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It sometimes happens that even enemies and envious persons bestow the sincerest marks of esteem when they least design it. Such afford a greater pleasure, as extorted by merit, and freed from all suspicion of favour or flattery. Thus it is with Malvolio; he has wit, learning, and discernment, but tempered with an allay of envy, self-love, and detraction. Malvolio turns pale at the mirth and good-humour of the company, if it centre not in his person ; he grows jealous and displeased when he ceases to be the only person admired, and looks upon the commendations paid to another as a detraction from his merit, and an attempt to lessen the superiority he affects; but by this very method, he bestows such praise as can never be suspected of flattery. His uneasi. ness and distaste are so many sure and certain signs of another's title to that glory he desires, and has the mortification to find himself not possessed of.
A good name is fitly compared to a precious ointment,* and when we are praised with skill and decency, it is indeed the most agreeable perfume; but if too strongly admitted into a brain of a less vigorous and happy texture, it will, like too strong an odour, overcome the senses, and prove pernicious to those nerves it was intended to refresh. A generous mind is of all others the most sensible of praise and dispraise ; and a noble spirit is as much invigorated with its due propor-, tion of honour and applause, as it is depressed by neglect and contempt. But it is only persons far above the common level who are thus affected with either of these extremes; as in a thermometer, it is only the purest and most sublimated spi
* Eccles. vij. 1.
rit that is either contracted or dilated by the benignity or inclemency of the season. MR. SPECTATOR,
"The translations which you have lately given us from the Greek, in some of your last papers, have been the occasion of my looking into some of those authors; among whom I chanced on a collection of letters which pass under the name of Aristænetus. Of all the remains of antiquity, I believed there can be nothing produced of an air so gallant and polite ; each letter contains a little novel or adventure, which is told with all the beauties of language, and heightened with a luxuriance of wit. There are several of them translated :* but with such wide deviations from the original, and in a style so far differing from the author's that the translator seems rather to have taken hints for the expressing his own sense and thoughts, than to have endeavoured to render those of Aristænetus. In the following translation, I have kept as near the meaning of the Greek as I could, and have only added a few words to make the sentences in English sit together, a little better than they would otherwise have done. The story seems to be taken from that of Pygmalion and the statue in Ovid: some of the thoughts are of the same turn, and the whole is written in a kind of poetical prose.'
PHILOPINAX TO CHROMATION. “Never was a man more overcome with so fantastical a passion as mine, I have painted a beautiful woman, and am despairing, dying for the picture. My own skill has undone me; it is not the dart of Venus, but my own pencil has thus
* By Tom Brown and others. See his Works, 4 vols, 1200
wounded me. Ah, me! with what anxiety am I necessitated to adore my own idol! How miserable am I, whilst every one must as much pity the painter as he praises the picture, and own my torment more than equal to my art. But why do I thus complain? Have there not been more unhappy and unnatural passions than mine? Yes, I have seen the representations of Phædra, Narcissus, and Pasiphae. Phædra was unhappy, in her love; that of Pasiphae was monstrous; and whilst the other caught at his beloved likeness, he destroyed the watery image, which ever eluded his embra
The fountain represented Narcissus to himself, and the picture both that and him, thirsting after his adored image. But I am yet less unhappy, I enjoy her presence continually, and if I touch her, I destroy not the beauteous form, but she looks pleased, and a sweet smile sits in the charming space which divides her lips. One would swear that voice and speech were issuing out, and that one's ears felt the melodious sound. How often have I, deceived by a lover's credulity, hearkened if she had not something to whisper me? and when frustrated of my hopes, how often have I taken my revenge in kisses from her cheeks and eyes, and softly wooed her to my embrace, whilst she (as to me it seemed) only withheld her tongue the more to enflame me. But, madman that I am, shall I be thus taken with the representation only of a beauteous face, and flowing hair, and thus waste myself and melt to tears for a shadow ? Ah, sure it is something more, it is a reality; for see her beauties shine out with new lustre, and she seems to upbraid me with unkind reproaches. Oh, may I have a living mistress of this form, that when I shall compare the work of nature with that of art, I may be still at a loss
which to choose, and be long perplexed with the pleasing uncertainty.”
No. 239. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1711.
Bella, horrida bella!
VIRG. Æn. vi. 86. Wars, horrid wars!
DRYDEN. I HAVE sometimes amused myself with consider. ing the several methods of managing a debate 'which have obtained in the world.
The first races of mankind used to dispute, as our ordinary people do now-a-days, in a kind of wild logic uncultivated by rules of art.
Socrates introduced a catechetical method of arguing. He would ask his adversary question upon question, until he had convinced him out of his own mouth, that his opinions were wrong. This way of debating drives an enemy up into a corner, seizes all the passes through which he can make an escape, and forces him to surrender at discretion.
Aristotle changed this method of attack, and invented a great variety of little weapons, called syllogisms. As in the Socratic way of dispute you agree to every thing your opponent advances; in the Aristotelic, you are still denying and contradicting some part or other of what he says. Socrates
conquers you by stratagem, Aristotle by force. The one takes the town by sap, the other sword in hand.
The universities of Europe, for many years, carried on their debates by syllogism, insomuch
that we see the knowledge of several centuries laid out into objections and answers, and all the good sense of the age cut and minced into almost an infinitude of distinctions.
When our universities found there was no end of wrangling this way, they invented a kind of argument, which is not reducible to any mood or figure in Aristotle. It was called the Argumentum Basilinum (others write it Bacilinum or Baculinum) which is pretty well expressed in our English word club-law. When they were not able to confute their antagonist they knocked him down. It was their method in these polemical debates, first to discharge their syllogisms, and afterwards to betake themselves to their clubs, until such time as they had one way or other confounded their gainsayers. There is in Oxford a narrow defile, (to make use of a military term) where the partisans used to encounter; for which reason it still retains the name of Logic-lane. I have heard an old gentleman, a physician, make his boasts, that when he was a young fellow he marched several times at the head of a troop of Scotists,* and cudgelled a body of Smiglesians,t half the length of High-street, until they had dispersed themselves for shelter into their respective garrisons.
This humour, I find, went very far in Erasmus's time. For that author tells us, that upon the revival of Greek letters, most of the universities in Europe were divided into Greeks and Trojans.
* The followers of Duns Seotus, a celebrated doctor of the sehools, who flourished about the year 1900, and from his opposing some favourite doctrines of Thomas Aquinas, gave to a new party called Scotists, in opposition to the Thomists, or followers of the other.
+ The followers of Martin Smiglecius, a famous logician of the 16th century.