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tron, EUTYCHUS, If you intend to read my works, I shall be pleased: If not, I mall, at least, have the advantage of pleasing posterity *. I am apt to think that a mo. : dern poet would not have been guilty of such an impropriety as that which may be observed in VIRGIL's address to AUGUSTUS, when, after a great deal of extravagant flattery, and after having deifyed the emperor, according to the custom of those times, he, at last, places this god on the same level with himself. By your gracious nod, says he, render my undertaking prosperous ; and taking pity, together with me, of the Swains ignorant of busbandry, bestow your favorable influence on this work t. Had men, in that age, been accustomed to observe such niceries, a writer so delicate as VIRGIL would certainly have given a different turn to this seritence. The court of AUGUSTUS, however polite, had not yet, it seems, wore off the manners of the republic.
CARDINAL Wolsey apologized for his famous piece of infolence, in saying, EGO Et Rex Meus, I and my king, by observing, that this expression was exactly conformable to the Latin idiom, and that a Roman always named himself before the person to whom, or of whom he spake. Yet this seems to have been an instance of want of civility among that people. The ancients made it a rule, That the person of the greatest dignity should be mentioned first in the discourse ; insomuch, that we find, the spring of a quarrel and jealousy between the ROMANS and ÆTOLIANS, to have been a poet's naming the ÆTOLIANS before the Romans, in celebrating a victory gained by their united arms over the MaceDONIANSI. Thus Livia disgusted TIBERIUS by placing her own name before his in an inscription 11.
No advantages in this world are pure and unmixed. In like manner, as mo. dern politeness, which is naturally so ornamental, runs often into affectation and foppery and disguise and insincerity ; so the ancient simplicity, which is naturally fo amiable and affecting, often degenerates into rusticity and abuse, scurrility and obscenity.
Te greges centum, Siculæque circum those words, dog and madam, should be coupled
After all, I acknowlege, that this reasoning
fallacious; and that the foregoing arguments canParca non mendax dedit & malignum not have great force, but with those who are well
Spernere vulgus. Lib. 2. Ode 16. acquainted with these writers, and know the truth * Quem fi leges, lætabor ; fin autem minus, of the general position. For instance, what ab
Habebunt certe quo se oblectent pofteri. surdity would it be to assert, that Virgil under+ Ignarosque viæ mecum miseratus agrestes stood not the force of the terms he employs, and
Ingredere, & votis jam nunc assuesce vocari. could not chuse his epithets with propriety? BeOne would not say to a prince or great man, cause in the following lines, addressed also to Au. " When you and I were in such a place, we saw GUSTUS, he has failed in that particular, and has “ such a thing happen.” But, “ when you were ascribed to the Indians a quality, which seems, in “ in such a place, I attended you: And such a a manner, to turn his hero into ridicule. " thing happened.”
Et te, maxime CÆSAR, Here I cannot forbear mentioning a piece of de Qui nunc extremis AsiÆ jam victor in oris licacy observed in FRANCE, which seems to me Imbellem avertis ROMANIS arcibus Indum. excessive and ridiculous. You must not say, “ That is
Georg. Lib. 2. “ a very fine dog, madam.” But, “ madam, that i Plut. in vita FLAMININS. " is a very fine dog.” They think it indecent that Tacit. Ann. lib. 3. cap. 64.
If the superiority in politeness should be allowed to modern times, the modern notions of gallantry and bonor, the natural product of courts and monarchies, will probably be assigned as the causes of this refinement. No one denies these inventions to be modern * : But some of the most zealous partizans of the ancients, have asserted them to be foppish and ridiculous, and a reproach, rather than a credit to the present age t. It may here be proper to examine this question, with regard both to gallantry and honor. We shall begin with gallantry.
NATURE has implanted in all living creatures an affection betwixr the sexes, which even in the fiercest and most rapacious animals, is not merely confined to the satisfaction of the bodily appetite, but begets a friendship and mutual sympathy, which runs thro' the whole tenor of their lives. Nay, even in those species, where nature limits the indulgence of this appetite to one season and to one object, and forms a kind of marriage or association betwixt a single male and female, there is yet a visible complacency and benevolence, which extends farther, and mutually foftens the affections of the sexes towards each other f. How much more must this have place in man, where the confinement of the appetire is not natural ; but either proceeds accidentally from some strong charm of love, or arifes from reflections on duty and convenience ? Nothing, therefore, can proceed less from affectation than the passion of gallantry. 'Tis natural in the highest degree. Art and education, in the most elegant courts, make no more alteration on it, than on all the other laudable passions. They only turn the mind more towards it; they refine it; they polish it ; and give it a proper grace and expression.
