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which means, that the only way to be happy in this life, is to be insensible to every thing that concerns it; to be unmoved in all serious and all momentous events; in other words, "to be a fool." The lines of the Roman satirist have been generally misunderstood; but we now come to our other topic, admiration, which has led a celebrated poet of our own country into the following expression:
Fools admire, but men of sense approve.
But this observation is by no means founded in nature; the Englishman really and seriously believed that the wise man was at no time" to admire;" whereas it is certain that to admire is to approve; the terms are perfectly synonymous, as the reflection of a moment will evince: the vacant stare or the unqualified and blurted exclamation of the fool are, whatever Pope would give us to understand to the contrary, nothing to the purpose.
Sav. Most truly argued: the exclamation you describe is properly wonder; and, though to admire and to wonder are often confounded by the most accurate writers, yet, in their primitive signification, they are totally different.
Johns. Lucian, in his dialogue between Mycyllus and Megapenthes, observes, that the "admiration of mankind is constantly bestowed on what is far-fetched and little known:" does he mean, I would ask you, to speak of the wondering or the approving faculty of man?
Sav. Admiration, as I conceive, can never be employed in any other sense than that of wonder; for, though to admire and to approve are, as you have just observed, precisely the same, it is nothing in respect to the substantive in question, which appears not to belong to the class of verbals, but to be of a distinct and particular root.
Johns. After all, I believe, we must consider the word as being at one time of a simple, and at another of a
complex nature, as sometimes conveying a double kind of meaning: I think that Lucian, in the passage you have cited, used it in this mixed sense. Paterculus has said, "Alit æmulatio ingenia, et nunc invidia, nunc admiratio, incitationem accendit." Emulation is the spur of wit, and sometimes envy, sometimes admiration, quickens our endeavours.-Now here you must perceive and acknowledge that admiration is something more than wonder; for it is not enough to wonder at a matter to induce us to emulate it; we must, at the same time, approve: many things will awaken our surprise, though they may never move us with any ambition to surpass, or even to equal them.
Sav. Envy, I believe, is far more frequently a spur to glorious undertakings than admiration, understood as you would have it to be; for mankind, however greatly they may admire or approve the excellence of another, very rarely acknowledge it with willingness-especially if the same kind or degree of merit is found in themselves.
Johns. This, indeed, is a disgrace to the literary character: I speak of envy when joined with detraction; or, at least, a determination not to acknowledge the merits of another; for, without this, it is properly emulation, and no way censurable. Voltaire, I remember, thus energetically deplores the circumstance in question: "The rust of envy, the artifice of intrigue, the poison of calumny, the assassination of satire, dishonour among men a profession, which in itself has something really divine." So also do many of our English writers, from whose works I shall repeat two or three passages, in proof of what I have advanced: thus Pope
Now those who gain Parnassus' lofty crown,
So Addison:-"There are many passions and tempers of mind which naturally dispose us to depress and vilify the merit of one rising in the esteem of mankind: those who were once his equals envy and defame him, because
they now see him their superior; and those who were once his superiors, because they look upon him as their equal." Helvetius, in his book De l'Esprit, thus expresses himself with respect to the checking a man in his endeavours to excel :-" Détruisez dans un homme la passion qui l'anime, vous le privez au même instant de toutes les lumières; il semble que la chevelure de Samson soit, à cet égard, l'emblême des passions; cette chevelure est-elle coupée, Samson n'est plus qu'un homme ordinaire."
Sav. I recollect a remark of the younger Pliny, recorded by Chancellor Bacon, which, were it duly reflected on, envy would presently be banished from the breast of man-it possesses the highest degree of excellence, and is set forth and commended by Lord Bacon in the following words:-" There is nothing better or more praiseworthy than that which Pliny speaketh of, which is to be liberal of commendation to others in that wherein a man's self hath any perfection; for, saith he, very wittily,' In commending another you do yourself right; for he that you commend is either superior to you in that you commend, or inferior; if he be inferior, you much more; if he be superior, you much less.'
Johns. 'Tis singularly just and striking, indeed; I could wish the passage to be generally known and attended to: malevolence is, unfortunately, so common to our kind, that every attempt to teach one man to use fairness and candour towards another is of little avail.-The passions, you know, are not very easily subdued, even by the most excellent lessons in morality and virtue. This precept of the elegant Pliny, however, cannot be sufficiently approved and inculcated: it evinces a truly logical head; but, while bestowing this commendation, the good man must necessarily sigh at the depraved state of human nature, since, generally speaking, we can only be brought to do justice to our fellows from the bare motive of doing, at the same time, right to ourselves.
Sav. There is very little candour and moderation in the world: even, on Pliny's principle, few, I fear, will be willing to exercise those virtues: so great, as you have just observed, is the malignity of man; they will still, I am of opinion, justify the severity of him whom you have styled "a shallow fellow," and who has remarked, in his poem of the Author,
No crime's so great as daring to excel.
Johns. The reflection is at once both miserable and mortifying the vice we speak of is one of the most degrading in our nature; but thus, I fear, it will ever be, till reason and philosophy, whose lights, at present, play about us but as coruscations, as glittering yet evanescent meteors, shall break out with a steady and meridian brightness,—when they shall dispel the clouds which we now can scarcely penetrate, -display the beauties of the material world, and teach us to adore the Maker, the great, the glorious, framer of it, whose instruments of knowledge, though he hath been pleased to clothe them in a human form, we are at no time to vilify or contemn.
Sav. You think but meanly of the present times: there are some, on the contrary, who consider this as the age of reason and philosophy.
Johns. I am well acquainted with their contemptible sophisms: the age of reason! Never will I, for a moment, acknowledge it as such, while War, with all his horrid train of evils, is suffered to stalk at large among mankind. If this be really the age of philosophy, 'tis a philosophy that has taught men to become mad.* If this must actually be styled the age of reason, I well may exclaim with the immortal bard―
Who talks of reason?
'Twere better to have none than not enough.
No, never will I own men to be possessed of reason and
Preach some philosophy to make me mad.-SHAKSPEARE.
philosophy until they shall desist from their ridiculous inquiries into the nature and properties of the heavenly mind; until they shall give over the discussion of all abstract, all metaphysical, questions, and confine themselves to the love of their fellows, rendering, at all times, that assistance to each other which must be highly pleasing in the sight of the Author of the universe.—But yonder are Henry the Fourth of France and his minister, the Duc de Sully, who, you may remember, laid down a plan for a perpetual peace. As war is the most dreadful of all terrestrial calamities, let us walk towards them, and ask their present opinion concerning it: nay, hesitate not a moment; all are here on a perfect level; a duke, or even a king, is no more than Johnson or Savage.
SCENE THE ELYSIAN FIELDS.
POPE and CHURCHILL (meeting).
Pope. THE author of the "Rosciad," if I mistake not ? Church. The same.
Pope. The man, whose vanity led him to imagine that he was the first satirist of the age.
Church. Something, perhaps, too much of this; nevertheless, I always admired your genius, and had hoped that my own was no way inferior to it: I was, however, cut off in the spring of life; but had I lived a little longer, it is possible I might have equalled you.
Pope. If, with such slender abilities, you could imagine yourself my equal, might you not entertain the vainer idea of one day excelling me?