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80 much in want of ability, as of frankness, openness, sincerity, superiority to egotism and care of reputation that abandon which the critic of the stage speaks of, which is the best preparation for excellence either in public or private speaking. Give me the man that is not passion's slave, and I will not only wear him in my heart of hearts, but I will welcome him to my room; and what delight can be greater than such a circle? I have sometimes thought that hearing a consummate orator is one of the greatest pleasures of our sublunary life. But no- I recant- I recall the opinion. There is one still greater: it is the evening when you sit up till three o'clock in the morning, sometimes jumping up from your chair, sometimes sitting down again ; winding your pocket handkerchief around your knees — tying your legs together; knocking your opponent's chair over, as well as his arguments; sometimes talking loud, and then in a subdued key — running through all the notes of the gamut; lost in some discussion, where the mortification and the triumph strangely meet to temper each other, and both combine to seal an advancement on your memory, whose light is to be extinguished only by closing the eye in death.

Telling the news is a frequent part of pleasant conversation. Every one has felt the pleasure of being the first to communicate some important tidings : you seemed to grow an inch taller in discharging your office. The best direction is, be simple and brief; do not keep your hearer too long in suspense. If your news is really important no language that you can invent can possibly adorn it. The shortest and simplest way of telling the story is always the best. Do not circulate false rumors; do not tell the news until you

believe it to be true ; do not add to the story; do not increase the miracle, nor color the adornments; be accurate as well as true, -- tell the event just as it was. Do not first excite and then torture curiosity, like the nurse in Romeo and Juliet: “ Juliet.

All this I knew before.
What says be of our marriage? What of that?

Nurse. Lord how my head aches ! what a head have I!

It beats as it would fall in twenty pieces.
My back o' t'other side — oh my back, my

back!
Beshrew your heart for sending me about,

To catch my death with jaunting up and down. " Juliet. I' faith, I'm sorry that thou art not well.

Sweet, sweet nurse, sweet nurse, tell me, what says my love ? “ Nurse. Your love says, like an honest gentleman,

And a courteous, and a kind, and a handsome,

And, I warrant, a virtuous, – Where is your mother ? " So she tortures the curiosity of her mistress, and gives her an opportunity of showing her good-nature. Bad news must also be told. When you are the messenger of very painful tidings, what is the best method ? After much reflection, I must conclude that the shortest and simplest way of communicating the facts is the best. Here nature and philosophy meet; here our last experience confirms our first practice. You have to impart to an affectionate mother the death of her son who was drowned at sea. How shall it be done ? Nature teaches; art can add nothing more: “O lady, I have sad news to impart; your son, on such a day, fell from the yard, and was drowned. He has left us.' ” This is the way in which they communicated things of old. So Homer (Iliad, xviii. 20, 21), when the tidings is brought to Achilles of Patroclus's death : “ Patroclus is down; they are fighting around his naked corpse, and his armor is held by the plume-waving Hector.” So the Romans when they lost the battle of Trasimenus. The people assembled in the Forum in the utmost agitation; the Pretor, M. Pomponius, announced : Pugna, inquit, magna victi sumus, (Livy xxii. sect. 7). A striking instance is found in British history. When General Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga, the rumor (very indefinite) one morning had reached the house of Commons. Every one was alert to hear, when Lord North arose slowly in his place, and with a solemn voice, said : “General Burgoyne and his whole army are prisoners to the Americans"; and a dead silence of several minutes followed. How different is this from the shuffling and equivocations in

which in modern times we disguise our defeats! The same method is sanctioned in the Bible. When Eli sat trembling for the ark of God, he heard the dreadful news: “And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines; and there hath been a great slaughter among the people ; and thy two sons Hophni and Phinehas are dead; and the ark of God is taken” (1 Sam. iv. 17). What condensed language ; and every word laded with sorrow. No wonder that the effect followed : “ And it came to pass when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward, by the side of the gate, and his neck break, and he died; for he was an old man and heavy; and he had judged Israel forty years.”

