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POPK



GIBBON



'lUiminmiJuminnfirnnnimiinS



THE BEST

of the

WORLD'S Classics

RESTRICTED TO PROSE




HENRY CABOT LODGE

Editor -in-Chief

FRANCIS W. HALSEY

Associate Editor

With an Introduction, Biographical and
Explanatory Notes, etc.

IN TEN \'OLUMES

Vol. IV
GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND— II



FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY

NEW YORK AND LONDON



Copyright, 1909. by

FINK & WAGNALLS COMPANY

[J'riiiti-il in the United Statf.i of America]



PA/
4o/3

V. 4



The Best of the World's Classics

VOL. IV

GREAT BRITAIN AND
IRELAND— II

1672—1800



o



CONTENTS

Vol. IV — Great Britain and Ireland — 11

Page
Sir Richard Steele — (Born in 1672, died
in 1729.)
I Of Companions and Flatterers . . 3
II The Story-Teller and His Art. (From

The Guardian) 7

III Sir Roger and the Widow. (From

The Spectator) 10

IV The Coverley Family Portraits. (From

The Spectator) 16

V On Certain Symptoms of Greatness.

(From The ^Taller) 21

VI How to Be Happy tho Married. (From

The Tatler) 26

Lord Bolingbroke — (Born in 1678, died in
1751.)
I Of the Shortness of Human Life 32
II Rules for the Study of History. (One
of the ''Letters on the Study of

History") 36

Alexander Pope — (Born in 1688, died in
1744.)
I An Ancient English Country Seat.
(A Letter to Lady Mary Wortley

Montagu) 41

II His Compliments to Lady Mary. (A
Letter to Lady Mary Wortley Mon-
tagu) 47

III How to Make an Epic Poem. (From

The Guardian) 52

V



CONTENTS



Page
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu — (Born in
1689, died in 1762.)
I On Happiness in the Matrimonial
State. (A Letter to Edward Wort-
ley Montagu before she married

him) 58

II Inoculation for the Smallpox. (A
Letter to Sarah Criswell, written
from Adrianople, Turkey) ... 63
Lord Chesterfield — (Born in 1694, died in
1/73.)
I Of Good Manners, Di'ess and the
World. (From the "Letters to His

Son") 66

n Of Attentions to Ladies. (From the

"Letters to His Son") • . ,. 71
Henry Fielding — (Born in 1707, died in
1754.)
I Tom the Hero Enters the Stage.

(From "Tom Jones") ... 75
II Partridge Sees Garrick at the Play.

(From "Tom Jones") ... 83
III Mr. Adams in a Political Light.

(From "Joseph Andrews") . . 89
Samuel Johnson — (Born in 1709, died in
1784.)
I On Publishing His "Dictionary."
(From the Preface to the "Dic-
tionary") 94

II Pope and Dryden Compared. (From

the "Lives of the Poets") . . 97
III Letter to Cliestcrlicld on the Comple-
tion of the "Diclionary." (From
Boswell's "Life") 101

vi



CONTENTS



Page
rV On the Advantages of Living in a

Garret. (From The Rambler) . 104
David Hume— (Born in 1711, died in 1776.)
I The Chai-aeter of Queen Elizabeth.

(From the ''History of England") 110
n The Defeat of the Armada. (From

the "History of England") . . 113

III The First Principles of Government 118
Laurence Sterne — (Born in 1713, died in

1768.)
I The Starling in Captivity. (From

"The Sentimental Journey") . 123
II To Moulines with Maria. (From "The

Sentimental Journey") . . . 127
ni The Death of LeFevre. (From "Tris-
tram Shandy") 129

IV Passages from the Romance of My

Uncle Toby and the Widow. (From
"Tristram Shandy") .... 131
Thomas Gray— (Bom in 1716, died in 1771.)
I Warwick Castle. (A Letter to Thomas

Wharton) 141

II To His Friend Mason on the Death

of Mason 's Mother 143

III On His Own Writings. (A Letter to

Horace Walpole) 144

IV His Friendship for Bonstetten. (From

a Letter to Bonstetten) . . . 146
Horace Walpole — (Born in 1717, died in
1797.)
I Hogarth. (From the "Anecdotes of

Painting in England") .... 149
II The War in America. (From a Letter

written at Strawberry Hill) . . 154

vii



CONTENTS



Page
m The Death of George 11. (A Letter

to Sir Horace Mann) .... 155
GiLBEET White — (Born in 1720, died in
1793.)
The Chimney Swallow. (From "The
Natural History of Selborne") . 158
Adam Smith— (Born in 1723, died in 1790.)
I Of Ambition Misdirected. (From the

"Theory of Moral Sentiments") . 163
II The Advantages of a Division of
Labor. (From "The Wealth of

Nations") 166

Sm WiLLUM Blackstone — (Born in 1723,
died in 1780.)
Professional Soldiers in Free Coun-
tries. (From the "Commentaries") 109

Oliver Goldsmith — (Born in 1728, died in
1774.)
I The Ambitions of the Vicar's Family.

