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impose upon the vilest criminal. Take him when he is awaked too soon after a debauch, or disappointed in following a worthless woman without truth, and there is no man living whose being is such a weight or vexation as his is. He is an utter stranger to the pleasing reflections in the evening of a well-spent day, or the gladness of heart or quickness of spirit in the morning after profound sleep or indolent slumbers. He is not to be at ease any longer than he can keep reason and good sense without his curtains; otherwise he will be haunted with the reflection, that he could not believe such a one the woman that upon trial he found her. What has he got by his conquest, but to think meanly of her for whom a day or two before he had the highest honour? And of himself, for perhaps wronging the man whom of all men living he himself would least willingly have injured.
Pleasure seizes the whole man who addicts himself to it, and will not give him leisure for any good office in life which contradicts the gaiety of the present hour. You may indeed observe in people of pleasure a certain complacency and absence of all severity, which the habit of a loose unconcerned life gives
but tell the man of pleasure your secret wants, cares, or sorrows, and you will find that he has given up the delicacy of his passions to the cravings of his appetites. He little knows the perfect joy he loses, for the disappointing gratifications which he pursues. He looks at pleasure as she approaches, and comes to him with the recommendation of warm wishes, gay looks, and graceful motion ; but he does not observe how she leaves his presence with disorder, impotence, down-cast shame, and conscious imperfection. She makes our youth inglorious, our age shameful..
Will Honeycomb gives us twenty intimations in an
evening of several hags whose bloom was given up to his arms; and would raise a value to himself for having had, as the phrase is,' very good women.' Will's good women are the comfort of his heart, and support him, I warrant, by the memory of past interviews with persons of their condition. No, there is not in the world an occasion wherein vice makes so phantastical a figure, as at the meeting of two old people who have been partners in unwarrantable pleasure. To tell a toothless old lady that she once had a good set, or a defunct .wencher that he once was the admired thing of the town, are satires instead of applauses; but on the other side, consider the old age of those who have passed their days in labour, industry, and virtue, their decays make them but appear
the more venerable, and the imperfections of their bodies are beheld as a misfortune to human society that their make is so little durable.
But to return more directly to my man of wit and pleasure. In all orders of men, wherever this is the chief character, the person who wears it is a negligent friend, father, and husband, and entails poverty on his unhappy descendants. Mortgages, diseases, and settlements, are the legacies a man of wit and pleasure leaves to his family. All the poor rogues that make such lamentable speeches after every sessions at Tyburn, were, in their way, men of wit and pleasure before they fell into the adventures which brought them thither.
Irresolution and procrastination in all a man's affairs, are the natural effects of being addicted to pleasure. Dishonour to the gentleman and bankruptcy to the trader, are the portion of either whose chief purpose of life is delight. The chief cause that this pursuit has been in all ages received with so
much quarter from the soberer part of mankind, has been that some men of great talents have sacrificed themselves to it. The shining qualities of such people have given a beauty to whatever they were engaged in, and a mixture of wit has recommended madness. For let any man who knows what it is to -have passed much time in a series of jollity, mirth, wit, or humorous entertainments, look back at what he was all that while a doing, and he will find that he has been at one instant sharp to some man he is -sorry to have offended, impertinent to some one it was cruelty to treat with such freedom, ungracefully noisy at such a time, unskilfully open at such a time, unmercifully calumnious at such a time ; and from the whole course of his applauded satisfactions, unable in the end to recollect any circumstance which can add to the enjoyment of his own mind alone, or which he would put his character upon, with
Thus it is with those who are best made for becoming pleasures; but how monstrous is it in the generality of mankind who pretend this way, without genius or inclination towards it! The scene then is wild to an extravagance: this is, as if fools should mimic madmen. Pleasure of this kind is the intemperate meals and loud jollities of the common rate of country gentlemen, whose practice and way of enjoyment is to put an end as fast as they can to that little particle of reason they have when they are sober. These men of wit and pleasure dispatch their senses as fast as possible by drinking till they cannot taste, smoking till they cannot see, and -roaring till they cannot hear.
No 152. FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 1711.
Oιη σερ φυλλων γενεη, τοιηδε και ανδρων.
HOM. II. vi. 146.
Like leaves on trees the race of man is found.
THERE is no sort of people whose conversation is sơ pleasant as that of military men, who derive their courage and magnanimity from thought and reflection. The many adventures which attend their way of life makes their conversation so full of incidents, and gives them so frank an air in speaking of what they have been witnesses of, that no company can be more amiable than that of men of sense who are soldiers. There is a certain irregular way in their narrations or discourse, which has something more warm and pleasing than we meet with among men who are used to adjust and methodize their thoughts.
I was this evening walking in the fields with my friend captain Sentry, and I could not, from the many relations which I drew him into of what passed when he was in the service, forbear expressing my wonder, that the ' fear of death, which we, the rest of mankind, arm ourselves against with so much contemplation, reason and philosophy, should appear so little in camps, that common men march into open breaches, meet opposite battalions, not only without reluctance but with alacrity. My friend answered what I said in the following manner. wonder at may very naturally be the subject of admiration to all who are not conversant in camps; but when a man has spent some time in that way of life, he observes a certain mechanic courage which the
ordinary race of men become masters of from acting always in a crowd. They see indeed many drop, but then they see many more alive; they observe themselves escape very narrowly, and they do not know why they should not again. Besides which general way of loose thinking, they usually spend the other part of their time in pleasures upon which their minds are so entirely bent, that short labours or dangers are but a cheap purchase of jollity, triumph, victory, fresh quarters, new scenes, and uncommon adventures. Such are the thoughts of the executive part of an army, and indeed of the gross of mankind in general; but none of these men of mechanical courage have ever made any great figure in the profession of arms. Those who are formed for command, are such as have reasoned themselves, out of a consideration of greater good than length of days, into such a negligence of their being, as to make it their first position, That it is one day to be resigned ; and since it is in the prosecution of worthy actions and service of mankind, they can put it to habitual hazard. The event of our designs, they say, as it relates to others, is uncertain; but as it relates to ourselves it must be prosperous, while we are in the pursuit of our duty, and within the terms upon which providence has insured our happiness, whether we die or live. All that nature has prescribed must be good; and as death is natural to us, it is an absurdity to fear it. Fear loses its purpose when we are sure it cannot preserve us, and we should draw resolution to meet it from the impossibility to escape it. Without a resignation to the necessity of dying, there can be no capacity in man to attempt any thing that is glorious: but when they have once attained to that perfection, the pleasures of a life spent in martial adventures, are as great as any of which the human mind