornament of superficial attractions, is like a naked mountain with mines of gold, which will be frequented only till the treasure is exhausted.
ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD. Nothing has fo much exposed men of learning to contempt and ridicule, as their ignorance of things which are known to all but themselves. Those who have been taught to consider the institutions of the schools as giving the last perfection to human abilities, are surp:ised to see men wrinkled with study, yet wanting to be instructed in the minute circumstances of propriety, or the necessary forms of daily transaction; and quickly shake off their reverence for modes of education, which they find to pro duce no ability above the rest of mankind.
Books, says Bacon, can never teach the use of books. The student must learn by commerce with mankind to reduce his fpeculations to practice, and accommodate his knowledge to the purposes of life.
It is too common for those who have been bred to scho. lástic professions, and passed much of their time in academies, where nothing but learning confers honours, to disre. gard every other qualification, and to imagine that they shall find mankind ready to pay homage to their knowledge, and to crowd about them for instruction. They therefore step out from their cells into the open world, with all the confidence of authority and dignity of importance ; they look round about them at once with ignorance and scorn on a race of beings to whom they are equally unknown and equally contemptible, but whose manners they must imitate, and with whose opinions they muft comply, if they de fire to pass their time happily amongft them.
To leffen that disdain with which scholars are inclined to look on the common business of the world, and the unwil. lingness with which they condescend to learn what is not to be found in any system of philofophy, it may be neceffary to consider, that though admiration is excited by ab. struse researches, and remote discoveries, yet pleasure is not given, nor affe&tion conciliated, but by fofter accomplishments, and qualities more easily communicable to those about us He that can only converse upon question , about which only a small part of mankind has knowledge suf. ficient to make them curious, must lose his days in unsocial filence, and live in the crowd of life without a companion. He that can only be useful on great occasions, may die without exerting his abilities, and stand a helpless fpectator of a thousand vexations which fret away happiness, and which nothing is required to remove but a little dexterity of conduct and readiness of expedients. No degree of knowledge attainable by man is able to fet