(From ' ' The Vicar of Wakefield ") 177
II Sagacity in Insects. (From "The

Bee'') 182

III A Chinaman's View of London.

(From the "Citizen of the World") 188
Edmund Burke — (Born in 1720, died in
1797.)
I The Principles of Good Taste. (From

"The Sublime and Beautiful") . 194
IT A Letter to a Noble Lord ... 207

III On the Death of His Son ... 212

IV Marie Antoinette. (From the "Re-

flections on the Revolution in
France") 214

viii



CONTENTS



Page
William Cowper — (Born in 1731, died in
1800.)
I Of Keeping- One's Self Employed.

(A Letter to John Newton) . . 217
II Of Johnson's Treatment of Milton.

(Letter to the Rev. William Unwin) 219
in On the Publication of His Books.

(Letter to the Rev. William Unwin) 221
Edward Gibbon — (Born in 1737, died in
1794.)
I The Romance of His Youth. (From

the ''Memoirs") 226

II The Inception and Completion of the
''Decline and Fall." (From the

"Memoirs") 229

m The Fall of Zenobia. (From "The
Decline and Fall of the Roman

Empire") 230

IV Alaric's Entry into Rome. (From
"The Decline and Fall of the Ro-
man Empire") 237

V The Death of Hosein. (From "The
Decline and Fall of the Roman

Empire") 242

VI The Causes of the Destruction of the
City of Rome. (From "The Decline
and Fall of the Roman Empire") 246



GREAT BRITAIN AND
IRELAND— II



1672—1800



IV—l



SIR RICHARD STEELE

Born in Ireland in 1672; died in Wales in 1729; companion
of Addison at Oxford; served in the army in 1694, becoming
a captain ; elected to Parliament, but expelled for using sedi-
tious language; knighted under George I; quarreled with
Addison in 1719; founded the Tatler, and next to Addison,
was the chief writer for the Spectator.



OF COMPANIONS AND FLATTERERS

An old acquaintance who met me this morning
seemed overjoyed to see me, and told me I looked
as well as he had known me do these forty years;
but, continued he, not quite the man you were
when we visited together at Lady Brightly 's.
Oh! Isaac, those days are over. Do you think
there are any such fine creatures now living as
we then conversed with? He went on with a
thousand incoherent circumstances, which, in his
imagination, must needs please me; but they had
the quite contrai-y effect. The flattery with which
he began, in telling me how well I wore, was not
disagreeable; but his indiscreet mention of a set
of acquaintance we had outlived, recalled ten
thousand things to my memory, which made me
reflect upon my present condition with regret.
Had he indeed been so kind as, after a long
absence, to felicitate me upon an indolent and
easy old age, and mentioned how much he and
I had to thank for, who at our time of day could



THE BEST OF THE WORLD'S CLASSICS

walk firmly, eat heartily and converse cheerfully,
he had kept up my pleasure in myself. But of
all mankind, there are none so shocking as these
injudicious civil people. They ordinarily begin
upon something that they know must be a satis-
faction; but then, for fear of the imputation of
flatter}', they follow it with the last thing in the
world of which j'ou would be reminded. It is
this that perplexes ci\-il persons. The reason
that there is such a general outcry among us
against flatterers is that there are so very few
good ones. It is the nicest art in this life, and
is a part of eloquence which does not want the
preparation that is necessary to all other parts
of it, that your audience should be your well-
wishers; for praise from an enemy is the most
pleasing of all commendations.

It is generally to be observed, that the person
most agreeable to a man for a constancy, is he
that has no shining qualities, but is a certain
degi'ee above great imperfections, whom he can
live with as his infei-ior, and who will either
overlook or not observe his little defects. Such
an easj'^ companion as this, either now and then
throws out a little flattery, or lets a man silently
flatter himself in his supei-iority to him. If you
take notice, there is hardly a rich man in the
world who has not such a led friend of small
consideration, who is a darling for his insig-
nificancy. It is a great ease to have one in our
own shape a species below us, and who, without
being listed in our service, is by nature of our
retinue. These dependents are of excellent use
on a rainy day, or when a man has not a mind
to dress; or to exclude solitude, when one has



SIR RICHARD STEELE



neither a mind to that nor to company. There
are of this good-natured order who are so kind
to divide themselves, and do these good offices
to many. Five or six of them visit a whole
quarter of the town, and exclude the spleen,
without fees, from the families they frequent.
If they do not prescribe physic, they can be com-
pany when you take it.