But gallantry is as generous as it is natural. To correct such grofs vices, as lead us to commit a real injury to others, is the part of morals, and the object of the most ordinary education. Where that is not attended to, in some degree, no human society can subsist. But in order to render conversation, and the intercourse of minds more easy and agreeable, Good-manners have been invented, and have carried the matter somewhat farther. Wherever nature has given the mind a propensity to any vice, or to any passion disagreeable to others, refined breeding has taught men to throw the byass on the opposite side, and to preserve, in all their behavior, the appearance of sentiments contrary to those which they naturally incline to. Thus, as we are commonly proud and selfish, and apt to assume the preference above others, a polite man learns to behave with deference towards those with whom he converses, and to yield the superiority to them in all the common incidents of society. In like manner, wherever a person's situation may naturally beget any disagreeable suspicion in him, 'tis the part of good-manners to prevent it, by a studied display of se itiments, directly contrary to those of which he is apt to be jealous. Thus, old men know their infirmities, and naturally dread contempt from the youth : Hence, well-educated youth, redouble the instances of respect and deference to their elders. Strangers and foreigners are without protecs
Olite side; le which there the pres
* In the Self-Tormentor of TERENCE, CLINIAS, whenever he comes to town, instead of waiting on his mistress, fends for her to come to him.
+ My Lord ShAFTSBURY, see his Moralifts. | Tutti gli altri animai, che sono in terra,
O che vivon quieti & stanno in pace;
O fi vengon a rissa, & si fan guerra,
A la femina il maschio non la face.
La Leonessa appresso il Leon giace,
Ariosto, Canto sa tion : Hence, in all polite countries, they receive the highest civilities, and are intitled to the first place in every company. A man is lord in his own family, and his guests are, in a manner, subject to his authority: Hence, he is always the lowest person in the company; attentive to the wants of every one; and giving himself all the trouble, in order to please, which may not betray too visible an af. fectation, or impose too much constraint on his guests *. Gallantry is nothing but an instance of the same generous and refined attention. As nature has given man the superiority above woman, by endowing him with greater strength both of mind and body; 'tis his part to alleviate that superiority, as much as possible, by the generosity of his behaviour, and by a studied deference and complaisance for all her inclinations and opinions. Barbarous nations display this superiority, by reducing their females to the most abject slavery ; by confining them, by beating them, by selling them, by killing them. But the male-sex, among a polite people, discover their authority in a more generous, tho' not a less evident manner; by civility, by respect, by complaisance, and, in a word, by gallantry. In good company, you need not ask, Who is the master of the feast? The man who sits in the lowest place, and who is always industrious in helping every one, is most certainly the person. We must either condemn all such instances of generosity, as foppish and affected, or admit of gallantry among the rest. The ancient Muscovites wedded their wives with a whip, instead of a wedding-ring. The same people, in their own houses, took always the precedency above foreigners, even † foreign ambassadors. These two instances of their generosity and polite. ness are much of a piece.
GALLANTRY is not less consistent with wisdom and prudence, than with nature and generosity; and when under proper regulations, contributes, more than any other invention, to the entertainment and improvement of the youth of both sexes. In all vegetables, 'tis observable, that the flower and the feed are always connected together; and in like manner, among every species of animals, nature has founded on the love betwixt the sexes their sweetest and best enjoyment. But the satisfacton of the bodily appetite is not alone of great value; and even among brute creatures, we find, that their play and dalliance, and other expressions of fondness, form the greatest part of the entertainment. In rational beings, we must certainly admit the mind for a considerable share, · Were we to rob the feast of all its garniture of reason, discourse, sympathy, friendship, and gaiety, what remains would scarce be worth acceptance, in the judgment of the truly elegant and luxurious.
What better school for manners, than the company of virtuous women; where the mutual endeavor to please must insensibly polish the mind, where the example of the female softness and modesty must communicate itself to their admirers, and where the delicacy of that sex puts every one on his guard, left he give offence by any breach of decency?
* The frequent mention in ancient authors of Nii Epift. Lucian de mercede conductis, Saturnalia, &c. that ill-bred custom of the master of the family's There is scarce any part of Europe at present fo eating better bread or drinking better wine at ta- uncivilized as to admit of such a cuslom. ble, than he afforded his guests, is but an indiffe- † See Relation of three embafies, by the earl of rent mark of the civility of those ages. See Juve- CARLILE. NAL fat5. Plinii lib, 14, cap. 13. Also Pli
I MUST I MUST confess, That my own particular choice rather leads me to prefer the company of a few select companions, with whom I can, calmly and peaceably enjoy the feast of reason, and try the justness of every reflection, whether gay or ferious, that may occur to me. But as such a delightful society is not every day to be met withi, I must think, that mixt companies, without the fair-sex, are the most insipid entertainment in the world, and deftitute of gaiety and politeness, as much as of sense and reason. Nothing can keep them from excessive dulness but hard drinking; a remedy worse than the disease.
