THE Hope of acquiring lasting FAME, is, with many Authors, a most powerful Motive to Writing. Some, tho’ few, have succeeded; and others, tho’ perhaps fewer, may succeed hereafter, and be as well known to Posterity by their Works, as the Antients are to us. We Philomaths, as ambitious of Fame as any other Writers whatever, after all our painful Watchings and laborious Calculations, have the constant Mortification to see our Works thrown by at the End of the Year, and treated as mere waste Paper. Our only Consolation is, that short-lived as they are, they out-live those of most of our Cotemporaries.
Yet, condemned to renew the Sisyphean Toil, we every Year heave another heavy Mass up the Muses Hill, which never can the Summit reach, and soon comes tumbling down again.
This, kind Reader, is my seventeenth Labour of the Kind. Thro’ thy continued Good-will, they have procur’d me, if no Bays, at least Pence; and the latter is perhaps the better of the two; since ‘tis not improbable that a Man may receive more solid Satisfaction from Pudding, while he is living, than from Praise, after he is dead.
In my last, a few Faults escap’d; some belong to the Author, but most to the Printer: Let each take his Share of the Blame, confess, and amend for the future. In the second Page of August, I mention’d 120 as the next perfect Number to 28; it was wrong, 120 being no perfect Number; the next to 28 I find to be 496. The first is 6; let the curious Reader, fond of mathematical Questions, find the fourth. In the 2d Page of March, in some Copies, the Earth’s Circumference was said to be nigh 4000, instead of 24000 Miles, the Figure 2 being omitted at the Beginning. This was Mr. Printer’s Fault; who being also somewhat niggardly of his Vowels, as well as profuse of his Consonants, put in one Place, among the Poetry, mad, instead of made, and in another wrapp’d, instead of warp’d; to the utter demolishing of all Sense in those Lines, leaving nothing standing but the Rhime. These, and some others, of the like kind, let the Readers forgive, or rebuke him for, as to their Wisdom and Goodness shall seem meet: For in such Cases the Loss and Damage is chiefly to the Reader, who, if he does not take my Sense at first Reading, ‘tis odds he never gets it; for ten to one he does not read my Works a second Time.
Printers indeed should be very careful how they omit a Figure or a Letter: For by such Means sometimes a terrible Alteration is made in the Sense. I have heard, that once, in a new Edition of the Common Prayer, the following Sentence, We shall all be changed in a Moment, in the Twinkling of an Eye; by the Omission of a single Letter, became, We shall all be hanged in a Moment, &c. to the no small Surprize of the first Congregation it was read to.
May this Year prove a happy One to Thee and Thine, is the hearty Wish of, Kind Reader,
Thy obliged Friend, R. SAUNDERS.
So Weak are human Kind by Nature made, Or to such Weakness by their Vice betray’d, Almighty Vanity! to thee they owe Their Zest of Pleasure, and their Balm of Woe. Thou, like the Sun, all Colours dost contain, Varying like Rays of Light on Drops of Rain; For every Soul finds Reason to be proud, Tho’ hiss’d and hooted by the pointing Croud. There are three Things extreamly hard, Steel, a Diamond and to know one’s self. Hunger is the best Pickle. He is a Governor that governs his Passions, and he a Servant that serves them.
On the 9th of this Month, 1744-5, died Charles Albert, Elector of Bavaria, and Emperor of Germany. 'Tis thought his Death was hastened by Grief and Vexation at the Success of the Queen of Hungary, and the Disappointments of his own Ambition. O Content! What art thou! And where to be found! Art thou not an inseparable Companion of Honour, Wealth and Power? No. This Man was rich, great, a Sovereign Prince: But he wanted to be richer, greater, and more a Sovereign. At first his Arms had vast Success; but a Campaign or two left him not a Foot of Land he could call his own, and reduc’d him to live with his Empress in a hired house at Frankfort!