Very great benefactors to the rich, or those
whom they call people at their ease, are your
persons of no consequence. I have known some
of them, by the help of a little cunning, make
delicious flatterers. They know the course of
the town, and the general characters of persons;
by this means they will sometimes tell the most
agreeable falsehoods imaginable. They will ac-
quaint you that such one of a quite contrary
party said, that tho you were engaged in different
interests, yet he had the greatest respect for your
good sense and address. When one of these has
a little cunning, he passes his time in the utmost
satisfaction to himself and his friends; for his
position is never to report or speak a displeasing
thing to his friend. As for letting him go on
in an error, he knows advice against them is the
office of persons of greater talents and less dis-
cretion.

The Latin word for a flatterer (assentator) im^
plies no more than a person that barely consents;
and indeed such a one, if a man were able to pur-
chase or maintain him, can not be bought too dear.
Such a one never contradicts you, but gains upon
you, not by a fulsome way of commending you
in broad terms, but liking whatever you propose
or utter; at the same time is ready to beg your



THE BEST OF THE WORLD'S CLASSICS

pardon, and gainsay you if you chance to speak ill
of yourself. An old lady is very seldom without
such a companion as this, who can recite the names
of ail her lovers, and the matches refused by her in
the days when she minded such vanities — as she
is pleased to call them, tho she so much approves
the mention of them. It is to be noted, that a
woman's flatterer is generally elder than herself,
her years serving to recommend her patroness's
age, and to add weight to her complaisance in all
other particulars.

We gentlemen of small fortunes are extremeh
necessitous in this particular. I have indeed one
who smokes with me often; but his parts are so
low, that all the incense he does me is to fill his
pipe with me, and to be out at just as many whiffs
as I take. This is all the praise or assent that
he is capable of, yet there are more hours when
I would rather be in his company than that of the
brightest man I know. It would be a hard matter
to give an account of this inclination to be flat
tered; but if we go to the bottom of it, we shall
find that the pleasure in it is something like that
of receiving money which lay out. Every man
thinks he has an estate of reputation^ and is glad
to see one that will bring any of it home to him ;
it is no matter how dirty a bag it is conveyed to
him in, or by how clownish a messenger, so the
money is good. All that we want to be pleased
with flattery, is to believe that the man is sincere
who gives it us. It is by this one accident that
absurd creatures often outrun the most skilful in
this art. Their want of ability is here an advan-
tage, and their blnntness, as it is the seeming
effect of sincerity, is the best cover to artifice.

6



SIR RICHARD STEELE



It is indeed, the gi-eatest of injuries to flatter
any but the unhappy, or such as are displeased
•with themselves for some infirmity. In this latter
case we have a member of our club, that, when
Sir Jeffrey falls asleep, wakens him with snoring.
This makes Sir Jeffrey hold up for some moments
the longer, to see there are men younger than
himself among us, who are more lethargic than
he is.



n

THE STORY-TELLER AND HIS ART*

I HAVE often thought that a story-teller is born,
as well as a poet. It is, I think, certain, that some
men have such a peculiar east of mind, that they
Bee things in another light than men of grave dis-
positions. Men of a lively imagination and a
mirthful temper will represent things to their
hearers in the same manner as they themselves
were affected with them; and whereas serious
spirits might pei-haps have been disgusted at the
sight of some odd occurences in life, yet the very
same occurrences shall please them in a well-told
story, where the disagreeable parts of the images
are concealed, and those only which are pleasing
exhibited to the fancy. Story-telling is therefore
not an art, but what we call a ''knack"; it doth
not so much subsist upon wit as upon humor ; and
I will add, that it is not perfect without proper
gesticulations of the body, which naturally

* From the Guardian.



THE BEST OF THE WORLD'S CLASSICS

attend such merry emotions of the mind. I know
very well that a certain gravity of countenance
sets some stories off to advantage, where the
hearer is to be suiprized in the end. But this is
by no means a general rule; for it is frequently
convenient to aid and assist by cheerful looks
and whimsical agitations.

