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AFTER having thus surveyed this great Magazine of Mortality, as it were, in the Lump; 1 examined it more particularly by the Acounts which I found on several of the Monuments which are raised in every Quarter of that ancient Fabrick. Some of them were covered with such extravagant Epitaphs, that if it were possible for the dead Person to be acquainted with them, he would blush at the Praises which his Friends have bestowed upon him. There are others so exceslively Modest, that they deliver the Character of the Person departed in Greek or Hebrew, and by that means are not understood once in a Twelvemonth. In the Poetical Quarter, I found there were Poets who had no Monuments, and Monuments which had no Poets. I observed indeed that the present War had filled the Church with many of these uninhabited Monuments, which had been erected to the Memo. ry of Persons whose Bodies were perhaps buried in the Plains of Blenheim, or in the Bosom of the Ocean.
I could not but be very much delighted with several modern Epitaphs, which are written with great Elegance of Expression and Juftness of Thought, and therefore do Honour to the Living as well as to the Dead. As a Foreigner is very apt to conceive an Idea of the Ignorance or Politeness of a Nation from the Turn of their publick Monuments and Inscriptions, they should be submitted to the Perusal of Men of Learning and Genius before they are put in Execution. Sir Cloudesy Shovel's Monument has very often given me great Offence: Instead of the brave rough English Admiral, which was the distinguishing Character of that plain gallant Man, he is reprelented on his Tomb by the Figure of a Beau, dressed in a long Perriwig, and reposing himself upon Velvet Cushions under a Canopy of State. The Inscription is answerable to the Monument; for instead of celebrating the many remarkable Actions he had performed in the Service of his country, it acquaints us only with the Manner of his Death, in which it was impoffible for bim to reap any Honour. The Dutch, whom we are apt to despise for want of Genius, shew an infinitely greater taste of Antiquity and Politeness in their Buildings and Works of this Nature, than what we meet with in thole of our own Country. The Monuments of their Admi
rals, which have been erected at the publick Expence, represent 'em like themselves; and are adorned with rostral Crowns and naval Ornaments, with beautiful Fee foons of Sea-weeds, Shells, and Coral.
BUT to return to our Subject. I have left the Repoa fitory of our English Kings for the Contemplation of another Day, when I fhall find my Mind disposed for so ferious an Amusement, I know that Entertainments of this Nature are apt to raise dark and dismal Thoughts in timorous Minds, and gloomy Imaginations; but for my own part, though I am always serious, I do not know what it is to be melancholy; and can therefore take a View of Nature in her deep and solemn Scenes, with the same Pleasure as in her most gay and delightful ones. By this means I can improve my self with those Objects, which others confider with Terror. When I look upon the Tombs of the Great, every Emotion of Envy dies in me; when I read the Epitaphs of the Beautiful, every inordinate Desire goes out; when I meet with the Grief of Parents upon a Tomb-ftone, my Heart melts with Compassion; when I see the Tomb of the Parents themfelves, I consider the Vanity of grieving for those whom we maft- quickly follow: When I see Kings lying by those who deposed them, When I consider rival Wit's placed. Side by Side, or the holy Men that divided the World' with their Contests and Disputes, I reflect with Sorrow and Astonishment on the little Competitions, Fae' &tions and Debates of Mankind.' When I read the seven ral Dates of the Tombs, of fome that died. Yesterdays. and some fix.hundred Years ago, I consider that great Day when we shall all of us be Cont raries, and make our Appearance together.
Saturday, March 31.