The Bold Bavarian, in a luckless Hour, Tries the dread summits of Cesarean Power, With unexpected Legions bursts away, And sees defenceless Realms receive his Sway; Short Sway! Fair Austria spreads her mournful Charms, The Queen, the Beauty, sets the World in Arms; From Hill to Hill the Beacon’s rousing Blaze Spreads wide the Hope of Plunder and of Praise; The fierce Croatian, and the wild Hussar, And all the Sons of Ravage, crowd the War; The baffled Prince, in Honour’s flatt’ring Bloom, Of hasty Greatness, finds the fatal Doom; His Foes Derision, and his Subjects Blame, And steals to Death from Anguish, and from Shame.
We smile at Florists, we despise their Joy, And think their Hearts enamour’d of a Toy; But are those wiser, whom we most admire, Survey with Envy, and pursue with Fire? What’s he, who fights for Wealth, or Fame, or Power? Another Florio, doating on a Flower, A short-liv’d Flower, and which has often sprung, From sordid Arts, as Florio’s out of Dung. A Cypher and Humility make the other Figures & Virtues of ten-fold Value. If it were not for the Belly, the Back might wear Gold.
Tho' safe thou think'st thy Treasure lies, Hidden in Chests from Human Eyes, Thieves, Fire, may come, and it may be Convey'd, my Friend, as far from thee. Thy Vessel that yon Ocean sails, Tho’ favour’d now with prosp’rous Gales, Her Cargo which has Thousands cost, All in a Tempest may be lost. Cheats, Whores and Quacks, a thankless Crew, Priests, Pickpockets, and Lawyers too, All help by several Ways to drain, Thanking themselves for what they gain; The Liberal are secure alone, For what they frankly give, for ever is their own.
What’s the bent Brow, or Neck in Thought reclin’d? The Body’s Wisdom, to conceal the Mind. A Man of Sense can Artifice disdain, As Men of Wealth may venture to go plain; And be this Truth eternal ne’er forgot, Solemnity’s a Cover for a Sot; I find the Fool, when I behold the Screen: For ’tis the Wise Man’s Interest to be seen. Wouldst thou confound thine Enemy, be good thy self. Pride is as loud a Beggar as Want, and a great deal more saucy. Pay what you owe, and what you’re worth you’ll know.
The Reason, says Swift, why so few Marriages are happy, is, because young ladies spend their Time in making Nets, not in making Cages.
Why, Celia, is your spreading Waist So loose, so negligently lac'd? How ill that Dress adorns your Head; Distain’d and rumpled from the Bed? Those Clouds that shade your blooming Face, A little Water might displace, As Nature ev’ry Morn bestows The chrystal Dew to cleanse the Rose. Those Tresses as the Raven black, That wav’d in Ringlets down your Back, Uncomb'd, and injur’d by Neglect, Destroy the Face that once they deck’d, Whence this Forgetfulness of Dress? Pray, Madam, are you marry’d? Yes. Nay then indeed the Wonder ceases, No matter now how loose your Dress is; The End is won, your Fortune’s made, Your Sister now may take the Trade. Alas, what Pity ’tis to find This Fault in Half the Female kind! From hence proceed Aversion, Strife, And all that sours the wedded Life. Beauty can only point the Dart, ’Tis Neatness guides it to the Heart; Let Neatness then, and Beauty strive To keep a wav'ring Flame alive.
When e’er by seeming Chance, Fop throws his Eye On Mirrors flushing with his Finery, With how sublime a Transport leaps his Heart; Pity such Friends sincere should ever part. So have I seen on some bright Summer’s Day, A spotted Calf, sleek, frolicksome and gay; Gaze from the Bank, and much delighted seem, Fond of the pretty Fellow in the Stream. Sorrow is good for nothing but Sin. Many a Man thinks he is buying Pleasure, when he is really selling himself a Slave to it. Graft good Fruit all, Or graft not at all.
Content let all your Virtues lie unknown, If there’s no Tongue to praise them, but your own, Of Boasting more than of a Bomb afraid, Merit should be as modest as a Maid. Fame is a Bubble the Reserv’d enjoy, Who strive to grasp it, as they touch, destroy; ’Tis the World’s Debt to Deeds of high Degree; But if you pay yourself, the World is free. Tis hard (but glorious) to be poor and honest: An empty Sack can hardly stand upright; but if it does, ‘tis a stout one! He that can bear a Reproof, and mend by it, if he is not wise, is in a fair way of being so. Beatus esse sine Virtute, nemo potest.
