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and generally most admire the things they don't comprehend, or the things they can never be the better for. Very few can receive pleasure or ad. vantage from wit which they seldom taste, or learning which they seldom understand : much less from the quality, high birth, or shining circumstances of those to whom they profess esteem, and who will always remember how much they are their Inferi..
But Humanity and sociable virtues are what every creature wants every day, and still wants more the longer he lives, and most the very moment he dies. It is ill travelling either in a ditch or on a terras ; we should walk in the common way, where others are continually paffing on the same level, to make the journey of life supportable by bearing one another company in the same circumstances. Let me know how I may convey over the Odysses for your amusement in your journey, that you may compare your own travels with those of Ulysses : 1
yours are undertaken upon a more disinterefted, and therefore a more heroic motive. Far be the omen from you, of returning as he did, alone, without saving a friend.
There is lately printed a book * wherein all human virtue is reduced to one teft, that of Truth, and branch'd out in every instance of our duty to God and man. If you have not seen it, you must, and I will send it together with the Odyssey. The very women read it, and pretend to be charm'd with that beauty which they generally think the least of. They make as much ado about truth, since
* Mr. Wollaston's book of the Religion of Nature delineated. The Queen was fond of it, and that made the reading of it, and the talking of it, fashionable.
this book appear'd, as they did about health when Dr. Cheyne's came out; and will doubtless be as constant in the pursuit of one, as of the other. Adieu.
L E T T E R XXX.
To the same.
Aug. 9, 1726. Never am unmindful of those I think so well of
as yourself; their number is not so great as to confound one's memory. Nor ought you to decline writing to me, upon an imagination, that I am much employ'd by other people. For tho' my house is like the house of a Patriarch of old, standing by the highway fide and receiving all travellers, nevertheless I feldom go to bed without the reflection, that one's chief business is to be really at home : and I agree with you in your opinion of company, amusements, and all the filly things which mankind would fain make pleasures of, when in truth they are labour and sorrow.
I condole with you on the death of your Relation, the E. of C. as on the fate of a mortal man: Elteem I never had for him, but concern and humanity I had : the latter was due to the infirmity of his last period, tho' the former was not due to the triumphant and vain part of his course. He cer. tainly knew himself best at last, and knew best the little value of others, whose neglect of him, whom they so grosly follow'd and flatter'd in the former scene of his life, shew'd them as worthless as they could imagine him to be, were he all that his worst enemies believed of him: For my own part, I am forry for his death, and with he had lived long
enough to fee fo much of the faithlessness of the world, as to have been above the mad ambition of governing such wretches as he must have found it to be composed of.
Tho you could have no great value for this Great man, yet acquaintance itself, the custom of seeing the face, or entering under the roof, of one that walks along with us in the common way of the world, is enough to create a wish at least for his being above ground, and a degree of uneasiness at his removal. 'Tis the loss of an object familiar to us : I should hardly care to have an old post pulld up, that I remember'd ever since I was a child. And add to this the reflection (in the case of such as were not the best of their Species) what their condition in another life may be, it is yet a more important motive for our concern and compaffion. To say the truth, either in the case of death or life, almost every body and every thing is à caufe or object for humanity, even prosperity itfelf, and health itself; fo many weak pitiful incidentals attend on them.
I am forry any relation of yours is ill, whoever it be, for you don't name the person. But I conclude it is one of those to whose houses, you tell me, you are going, for I know no invitation with you is fo strong as when any one is in distress, or in want of your affitance: The strongest proof in the world of this, was your attendance on the late Earl.
I have been very melancholy for the lofs of Mr. Blount. Whoever has any portion of good nature will suffer on these occafions: but a good mind rewards its own sufferings. I hope to trouble you as little as pofible, if it be my fate to go before you, I am of old Ennius's mind, Nemo me decoret lachrymis-I am but a Lodger here: this is not an abiding city, I am only to ftay out my lease: for what has Perpetuity and mortat man to do with each other? L 4
But I could be glad you would take up with an Inn at Twitenham, as long as I am Hoft of it: if not, I would take up freely with any Inn of yours.Adieu, dear Sir: Let us while away this life: and (if we can) meet in another.
L E T T E R XXXI.
To the same.
June 24, 1727
few people can be charged with.) Do not say you will not expect letters from me; upon my word I can no more forbear writing sometimes to you, than thinking of you. I know the world too well, not to value you who are an example of acting, living, and thinking, above it, and contrary to it.
I thank God for my Mother's unexpected recovery, tho' my hope can rise no higher than from reprieve to reprieve, the small addition of a few days
many she has already seen. Yet so short and transitory as this light is, it is all I have to warm or shine upon me, and when it is out, there is nothing else that will live for me, or consume itself in my service. But I would have you think this is not the chief motive of my concern about her : Gratitude is a cheap virtue, one may pay it very punctually, for it cofts us nothing, but our memory of the good done. And I owe her more good, than ever I can pay, or the at this age receive, if I could. I do not think the tranquillity of the mind ought to be disturbed for many things in this world : but those of fices that are necessary duties either to our friends or ourselves, will hardly prove any breach of it; and
as much as they take away from our indolence and case of body, will contribute to our peace and quiet of mind by the content they give. They often afford the highest pleasure and those who do not feel that, will hardly ever find another to match it, let them love themselves ever so dearly. At the same time it must be own'd, one meets with cruel disappointments in seeing so often the best endeayours ineffectual to make others happy, and very often (what is most cruel of all) thro' their own means *. But still, I affirm, those very disappointments of a virtuous man are greater pleasures, than the utmost gratifications and successes of a mere self-lover.
The great and sudden event which has just now happened to puts the whole world (I mean this whole world) into a new state: The only use I have, shall, or with to make of it, is to observe the difparity of men from themselves in a week's time: the desultory leaping and catching of new motions, new modes, new measures: and that strange spirit and life, with which men broken and disappointed resume their hopes, their follicitations, their ambitions ! It would be worth your while as a Philofopher, to be busy in these observations, and to come hither to see the fury and bustle of the Bees this hot feason, without coming so near as to be ftung by them.
* See Letter xxvII, from Cirencefter.
+ The death of K. George the First, which happened the 11th of June, 1727.