Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors]

ON HUMAN GRANDEUR.

(Goldsmith.) Nale-house keeper near Islington, who had long lived at

the sign of the French King, upon the commencement of the last war pulled down his old sign, and put up that

of the Queen of Hungary. Under the influence of her red face and golden sceptre, he continued to sell ale, till she was no longer the favourite of his customers; he changed her therefore, some time ago, for the King of Prussia, who may probably be changed, in turn, for the next great man that shall be set up for vulgar admiration.

In this manner the great are dealt out, one after the other, to the gazing crowd. When we have sufficiently wondered at one of them, he is taken in, and another exhibited in his room, who seldom holds his station long; for the mob are ever pleased with variety.

I must own I have such an indifferent opinion of the vulgar, that I am ever led to suspect that merit which raises their shout: at least, I am certain to find those great, and sometimes good men, who find satisfaction in such acclamations, made worse by it; and history has too frequently taught me, that the head which has grown this day giddy with the roar of the million, has the very next been fixed upon a pole.

Popular glory is a perfect coquet ; her lovers must toil, feel every inquietude, indulge every caprice; and perhaps at last be jilted for their pains. True glory, on the other hand, resembles a woman of sense ; her admirers must play no tricks; they feel no great anxiety, for they are sure, in the end, of being rewarded in proportion to their merit. When Swift used to appear in public, he generally had the mob shouting at his train. "Pox take these fools," he would say ; “ how much joy might all this bawling give my Lord Mayor !"

[graphic]
[graphic]

OF GREAT PLACE.

(Bacon.) EN in great place are thrice servants,—servants of the

sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of

business ; so as they have no freedom, neither in their CFVF persons, nor 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 indignities men come to dignities. The standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfal, or at least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing. Nay, men cannot retire when they would, neither will they when it were reason, but are impatient of privateness, even in age and sickness, which require the shadow ; 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.

[graphic]

WHAT IS HONOUR!

(Shakspeare.) Falstaff.Honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? how then? Can honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm ? No. Or take away the grief of a wound ? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? No. What is honour? A word. What is that word, honour? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it insensible, then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not

. live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it, therefore I'll none of it; honour is a mere scutcheon,-and so ends

my catechism.

[graphic][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »