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ine such narrations their quota of the conversation. This is, of all others, the meanest help to discourse, and a man must not think at all, or think himself very insignificant, when he finds an account of his head-ache answered by another asking what news in the last mail.
6. Mutual good-humour is a dress we ought to appear in wherever we meet, and we should make no mention of what concerns ourselves, without it be of matters wherein our friends ought to rejoice: but indeed there are crowds of people who put them-, selves in no method of pleasing themseves or others; such are those whom we usually call indolent persons.
7. Indolence is, methinks, an intermediate state between pleasure and pain, and very much unbecoming any part of our life after we are out of the nurse's arms. Such an aversion to labour creates a constant weariness, and one would think should make existence itself a burden.
8. The indolent man descends from the dignity of his nature, and makes that being which was ratonal, merely vegetative; his life consists only in the mere increase and decay of a body, which, with relation to the rest of the world, might as well been uninformed, as the habitation of a reasonable mind.
9. Of this kind is the life of that extraordinary couple Harry Tersett and his lady. Harry was in the days of his celibacy one of those pert creatures who have much vivacity and little understanding; Miss Rebecca Quickly whom he married had all that the fire of youth and a lively manner could do towards making an agreeable woman.
10. These two people of seeming merit fell into each other's arms; and passion being sated, and no reason or good sense in either to succeed it, their life is now at a stand; their meals are insipid, and time tedious; their fortune has placed them above care, and their loss of taste reduced them below diversion.
11. When we talk of these as instances of in-existence, we do not mean, that in order to live it is necessary we should always be in jovial crews, or crowned with chaplets of roses, as the merry
the ancients are described; but it is intended by considering these contraries to pleasure, indolence and too much delicacy, to shew that it is prudence to preserve a disposition in ourselves to receive a certain delight in all we hear and see.
12. This portable quality of good humour seasons all the parts and occurrences we meet with, in such a manner, that there are no moments lost; but they all pass with so much satisfaction that the heaviest loads of (when it is a load) that of time, is never felt by us.
13. Varilas has this quality to the highest perfection, and
communicates it wherever he appears : the sad, the
the severe, the melancholy, shew a new cheerfulness when he comes amongst them. At the same time no one can repeat any thing that Varilas has ever said that deserves repetition : but the man has that innate goodness of temper, that he is welcome to every body, because every man thinks he is so to him.
14. He does not seem to contribute any thing to the mirth of the company; and yet upon reflection you find it all happened by his being there. I thought it was whimsically said by a gentleman, That if Varilas had wit it would be the best wit in the , world. It is certain, when a well-corrected lively imagination and good-breeding are added to a sweet disposition, they qualify it to be one of the greatest blessings, as well as pleasures of life,
15. Men would come into company with ten times the pleasure they do if they were sure of hearing nothing which should shock them, as well as expected what would please them. When we know every person who is spoken of is represented by one who has no ill-will, and every thing that is mentioned described by one who is apt to set it in the best light, the entertainment must be delicate because the cook has nothing brought to his hand, but what is the most excellent in its kind.
16. Beautiful pictures are the entertainments of pure minds, and deformities of the corrupted. It is a degree towards the life of angels, when we enjoy conversation wherein there is nothing present but in its excellence; and a degree towards that of dæ mons, wherein nothing is shewn but in its degeneracy.
SPECTATOR, Vol. II. No. 100.
Friendship. 1. NE would think that the larger the company is, in which
we are engaged, the greater variety of thoughts and subjects would be started in discourse; but instead of this, we find that conversation is never so much straitened and confined as in numerous assemblies.
2. When a multitude meet together upon any subject of discourse, their debates are taken up chiefly with forms and general positions; nay, if we come into a more contracted assembly of men and women, the talk generally runs upon the weather, fasha ions, news, and the like public topics.
3. In proportion as conversation gets into clubs and knots of friends, it descends into particulars, and grows more free and communicative: but the most open, instructive, and unreserved discourse, is that which passes between two persons who are familiar and intimate friends.
4. On these occasions a man gives a loose to every passion and every thought that is uppermost, discovers his most retired
opinions of persons and things, tries the beauty and strength of his sentiments, and exposes his whole soul to the examination of his friend.
5. Tully was the first who observed, that friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joys and dividing of our grief; a thought in which he hath been followed by all the essayers upon friendship, who have written since his time. Sir Francis Bacon has finely described other advantages, or, as he calls them, fruits of friendship; and indeed there is no subject of morality which has been better handled and more exhausted than this.
6. Among the several fine things which have been spoken of it, I shall beg leave to quote some out of a very ancient author, whose book would be regarded by our modern wits as one of the most shining tracts of morality that is extant, if it appeared under the name of a Confucius, or of any celebrated Grecian philosopher: I mean the little Apocryphal Treatise, entitled, The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach.
7. How finely has he described the art of making friends, by an obliging and affable behaviour? and laid down that precept which a late excellent author has delivered as his own, " That we should have many well-wishers, but few friends.” Sweet language will multiply friends, and a fair speaking tongue will increase kind greetings. Be in peace with many, nevertheless have but one counsellor of a thousand.