AMONG the ancients, the character of the fair-fex was considered as altogether domestic, nor were they regarded as part of the polite world, or of good company. This, perhaps, is the true reason why the ancients have not left us one piece of pleasantry, that is excellent, (unless one may except the banquet of XENOPHON, and the dialogues of LUCIAN) tho' many of their serious compositions are altogether inimitable. Horace condemns the coarse railleries and cold jests of PLAUTUS: But, tho' the most easy, agreeable, and judicious writer in the world, is his own talent for ridicule very striking or refined ? This, therefore, is one considerable improvement, which the polite arts have received from gallantry, and from courts, where it first arose.
The point of honor, or duelling, is a modern invention, as well as gallantry; and by some esteemed equally useful for the refining of inanners : But how it has contributed to that effect, I am at a loss to determine. Conversation, among the greatest rustics, is not commonly infested with such rudeness as can give occasion to duels, even according to the most refined laws of this fantastic honor ; and, as to the other small indecencies, which are the most offensive, because the most frequent, they can never be cured by the practice of duelling. But these notions are not only useless : They are also pernicious. By separating the man of honor from the man of virtue, the greatest profligates have got something to value themselves upon, and have been able to keep themselves in countenance, tho' guilty of the moft shameful and most dangerous vices. They are debauchees, spend-thrifts, and never pay a farthing they owe: But they are men of honor ; and therefore are to be received as gentlemen in all companies.
There are some of the parts of modern honor, which are the most essential parts of morality ; such as fidelity, the observing promises, and telling truth. These points of honor Mr. ADDISON had in his eye, when he made JUBA say,
Honor's a facred tye, the law of kings,
It ought not to be sparted with. These lines are very beautiful: But I am afraid, that Mr. ADDISON has here been guilty of that impropriety of sentiment, with which, on other occasions, he has fo juftly reproached our poets. The ancients certainly never had any notion of bonor as distinct from virtue.
But, to return from this digression, I shall advance it as a fourth observation on this head, of the rise and progress of the arts and sciences, That when the arts and sciences.come to perfection in any state, from that moment they naturally, or rather
necessarily decline, and seldom or never revive in that nation, where they formerly flourished.
It must be confessed, that this maxim, tho' conformable to experience, may, at first sight, be esteemed very contrary to reason. If the natural genius of mankind be the same in all ages, and in almost all countries, (as I am of opinion it is) it must very much forward and cultivate this genius, to be possessed of exact patterns in every art, which may regulate the taste, and fix the objects of imitation. The models left us by the ancients gave birth to all the arts about 200 years ago, and have mightily advanced their progress in every country of Europe: Why had they not a like effect during the reign of Trajan and his successors, when they were much more entire, and were still admired and studied by the whole world ? So late as the emperor JUSTINIAN, the Poet, by way of distinction, was understood, among the GREEKS, to be HOMER ; among the ROMANS, VIRGIL. Such admiration still remained for these divine geniuses; tho' no poet had appeared for many centuries, who could justly pretend to have imitated them.
A MAN's genius is always in the beginning of his life, as much unknown to himself as to others; and ’tis only after frequent trials, attended with success, that he dares think himself equal to those undertakings, in which they who have succeeded, have fixed the admiration of mankind. If his own nation be already poffeffed of many models of eloquence, he naturally compares his own juvenile exercises with these ; and being sensible of the infinite disproportion betwixt them, is discouraged from any further attempts, and never aims at a rivalship with those authors, whom he so much admires. A noble emulation is the fource of every excellence. Admiration and modesty naturally extinguish this emulation. And no one is so liable to an excess of admiration and modesty, as a truly great genius.
Next to emulation, the greatest encourager of the noble arts is praise and glory. A writer is animated with new force, when he hears the applauses of the world for his former productions; and, being rouzed by such a motive, he often reaches a pitch of perfection, which is equally surprizing to himself and to his readers. But when the posts of honour are all occupied, his first attempts are but coldly received by the public; being compared to productions, which are both in them felves more excellent, and have already the advantage of an established reputation: Were MOLIERE and CORNEILLE to bring upon the stage at present their early productions, which were formerly so well received, it would discourage the young poets, to see the indifference and disdain of the public. The ignorance of the age alone could have given admission to the Prince of TYRE; but 'tis to that we owe the Moor: Had Every man in his humor been rejected, we had never seen VOLPONE.
PERHAPS it may not be for the advantage of any nation, to have the arts imported from their neighbors in too great perfection. This extinguishes emulation, and sinks the ardor of the generous youth. So many perfect models of ITALIAN painting brought into BRITAIN, instead of exciting our artists, is the cause of their. small progress in that noble art. The same, perhaps, was the case of Rome, when it received the arts from GREECE. Thar multitude of polite productions in the French language, dispersed all over GERMANY and the NORTH, hinder these nations from cultivating their own language, and keep them ftill dependent on their neighbors for those elegant entertainments,