I will go yet further, and afiSrm that the succesa
of a story very often depends upon the make of
the body, and the formation of the features, o£
him who relates it. I have been of this opinion
ever since I criticized upon the chin of Dick
Dewlap. I very often had the weakness to repine
at the prosperity of his conceits, which made him
pass for a wit with the widow at the coffee-house
and the ordinary mechanics that frequent it; nor
could I myself forbear laughing at them most
heartily, tho upon examination I thought most of
them very flat and insipid. I found, after some
time, that the merit of his wit was founded upon
the shaking of a fat paunch, and the tossing up
of a pair of rosy jowls. Poor Dick had a fit of
sickness, which robbed him of his fat and his
fame at once; and it was full three months be-
fore he regained his reputation, which rose in
proportion to his floridity. He is now very jolly
and ingenious, and hath a good constitution for
wit.

Those who are thus adorned with the gifts of
nature, are apt to show their parts with too
much ostentation. I would therefore ad\dse all
the professors of this art never to tell stories
but as they seem to grow out of the subject-
matter of the conversation, or as they serve to
illustrate or enliven it. Stories that are very



SIR RICHARD STEELE



common are generally irksome; but may be aptly
introduced, provided they be only hinted at, and
mentioned by way of allusion. Those that ar»
altogether new, should never be ushered in with-
out a short and pertinent character of the chief
persons conceraed, because, by that means, you
may make the company acquainted with them;
and it is a certain rule, that slight and trivial
accounts of those who are familiar to us, admin-
ister more mirth than the brightest points of wit
in unknown characters.

A little circumstance in the complexion of dress
of the man you are talking of, sets his image be-
fore the hearer, if it be chosen aptly for the
story. Thus, I remember Tom Lizard, after hav-
ing made his sisters merry with an account of
a formal old man's way of complimenting, owned
very frankly that his story would not have been
worth one farthing, if he had made the hat of
him whom he represented one inch narrower.
Besides the marking distinct characters, and
selecting pertinent circumstances, it is likewise
necessary to leave off in time, and end smartly;
BO that there is a kind of drama in the forming of
a story ; and the manner of conducting and point-
ing it is the same as in an epigram. It is a miser-
able thing, after one hath raised the expectation
of the company by humorous characters and a
pretty conceit, to pursue the matter too far.
There is no retreating; and how poor is it for a
story-teller to end his relation by saying,
♦'that's aUI"



THE BEST OF THE WORLD'S CLASSICS

III

SIR ROGER AND THE WIDOW*

In my first description of the company in which
I pass most of my time, it may be remembered
that I mentioned a great affliction which my
friend Sir Roger had met with in his youth;
which was no less than a disappointment in love.
It happened this evening that we fell into a
very pleasing walk at a distance from his house.
As soon as we came into it, ''It is," quoth the
good old man, looking round him with a smile,
"very hard that any part of my land should be
settled upon one who has used me so ill as the
perverse widow did; and yet I am sure I could
not see a sprig of any bough of this whole walk
of trees, but I should reflect upon her and her
severity. She has certainly the finest hand of
any woman in the world. You are to* know, this
was the place wherein I used to muse upon her;
and bj' that custom I can never come into it, but
the same tender sentiments revive in my mind,
as if I had actually walked with that beautiful
creature under these shades. I have been fool
enough to carve her name on the bark of several
of these trees ; so unhappy is the condition of men
in love, to attempt the removing of their passion
by the methods which serve only to imprint it
deeper. She has certainly the finest hand of
any woman in the world."

Here followed a profound silence; and I was not

•From the Spectator.

10



SIR RICHARD STEELE



displeased to observe my friend falling so natur-
ally into a discourse, which I had ever before taken
notice he industriously avoided. After a very
long pause, he entered upon an account of this
great circumstance in his life, with an air which
I thought raised my idea of him above what I
had ever had before; and gave me the picture of
that cheerful mind of his before it received that
stroke which has ever since affected his words and
actions. But he went on as follows:

*'I came to my estate in my twenty-second year,
and resolved to follow the steps of the most
worthy of my ancestors who have inhabited this
spot of earth before me, in all the methods of
hospitality and good neighborhood, for the sake
of my fame; and in country sports and recrea-
tions, for the sake of my health. In my twenty-
third year I was obliged to serve as sheriff of the
county; and in my servants, offleers, and whole
equipage, indulged the pleasure of a young man
(who did not think ill of his own person) in
taking that public occasion of showing my figure
and beha\dor to advantage. You may easily
imagine to yourself what appearance I made, who
am pretty tall, rode well, and was very well
drest, at the head of a whole county, with music
before me, a feather in my hat, and my horse
well bitted. I can assure you, I was not a little
pleased with the kind looks and glances I had
from all the balconies and windows as I rode
to the hall where the assizes were held.