On the 22d of this Month, 1453, was the famous City of Constantinople, the Capital of the Greek Empire, taken from the Christians by the Turks, who have ever since held it in Possession. When it was besieg’d, the Emperor made most earnest Application to his People, that they would contribute Money to enable him to pay his Troops, and defray the Expence of defending it; but they thro’ Covetousness refused, pretending Poverty, &c. Yet the Turks in pillaging it, found so much Wealth among them, that even their common Soldiers were enriched: And it became a Saying, which continues to this Day, when they observe a Man grown suddenly rich, He has been at the Sack of Constantinople.
O Avarice! How blind are thy Votaries! How often by grasping at too much, do they lose all, and themselves with it! The Thirst of More, encreases with the Heap; and to the restless Desire of Getting, is added the cruel Fear of Losing, a Torment from which the Poor are free. And Death often scatters all we have with so much Care and Toil been gathering;
High built Abundance, Heap on Heap for what? To breed new Wants, and beggar us the more; Then make a richer Scramble for the Throng? Soon as this feeble Pulse, which leaps so long Almost by Miracle, is tir’d with Play, Like Rubbish from disploding Engines thrown, Our Magazines of hoarded Trifles fly; Fly adverse; fly to Foreigners, to Foes: New Masters court, and call the former Fool, (How justly!) for Dependance on their Stay, Wide scatter, first, our Playthings, then our Dust.
Daphnis, says Clio, has a charming Eye; What Pity ’tis her Shoulder is awry? Aspasia’s Shape indeed - - - - but then her Air, ’Twould ask a Conj’rer to find Beauty there. Without a But, Hortensia she commends, The first of Women, and the best of Friends; Owns her in Person, Wit, Fame, Virtue, bright; But how comes this to pass? - - - - She dy’d last Night. Sound, & sound Doctrine, may pass through a Ram’s Horn, and a Preacher, without straitening the one, or amending the other. Clean your Finger, before you point at my Spots.
See TIME launch’d forth, in solemn Form proceed, And Man on Man advance, and Deed on Deed! No Pause, no Rest in all the World appears, Ev’n live long Patriarchs waste their 1000 Years. Some Periods void of Science and of Fame, Scarce e’er exist, or leave behind a Name; Meer sluggish Rounds, to let Succession climb, Obscure, and idle Expletives of Time. He that spills the Rum, loses that only; He that drinks it, often loses both that and himself. That Ignorance makes devout, if right the Notion, 'Troth, Rufus, thou'rt a Man of great Devotion
A plain, clean, and decent Habit, proportioned to one's Circumstances, is one Mark of Wisdom. Gay Cloathing so generally betokens a light and empty Mind, that we are surpriz'd if we chance to find good Sense under that disguise.
Vain are the Studies of the Fop and Beau, Who all their Care expend on outward Show. Of late abroad was young Florello seen; How blank his Look! How discompos’d his Mien! So hard it proves in Grief sincere to feign, Sunk were his Spirits, - - - - for his Coat was plain? Next Day his Breast regain’d its wonted Peace, His Health was mended - - - - with a Silver Lace.
What an admirable Invention is Writing, by which a Man may communicate his Mind without opening his Mouth, and at 1000 Leagues Distance, and even to future Ages, only by the Help of 22 Letters, which may be joined 5852616738497664000 Ways, and will express all Things in a very narrow Compass. ‘Tis a Pity this excellent Art has not preserved the Name and Memory of its Inventor.
Others behold each nobler Genius thrive, And in their generous Labours long survive; By Learning grac’d, extend a distant Light; Thus circling Science has her Day and Night. Rise, rise, ye dear Cotemporaries, rise; On whom devolve these Seasons and these Skies! Assert the Portion destin’d to your Share, And make the Honour of the Times your Care. Those that have much Business must have much Pardon. Discontented Minds, and Fevers of the Body are not to be cured by changing Beds or Businesses. Genius Without Education is like Silver in the Mine. Little Strokes, Fell great Oaks.