Ut nox longa quibus Mentitur amica, diesque
HERE is scarce a thinking Manin the World, who
is involved in the Business of it, but lives under ar
secet Impatience of the Hurry and Fatigue he suffers, and has formed a Resolution to fix himself, one: rime or other, in such a State as is suitable to the end of his Being
You hear Men every Day in Conversations profess that all the Honour, Power and Riches which they propose to themselves, cannot give Satisfa&ionem nough to reward them for half the Anxiety they undera go in the Pursuit, or Poffession of them.' While. Men are in this Temper, (which happens very frequently) how inconsistent are they with themselves? They are wearied with the Toil they bear, but cannot find in their Hearts to relinquish it; Retirement is what they want, but they cannot betake themselves to it: While they pang after Shade and Covert, they still affect to appear in the most glittering Scenes of Life: But sure this is but just. as reasonable as if a Man fhould call for more Lights, when he has a Mind to go to Sleep.
SINCE then it is certain that our own Hearts de ceive us in the Love of the World, aud that we cannon command our selves enough to resign it, though we every Day wish. our felves disengaged from its Allurements; let us not stand upon a formal taking of Leave, but wean our selyes from them,, while we ars in the midst of them..
IT is certainly the general Intention of the greater Part of Minkind to accomplish this work, and live according to their own Approbation, as soon as they posfibly can: But since the Duration of Life is so uncertain, and that has been a common Topick of Discourse ever since there was such a thing as Life it felf, how is it possible that we should defer a Moment the beginning to live according to the Rules of Reason
THE Man of Business has ever some one point to care ry, and then he tells himself he'll bid adieu to all the Vanity of Ambition: The Man of Pleasure resolves to take his Leave at least, and part civilly with his Mistress: but the Ambitious Man is entangled every Moment in a fresh Pursuit, and the Lover sees new Charms in the Object he fancied he could abandon. It is therefore a fantastical way of thinking, when we promise our selves an Alteration in our Conduct from change of Place, and difference of Circumstances; the same Passions will attend us whereever we are 'till they are Conquer'd; and we can never live to our Satisfaction in the deepest Retirement, unless we are capable of living so in some measure amidst the Noise and Business of the World.
I have ever thought Men were better known, by what could be observed of them from a Perusal of their private Letters, than any other way. My Friend, the Clergyman, the other Day, upon serious Discourse with him concerning the Danger of Procrastination, gave me the following Letters from Persons with whom he lives in great Friendship, and Intimacy, according to the good Breeding and good sense of his Character. The first is from a Man of Business, who is his Convert; T'he fePond from one of whom he conceives good Hopes : The third from one who is in no State at all, but carried one way and another by starts,
S IR, I
Know not with what Words to express to you the
Sense I have of the high Obligation you have laid upon me, in the Penance you enjoined me of doing • fome Good or other, to a Person of Worth, every Day • I live. The Station I am in, furnishes me with daily • Opportunities of this kind: And the Noble Principle
with which you have inspired me, of Benevolence to « all I have to deal with, quickens my Application in every
thing I undertake. When I relieve Merit from Dić
countenance, when I aflift a friendless Person, when • I produce concealed Worth, I am displeased with my • fest, for having designed to leave the World in order • to be virtuous. I am sorry you decline the Occasions · which the Condition I am in might afford me of en
larging your Fortunes ;. but know I contribute more to your Satisfaction, when I acknowledge I am the betier Man, from the Influence and Authority you have over,
S I R,
R. O, SIR,
Am intirely convinced of the Truth of what you
were pleased to say to me, when I was last with you alone. You told me then of the silly way I was
you told me so, as I saw you loved me, other! wise I could not obey your Commands in letting you • know my Thoughts fo sincerely as I do at present. I
know the Creature for whom I resign so much of my Cha• racter, is all that you said of her ; but then the Trifler ! has something in her so undefigning and harmless, that • her Guilt in one kind disappears by the Comparison of • her Innocence in another. Will you, virtuous Men, • allow no alteration of Offences ? Must Dear Chloe be • called by the hard Name you pious People give to
common Women? I keep the solemn Promise I made you, in writing to you the State of my Mind, after
your kind Admonition; and will endeavour to get the • better of this Fondness, which makes me so much her • humble Servant, that I am almost ashamed to Subscribe • my self yours,