Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

soppose that a man loses his time, who is not engaged in public affairs, or in an illustrious course of action. On the contrary, I believe our hours may very often be more profitably laid out in such transactions as make no figure in the world, than in such as are apt to draw upon them the attention of mankind. One may become wiser ant better by several methods of employing one's self in secresy and silence, and do what is laudable without noise or ostentation. I would, however, recommend to every one of my readers, the keeping a journal of their lives for one week, and setting down punctually their whole series of employments during that space of time. This kind of self-examination would give them a true state of theniselves, and incline them to consider seriously what they are about. One day would rectify the omis. sions of another, and make a man weigh all those indifferent actions, which, though they are easily forgot. ten, must certainly be accounted for.

L.

DRUNKENNESS.

Reges dicuntur multis urgere culullis
Et torquere mero, quem persperisse laborent,
An sit umicitia dignus

HOR.
Wise were the kings, who never chose a friend,
Till with full cups they bad unmask'd his soul,
And seen the bottom of his deepest thoughts.

ROSCOMMON.

Vo vices are so incurable as those which men are

apt to glory in. One would wonder how drunk. enness should have the good luck to be of this number. Anacharsis, being invited to a match of drinking at Corinth, demanded the prize very humorously, be

cause he was drunk before any of the rest of the com. pany; for, says be, when we run a race, he who arrives at the goal first is entitled to the reward: on the contrary, in this thirsty generation, the honour falls upon him who carries off the greatest quantity of liquor, and knocks down the rest of the company. I was the other day with honest Will Funnell the West. Saxon, who was reckoning up how much liquor had passed through him in the last twenty years of his life, which, according to his computation, amounted to twenty-three hogsheads of October, four ton of port, half a kilderkin of small beer, nineteen barrels of cider, and three glasses of champagne; besides which be bad assisted at four hundred bowls of punch, not to mention sips, drams, and whets withont number. I question not hút every reader's memory will suggest to him several ambitions young men, who are as vain in ibis particular as Will Funnell, and can boast of as glorious exploits.

Our modern philosophers observe, that there is a general decay of moisture in the globe of the earth. This they chiefly ascribe to the growth of vegetables, which incorporate into their own substance many fluid bodies that never return again to their former nature: but with submission, they onght to throw into their account those innumerable rational beings which fetch their nourishment chiefly out of liquids ; especialiy wben we consider that men, compared with their fellow-creatures, drink much more than comes to their sbare.

But however highly this tribe of people may think of themselves, a drunken man is a greater monster than any that is to be found among all the creatures wbicb God has made; as indeed there is no character which appears mure despicable and deformed, in the eyes of all reasonable persons, than that of a drunk. ard. Bonosus, one of our own countrynjen, who was addicted to this vice, having set up for a share in the Roman empire, and being defeated iv a great battle, hanged bimself. When he was seen by the army in this melancholy situation, notwithstanding he had be.. haved himself very bravely, the common jest was, that the thing they saw hanging upon the tree before them, was not a man but a bottle.

· This vice has very fatal effects on the mind, the body, and fortune of the person who is devoted to it.

In regard to the mind, it first of all discovers every flaw in it. The soner man, by the strength of reason, may keep under and subdue every vice or folly to wbich he is most inclined; but wine makes every la. tent seed sprout up in the soul, and show itself; it

gives fury to the passions, and force to those objects · which are apt to produce them. When a young fel.

low complained to an old philosopher that his wife was not bandsome; Put less water in your wine, says the philosopher, and you will quickly make her so. Wine heightens indifference into love, love into jea. lousy, and jealousy into madness. It often turns the good-natured man into an idiot, and the choleric into an assassin. It gives bitterness to resentment, it makes vanity insupportable, and displays every little spot of the soul in its utmost deformity.

Nor does this vice only betray the hidden faults of a man, and show them in the most odious coloury, but often occasions faults to which he is not naturally subject. There is more of turn than of truth in a saying of Seneca, that drunkenness does not produce but discover fanlts. Common experience teaches the contrary. Wine throws a man out of himself, and in. fuses qualities into the mind, which she is a stranger to in her sober moments. The person you converse with, after the third bottle, is not the same man who at first sat down at table with you. Upon this twaxim is founded one of the prettiest sayings I ever met with, which is ascribed to Publius Syrus, Qui ebrium ludi. ficat, ladit absentem : “ He who jests upon a map that is drunk, injures the absent."

Thus does drunkenness act in a direct contradiction

to reason, whose business it is to clear the mind of every vice which is crept into it, and to guard it against all the approaches of any that endeavours to make its entrance. But besides these ill effects which this vice produces in the person who is actually under its dominion, it has also a bad influence on the mind even in its sober moments, as it insensibly weakens the understanding, impairs the memory, and makes those faults habitual which are produced by frequent excesses.

MISCHIEFS BY GIPSY VAGRANTS.

- Semperque recentes Convectare juvat prædas, et vivere rapto.

VIRG. Hunting their sport, and plund'ring was their trade.

DRYDEN.

AS I was yesterday riding ont in the fields with my

friend Sir Roger, we saw a little distance from us a troop of Gipsies: upon the first discovery of them, my friend was in some doubt whether he should not exert the Justice of the Peace opon such a band of lawless vagrants, but not having his clerk with him, who is a necessary counsellor on these occasions, and

fearing that his poultry might fare the worse for it, he · let the thought drop; but at the same time gave nie a

particular account of the mischiefs they do in the country, in stealing people's goods and spoiling their servants. If a stray piece of linen bangs apon a hedge, says Sir Roger, they are sure to have it; if the hog loses his way in the fields, it is ten to one but he becomes their prey; our geese cannot live in peace for them; if a man prosecutes them with severity, his hen-roost is sure to pay for it; they generally straggle

into these parts about this time of the year; and set the heads of our servant maids so agog for husbands, that we do not expect to have any business done as it should be, whilst they are in the country. I have an honest dairy.maid who crosses their hands with a piece of silver every summer, and never fails being promised the handsomest young fellow in the parish for her pains. The butler has been fool enough to be sedaced by them; and, though he is sure to lose a knife, a fork, or a spoon, every time bis fortune is told him, generally shuts himself up in the pantry with an old gipsy for above half an hour once in a twelvemonth. Sweet-hearts are the things they live upon, which they bestow very plentifully upon all those that apply themselves to them. You see now and then some handsome young jades among them; the sluts have very often white teeth and black eyes. :: I might here entertain my reader with historical remarks on this idle profligate people, who infest all the countries of Europe, and live in the midst of goveruments in a kind of commonwealth by themselves. But instead of entering into observations of this natare, I shall fill the remaining part of my paper with a story which is still fresh in Holland, and was printed in one of our monthly accounts about twenty years ago. “As the Trekschuyt, or hackney-boat, which carries passengers from Leyden to Amsterdam, was putting off, a boy running along the side of the canal desired to be taken in; which the master of the boat refused, because the lad had not qaite money enough to pay the usual fare. An eminent merchant being pleaserl with the looks of the boy, and secretly touched with compassion towards him, paid the money for him, and ordered him to be taken on board. Upon talking with him afterwards, he found that he could speak readily in three or four languages, and learned upon further examination that he had been stolen away when he was a child by a gipsy, and had rambled ever since with a gang of strollers up and

« EdellinenJatka »