Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

insignificant; it is, in fact, to have all your enjoyments diminished and annnoyances aggravated; to have pleasure almost transmuted into pain, or, at least, to have “such shadow of vexation” thrown over it as materially to change its complexion; and when all is over-journey done and expenses paid--it is to feel a sort of mean remorse as you reckon up your past expenditure, and ponder over the most probable remedial

ways

and means for the future. 7. The two things most difficult of discovery, next to the passage

round the North Pole, are the talents of a poor man, and dullness in a rich one; therefore, to want money is to want wit, humor, eloquence—in fact, capacity of every kind; or, at the best, if they be not altogether denied, to have such a duty levied upon them—such an oppressive drawback—that the rich man with inferior wares, is able to beat the poor one whenever they come into competition. For instance, the most casual observer of men and manners must have noticed that in company a joke from a man of £5,000 per annum elicits more admiration, and produces infinitely more hilarity and good-humor, than ten equally as good from a man worth £500.

8. Oh! it is perfectly wonderful, the raciness and point that an abundance of temporalities impart to rather a dull saying. Besides, a jest from a man in the receipt of a contemptible income, by some strange fatality changes its nature, and be comes little better than sheer impertinence. It is that sort of thing which grave gentlemen and matrons designate by the word

unbecoming.” Now, all this, though visible to the meanest capacity, might puzzle a philosopher. He would be as unable to comprehend it as he would the curious sympathy which exists between sterling wit and superfine cloth, that mutually assist and set off each other. Many a quaint conceit and rare piece of pleasantry has altogether lost its effect and fallen pointless, in consequence of the speaker's garments not being of that texture, or possessed of that freshness which is altogether desirable.

9. The moral, good reader, to be deduced from all this is, that you be not petulant and acrimonious because these things are so, but that, if the opportunity of honestly accumulating wealth be yours, you should by all means improve it; but if not, that you should cultivate most assiduously that best of all substitutes for wealth—the spirit of Contentment.

JACK AND JOAN, AN EPITAPH.-PRIOR.

1. INTERRED beneath this marble stone,

Lie sauntering Jack and idle Joan.
While rolling threescore years and one
Did round this globe their courses run,
If human beings went ill or well,
If changing empires rose or fell,
The morning passed, the evening came,

And found this couple still the same.
2. They walked, and ate, good folks; what then?

Why, then they walk'd and ate again.
They soundly slept the night away ;
They did just nothing all the day:
“They nothing planned, they nothing sought,
They nothing did, that Christians ought;"
Nor sister either had, nor brother ;

They seem'd just tallied for each other.
3. Their moral and economy

Most perfectly they made agree;
Each virtue kept its proper bound,
Nor trespass'd on the other's ground.
Nor fame nor censure they regarded;
They neither punish'd nor rewarded.
He cared not what the footmen did ;
Her maids she neither prais’d nor chid ;

So every servant took his course,
And, bad at first, they all grew worse.
Sloth and disorder marked his stable,
And sluttish plenty decked her table.

4. Their beer was strong; their wine was port;

Their meal was large; their grace was short.
They gave

the
poor

the remnant meat,
Just when it grew not fit to eat.
They paid the church and parish rate,
And took, but read not, the receipt ;
For which they claim'd their Sunday's due,
Of slumbering in an upper pew.

5. No man's defects sought they to know,

So never made themselves a foe;
No man's good deeds did they commend,
So never rais'd themselves a friend.
Nor cherished they relations poor;
That might decrease their present store:
Nor barn nor house did they repair;
That might oblige their future heir.

6. They neither added nor compounded ;

They neither wanted nor abounded.
Each Christmas day, it would appear,
They paid their debts and closed the year;
Nor tear nor smile did they employ
At news of public grief or joy.
When bells were rung and bonfires made
If ask'd, they ne'er denied their aid :
Their jug was to the ringers carried,
Whoever either died or married :
Their billet at the fire was found,
Whoever was deposed or crowned.

[ocr errors]

7. Nor good, nor bad, nor fools, nor wise,

They would not learn, nor could advise :
Without love, hatred, joy, or fear,
They led—a kind of—as it were:
Nor wished, nor cared, nor laughed, nor cried ;
And so they lived, and so they died.

VANITY AND INSOLENCE OF WEALTH.FIELDING.

1. PETER POUNCE, being desirous of having some one to whom he might communicate his grandeur, told the parson Ke would convey him home in his chariot. This favor was, by Mr. Adams, with many bows and acknowledgments, accepted, though he afterwards said he ascended the chariot rather that he might not offend, than from any desire of riding in it; for that in his heart he preferred the pedestrian even to the vehicular expedition.

2. The chariot had not proceeded far before Parson Adams observed it was a very fine day. “Ay, and a very fine country, too,” answered Pounce. “I should think so more," returned Adams, “if I had not lately traveled over the Downs, which I take to exceed this, and all other prospects in the uni

"A fig for prospects," answered Pounce; “one acre here is worth ten there; for my part, I have no delight in the prospect of

any

land but my own.' 3. “Sir,” said Adams, “ you can indulge yourself in many fine prospects of that kind.” “I thank God I have a little,” replied the other, “ with which I am content, and envy no

I have a little, Mr. Adams, with which I do as much good as I can. Adams answered: “That riches, without charity, were nothing worth; for that they were a blessing only to him who made them a blessing to others.”

4. “You and I,” said Peter, “have different notions of charity. I own, as it is generally used, I do not like the word,

verse.

[ocr errors]

man.

a

nor do I think it becomes one of us gentlemen; it is a mean, parson-like quality; though I would not infer that many parsons have it neither.” “Sir,” said Adams, “my definition of charity is a generous disposition to relieve the distressed.”

5. “There is something in that definition," answered Peter, “ which I like well enough; it is, as you say, a dispositionand does not so much consist in the act as in the disposition to do it; but, alas ! Mr. Adams, who are meant by the distressed ? believe me, the distresses of mankind are mostly imaginary, and it would be rather folly than goodness to relieve them.”

6. “Sure, sir," replied Adams,“ hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, and other distresses which attend the poor, can never be said to be imaginary evils." “How can any man complain of hunger," said Pounce, “in a country where such excellent salads are to be gathered almost in every field ?or of thirst, where every stream and river produce such delicious potations ?-and as for cold and nakedness, they are evils introduced by luxury and custom.

7. “ A man naturally wants clothes no more than a horse or any other animal; and there are whole nations who go without them. But these are things, perhaps, which you, who do not know the world—” “ You will pardon me, sir,” returned Adams; “I have read of the Gymnosophists."

8. “A plague of your Jehosaphats," cried Peter: “the greatest fault in our constitution is the provision made for the poor, except that perhaps made for some others. Sir, I have not an estate which doth not contribute almost as much again to the poor as to the land-tax; and I do assure you I expect myself to come to the parish in the end."

9. To which Adams giving a dissenting smile, Peter thus proceeded :—“I fancy, Mr. Adams, you are one of those who imagine I am a lump of money; for there are many who, I fancy, believe that not only my pockets, but my whole clothes, are lined with bank bills; but, I assure you, you are all mistaken; I am not the man the world esteems me.

If I can

« AnteriorContinuar »