Flattery is a form of conversation that sometimes emerges in our social circles. Some suppose that this kind of speech is always unchristian ; that there are no occasions on which the voice of commendation ought to be heard. But I think we have examples of it in the Bible. How does Paul commend the Corinthians before he reproves them : “ In everything ye are enriched by us in all utterance and in all knowledge; so that ye come behind in no gift.” The truth is, flattery may be good in its place; and there is a place for it. It is a very bad kind of wisdom when it employs falsehood for its instrument, and is applied to deceive mankind. But suppose a very discouraged youth preaches in my pulpit: he is very low-spirited, and has the meanest estimate of his powers. May I not tell all the good things that appeared in his discourse ; all that is commendable in his spirit, voice, and manner? May I not put the best construction on his defects, and reveal to his encouragement those capacities which need only to be exercised to ripen into use? There is another spot where a little flattery is useful -- to temper reproof. We have a beautiful example in Cicero's Oration of Thanks to Caesar for the pardon of Marcellus. This oration has sometimes been quoted as an instance of the servility with which Cicero offered incense to the successful dictator. But surely such critics can never have read the whole speech with suf

ficient care.

How many counsels he suggests. What a future course he points out to the conqueror. What reproof he immingles with his highest praise! What a bed of roses he prepares for his pupil, with none of the thorns extracted; and how delicately does he suggest to him that the only lasting praise of his life is to be merited by deeds yet to be done. Certainly it required some courage to be such a flatterer as Cicero was before such a master; he seems to insinuate that the only lasting laurel was to be won by restoring freedom to Rome. If this praise did not make Caesar a patriot, it probably had some influence in preparing a victim. It was a condiment to his advice which ought to have made it more efficacious. There is a beautiful example of monitory complimenting in the closing lines of Dr. Young's first book of Night Thoughts. But we must explain a little. It is well known that Dr. Young and Pope were contemporaries. Pope had then just published his Essay on Man ; and it is well known that, amidst all the fine ethics of that splendid essay, there is a wonderful absence of all religious motive. The doctrine of immortality is not once recognized; and Dr. Young, as a Christian divine, must have seen and lamented this significant omission. With these facts before us, may we not say that there is a delicate compliment mixed with a more delicate reproof contained in these splendid lines? After speaking of him who made Maeonides our own, that is, translated Homer, he proceeds,“ Man too he sung

immortal man I sing.

O had he pressed his theme, pursued the track
Which opens out of darkness into day;
O had he mounted on his wing of fire,
Soared where I sink, and sung

immortal man, How had he blessed mankind! and rescued me.” Sir James Mackintosh gives us a fine example in a remark on Southey : “ These are the just and the beautiful reflections of a fine writer, who should have transplanted into his writings more of the benevolence of his nature and his life."

There are three cases, then, when flattery is allowable -- at
Vol. XXIV. No. 93.

11

least commendation : first, to discouraged youth ; secondly, as a seasoning to reproof, to make it more efficacious; and thirdly, to promote general good-will. We say so many bad things behind each other's backs, that if we did not say some good things to each other's faces, the world would become a den of lions. 1

Even self-praise is tolerated and forgiven when the exquisite manner of displaying it hides its deformity. A fine example is found in the closing lines of Pope's Rape of the Lock:

lost;

“ Not all the tresses that fair head can boast

Shall raise such envy as the lock you
For, after all the murders of your eye,
When, after millions slain, yourself shall die;
When those fair suns shall set, as set they must,
And all those tresses shall be laid in dust,
This lock the muse shall consecrate to fame,
And midst the stars inscribe Belinda's name."

Not Belinda's name is inscribed amidst the stars, but the name of Belinda's poet, Alexander Pope. Homer, Virgil, and Cervantes have something of this manoeuvre.?

2

1 After all, it must be confessed that our Saviour gives us some striking instances of the frustration of expected flattery. Take the example in John xiii. 39. After Peter had said he would lay down his life for his master, no doubt he expected that Jesus would pat him on his back, and commend bis zeal and fidelity. But oh what a contrast was the reply! “Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the cock shall not crow till thou hast denied me thrice."

The instances Pope has copied are these : first, Homer's Iliad, Lib. vi. lines 357, 358, where the poet makes Helen say to Hector :

οισιν επί Ζεύς θηκε κακόν μόρον, ώς και οπίσσω

'Ανθρώποισι πελώμεθ' αοίδιμοι εσσομένοισιν. which Cowper translates :

“ Whom the gods ordain

Sad themes for song in ages yet to come."
Virgil in his fifth Eclogue has these lines :

Tale tuum carmen nobis, divine poëta,
Quale sopor fessis in gramine, quale per aestum

Dulcis aquae saliente sitim restinguere rivo. And Cervantes makes Cardenio say (see Don Quixote, Jarvis's translation, Vol. ii. Chap. iii.) that Don Quixote's character is so rare that "I much question

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