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Czarian Majesty : for I design it shall be printed for Morphew, and the weather grows sharp. I shall take it kindly if you would order him also to send me the papers as they come out.
If there are no fresh pamphlets published, I compute that I shall know before the end of next month, what has been done in town to this day. If it were not for an ill custom lately introduced by a certain author, of talking Latin at the beginning of papers, matters would be in a much clearer light than they are: but, to our comfort, there are solid writers who are not guilty of this pedantry. The Post-man writes like an angel. The Moderator is fine reading. It would do you no harm to read the Post-boy with attention; he is very deep of late. He is instructive; but I confess a little satirical: a sharp pen! he cares not what he says.
The Examiner is admirable, and is become a grave and substantial author. But above all, I am at a loss how to govern myself in my judgment of those whose whole writings consist in interrogatories: then the way of answering, by proposing questions as hard to them, is quite as extraordinary. As for my part I tremble at these novelties; we expose, in my opinion, our affairs too much by it. You may be sure the French king will spare no cost to come at the reading of them. I dread to think if the fable of the Blackbirds should fall into his hands. But I shall not venture to say more until I see you. In the mean time,
I am, &c. P.S. I take the Bender letter in the Examiner, to be spurious."
This unhappy correspondent, whose fantastical loyalty to the king of Sweden has reduced him to this low condition of reason and fortune, would appear much more monstrous in his madness, did not see crowds very little above his circumstances from the same cause, a passion to politics.
It is no unpleasant entertainment to consider the commerce even of the sexes interrupted by difference in state affairs. A wench and her gallant parted last week upon the words unlimited and passive; and there is such a jargon of terms got into the mouths of the very silliest of the women, that you cannot come into a room even among them, but you find them divided into Whig and Tory. What heightens the humour is, that all the hard words they know, they certainly suppose to be terms useful in the disputes of the parties.
I came in this day where two were in very hot debate; and one of them proposed to me to explain to them what was the difference between circumcision and predestination. You may be sure I was at a loss; but they were too angry at each other to wait for my explanation, and proceeded to lay open the whole state of affairs, instead of the usual topics of dress, gallantry, and scandal.
I have often wondered how it should be possible that this turn to politics should so universally prevail to the exclusion of every other subject out of conversation; and, upon mature consideration, find it is for want of discourse. Look round you among all the young fellows you meet, and you see those who have the least relish for books, company, or pleasure, though they have no manner of qualities to make them succeed in those pursuits, shall make very passable politicians. Thus the most barren invention shall find enough to say to make one appear an able man in the top coffee-houses. It is but adding a certain vehemence in uttering yourself, let the thing you say be never so flat, and you shall be thought a very sensible man, if you were not too hot. As love and honour are the noblest motives of life: so the pretenders to them, without being animated by them, are the most contemptible of all sorts of pretenders. The unjust affectation of any
thing that is laudable is ignominious in proportion
o the worth of the thing we affect; thus, as love of one's country is the most glorious of all passions, to see the most ordinary tools in a nation give themselves airs that way, without any one good quality in their own life, has something in it romantic, yet not so ridiculous as odious.
ADVERTISEMENT. ** Mr. Bickerstaff has received Sylvia's letter from The Bath, and his sister is set out thither. Tom Frontly, who is one of the guides for the town, is desired to bring her into company, and oblige her with a mention in his next lampoon.
N° 283. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5, 1710.
-Sunt certa piacula, que te
HoR. 1 Ep. i. 36.
R. WYNNE. From my own Apartment, October 4. When the mind has been perplexed with anxious Cares and passions, the best method of bringing it to its usual state of tranquillity is, as much as we possibly can, to turn our thoughts to the adversities of persons of higher consideration in virtue and merit than ourselves. By this means all the little incidents of our own lives, if they are unfortunate, seem to be the effect of justice upon our faults and indiscretions. When those whom we know to be excellent, and deserving of a better fate, are wretched, we cannot but resign ourselves, whom most of us know to merit a much worse state than that we are placed in. For such and many other occasions, there is one admirable relation which one might recommend for certain periods of one's life, to touch, comfort, and improve the heart of man. Tully says somewhere, “ the pleasures of a husbandman are next to those of a philosopher.” In like manner one may say, for methinks they bear the same proportion one to another, the pleasures of humanity are next to those of devotion. In both these latter satisfactions, there is a certain humiliation which exalts the soul above its ordinary state. At the same time that it lessens our value of ourselves, it enlarges our estimation of others. The history I am going to speak of, is that of Joseph in Holy Writ, which is related with such majestic simplicity, that all the parts of it strike us with strong touches of nature and compassion; and he must be a stranger to both, who can read it with attention, and not be overwhelmed with the vicissitudes of joy and sorrow.
orrow. I hope it will not be a prophanation, to tell it one's own way here, that they who may be unthinking enough to be more frequently readers of such papers as this, than of Sacred Writ, may be advertised, that the greatest pleasures the imagination can be entertained with are to be found there, and that even the style of the Scriptures is more than human.
Joseph, a beloved child of Israel, became invidious to his elder brethren, for no other reason but his superior beauty, and excellence of body and mind, insomuch that they could not bear his growing virtue, and let him live. They therefore conspire his death ; but nature pleading so strongly for him in the heart of one of them, that by his persuasion they determined rather to bury him in a pit, than be his immediate executioners with their own hands. When thus much was obtained for him, their minds still softened towards him, and they By a
took the opportunitiy of some passengers to sell him into Egypt. Israel was persuaded by the artifice of his sons, that the youth was torn to pieces by wild beasts : but Joseph was sold to slavery, and still exposed to new misfortunes, from the same cause as before, his beauty and his virtue. false accusation he was committed to prison; but in process of time delivered from it, in consideration of his wisdom and knowledge, and made the governor of Pharaoh's house. In this elevation of his fortune, his brothers were sent into Egypt, to buy necessaries of life in a famine.
As soon as they are brought into his presence, he beholds, but be beholds with compassion, the men who had sold him to slavery, approaching him with awe and reve
While he was looking over his brethren, he takes a resolution to indulge himself in the pleasure of stirring their and his own affections, by keeping himself concealed, and examining into the circumstances of their family. For this end, with an air of severity, as a watchful minister to Pharaoh, he accuses them as spies, who are come into Egypt with designs against the state. This led them into the account which he wanted of them, the condition of their ancient father and little brother, whom they had left behind them. When he had learned that his brother was living, he demands the bringing him to Egypt, as a proof of their veracity.
But it would be a vain and empty endeavour to attempt laying this excellent representation of the passions of man in the same colours as they appear in the Sacred Writ, in any other manner, or almost any other words, than those made use of in the
page itself. I am obliged, therefore, to turn my designed narration rather into a comment upon the several parts of that beautiful and passionate scene. When Joseph expects to see Benjamin, how natural, and how forcible is the reflection, “ This affliction is