"But when I came there, a beautiful creature,
in a widow's habit, sat in court to hear the event
of a cause concerning her dower. This command-
ing creature (who was born for the destruction

11



THE BEST OF THE WORLD'S CLASSICS

of all who behold her) put on such a resignation
in her countenance, and bore the whispers of
all around the court with such a pretty uneasiness,
I warrant you, and then recovered herself from
one eye to another, until she was perfectly con-
fused by meeting something so wistful in all she
encountered, that at last, with a murrain to her,
she cast her bewitching eye upon me. I no
sooner met it but I bowed like a great surprized
booby ; and knowing her cause was to be the first
which came on, I cried, like a great captivated
calf as I was, 'Make way for the defendant's
witnesses.' This sudden partiality made all the
county immediately see the sheriff also was be-
come a slave to the fine widow. During the time
her cause was upon trial, she behaved herself, I
warrant you, with such a deep attention to lief
business, took opportiinities to have little billets
handed to her counsel, then would be iu such a
pretty confusion, occasioned, you must know, by
acting before so much company, that not only I,
but the whole court, was prejudiced in her favor;
and all that the next heir to her husband had to
urge was thought so groundless and frivolous,
that when it came to her counsel to reply, there
was not half so much said as every one besides
in the court thought he could have urged to her
advantage.

<'Tou must understand, sir, this perverse woman
is one of those unaccountable creatures that
secretly rejoice in the admii*ation of men, but in-
dulge themselves in no fm-ther consequences.
Hcnoe it is that she has ever had a train of
admirers, and she removes from her slaves in town
to those in the country, according to the seasons

12



SIR RICHARD STEELE



of the yeax. She is a reading lady, and far gone
in the pleasures of friendship. She is always
accompanied by a confidant, who is witness to
her daily protestations against onr sex, and con-
sequently a bar to her first steps toward love
upon the strength of her own maxims and
declarations.

"However, I must needs say this accomplished
mistress of mine has distinguished me above the
rest, and has been known to declare Sir Roger de
Coverley was the tamest and most humane of
all the brutes in the country. I was told she said
so by one who thought he rallied me; but upon
the strength of this slender encouragement of
being thought least detestable, I made new
liveries, new paired my coach horses, sent them
all to town to be bitted, and taught to throw their
legs well, and move all together before I pre-
tended to cross the country, and wait upon her.
As soon as I thought my retinue suitable to the
character of my fortune and youth, I set out
from hence to make my addresses. The particular
skill of this lady has ever been to inflame your
wishes, and yet command respect. To make her
mistress of this art, she has a greater share of
knowledge, wit, and good sense, than is usual even
among men of merit. Then she is beautiful be-
yond the race of women. If you will not let
her go on with a certain artifice with her eyes,
and the skill of beauty, she will arm herself with
her real charms, and strike you with admiration
instead of desire. It is certain that if you were
to behold the whole woman, there is that dig^nity
in her aspect, that composure in her motion, that
complacency in her manner, that if her form

13



THE BEST OF THE WORLD'S CLASSICS

makes you hope, her merit makes you fear.
But then again, she is such a desperate scholar,
that no country gentleman can approach her
without being a jest.

*'As I was going to tell you, when I came
to her house, I was admitted to her presence
with great civility; at the same time she placed
herself to be first seen by me in such an atti-
tude as I think you call the posture of a picture,
that she discovered new charms, and I at last came
toward her with such an awe as made me speech-
less. This she no sooner observed but she made
her advantage of it, and began a discourse to me
concerning love and honor, as they both are
followed by pretenders, and the real votaries to
them. "When she discust these points in a difs-
course, which I verily believe was as learned as
the best philosopher in Europe could possibly
make, she asked me whether she was so happy as
to fall in with my sentiments on these important
particulars. Her confidant sat by her, and upon
my being in the last confusion and silence, this
malicious aid of hers, turning to her, says, 'I
am very glad to observe Sir Roger pauses upon
this subject, and seems resolved to deliver all his
sentiments upon the matter when he pleases to
speak. •'

''They both kept their countenances, and after
I had sat half an hour meditating how to behave
before such profound casuists, I rose up and took
my leave. Chance has since that time thrown
me very often in her way, and she as often


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