Vitam quæ faciunt beatiorem, &c. I fancy, O my Friend, that this In Life bids fair for Happiness; Timely an Estate to gain, Left, or purchased by your Pain: Grounds that pay the Tiller’s Hire, Woods to furnish lasting Fire; Safe from Law t’ enjoy your own, Seldom view the busy Town; Health with moderate Vigour join’d; True well-grounded Peace of Mind; Friends, your Equals in Degree, Prudent, plain Simplicity; Easy Converse Mirth afford, Artless Plenty fill the Board; Temp’rate Joy your Ev’nings bless, Free from Care as from Excess: Short the Night by Sleep be made, Chaste, not chearless, be the Bed: Chuse to be but what you are; And Dying neither wish nor fear.
Still be your darling Study Nature’s Laws; And to its Fountain trace up every Cause. Explore, for such it is, this high Abode, And tread the Paths which Boyle and Newton trod. Lo, Earth smiles wide, and radiant Heav’n looks down, All fair, all gay, and urgent to be known! Attend, and here are sown Delights immense, For every Intellect, and every Sense. You may be too cunning for One, but not for All. Many would live by their Wits, but break for want of Stock. Poor Plain dealing! dead with out Issue! Tho’ Modesty is a Virtue, Bashfulness is a Vice.
The 3rd of this Month, 1658, died Oliver Cromwell, aged 60 Years. A great Storm happen'd the Night he died, from whence his Enemies took Occasion to say, The D---l fetch'd him away in a Whirlwind: But his Poet Waller, in some Verses on his Death, gave that Circumstance quite a different Turn. He begins with these lofty Lines;
We must resign, Heav’n his great Soul does claim, In Storms as loud as his immortal Fame; His dying Groans, his last Breath shakes our Isle, And Trees uncut fall for his Fun’ral Pile, &c.
When the King came in, Waller made his Peace by a congratulatory Poem to his Majesty. And one Day ’tis said the King asked him jocularly, What is the Reason, Mr. Waller, that your Verses on Oliver are so much better than those you made on me? We Poets, my Liege, reply’d he, always succeed better in Fiction than in Truth.
Much Learning shows how little Mortals know; Much Wealth, how little Worldlings can enjoy. At best it baby’s us with endless Toys, And keeps us Children ’till we drop to Dust. As Monkies at a Mirror stand amaz’d, They fail to find what they so plainly see; Thus Men, in shining Riches, see the Face Of Happiness, nor know it is a Shade; But gaze, and touch, and peep, and peep again, And wish, and wonder it is absent still.
With Adoration think, with Rapture gaze, And hear all Nature chant her Maker’s Praise; With Reason stor’d, by Love of Knowledge fir’d, By Dread awaken’d, and by Love inspir’d, Can We, the Product of another’s Hand, Nor whence, nor how, nor why we are, demand? And, not at all, or not aright employ’d, Behold a Length of Years, and all a Void? You can bear your own Faults, and why not a Fault in your Wife. Hide not your Talents, they for Use were made. What’s a Sun-Dial in the Shade!
On the first of this Month, 1680, the great Comet appeared in England, and continued blazing near 3 Months. Of these suprizing Bodies, Astronomers hitherto know very little; Time and Observation, may make us better acquainted with them, and if their Motions are really regular, as they are supposed to be, enable us hereafter to calculate with some Certainty the Periods of their Return. They have heretofore been thought Forerunners of National Calamities, and Threateners of Divine Vengeance on a guilty World. Dr. Young, intimates this Opinion, in his Paraphrase on that Chapter of job, where the Deity challenges the Patriarch, and convinces him of the Weakness of Man;
Who drew the Comet out to such a Size, And pour’d his flaming Train o’er Half the Skies! Did thy Resentment hang him out? Does he Glare on the Nations, and denounce from Thee? The Summer Fruits now gathered in, Let thankful Hearts in chearful Looks be seen; Ope the hospitable Gate, Ope for Friendship, not for State; Neighbours and Strangers enter there Equal to all of honest Air; To Rich or Poor of Soul sincere. Cheap bought Plenty, artless Store, Feed the Rich, and fill the Poor; Converse chear the sprightly Guest, Cordial Welcome crown the Feast; Easy Wit with Candour fraught, Laughter genuine and unsought; Jest from double Meaning free, Blameless, harmless Jollity; Mirth, that no repenting Gloom Treasures for our Years to come.
