« AnkstesnisTęsti »
be violated. A certain degree of negligence and carelessness becomes injurious and insulting, from the real or supposed inferiority of the persons: and that delightful liberty of conversation among a few friends is soon destroyed, as liberty often has been, by being carried to licentiousness. But example explains things best, and I will put a pretty strong case:-Suppose you and me alone together; I believe you will allow that I have as good a right to unlimited freedom in your company, as either you or I can possibly have in any other; and I am apt to believe, too, that you would indulge me in that freedom as far as anybody would. But, notwithstanding this, do you imagine that I should think there was no bounds to that freedom? I assure you, I should not think so; and I take myself to be as much tied down by a certain degree of good manners to you, as by other degrees of them to other people. The most familiar and intimate habitudes, connexions, and friendships, require a degree of good-breeding, both to preserve and cement them. The best of us have our bad sides; and it is as imprudent as it is ill-bred to exhibit them. I shall not use ceremony with you; it would be misplaced between us: but I shall certainly observe that degree of good-breeding with you which is, in the first place, decent, and which, I am sure, is absolutely necessary to make us like one another's company long.
The Brief Triumph of the Wicked.
BORN 1605, died 1654; married Lucia, daughter of the first Lord Powis, who is celebrated in his poems under the name of Castara. His poetry, though occasionally abounding in conceits and frivolities, possesses the charms of tenderness and vivacity.
Swell no more, proud man, so high!
He who's lifted up by vice
Over which you spread your sail;
Mischief, while it prospers, brings
The Village Schoolmistress.
IN yonder cot, along whose mouldering walls,
Beneath her chin was pinned with decent care.
Here first I enter'd, though with toil and pain,
And thought of tender home, where anger never kept,
Alert I met the dame with jocund smiles;
First at my form, my task for ever true,
And oft she stroked my head with fond delight,
The Dying Swan.
THE plain was glassy, wild and bare,
An under-roof of doleful gray.
Which loudly did lament.
And took the reed-tops as it went.
And white against the cold white sky
One willow over the river wept,
Above in the wind was the swallow,
The wild swan's death-hymn took the soul
Hidden in sorrow: at first to the ear
With a music strange and manifold,
As when a mighty people rejoice
With shalms, and with cymbals, and harps of gold,
And the wavy swell of the soughing reeds,
The Dead Ass.
BORN 1713, died 1768, followed the clerical profession, with which, unhappily, too many of his writings are wholly inconsistent. His wit is brilliant, but his
"And this," said he, putting the remains of a crust into his wallet-" and this should have been thy portion," said he, "hadst thou been alive to have shared it with me." I thought, by the accent, it had been an apostrophe to his child; but it was to his ass, and to the very ass we had seen dead in the road, which had occasioned La Fleur's misadventure. The man seemed to lament it much; and it instantly brought into my mind Sancho's lamentations for his; but he did it with more true touches of nature.
The mourner was sitting upon a stone bench at the door, with the ass's pannel and its bridle on one side, which he took up from time to time-then laid them down-looked at them, and shook his head. He then took his crust of bread out of his wallet again,
as if to eat it; held it some time in his hand-then laid it upon the bit of his ass's bridle-looking wistfully at the little arrangement he had made-and then gave a sigh.
The simplicity of his grief drew numbers about him, and La Fleur among the rest, whilst the horses were getting ready; as I continued sitting in the post-chaise, I could see and hear over their heads.
He said he had come last from Spain, where he had been from the farthest borders of Franconia; and had got so far on his return home, when his ass died. Every one seemed desirous to know what business could have taken so old and poor a man so far a journey from his own home.
It had pleased Heaven, he said, to bless him with three sons, the finest lads in all Germany; but having in one week lost two of them by the small-pox, and the youngest falling ill of the same distemper, he was afraid of being bereft of them all, and made a vow, if Heaven would not take him from him also, he would go in gratitude to St. Iago,* in Spain.
When the mourner got thus far in his story, he stopped to pay nature her tribute-and wept bitterly.
He said Heaven had accepted the conditions; and that he had set out from his cottage with this poor creature, who had been a patient partner of his journey-that it had eaten the same bread with him all the way, and was unto him as a friend.
Everybody who stood about heard the poor fellow with concern -La Fleur offered him money. The mourner said he did not want it-it was not the value of the ass-but the loss of him. The ass, he said, he was assured, loved him; and upon this told them a long story of a mischance upon their passage over the Pyrenean mountains, which had separated them from each other three days; during which time the ass had sought him as much as he had sought the ass, and that neither had scarce eaten or drank till they met.
Thou hast one comfort, friend," said I, "at least, in the loss of thy poor beast; I am sure thou hast been a merciful master to him." Alas!" said the mourner, "I thought so when he was alive, but now he is dead I think otherwise-I fear the weight of myself, and my afflictions together, have been too much for him-they have shortened the poor creature's days, and I fear I have them to answer for." "Shame on the world!" said I, to myself" Did we but love each other as this poor soul loved his ass, 'twould be something."
* Or Santiago, the Spanish name for St. James, to whom there is a celebrated cathedral, in the crypt of which the bodies of the apostle and of two of his disciples are supposed to be buried. Hence it was a favourite resort of pilgrims.