Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

temper, which commits innumerable cruelties withɔut design. The maxim which several have laid down for a man's conduct in ordinary life, should be inviolable with a man in office, never te think of doing that to-morrow which may be done to-day. A man who defers doing what ought to be done, is guilty of injustice so long as he defers it. The dispatch of a good office is very often as beneficial to the solicitor as the good office itself. In short, if a man compared the inconveniencies which another suffers by his delays, with the trifling motives and advantages which he himself may reap by such a delay, he would never be guilty of a fault which very often does an irreparable prejudice to the person who depends upon him, and which might be remedied with little trouble to himself.

But in the last place, there is no man so improper to be em. ployed in business, as he who is in any degree capable of corrup

and such an one is the man, who, upon any pretence whatsoever, receives more than what is the stated and unquestioned fee of his office. Gratifications, tokens of thankfulness, dispatch money, and the like specious terms, are the pretences under which corruption very frequently shelters itself. An honest man will, however, look on all these methods as unjustifiable, and will enjoy himself better in a moderate fortune that is gained with honour and reputation, than in an over-grown estate that is cankered with the acquisitions of rapine and exaction. Were all our offices dis- . charged with such an inflexible integrity, we should not see men in all ages, who grow up to exorbitant wealth with the abilities which are to be met with in an ordinary mechanic. I cannot but think that such a corruption proceeds chiefly from men's employing the first that offer themselves, or those who have the character of shrewd worldly men, instead of searching out such as have had

tion;

Addison, as is well known, would neither overcharge an official act por remit i fee.-G.

a liberal education, and have been trained up in the studies of knowledge and virtue.

It has been observed, that men of learr ing who take to business, discharge it generally with greater honesty than men of the world. The chief reason for it I take to be as follows. A man that has spent his youth in reading, has been used to find virtue extolled, and vice stigmatized. A man that has past his time in the world, has often seen vice triumphant, and virtue discountenanced. Extortion, rapine, and injustice, which are branded with infamy in books, often give a man a figure in the world; while several qualities which are celebrated in authors, as generosity,

ngenuity, and good-nature, impoverish and ruin him. This cannot but have a proportionable effect on men, whose tempers and principles are equally good and vicious.

There would be at least this advantage in employing men of learning and parts in business, that their prosperity would sit more gracefully on them, and that we should not see many worth less persons shoot up into the greatest figures of life. 0.

No. 470. FRIDAY, AUGUST 29.

Turpe est difficiles habere nugas,
Et stultus est labor ineptiarum.

MART. 2. Ep. lxxxvi. 9.
'Tis folly only, and defect of sense,
Turns trifles into things of consequence.

I HAVE been very often disappointed of late years, when upon examining the new edition of a classic author, I have found above half the volume taken up with various readings. When I have expected to meet with a learned note upon a doubtful pas.

But in the original Fol. and 8vo. of 1712, C.

sage in a Latin poet, I have been only informed, that such or such ancient manuscripts for an et write an ac, or of some other notable discovery of the like importance. Indeed, when a different reading gives us a different sense, or a new elegance in an author, the editor does very well in taking notice of it; but when he only entertains us with the several ways of spelling the same word, and gathers together the various blunders and mistakes of twenty or thirty different transcribers, they only take up the time of the learned reader, and puzzle the minds of the ignorant. I have often fancied with myself how enraged an old Latin author would be, should he see the several absurdities in sense and grammar, which are imputed to him, by some or other of these various readings. In one he speaks nonsense; in another makes use of a word that was never heard of: and indeed there is scarce a solecism in writing which the best author is not guilty of, if we may be at liberty to read him in the words of some manuscript, which the laborious editor has thought fit to examine in the prosecution of his work.

I question not but the ladies and pretty fellows will be very curious to understand what it is that I have been hitherto talking of. I shall therefore give them a notion of this practice by endeavouring to write after the manner of several persons who make an eminent figure in the republic of letters. To this end we will suppose, that the following song is an old ode which I present to the public in a new edition, with the several various readings which I find of it in former editions, and in ancient manuscripts. Those who cannot relish the various readings, will perhaps find their account in the song, which never before appeared in print.

My love was fickle once and changing,

Nor e'er would settle in my heart;
From beauty still to beauty ranging,

In ev'ry face I found a dart,

[blocks in formation]

Stanza the first, verse the first. And changing.] The and in some manuscripts is written thus, &, but that in the Cotton Library writes it in three distinct letters. Verse the second.

Nor ere would.] Aldus reads it ever would ; but as this would hurt the metre, we have restored it to its genuine reading, by observing that synæresis which had been neglected by ignorant transcribers.

Ibid. In my heart.] Scaliger and others, on my heart. Verse the fourth. I found a dart.]

I found a dart.] The Vatican manuscript for I reads it, but this must have been the hallucination of the transcriber, who probably mistook the dash of the I for a T.

Stanza the second, verse the second. The fatal stroke. Scioppius; Salmasius, and many others, for the read a, but I have stuck to the usual reading.

Verse the third. Till by her wit.] Some manuscripts have it his wit, others your, others their wit. But as I find Corinna

; V. Nichol's select collection of poems, vol. 2, p. 68-et seq., note on? a remark in the Chef d'oeuvre d'un Inconnu.-C.

to be the name of a woman in other authors, I cannot doubt but it should be her.

Stanza the third, verse the first. A long and lasting anguish.] The German manuscript reads a lasting passion, but the rhyme will not admit it.

Verse the second. For Belvidera I endure.] Did not all the manuscripts reclaim, I should change Belvidera into Pelvidera; Pelvis being used by several of the ancient comic writers for a looking-glass, by which means the etymology of the word is very visible, and Pelvidera will signify a lady who often looks in her glass, as indeed she had very good reason, if she had all those beauties which our poet here ascribes to her.

Verse the third. Hourly I sigh and hourly languish.) Some for the word hourly read daily, and others nightly ; the last has great authorities of it's side.

Verse the fourth. The wonted cure.] The elder Stevens reads wanted cure.

Stanza the fourth, verse the second. After a thousand beauties.] In several copies we meet with a hundred beauties, by the usual error of the transcribers, who probably omitted a cypher, and had not taste enough to know, that the word thousand was ten times a greater compliment to the poet's mistress than an hundred.

Verse the fourth. And finds variety in one.] Most of the ancient manuscripts have it in two. Indeed so many of them concur in this last reading, that I am very much in doubt whether it ought not to take place. There are but two reasons which incline me to the reading, as I have published it; first) because the rhyme, and, secondly, because the sense is preserved by it. It might likewise proceed from the oscitancy of transcribers, who, to dispatch their work the sooner, used to write all numbers in cypher, and seeing the figure 1 followed by a little

« EdellinenJatka »