8. With what prudence does he caution us in the choice of our friends ? And with what strokes of nature (I could almost say of humour) has he described the behaviour of a treacherous and self-interested friend? “ If thou wouldst get a friend, prove him first, and be nci hasty to credit him : for some man is a friend for his own occasion, and will not abide in the day of thy trouble."
9." And there is a friend, who being turned to enmity and strife, will discover thy reproach." Again, "Some friend is a companion at the table, and will not continue in the day of thy affliction: but in thy prosperity he will be as thyself, and will be bold over thy servants. If thou be brought low he will be against thee, and hide himself from thy face."
10. What can be more strong and pointed than the following verse ? “Separate thyself from thine enemies, and take heed of thy friends.
In the next words he particularizes one of those fruits of friendship which is described at length by the two famous authors above mentioned, and falls into a general eulogium of friendship, which is very just as well as very sublime.
11. “ A faithful friend is a strong defence: and he who hath found such a one, hath found a treasure. Nothing doth counterrail a faithful friend, and his excellency is invaluable. A faith
ful friend is the medicine of life; and they who fear the Lord shall find him. Whoso fearēth the Lord shall direct his friendship aright: for as he is, so shall his neighbour (who is his friend) be also.”
12. I do not remember to have met with any saying, that has pleased me more than that of a friend's being the medicine of life, to express the efficacy of friendship in healing the pains and anguish which naturally cleave to our existence in this world ;jand am wonderfully pleased with the turn in the last sentence. That a virtuous man shall as a blessing meet with a friend who is as virtuous as himself.
13. There is another saying of the same author, which would have been very much admired in an heathen writer; 66 Forsake not an old friend, for the new is not comparable to him; a new friend is as new wine; when it is old thou shalt drink it with pleasure.”
14. With what strength of allusion, and force of thought has he described the breaches and violations of friendship. so casteth a stone at the birds, frayeth them away; and he who upbraideth his friend, breaketh friendship. Though thou drawest a sword at a friend, yet despair not, for there may be a returning to favour; if thou hast opened thy mouth against thy friend, tear not, for there may be a reconciliation; except for upbraiding, or pride, or disclosing of secrets, or a treacherous wound; for, from these things, every friend will depart.”
15. We may observe in this and several other precepts in this author, those little familiar instances and illustrations which are so much admired in the moral writings of Horace and Epictetus. There are very beautiful instances of this nature in the following pages, which are likewise written upon the same subject.
17. “Whoso discovereth secrets, loseth his credit, and shall never find a friend to his mind. Love thy friend, and be faithful unto him; but if thou bewrayest his secrets, follow no more after him; for as a man hath destroyed his enemy, so hast thou lost the lover of thy friend ; as one who letteth a bird go out of his hand, so hast thou let thy friend go, and shalt not get him again; follow after him no more, for he is too far off; he is as a foe escaped out of the snare. As for a wound, it may be bound up, and after reviling, there may be reconciliation; but he who bewrayeth secrets, is without hope."
17. Among the several qualifications of a good friend, this wise man has very justly singled out constancy and faithfulness as the principal; to these, others have added virtue, knowledge, discretion, equality in age and fortune, and, Cicero calls it morum comitus, a pleasantness of temper.
18. If I were to give my opinion upon such an exhausted subect, I should join to these other qualifications a certain equality
orevenness of behaviour. A man often contracts a friendship with one whom perhaps he does not find out till after a year's conversation : when, on a sudden, some latent ill-humour breaks out upon him, which he never discovered or suspected at his first entering into an intimacy with him.
19. There are several persons who in some certain periods of their lives, are inexpressibly agreeable, and in others as odious and detestable. Martial has given us a very pretty picture of one of these species in the following epigram :
Difficilis, facilis, jucundus, acerbus, es idem,
In all my humours, whether grave or mellow,
There is no living with thee nor without thee. 20. It is very unlucky for a man to be entangled in a friendship with one, who by these changes and vicissitudes of humour is sometimes amiable, and sometimes odious; and as most men are at sometimes in an admirable frame and disposition of mind, it should be one of the greatest tasks of wisdom to keep ourselves well when we are so, and never to go out of that which is the agreeable part of our character.
SPECTATOR, Vol. J. No. 68. 21. “Friendship is a strong and habitual inclination in two persons to promote the good and happiness of one another.” Though the pleasures and advantages of friendship have been largely celebrated by the best moral writers, and are considered by all as great ingredients of human happiness, we very rarely meet with the practice of this virtue in the world.
22. Every man is ready to give a long catalogue of those virtues and good qualities he expects to find in the person of a friend, but very few of us are careful to cultivate them in ourselves.
Love and esteem are the first principles of friendship which always is imperfect where either of these two is wanting.
23. As on the one hand, we are soon ashamed of loving a man whom we cannot esteems so on the other, though we are truly sensible of a man's abilities, we can never raise ourselves to the warmth, of friendship, without an affectionate good will towards his person.
24. Friendship, immediately banishes envy under all its disguise. A man who can once doubt whether he should rejoice in his friend's being happier than himself, may depend upon it, that he is an utter stranger to this virtue.
25. There is something in friendship so very great and noble, that in those fictitious stories which are invented to the honour of any particular person, the authors have thought it as secessa.