Happy, thrice happy he! whose conscious Heart, Enquires his Purpose, and discerns his Part; Who runs with Heed, th’involuntary Race, Nor lets his Hours reproach him as they pass; Weighs how they steal away, how sure, how fast, And as he weighs them, apprehends the last. Or vacant, or engag’d, our Minutes fly; We may be negligent, but we must die. What signifies knowing the Names, if you know not the Natures of Things. Tim was so learned, that he could name a Horse in nine Languages; So ignorant, that he bought a Cow to ride on.
On the 30th of this Month, 1718, Charles XII. of Sweden, the modern Alexander, was kill’d before Fredericstadt. He had all the Virtues of a Soldier, but, as is said of the Virtues of Cesar, They undid his Country: Nor did they upon the whole afford himself any real Advantage. For after all his Victories and Conquests, he found his Power less than at first, his Money spent, his Funds exhausted, and his Subjects thinn’d extreamly. Yet he still warr’d on, in spite of Reason and Prudence, till a small Bit of Lead, more powerful than they, persuaded him to be quiet.
On what Foundation stands the Warrior's Pride? How just his Hopes, let Swedish Charles decide; A Frame of Adamant, a Soul of Fire, No Dangers fright him, and no Labours tire; O’er Love, o’er Force, extends his wide Domain, Unconquer’d Lord of Pleasure and of Pain; No Joys to him pacific Scepters yield, War sounds the Trump, he rushed to the Field; Behold surrounding Kings their Pow’r combine, And one capitulate, and one resign; Peace courts his Hand, but spreads her Charms in vain, “Think nothing gain’d, he cries, ’till nought remain; On Moscow’s Walls till Gothic Standards fly, And all is mine beneath the Polar Sky.” The March begins in military State, And Nations on his Eye suspended wait; Stern Famine guards the solitary Coast, And Winter barricades the Realms of Frost; He comes, nor Want nor Cold his Course delay; Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa’s Day: The vanquish’d Hero leaves his broken Bands, And shews his Miseries in distant Lands; Condemn’d a needy Supplicant to wait, While Ladies interpose, and Slaves debate. But did not Chance at length her Error mend? Did no subverted Empire mark his End? Did rival Monarchs give the fatal Wound? Or hostile Millions press him to the Ground? His Fall was destin’d to a barren Strand, A petty Fortress, and a dubious Hand; He left the Name at which the World grew pale, To point a Moral, or adorn a Tale.
And thou supreme of Beings and of Things! Who breath’st all Life, and giv’st Duration Wings; Intense, O let me for thy Glory burn, Nor fruitless view my Days and Nights return; Give me with Wonder at thy Works to glow; To grasp thy Vision, and thy Truths to know; To reach at length thy everlasting Shore, And live and sing ’till Time shall be no more. 'Tis a Shame that your Family is an Honour to you! You ought to be an Honour to your Family. Glass, China, and Reputation, are easily crack’d, and never well mended. The Golden Age never was the present Age. Adieu, my Task's ended.
If any Rogue vexatious Suits advance Against you for your known Inheritance: Enter by Violence your fruitful Grounds, Or take the sacred Land-mark from your Bounds, Or if your Debtors do not keep their Day, Deny their Hands, and then refuse to pay; You must with Patience all the Terms attend, Among the common Causes that depend, Till yours is call’d: - - - And that long-look’d-for Day, Is still encumber’d with some new Delay: Your Proofs and Deeds all on the Table spread, Some of the B - - - ch perhaps are sick a-bed; That J - - - ge steps out to light his Pipe, while this O’er night was boozy, and goes out to p - - ss. Some Witness miss’d; some Lawyer not in Town, So many Rubs appear, the Time is gone, For Hearing, and the tedious Suit goes on. Then rather let two Neighbours end your Cause, And split the Difference; tho’ you lose one Half; Than spend the Whole, entangled in the Laws, While merry Lawyers sly, at both Sides laugh.