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you as lower arts, and as they have occasionally served to cover, or to introduce the talents of a skilful minister.
But your abilities have appeared not only in one nation. When it was your province to act as her majesty's minister at the court of Savoy, at that time encamped, you accompanied that gallant prince through all the vicissitudes of his fortune, and shared, by his side, the dangers of that glorious day in which he recovered his capital. As far as it regards personal qualities, you attained in that one hour, the highest military reputation. The behaviour of our minister in the action, and the good offices done the vanquished in the name of the queen of England, gave both the conqueror and the captive the most lively examples of the courage and generosity of the nation he represented.
Your friends and companions in your absence, frequently talk these things of you; and you can not hide from us (by the most discreet silence in any thing which regards yourself,) that the frank entertainment we have at your table, your easy condescension in little incidents of mirth and diversion, and general complacency of manners, are far from being the greatest obligations we have to you. I do assure you there is not one of your friends, has a greater sense of your merit in general, and of the favours you every day do us, than, sir,
Your most obedient,
No. 532. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1712.
- Fungor vice cotis, acutum
It is a very honest action to be studious to produce other men's merit; and I make no scruple of saying I have as much of this temper as any man in the world. It would not be a thing to be bragged of, but that it is what any man may be master of who will take pains enough for it. Much observation of the unworthiness in being pained at the excellence of another, will bring you to a scorn of yourself for that unwillingness: and when you have got so far, you will find it a greater pleasure than you ever before knew, to be zealous in promoting the fame and welfare of the praiseworthy. I do not speak this as pretending to be a mortified self-denying man, but as one who has turned his ambition into a right channel. I claim to myself the merit of having extorted excellent productions from a person of the greatest abilities, who would not have le:
them appear by any other means:* to have animated a few young gentlemen into worthy pursuits, who will be a glory to our age; and at all times, and by all possible means in my power, undermined the interests of ignorance, vice, and folly, and attempted to substitute in their stead learning, piety, and good sense. It is from this honest heart that I find myself honoured as a gentleman usher to the arts and sciences. Mr. Tickell and Mr. Pope have, it seems, this idea of me. The former has writ me an excellent paper of verses, in praise, forsooth of myself, and the other inclosed for my perusal an admirable poem,t which I hope, will shortly see the light. In the mean time I can not suppress any thought of his, but insert his sentiment about the dying words of Adrian. Í I will not determine in the case he mentions; but have this much to say in favour of his argument, that many of his own works which I have seen, convince me that very pretty and very sublime sentiments may be lodged in the same bosom, without diminution to its greatness. MR. SPECTATOR,
I was the other day in company with five or six men of some learning; where, chancing to mention the famous verses which the emperor Adrian spoke on his death-bed, they were all agreed that it was a piece of gaiety, unworthy that prince in those circumstances. I could not but dissent from this opinion: methinks it was by no means a gay, but a very serious soliloquy to his soul at the point of its departure: in which sense I naturally took the verses at my first read. * Addison. + The Temple of Fame. See Pope's Works, ing them when I was very young, and before I knew what interpretation the world generally put upon them:
“ Animula vagula, blandula,
Nec (ut soles) dabis jocos !" " Alas, my soul! thou pleasing companion of this body, thou fleeting thing that art now deserting it! Whither art thou Aying? To what unknown region? Thou art all trembling, fearful and pensive. Now what has become of thy former wit and humour? Thou shalt jest and be gay no more.”
• I confess I can not apprehend where lays the trifling in all this; 'tis the most natural and obvious reflection imaginable to a dying man: and if we consider the emperor was a heathen, that doubt concerning the future estate of his soul will seem so far from being the effect of want of thought, that it was scarce reasonable he should think otherwise; not to mention that here is a plain confession included of his belief in its immortality. The diminutive epithets of vagula, blandula, and the rest, appear not to me as expressions of levity, but rather of endearment and concern; such as we find in Catullus, and the authors of Hendecasyllabi after him, where they are used to express the utmost love and tenderness for their mistresses. If you think me right in my notion of the words of Adrian, be pleased to insert this in the Spectator, if not, to suppress it.
6 I am, &c.
· TO THE SUPPOSED AUTHOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
'In courts licentious and a shameless stage,
Thy spotless thoughts unshocked the priest may hear,
• The brainless stripling, who, expelled the town
"Such readers scorned thou wing'st thy daring flight Above the stars, and tread'st the fields of light; * An allusion to Steele's papers against the sharpers, &c. in the Tatler, particularly to a letter in Tatler, No. 73, signed Will Trusty, and written by Mr. Hughes.