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But, that our society may not appear a set of humourists, unacquainted with the gallantries and pleasures of the age, we have among us the gallant Will Honeycomb, a gentleman who, according to his years, should be in 5 the decline of his life, but, having ever been very careful of his person, and always had a very easy fortune, time has made but a very little impression, either by wrinkles on his forehead, or traces on his brain. His person is well turned, of a good height. He is very 10 ready at that sort of discourse with which men usually entertain women. He has all his life dressed very well, and remembers habits as others do men. He can smile when one speaks to him, and laughs easily. He knows the history of every mode, and can inform you from 15 what Frenchwoman our wives and daughters had this manner of curling their hair, that way of placing their hoods; and whose vanity to shew her foot made that part of the dress so short in such a year. In a word, all his conversation and knowledge have been in the female 20 world; as other men of his age will take notice to you what such a minister said upon such and such an occasion, he will tell you, when the Duke of Monmouth danced at court, such a woman was then smitten, another was taken with him at the head of his troop in the 25 Park. For all these important relations, he has ever about the same time received a kind glance or a blow of a fan from some celebrated beauty, mother of the present Lord such-a-one.
This way of talking of his very much enlivens the con30 versation, among us of a more sedate turn; and I find there is not one of the company, but myself, who rarely
speak at all, but speaks of him as of that sort of man who is usually called a well-bred fine gentleman. To conclude his character, where women are not concern erned, he is an honest worthy man.
I cannot tell whether I am to account him whom I 5 am next to speak of, as one of our company; for he visits us but seldom, but when he does, it adds to every man else a new enjoyment of himself. He is a clergyman, a very philosophic man, of general learning, great sanctity of life, and the most exact good breeding. He 10 has the misfortune to be of a very weak constitution ; and consequently cannot accept of such cares and business as preferments in his function would oblige him to; he is therefore among divines what a chamber-councillor is among lawyers. The probity of his mind, and the 15 integrity of his life, create him followers, as being eloquent or loud advances others. He seldom introduces the subject he speaks upon; but we are so far gone in years that he observes, when he is among us, an earnestness to have him fall on some divine topic, which he 20 always treats with much authority, as one who has no interest in this world, as one who is hastening to the object of all his wishes, and conceives hope from his decays and infirmities. These are my ordinary companions.
SIR ROGER ON MEN OF FINE PARTS. [STEELE.]
No. 6.- WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17, 1710-II.
CREDEBANT hoc grande nefas, et morte piandum,
Si juvenis vetulo non assurrexerat. -- JUV. SAT. xiii. 54.
'TWAS impious then (so much was age rever'd)
I KNOW no evil under the sun so great as the abuse of the understanding, and yet there is no one vice more common. It has diffused itself through both sexes, and all qualities of mankind; and there is hardly that per5 son to be found, who is not more concerned for the reputation of wit and sense, than honesty and virtue. But this unhappy affectation of being wise rather than honest, witty than good-natured, is the source of most of the ill habits of life. Such false impressions are owing to the 10 abandoned writings of men of wit, and the awkward imitation of the rest of mankind.
For this reason, Sir Roger was saying last night, that he was of opinion that none but men of fine parts deserve to be hanged. The reflections of such men are so 15 delicate upon all occurrences which they are concerned
in, that they should be exposed to more than ordinary infamy and punishment, for offending against such quick admonitions as their own souls give them, and blunting the fine edge of their minds in such a manner, that they
are no more shocked at vice and folly, than men of slower capacities. There is no greater monster in being, than a very ill man of great parts. He lives like a man in a palsy, with one side of him dead. While perhaps he enjoys the satisfaction of luxury, of wealth, of ambition, 5 he has lost the taste of good will, of friendship, of innocence. Scarecrow, the beggar in Lincoln's-inn-fields, who disabled himself in his right leg, and asks alms all day to get himself a warm supper at night, is not half so despicable a wretch, as such a man of sense. The 10 beggar has no relish above sensations; he finds rest more agreeable than motion; and while he has a warm fire, never reflects that he deserves to be whipped. Every man who terminates his satisfactions and enjoyments within the supply of his own necessities and pas- 15 sions is, says Sir Roger, in my eye as poor a rogue as Scarecrow. 66 'But," continued he, "for the loss of public and private virtue we are beholden to your men of fine parts forsooth; it is with them no matter what is done, so it be done with an air. But to me who am so whim- 20 sical in a corrupt age as to act according to nature and reason, a selfish man in the most shining circumstance and equipage, appears in the same condition with the fellow above mentioned, but more contemptible in proportion to what more he robs the public of and enjoys 25 above him. I lay it down therefore for a rule, that the whole man is to move together; that every action of any importance, is to have a prospect of public good and that the general tendency of our indifferent actions ought to be agreeable to the dictates of reason, of religion, of 30 good breeding; without this, à man, as I have before
hinted, is hopping instead of walking, he is not in his entire and proper motion."
While the honest knight was thus bewildering himself in good starts, I looked intentively upon him, which made 5 him, I thought, collect his mind a little. "What I aim at," says he," is, to represent, that I am of opinion, to polish our understandings and neglect our manners is of all things the most inexcusable. Reason should govern passion, but instead of that, you see, it is often subserviIo ent to it; and, as unaccountable as one would think it, a wise man is not always a good man." This degeneracy is not only the guilt of particular persons, but also at some times of a whole people: and perhaps it may appear upon examination, that the most polite ages are the 15 least virtuous. This may be attributed to the folly of admitting wit and learning as merit in themselves, without considering the application of them. By this means it becomes a rule, not so much to regard what we do, as how we do it. But this false beauty will not pass 20 upon men of honest minds and true taste. Sir Richard Blackmore says, with as much good sense as virtue, "It is a mighty dishonour and shame to employ excellent faculties and abundance of wit, to humour and please men in their vices and follies. The great enemy of 25 mankind, notwithstanding his wit and angelic faculties, is the most odious being in the whole creation." He goes on soon after to say, very generously, that he undertook the writing of his poem "to rescue the Muses out of the hands of ravishers, to restore them to their sweet 30 and chaste mansions, and to engage them in an employment suitable to their dignity." This certainly ought